Litespeed Solano Road Bike

Frame Material: 3Al/2.5V titanium
Frame Angles: 73.0 head, 73.0 seat
Sizes: 49cm, 51cm, 53cm, 55cm, 57cm, 59cm, 61cm
Colors: Brushed
Fork: Lite TEC
Rear Shock: Not applicable
Brake Levers: Shimano Ultegra STI Dual Control
Handlebar: ITM Mantjs Super Over
Stem: ITM Mantjs Super Over
Headset: 1 1/8" threadless Cane Creek
Front Der: Shimano Ultegra
Crankset: Shimano Ultegra, 39/53 teeth
Rear Der: Shimano Ultegra SS
Pedals: Not applicable
Tires: 700 x 23c Vittoria Rubino Pro

User Reviews (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10  
james   [Apr 26, 2014]
Pros: -
Cons: -
Price: -   New/Used: -    Model Year: -
OVERALL
RATING
5
Jim   Recreational Rider [Sep 04, 2011]
Strength:

Handles well and compliant ride, especially when using high thread count tires.

Weakness:

None

Bought it for the ride quality, as compliant as a previous steel Bianchi, but lighter in weight. Not being a racer, a compliant ride is the best overall since I will do long rides of over 70mi.

Similar Products Used: Other metal frame bikes, Viscount, Cannondale, Bianchi, Surly.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Godzilla   Recreational Rider [Apr 30, 2010]
Strength:

Easy to maintain finish.Practically bullet proof Ultegra components. This bike has given me very little trouble and is ridden hard and often.

Weakness:

Real Design wheels.
The spokes cannot be adjusted with the tires installed. The carbon "Fairings" Are really just window dressing and not structural. They need to be fitted with tubes with extremely long valve stems.Forget about borrowing a tube from your buddy.

Nice bike. I always wanted to get a titanium bike and finally have one.

Similar Products Used: N/A
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
David Woodruff   Triathlete [Sep 24, 2006]
Strength:

Superb titanium frame, decent weight even with mid-level parts. Swap out lighter wheels, bars/stem and seat and you have a 16.5-pound bike that is extraordinarily comfortable and quick. Polished titanium looks bad-ass. With black ksyriums, this bike gets stares from everyone else out there. Another great thing is Litespeed resale value: a used Solano is always going to be at least $1800, and probably more.

Weakness:

Very hard to find a new one anymore. They are almost gone. Other than that, not much. The wheels (Real Design Supersonic) are a tad heavy (but they are ok nonetheless). Swap for Ksyriums and knock off some weight without sacrificing comfort. Also, the handlebars are comical at first - huge oversize with this gigantic ITM Super Over stem. Ultimately this adds to the comfort, but it looks/feels weird at first.

The Solano is like the BMW 7-series of road bikes. Think of the higher-end Vortex as a Porsche - a bit rough, super responsive, a little twitchy, but a great handler and a very fast ride. But I already have a no-compromise racing bike to rattle my teeth when I feel the need. I was looking for a long-distance sport/trainer/century rider that would be comfortable yet also high quality and quick. Titanium is the perfect frame material because it is smooth, responsive, lively yet not at all jarring. The Solano is the perfect combination of comfort and performance. It is extraordinarily smooth, stable, supple and comfortable. Yet it is also relatively light (could be lighter with different wheels, stem/bars and seat), very responsive, and has a geometry that is comfortable for long rides. This bike is incredibly fast over a long period. It is not perfect at any one thing - rather, it's "almost perfect" at everything. Great climber, sprinter, flat-roader. Absorbs strips/ bumps/ potholes easily and comfortably. The radical shaped stays are very noticeable for comfort. I might even try racing this bike - it is that fast. If you can still find a new one, buy it and don't hesitate. You will not regret it.

Similar Products Used: Quattro Assi Rocket (TT racer)
Kestrel Talon carbon
Felt B2 (triathlon racer)
Bontrager Privateer MTB
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
eatapeach   Recreational Rider [Jun 23, 2006]
Strength:

Perfect balance of climbing, sprinting and every other attribute. Very plush over 80-100 miles.

Weakness:

None really. I did get rid of the Fizik saddle (personal preferance) and Real Design wheels and replaced with Wheelsmith Ultegra/Open Pros.

I've had this a year and it's an awesome ride.

Similar Products Used: This is my first ti bike so I really can't compare it to anything I've owned. The closest I suppose would be a '95 Derosa SLX (sold a few years ago, oh well!) or my Calborn Formula 1. Close but no cigar.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
SolanoRider   Recreational Rider [Apr 21, 2006]
Strength:

The perfect blend of stiffness and compliance, really! Has the famous Titanium ride quality. Beautiful build quality! Last forever material. Non integrated head tube is a BIG plus in my opinion! Truly an American (hand) Made product! Pro grade.

Weakness:

Expensive, it is a Litespeed! It has no other weakness that I can think of! You get what you pay for here! Does make you feel a little unworthy at times, though! "Pedal harder, you lazy couch potato!!!", it screamed to me a few times. Although it does that less and less, these days.

This is the best value in Litespeeds lineup in terms of performance and value. This frame is extremely easy to absolutely fall in love with and never wish for anything else. The Solano suits me perfectly in terms of ride quality, doesn't beat you up. Climbs excellent and decends with an extreme sureness at high speed. Never feels noodley or twitchy.

Similar Products Used: Litespeed Palmares, Rossin Record (Columbus SLX) , Gary David (custom, Easton Aluminum), Schwinn Super Sport (Reynolds 853)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Lazywriter   Recreational Rider [Oct 03, 2005]
Strength:

Quality, responsiveness, value, durability, Dura Ace is incredible.

Weakness:

None but Real Design wheels need to have tires off to true.

I traded in my 2002 Litespeed Vortex for the Solano. I had the components upgraded to full Dura Ace 10 speed and a Chris King HS. The Ultegra that came standard on the bike was great and the upgrade was probably not necessary, but it saved a 1/2 pound. (Total bike weight with Speedplays is 17.5 lb in a 57cm which is very respectable) The ride is fantastic compared to my Vortex. It is stiff but more compliant vertically and makes for a comfortable ride. It is stable as a rock with no wobble. Standard headset is tried and true. Bright brushed finish is easy to maintain. At $2200 that CC is now selling the Solano, it is the best bargain out there. The Real Design wheels retail for $900 a pair alone. The Fizik saddle is not the lightest, but in 20 years of riding it is the most comfortable I have ridden.

Similar Products Used: Litespeed Vortex Litespeed Classic Trek 5500 Fondriest Scapin
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
twowheelstex   Recreational Rider [Sep 11, 2005]
Strength:

Full ultegra 10 drive train and brakes, smooth ride, stiff frame, price

Weakness:

tires are a little heavy, getting use to the saddle

I first saw a review of the Solano in Bicycle Mag. I then spent 3 months researching online. Most LBSs wanted $2995 for one so when CC had it at $2300 I jumped all over it. The Solano is one smooth ride with a stiff frame and good components. In Speedway Yellow it looks as good as it performs.

Similar Products Used: Specialized, Giant OCR 1, tested a Trek Pilot
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
tedwards   Road Racer [May 04, 2004]
Strength:

Very light and responsive frame. Great cornering and descending. Ascends with the best of them due to its light weight and rigidity under load. Has the titanium road vibration dampening loved by all!

Weakness:

Can be too much for some pocket books to handle. Solution: Finance through Litespeed and pay it off over time!

This bike is a Vortex with less expensive tubing (3/2.5 versus 6/4)! You can't get any better than this. This bike is super stable, rocks the climbs, and sprints like a roadrunner on speed! It's classic road geometry allows you to spend all day in the saddle without the normal discomfort of aluminum bikes. The Solano is the ultimate race machine for the racer on a modest budget or pro sponsorship.

Similar Products Used: Cannondale R5000 Team edition, Litespeed Orion, Trek 5500 USPS edition, Lemond Alpe de Huez
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John Wilmoth   Recreational Rider [Jan 26, 2004]
Strength:

Price, Weight, Looks and performance

Weakness:

The stock saddle is crappy but in my opinion those are usually a personal thing and shouldn't even come with a new bike just like pedals.

What can I say, a Litespeed fully built with full Ultegra for just under 3 G's. Someone asked me to describe the ride compared to my 853 select Lemond and the only way to compare the two is the Lemond rides like a cushy Cadillac and the Litespeed handles like a Ferrari. I like each bike equally for it's intended purpose but the Litespeed certainly feels more aggresive and instantly responsive without having a twitchy feel. I would recommend this bike to anyone looking for a fast comfortable ride that was going to last a very long time.

Similar Products Used: Bianchi, Lemond
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 10