NEW RELEASE! LITESPEED ULTIMATE G2 CHANGING THE NOTION OF A GRAVEL RACE BIKE
As the popularity of gravel has grown over the last decade it’s no surprise a brand with roots as American as the segment itself has developed a burgeoning line of purpose-built bikes. Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Litespeed is updating its grave catalog since releasing the do-it-all Watia in 2020. We had a chance to ride the Watia as well as race it at Unbound Gravel and came away impressed at how well-rounded the mid-level bike performed in endurance events and on the local fire roads.
Set for an update is Litespeed’s Ultimate Gravel. As their initial foray into the gravel scene in 2018, it offered up an impressive ride quality with its performance-focused geometry much like its namesake on the road side of the sport. Today Litespeed continues to challenge the notion of a titanium race bike with the launch of the Ultimate G2.
The G2 is made in America and optimized for weight, with every tube meticulously manipulated to optimize stiffness and performance while maintaining the feeling of titanium. From the semi-aero down tube to the quadrilateral top tube and iconic triple triangle seat stay design, the Ultimate G2 boasts a number of improvements including added stiffness in the rear end and bottom bracket plus added tire clearance.
Litespeed uses a triple triangle design they call “interlocked dropped seat stays”. The seat stays extend from the dropped asymmetric chain stays past the seat tube to the top tube. This results in wider tire clearance and a stiffer rear end. Tire clearance has been boosted to 48mm (recommended), but Litespeed says 50mm tires with minimal tread will fit.
What can’t be seen as easily as the marquee design is the internals of each tube on the Ultimate. The invisible differences in tube shaping occur as each tube is milled down throughout its length (not just at the ends) to tune the ride quality and save some milligrams.
It’s worth noting Litespeed claims a size medium frame weighs 1430 grams which is about 90 grams more than the original Ultimate. Although the G2 is heavier, it is much more customizable than a typical modern carbon frame with all of the durability titanium is known for.
The Ultimate G2 is available in six sizes, extra-small through extra-large.
Frames are available with a wide selection of build options within Litespeed’s custom build program. There are seven drivetrains offered from Shimano GRX mechanical and Di2 specs as well as a Campagnolo Ekar option. Litespeed even offers to accommodate custom components upon request via their online bike configurator.
We got our hands on a Shimano GRX 810 Di2 build with 2x 48/31 chainrings priced at $8019. An 11-34 Ultegra cassette is equipped for a fair climbing-focused gear range. 43mm Panaracer Gravel King SS tires are mounted to Hed Emporia GA Performance wheels. The alloy wheels offer a reasonable spec with a 25mm internal rim width and 1670 gram weight but higher-end, carbon Hed GC3 Pro and Spinergy hoops are available too.
In an effort to add more personality to the subtle aesthetic that dominates the titanium frame market, Litespeed is introducing a new Ceramic paint option alongside their existing etched, anodized and decal graphics. Our bike has a popping anodized Skye blue colorway but the ceramic coating is fascinating. Each fork is individually splattered and receives a one-of-a-kind paint job in one of the three available colors Litespeed offers, Blue Sapphire, Blue Mint and Pink. This brings a new level of customization to an otherwise stock build.
The Ultimate G2 sits atop Litespeed’s gravel catalog. Builds start at $4950 for a 10-speed Shimano GRX 610 build. The top-of-the-line G2 build with Shimano GRX 810 Di2 costs north of $9000 depending on which spec options are selected. Litespeed’s customization tools make it simple to configure a bike to your liking online with the option to get the order delivered fully assembled with their $295 Home.Delivery.Right offering. HDR bikes arrive via a white glove delivery service like Kitzuma but the standard delivery option remains where the bike is shipped in a box 90 percent assembled and anyone with basic mechanic skills can put together their bike in 30 minutes.
We’ll continue to ride our Ultimate G2 over the next few weeks and publish a full review online as well as in an upcoming issue of Road Bike Action magazine.
- Full 3AL/2.5V titanium frame, meticulously shaped and cold-worked tubeset to optimize performance and weight savings
- Targeted tubeset-specific wall thickness that contributes to frameset weight savings.
- Interlocked Dropped Seat Stays, to improve tire clearance and rear-end stiffness
- Butted headtube and bottom bracket for weight savings
- Updated geometry for precision high- or low-speed handling characteristics
- Tire clearance: 48mm on 700c wheels
- Threaded T47 bottom bracket upgrade option available
- Unlimited customer-selected build options, including 1x and 2x drivetrain options, wheelset, seatpost, tire and saddle choices and finish options, with special component orders upon request.
- Highly stiff frame, choose a set back seat post to add more compliance
- The triple triangle design is as utilitarian as it is eye-catching
Weight: 19.3 pounds (size ML Shimano GRX 810 Di2), 1430 grams (claimed medium frame weight)
Sizes: XS, S, M, ML, L, XL
Price: Starting at $4950, $3095 frameset, $8019 as tested
|A||Top Tube Length||51.7||53.2||55.5||56.8||59.0||61.0|
|B||Head Tube Angle||71.0˚||71.0˚||71.5˚||71.5˚||72.0˚||72.0˚|
|C||Seat Tube Angle||74.5˚||74.0˚||73.5˚||73.5˚||73.0˚||73.0˚|
|D||Seat Tube Length||43.0||44.5||47.0||49.5||52.0||55.0|
|K||Head Tube Length||8.8||8.8||11.6||14.3||16.8||20.5|
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