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  1. #1
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    Reputation: The Weasel's Avatar
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    Dec 2003

    Wait! So what's the deal with Litespeed?

    I don't follow this stuff, just try to ride. But somebody said in the thread below that they've been sold and bought over several times, and now made in China. I have a 2001 Pisgah, that has been very good to me. Says it's made in the USA. Very nicely I might add. Got it for a steal, new. Who owned them then?
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    People don't think it be like it is, but it do - Oscar Gamble

  2. #2
    Will work 4 fuel...
    Reputation: singletrackmind's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    The American Bicycle Group...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel
    I don't follow this stuff, just try to ride. But somebody said in the thread below that they've been sold and bought over several times, and now made in China. I have a 2001 Pisgah, that has been very good to me. Says it's made in the USA. Very nicely I might add. Got it for a steal, new. Who owned them then?

    Moved production to China? Wow... that's news to me. Come to htink of it, I've emailed Litespeed twice with no response. Still love my '99 Obed, though.

    "We own and manufacture Merlin and Litespeed Titanium frames from our premises in Chatanooga, Tennesse. We own the Quintana Roo triathlon brand and sell under licence the Tomac Mountain bike brand. From our European HQ in Swindon we distribute these products across Europe to Bike shops . We also sell the bikefitting bicycle measuring system to our customer base."

  3. #3
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    Reputation: litespeedchick's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Litespeed was sold to American bicycle group a few years ago. That's the only sale I'm aware of. They make a few of their lower-end frames in Taiwan. If your's says made in USA, that's where it's made.

    I get ridiculously quick response from Litespeed whenever I email them. Usually from guy named Chris Burt.

  4. #4
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    Reputation: portnoy's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    All AMG Ti is in The States, all Aluminum in Taiwan (NM)

    I'll be along... eventually.

  5. #5
    Will work 4 fuel...
    Reputation: singletrackmind's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    What made you buy it in the first place?


    You have every right to upset about your Tomac but the way you described it in a previous thread:

    "The main triangle is riddled with cracks at nearly every junction, while the welds on the rear tri look more like JB weld. Every weld is different and has alot of flashing. Some aren't even beads. it's a wonder the mainframe broke, while the rear tri didn't."

    I realize the cracks developed from riding it but based on your your description of the rear triangle and the welds, what possessed you to buy your '03 Tomac 98 in the first place?

  6. #6
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    Reputation: singletrackmind's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    Litespeed/ABG response to my inquiry...

    Tue, 9 Mar 2004 14:33:08


    Thank you for your concern for our products. All 'Titanium' Litespeed frames are still manufactured with the same, if not better, quality as it always has been, here in Chattanooga, TN. As a Litespeed owner myself, I value that quality. The 'Aluminum' frames have always been manufactured over seas but at the same high standards and excellent quality that the titanium bicycles must meet.

    American Bicycle Group was formed when Litespeed purchased Merlin, Tomac and Quintana Roo. Litespeed never stops trying to improve, we stride for the best in the cycling industry. I hope this clears up any confusion that you may have perceived.

    Thank you for your interest in our company,

    Amanda Zirk
    American Bicycle Group
    Litespeed-Merlin-Quintana Roo-Tomac

  7. #7
    Chrome Toaster
    Reputation: Hecubus's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    When did ABG buy Litespeed? I owned a 2001 Pisgah and 2002 Unicoi both of which looked very well finished and welded. The Pisgah seemed a bit sharper though. In 03 I bough a Lookout and the first thing I remember noticing when I took the frame out of the box was a bad it looked. And by bad I mean REALLY bad. The welds were not as smooth and the brushed finished looked like it was done by someone who was in a hurry to get to lunch.

  8. #8
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    Reputation: singletrackmind's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    ABG = Litespeed + Merlin + QR + Tomac

    For all practical purposes, Litespeed IS American Bicycle Group, LLC headquartered in Ooltewah, TN... even posted an ABG response and contact infomation in a previous post.

    This story appeared in The Times & Free Press on Sunday, December 17, 2000

    Litespeed races on with acquisitions


    Staff Writer

    Ooltewah-based bicycle maker Litespeed, the nation's leading manufacturer of titanium bike frames, continues to grow at light speed.

    Just 18 months after its acquisition by billionaire Leon Hirsh, Litespeed has acquired two more companies, one of which was its principal American competitor, and should have another purchase wrapped up by the end of the year.

    Cycling industry consultant Bill Fields said Litespeed, founded in 1986, already had a stranglehold on the U.S. titanium-frame market and will just get stronger.

    "With this infusion of capital," Mr. Fields said, "Litespeed could grow by a factor of four over the next six to seven years."

    Litespeed has acquired Merlin Metalworks of Cambridge, Mass., and California-based Quintana Roo, both for undisclosed sums. Merlin was a distant second to Litespeed in space-age tough titanium frames, with 20 percent of the market compared to the Ooltewah company's 60 percent. Quintana Roo is the nation's No. 1 manufacturer of equipment for triathletes, including bikes and wetsuits.

    Mark Lynskey, Litespeed's president and chief executive officer, said the result has been 50-percent growth for Litespeed -- from sales of about $10 million last year to a projected $15 million this year. Mr. Lynskey said Litespeed has added 52 employees this year for a total of 132.

    Mr. Lynskey said Merlin' entire operation and Quintana Roo's bike operation have been moved to Ooltewah. Manufacturing of other Quintana Roo equipment will stay in California, he added.

    Randy Finnell, Litespeed's executive vice president, said the company will continue to keep the Merlin Metalworks and Quintana Roo brand names on the market. Mr. Fields, the industry analyst, said that is "quite a good move."

    Mr. Finnell said the decision was based on emotion. "Bike people are very passionate about their bikes, like how NASCAR fans feel about Ford and Chevrolet.

    "We knew there was no reason we couldn't build a Merlin bike, but would Merlin dealers accept Litespeed building a Merlin bike?"

    Mr. Finnell said that situation has worked out well. Merlin's top design people have signed on at Litespeed, he said, and dealers "love" the new bikes.

    Bill Dominici, co-owner of River City Bicycles in Chattanooga, said Merlin riders also appear to have accepted the situation.

    "From what I've seen, I don't think there's an issue," he said. "You're not buying a Litespeed that has a Merlin decal. You're buying a Merlin, because all the design features that go into a Merlin to make it unique are still there."

    Mr. Lynskey said Litespeed's plan is coming along nicely.

    "The plan is to gather up brands and products representing the full scope of high-end cycling, build an organization and management team to support those multiple brands, maximize our market position in America, then take those multiple brands to Europe next year," he said.

    "Between Litespeed and Merlin, we certainly have the high-end titanium bikes. We've got triathlon bikes through Quintana Roo.

    "What we haven't acquired yet," Mr. Lynskey said, "is mid-to-high-end mountain bikes."

    Mr. Finnell said Litespeed is "not even playing in the mountain-bike market," but should be by the end of the year.

    "As we speak, we're certainly looking at a mountain-bike company that will round out our brands very nicely," he said. "It's a high-end aluminum mountain-bike company, well-known and owned by a world champion. That's all I can say, but the growth it would give our company would be unbelievable.

    "After we do this one, we'll have our plates full for at least another month or two," Mr. Finnell said with a laugh.

    It's all heady stuff for a company that began as a metal fabrication business started by Mark Lynskey's late father, Bill. Mark Lynskey said even after Litespeed struck gold with titanium bike frames, it was run very conservatively.

    "We chose not to take some risks," he said. "We chose not to extend credit terms to dealers; you paid cash to sell Litespeed. We chose to have all telemarketing done from here, and not have an outside sales force.

    "We were fully cognizant that we were not capturing the full potential of the brand, but what the new owner has done is maximize our potential. We have a full credit program, managed by a staff, and we've created an outside sales force of full-time employees.

    "It's become much more than I'd ever envisioned," Mr. Lynskey said.
    Last edited by singletrackmind; 03-11-2004 at 04:49 PM. Reason: wrong font size - makes this a HUGE post.

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