Exclusive: Video & Photos of Litespeed’s Prototype Titanium Aero Ultimate Gravel Bike!

“It started with a guy who wanted a better bike than what he was riding in 1986. Leftover titanium tubes from a chemical job were used to make a frame. Frame after frame was made and in 1987, shown at the Long Beach bike show. Thus began the journey that would make Litespeed the go to authority on titanium bicycles.” – Litespeed.com

A lot of water has passed at Litespeed since that time. But, this article focuses on the present-day Litespeed, who still call Chattanooga, Tennessee, home.

To say that gravel cycling is the biggest growing genre in the world of cycling is probably an understatement. I don’t have sales figures at hand to quantify that statement, but I’m going to assume sales have exploded, based on the sheer number of new bikes and related accessories available from virtually every manufacturer.

Litespeed has not been remiss with producing their own bike offerings for this growing segment. Starting with the original Litespeed T5G (see my review here), the company has expanded their range to include the “Gravel” and “Cherohala SE” models. Not one to rest on his laurels, Brad DeVaney, head of Product Design and Development at Litespeed Titanium Bicycles, is working with his team on a new bike, simply known as “Ultimate Gravel”.

In the video below, Brad covers the details of the new bike (still a prototype), which is a homage to Litespeed’s original Ultimate, the road bike made famous by the L.A. Sheriff professional cycling team in the early to mid 1990’s.

Litespeed Ultimate Gravel Gallery

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike
Tapered headtube, with Cane Creek 40 ZS 44/40 headset.
litespeed ultimate gravel bike
Extensive forming work on the downtube.
litespeed ultimate gravel bike
The downtube needs to be seen in person to be appreciated.
litespeed ultimate gravel bike
The frame will support internalized mechanical and electronic drivetrains.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Notice the rear brake housing. It exits the frame just forward of the bottom bracket, to run externally beneath the non-drive side chainstay.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike
Tyre clearance is 700c x 45 / 650b x 2.1″

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Litespeed Ultimate Gravel Gallery – Brad DeVaney’s bike straight from the 2018 Dirty Kanza 100 (Half-Pint)

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

We could have cleaned up Brad’s bike for the photos, but thought it best to leave it caked with Kansas mud, as raced at this year’s “Half-Pint” Dirty Kanza 100.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Brad rode Shimano’s top-tier Dura-Ace Di2 groupset at DK100.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Above, a Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag is lashed to the Zipp stem.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Profile Design handlebars and a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS computer.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike
Revelate Designs Gas Tank bag adorns the top tube.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Litespeed’s carbon gravel fork has a ton of tyre clearance.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

And mounting points for fenders, etc.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Rotor 3D+ crankset fitted with Rotor’s 50/34 round chainring pair and Crank Brothers Egg Beater pedals.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 Di2 rear derailleur paired with an Ultegra CS-R8000 11-30 11-speed cassette. To see more about the range of this rear derailleur, check out our tinkering video.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Shimano’s line of electronic derailleurs work flawlessly in the worst of conditions. Unlike the mild muddy conditions experienced by DK200 riders at this year’s Dirty Kanza gravel race, many of the 100-mile “Half-Pint” entrants experienced very muddy, challenging conditions.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike
PF30 bottom bracket & crankset by Rotor, fitted with Rotor’s 2-in-1 dual-sided power meter.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Above, top-flight Shimano Dura-Ace carbon wheels, configured tubeless with WTB Riddler 700c x 37mm tyres, which measured about 40mm on these wheels.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike
Flat-mount disc brakes at front and rear.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

litespeed ultimate gravel bikelitespeed ultimate gravel bike

Litespeed has wisely chosen the venerable 27.2mm seatpost size for their new aero titanium gravel bike.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike

Enve’s seatpost clamp fits into the sculpted top section of the Litespeed titanium seatpost.

litespeed ultimate gravel bike
Finally, Brad’s saddle of choice is a WTB Volt.

Litespeed’s Ultimate gravel bike is still in prototype form, and thus, no date has been set for the bike’s availability for retail sale. Be sure to watch this space for updates!

Litespeed Bicycles

13 comments on “Exclusive: Video & Photos of Litespeed’s Prototype Titanium Aero Ultimate Gravel Bike!

  1. Just a small correction: That top tube bag appears to be a Gas Tank; the Jerrycan bags are designed to fit just in front of the seatpost, not behind the stem. I’ve used all of them so am sure of this. 😉

    And surely I can’t be the only person who hates internal (mechanical) cable runs; they’re a much bigger pain in all respects than external ones.

    1. It is actually internal i2, external mechanical. Headtube has 2 removable cable guides that act as an entry point for i2. Pretty slick little feature on all the Litespeed road/gravel bikes.

    1. You don’t think my feed bag is aero enough? Lol.
      I’ll admit, I’m not the ideal test pilot to prove max aerodynamics, but the combination of features delivers something for all of us. Power transfer and ride quality under my 215 pound self didn’t disappoint. Since then, we’ve been able to refine further details under more capable, speedier pilots. Our most recent data shows the mud spray on the downtube isn’t a lie. The shaping properly minimizes follow turbulence (clean, shielded bottles). Had I properly built this test mule with a 1x, the front derailleur drag wouldn’t have pinned me outside the top 50 (joking). Feel free to reach out with any questions.
      Thanks again, JOM!

  2. I’ve been hankering after a titanium gravel frame for a while but ideally wanted an aero frame because it will be my only bike and I want it to go fast on the tarmac as well as off…and these guys just built my dream bike!!! Now just shut up and TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!! 😀

  3. Anyone know that model the wheels are on the clean bike photos? I can read ‘RS’ but not the blue text. Looking forward to reading/watching your review JOM – this bike is top of my shortlist so I hope it’s as good as it looks.

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