Get premium for the mid-grade price with the Litespeed M1 Apex. The M1 features high-end, unidirectional carbon fiber in the frame and fork to give you a fantastic platform for racing and eventual upgrades. A box-section down tube junction adds stiffness in the bottom bracket area to ensure the power you put into the frame translates directly into road speed. Stiff chain stays coupled with slightly more flexible seat stays give the M1 a comfortable yet high-performing ride characteristic.
Weaknesses: A bit of flex in the rear triangle, SRAM Rival is not as crisp as the high end gruppos
I bought my Litespeed M1 from Competitive Cyclist last September for $1,350. With shipping and taxes the final price was closer to $1,500. I've put a few thousand miles on it since I bought it last fall. I've ridden some of Utah's best canyons on this rig. It ascends and descends above average.
Overall I'm very satisfied with the ride quality of the bike. I was looking at entry-level carbon bikes at my local bike shop, and most of them started at 2k (with SRAM Apex or 105). I feel like $1,5000 for a carbon bike with Rival is a solid deal.
My only two complaints with the bike are: 1. the stock tires (Schwalbe Lugano) and 2. a bit of flex in the rear triangle when climbing hard.
This bike is a work horse. I'm using it to commute back and forth to my office. I'm also thinking about doing a few races later this Summer.
Weaknesses: Askium wheels are not the best, but at this price, they're better than competition
Got the Rival build deal at CC. New to Road Cycling after 20 years off, so not a lot of comparisons, but I love it. Averaging 17mph for 50 out of the gate. Not bad for an old fat guy. Really love the SRAM shifting. Don't have experience with Shimano, so can't compare, but SRAM is easy and intuitive. Will be upgrading wheels next. CC was great!
Strengths: price is incredible for a full carbon bike with SRAM Rival. Rides well. Stiff, but not too stiff. Absorbs road noise well. Looks great. Fairly light, especially for the price.
Weaknesses: wheels are cheap...but work fine. Front wheel seems like the cones are just small tad loose.
I received my new M1 about two weeks ago. It came from CC for 1449 delivered. Can't beat the price. CC had the item packed incredibly well. Thirty minutes after getting it delivered, it was ready to ride (takes 15 minutes get zip ties off). The only issue was the low limit screw on the front derailleur was off by 1/4 turn. I noticed this on the first climb, but it was an easy fix. I used the CC fit guide, and they suggested a small frame, instead of a medium. I've riding a 53cm in traditional frames, and the thought of a 50cm seemed crazy to me, but I went with their suggestion. They were right. The frame fits me fine... I am 5'7" and I am plenty stretched out. The effective top tube is 52.5, so that is nearly the same as my 53.
So far I've been quite impressed by the bike. I've been riding an Italian Steel Olmo, fitted with a complete Campy C Record group. The ride of the M1 definitely stiffer, and responds significantly better on hills, and the flats. I won't lie though, there is something missing in terms of spirit. I can't put my finger on just why, but carbon just has a different feel. In a technical sense, this bikes rides better in every way, and is definitely lighter and faster... I've been riding since 1985. My past bikes have included mostly steel bikes, but I did own a Vitus, which I liked until a horse destroyed it (long story) and have ridden many steel frames.
Before buying this online, I test drove several Specialized, Giant, and Trek bikes (2K to 2.5K). To be honest, on a short test drive, I could barely tell they were different bikes. Compared to steel, they all felt about the same. I took a risk in buying a bike w/o riding it, but now that I've got about 300 miles on it, I feel it was a great choice. I think it is definitely as good as $2,000 Giants, Treks, and Specialized bikes, based on the short rides I did, and I saved over $500 getting it from CC. It does feel like all the other carbon bikes I test drove... maybe I'm just not used to the carbon in a way to tell them apart, and short test drives of 15 minutes can't do justice to a bike. I can't tell much difference between decent wine and expensive wine either (cheap yes)... so that might tell you something about my discriminating taste.
The wheels are definitely low budget, and I plan on replacing them with Elites, as well as the handlebars, stem, and seat post. I am used to Campy C record wheels and nothing will probably feel like these wheels again.... Interestingly, I like the saddle quite a lot, and will likely keep it even though it is a bit heavy. Comfort is important.
SRAM Rival works great. Took a awhile to get the feel of the double tap shifters, and the compact crank. I am still a bit rusty deciding just when to shift on the compact crank from the large to the small ring, but it is getting more intuitive daily. I was riding a 52/39 and it seemed easier to stay in the middle range of gears. The shifting is excellent... crisp and fast. No complaints here, and I find the brakes to be awesome. I can see the design of brakes is way better than even old top of the line Campy.
This bike definitely shares the same frame look and geometry as one pedal force frame, and one Scattante Elite bike. I saw one poster who said they use the same molds, but possibly different composition? How could you ever know this? It is made in Taiwan, like most higher end carbon bikes. I personally believe that this frame is as high quality as any of the similarly priced 2K bikes... w/o the extra costs of the heavy advertising.
it is too early to give a comprehensive review, but I will update the post as I get more miles on the bike. I might do a century this weekend with 10K of climbing...that should be a good review tool. So far I am very satisfied with CC and the bike.