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Winter Project.

VecchioJo has a spare Litespeed cross frame to build up.

Now the nights are drawing in everyone needs something to do to keep them occupied through the cold wet darkness, or just to retain sanity whilst the Other Half is watching Strictly Come Dancing (Victoria Pendleton is not an excuse).

Given the choice of taking up ‘Patchwork and Quilting for Beginners’ or building up a Litespeed cyclo-cross frame I chose the latter. Well who wouldn’t? We had a sneaky peek at the Litespeed CX frame a while ago and I’ve been given it to play with over the winter. Shame.

The CX frame here is a prototype with a not-sure-yet 132.5 spaced rear end and mounts for both disc and cantilever brakes. Production models are more decisive and will embrace what Litespeed see as the future and come disc only with 135mm rear dropout spacing. The disc-mount has changed to post-mount fitting while the prototype’s standard bottom-bracket has been replaced with a PressFit 30 BB which some might say isn’t such a step forward for a bike designed to get gritty.

Made from a tapered, cold worked 3AL-2.5V Ti tubing the CX frame weighs 1730g in a M/L with a seatclamp, the bi-ovalised down tube swells heavily towards the bottom-bracket and chunky seat-tube to stop things getting too noodly while the stays have a seductive wiggle to them which might introduce a bit of comfort to the rear end. The CX has a 44mm head tube to slot a tapered fork in to help keep the front end going where you point it.

Although it has two sets of water-bottle mounts the frame has a distinct lack of rack and mudguard holes making the Litespeed CX a race-and-roam only machine and not something for the pro-commuter, but then Ti isn’t your usual choice for leaving locked by the bins. The single-armed rear brake cable spigot on the seat-stay is a cute touch although redundant as this frame will be shod with discs, those cantilever mounts are going to look a little gangliony as well. Fire up the Dremel.

Right then, the first evening is going to be spent writing out a shopping list.

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

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