First ride rundown: the Litespeed Spezia titanium road bike

First ride rundown: the Litespeed Spezia titanium road bike

“], “filter”: { “nextExceptions”: “img, blockquote, div”, “nextContainsExceptions”: “img, blockquote, a.btn, ao-button”} }”>

Titanium is not the first frame material that comes to mind when you think of modern performance road. Carbon frames consume the majority of the performance road category, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for a high-quality titanium bike. Just like carbon has evolved over the years, titanium has too. While there are a lot of high-end titanium brands, Litespeed is one of the originals, and it has not stopped evolving its techniques, construction, or geometry.

Litespeed has taken its T1sl platform and further pushed the titanium limits to its new Spezia, the new pinnacle of performance road at Litespeed. It offers a titanium frame with race-inspired geometry at a competitive weight. The bike’s handmade construction and tube shaping put it on a performance scale not normally occupied by metal frames.

The top tube and its shape are far beyond aesthetics.

First Look

At first glance, the new Spezia is striking, with the highlight being the extensively shaped top tube. Litespeed tells us it’s a 6AL/4V titanium sheet that is precision-shaped and manipulated to offer superior stiffness and precise real-world handling. The rest of the frame is 3AL/2.5V titanium, but the shaping and tube manipulations seem to be across every tube. Even small things have been machined down to offer reduced weight while maintaining function and integrity, like the bottom bracket shell.

This test bike is a pressfit, but a threaded T47 bottom bracket is an option.

Litespeed has updated the geometry slightly from the T1sl, making the bike compatible with a wider range of components and tire choices. While most of us will choose a 28-30 mm tire for the Spezia, the frame is designed to accommodate up to a 35 mm tire. With that said, there won’t be much room for dirt and debris if you max out the tire and head down dirt roads. One small detail that we noticed is that the rear thru-axle dropout is exactly that, a dropout on the non-drive side. This means when you loosen the axle, it can remain in the hub when you remove the rear wheel.

The frame is designed so you don’t need to remove the entire thru-axle.

Litespeed is part of the ABG (American Bicycle Group), and they offer nearly all of their custom build bikes. From build to finish or color, the ease and selection are great. Our test bike is a bit of a dream build for most of us with Shimano 12-speed Dura-Ace. It is also paired with Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels and a Zipp stem. As an added bonus, we opted for the full Ti experience with a matching seatpost. While this bike is on the top end of the build scale, it hit our weight scale at just 16.56 pounds.

Distracted by the view and exhausted from miles of relentless climbing, we made the ultimate mistake, bike photos in the small ring.

First Ride

While we haven’t had the bike long enough to give a full test report, first impressions are good. Kicking things off is the fact that the bike arrived at our door ready for pedals and the first ride. Assembled, tuned, and pressure in the tires, that is the kind of service we all love.

On the first few rides, it is hard to pinpoint opportunities as the bike is a blast. It’s responsive and lively no matter if we are racing up or down the mountain. Cornering is stable, and the bike feels very balanced at all speeds. We even had a few racer types take a spin, and they came away smiling. They all mentioned how the titanium ride quality was so much different from the carbon bikes that they normally ride but were impressed at how well it performed. They were all left wondering if carbon is the best option for the type of riding they do.

When it comes down to it, the new Spezia is a modern performance road bike. It utilizes new techniques in titanium construction to deliver an elevated performance experience. The tube shaping optimizes stiffness, aerodynamics, and compliance without compromising durability. There is an attention to detail that elevates the entire package even further.

With BWR San Diego only a few weeks away, this might be the perfect bike for the challenge. With nearly 100 miles of fast paved roads and 30-40 miles of fast dirt sections split up across the entire course, the Spezia looks to be up for the challenge. The real question is, do we want to take a nearly $13,000 bike on such a ride? Stay tuned for the answer and a full test of the Litespeed Spezia in the coming weeks.

Litespeed Titanium today introduces the new standard in pure titanium road bike performance: the Litespeed Spezia. Marrying every premium-tier technical advantage in our arsenal—from top-tier materials held to our exacting wall thickness and precise weight standards, to proprietary ride-enhancing tubeset manipulation—the Spezia was crafted into not just the finest-performance road race bike in our history, but also the lightest production titanium disc brake bike available today.

Inspired by the varied terrain that the Spezia region of Italy presents, the Spezia was conceptualized as a performer. From drag reduction and day-long comfort on the flats to stiffness and incredible weight savings on climbs, to surgically precise handling on descents, the Spezia was designed to dominate—everywhere.

The hallmark of the Spezia is in its proprietary quadrilateral 6AL/4V titanium top tube. Crafted from a single titanium sheet, the sheet is carefully manipulated to create a multi-faceted tubeset. By using premium 6AL/4V titanium sheet, the Spezia saves weight compared to its 3AL/2.5V top tube counterpart, but most importantly, due to its inherent tensile strength, the Spezia gains more torsional stiffness, and stiffens the overall feel of the bike on the whole. It’s that advantage that sees the Spezia as both a wildly superior climber, as well as delivering a confident, precision handling experience on descents.

The triaxially ovalized Spezia downtube is also a marvel design; instead of simple round tube presentation, the Spezia downtube profile changes shape to move through the wind with greater ease than a plain round tubeset, with those shape changes delivering targeted performance. Widened at the bottom bracket for a wider stance and increased stiffness, and ovalized near the headtube for even more performance advantage, the Spezia’s shaped tubes achieve in ways round tubes can’t.

From modern geometry to tire clearance up to 35mm, to option for threaded T47 bottom bracket, the Spezia is cutting edge in every way. Like every Litespeed, it features a full complement of titanium small parts. Whether it’s our dropouts and butted bottom bracket to the intricacy of our shelled two-piece disc brake mount, all elements of the Spezia are engineered and handmade in-house from our CNC machines, ensuring all elements meet or exceed our weight and strength standards.

The Spezia will feature a host of graphic treatment options and upgrades, from our range of eight complimentary vinyl graphic options and etched finish, to our TiDize color anodization, delivering to Spezia riders a truly individualized look and style to their ride.

The Spezia will be available in sizes extra small through extra large. A size medium frame weight 1,120 grams.

Some features of the Spezia include:

  • 6AL/4V top tube and 3AL/2.5V titanium frame, drawn, shaped, tuned and welded to exacting standards to ensure consistent performance and weight savings characteristics.
  • Quadrilateral top tube: a high-tensile 6AL/4V sheet-formed tube, delivering unmatched stiffness and unparalleled handling advantage.
  • Butted headtube and bottom bracket for weight savings.
  • All titanium small parts, including bottom bracket shell, headtube and dropouts CNC-machined in-house to Litespeed standards to meet performance and weight standards.
  • Updated geometry for precision handling.
  • Optimized for tire ranging from 25mm to 35mm.
  • Threaded T47 bottom bracket upgrade option available.
  • A wide range of customer-selected build options, including drivetrain options, wheelset, seatpost, tire and saddle choices and finish options, with special component orders upon request.

Outfitted with 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Zipp 303 Firecrest wheelset and our premium TiDize anodizing options, the Spezia will price out at $12,489. The Spezia starts at $7,999 outfitted with Shimano Ultegra Di2 components.

The Spezia is handcrafted at American Bicycle Group’s 48,000 sq. ft. facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. All build options of the Spezia can be configured and ordered direct online at, or special ordered through Litespeed’s global network of specialty retailers.

Like all Litespeed models, the Spezia is rider-friendly when it comes to shipping, assembly and mechanical service. Litespeed offers its Home.Delivery.Right premium delivery option, taking your fully-built Litespeed to your door, fully assembled and ready to ride. When shipped in Litespeed’s Probox, a bike arrives to customers 90% assembled and takes just a few minutes to assemble. All a rider needs is a basic knowledge of bike mechanics and two sizes of Allen wrenches. At the bottom of the Litespeed homepage, there are home bike assembly videos to aid in the process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *