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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys, I have a quick question for anyone who may have inquired about a bike model they have, particularly Litespeed. I'm nearly 100% certain that the bike I got from a family member is a 1998, but decided to call to get all the technical details on the bike (I'm a dork like that). I got all the information I was looking for but then was told that it was actually a 1997 model. The decals, which have never been changed are from '98, and even some of the specifics on the bike are from 1998. IE: seat tube is sculpted/curved instead of flat where the 1997 model is flat.

Has anyone received different information than what they really thought/might know? It probably doesn't make much difference but I'm just wondering anyways.

Thanks!
 

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Burnum Upus Quadricepus
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Bear in mind that Litespeed was a semi-custom manufacturer with continuous production. They didn't order a bunch of bikes from China, sell them until the end of the model year, then order some more from Taiwan. They kept their people in Chattanooga employed 52 weeks a year.

If they ran out of '97 decals before the end of the model year, they didn't stop making bikes and wait for the calendar, they just opened a new box intended for '98 and kept right on going.

Further, 16 years down the road, who's to say it wasn't made in '97 for the '98 model year? Who's to say that they even paid attention to model year other than to print a new catalog?

My '96 Classic came with a Time fork not even listed in the catalog. Does that mean the guy I bought it from lied to me that it was original? No. It's on the original invoice. That's the way he ordered it. In other words, the catalog is not the be-all, end-all of documentation sources. It shows only some of the many availabilities.
 

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Bear in mind that Litespeed was a semi-custom manufacturer with continuous production. They didn't order a bunch of bikes from China, sell them until the end of the model year, then order some more from Taiwan. They kept their people in Chattanooga employed 52 weeks a year.

If they ran out of '97 decals before the end of the model year, they didn't stop making bikes and wait for the calendar, they just opened a new box intended for '98 and kept right on going.

Further, 16 years down the road, who's to say it wasn't made in '97 for the '98 model year? Who's to say that they even paid attention to model year other than to print a new catalog?

My '96 Classic came with a Time fork not even listed in the catalog. Does that mean the guy I bought it from lied to me that it was original? No. It's on the original invoice. That's the way he ordered it. In other words, the catalog is not the be-all, end-all of documentation sources. It shows only some of the many availabilities.
Also note that in those days you could buy frames separately and spec them the way you wanted. Lots of variables including that the guy answering the phone may be reading nothing more authoritative than an old catalog. There have been a lot of changes and a lot of turnover at LS since the late 90s when they pretty much ruled the roost in performance bikes.
 

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Thanks for the info, guys. I'm just trying to get everything figured out in case I decide to sell it and get a newer frame. It's an awesome bike tho!
Here's a link to some of the old Litespeed catalogues:

Litespeed catalog archive › Titanium Rides

Like Bruce said, they were constantly making bikes, so the same model often came with different decals and different equipment. I bought my 1999 Ultimate on close out on 2000 as a frame. I had a choice between two carbon forks -- neither of which said Litespeed on them.

One way to date your frame is to try to trace it through the catalogues. Litespeed had the same models for several years, like the Tuscany, Classic, Ultimate and Vortex. But these models changed every year or two. The Ultimate started with round 3/2.5 tubes, then added a bent seat tube, then added a bladed 6/4 downtube, then changed the bent seat tube to a cut-out seat tube to comply with UCI rules ... you get the idea. The Classic didn't change as much, but the decals went from blue to yellow to something else. You can get some idea of what year it was made. Check the catalogues. It's possible that the 1997 and 1998 are exactly the same bike.


They're nice bikes. I still ride mine a lot. I have 3 road bikes, and its the work horse of the bunch. If I can ever kill the Dura Ace 7700 stuff on it, I'm going to redo it with Campy Chorus.
 

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Thanks for the info, guys. I'm just trying to get everything figured out in case I decide to sell it and get a newer frame. It's an awesome bike tho!
Do you think a buyer will care if you're uncertain whether it's a 97 or 98? I can see it if it's somehow a rare example if it's a 97 vs. a 98 (or vice versa). I can maybe also see it if it's a relatively newish bike and it might make a difference if it's one vs two or five vs six years old. But whether it's 15 or 16 years old, I would think the only thing of interest is the actual condition of the bike. Maybe I'm wrong. I'd just tell the buyer "it's a 97 or 98".

I'm not saying it's not interesting and/or fun to try to figure it out (I'd probably do the same), just that I don't think there's any value or concern to a potential buyer. They'll look at the overall condition and value it the same whether it's a year younger or older.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You definitely hit the nail on the head. The difference of a year is probably hardly a concern, but it's also just something fun for me to do and have all the info on what I'm riding! I've never sold a 'higher' end bike so I was not sure how much info people would normally be interested in besides just the condition.

I have been browsing those catalogues, those are actually the ones that helped me figure out most of the info I have on my bike, but thanks for the link.
 
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