Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Litespeed Aero Road Bike Review:
The Archon C Series

litespeed c1r

Many will remember Litespeed as the name in titanium bikes. Twenty-year-old titanium Litespeeds can still be seen out on the roads, their fanatic owners swearing by their durability and feel. It's a surprising and gutsy move then, for this brand to introduce a carbon fiber, aero road bike. This is a new material for Litespeed, as well as a new philosophy for the brand.

Litespeed is offering three versions of the Archon C series: the C3, C1, and C1R. The C3 will be the most affordable and easiest to maintain, with an adjustable seat post and external cable routing. The C1 series uses more expensive, lighter carbon fiber, and offers internal cable routing. The C1R is available only as a frame set, and features an integrated seat mast, even lighter carbon fiber, and a stiffer front end. Interestingly, the C1R goes back to external cable routing, as Litespeed believes bike racers will prefer the ease of maintenance and lighter weight.


All of the bikes in the Archon C lineup share the same shape and aero features. Every tube is airfoil-shaped to cheat the wind, including the all-important head tube, which is nicely scalloped. This is an area often overlooked by other bike makers. Another feature, first introduced by Litespeed and only seen elsewhere on the Cervelo S5, is the downtube water bottle shroud. This reduces the penalty of carrying water bottles, an important benefit since bike races are rarely short enough to go without. There are a number of other details that set the bike apart, such as a slightly asymmetric seat stay design to optimize stiffness, comfort, and aerodynamics. All models also use the BB30 bottom bracket standard to improve weight and stiffness.


  • Aerologic Tubes - All Models - Aerodynamic Tube Shapes +More
  • Seat Tube Cutout - All Models - Hide The Rear Wheel From The Wind +More
  • Invisible Water Bottle - All Models - Hide The Water Bottle From The Wind +More
  • BB30 - All Models - Lighter and Stiffer +More
  • Internal Cable Routing/Di2 Routing - C1 - Less Drag For Cables and Wires +More

2011 Litespeed C Model Breakdown (UPDATED for 2012) ATC has all models in stock, come take one for a test ride!

ModelBuildImprovements Over Previous ModelMore InfoImage (click to zoom)
Litespeed C3UltegraBaselinemore info
Litespeed C3
Litespeed C1Dura AceLighter Carbon, Internal Cable Routingmore info
litespeed c1
Litespeed C1Ci2 UltegraLighter/Upgraded Componentsmore info
litespeed c1
Litespeed C1RFramesetLighter Carbon, Stiffer, External Routing, Integrated Seat Mastmore infolitespeed c1r

Litespeed Supports Local Racers

Litespeed has been stepping up to the plate and supporting local bike racers. Check out the ATC Litespeed builds of Tristan Uhl's Archon C1R and the ATC Women's Racing Archon C3

Tristan Uhl - Pro Mountain Biker and Cat 1 Road Racer - Litespeed Archon C1R

Tristan Uhl is a Mountain Biker first, but he competes regularly in cat 1 road bike races in the off-season, so look for him in his ATC kit at local races. Tristan reports that he is enjoying the bike more than the Cannondale Supersix that he rode previously. The new Litespeed build is lighter and feels stiffer overall, he says, and the rigid rear end has been great at the local Driveway crits.
litespeed c1r

Litespeed C1R Build Specs
FrameLitespeed Archon C1R
WheelsEaston SLX
StemFSA OS-99
GruppoShimano Ultegra
CranksetFSA Carbon BB30
Weight15.6lbs (w/ lightweight tubulars)

ATC Women's Racing - Litespeed Archon C3

Litespeed is one of the sponsors of the new ATC Women's Racing team. Cat 3 racer Kat Hunter, currently racing the C3 for ATC Women's Racing, reports that the new frame feels smoother and faster downhill, and is just as comfortable as the steel round tube bike she rode before.
Litespeed C3

Litespeed C3 Build Specs
FrameLitespeed Archon C3
WheelsHED Jet 90 Powertap
Cockpit3T LTD Stem and 3T Pro Handlebars
GruppoShimano 105/Ultegra Mix
CranksetFSA Gossamer BB30 52/38
Weight16.9lbs (w/ lightweight tubulars)


  1. I think this bike looks great, but if I'm more of a recreational rider (60milers w/ a group of friends on the weekends) and don't race. I'm close to pulilng the trigger on this bike, but do you think I should look for a "less stiff" ride? Seems hard to beat for the money otherwise...

  2. Well designed frames, of any material, make an effort to be stiff in torsion (twisting) but not vertically. Sometimes aerodynamic bikes compromise vertical compliance a bit, but the rear triangle shape of the Litespeed bikes suggests comfort was definitely kept in mind, and we have not noticed it being harsh in any way. I would not hesitate to give it try. Also remember that tires and tire pressures are 90% of the comfort equation.