From humble beginnings, excellence. After 35 years, that’s the lasting story of Litespeed.

It all began 1986 as a pet project for a few employees at a custom machine shop in tiny Ooltewah, Tenn. A year later in a small booth a year later at the Long Beach Bike Show, those same machine shop staffers were the hit of the show. The Beastie Boys debuted with Licensed to Ill, Ferris Bueller took a day off, and Litespeed was born.

It was certainly no accident that the machine shop worked in that beautifully exotic material: titanium. Lighter than steel, more durable than carbon fiber, more comfortable than aluminum, and completely resistant to salt corrosion or rust, titanium could do it all—especially in a bike application. It took just one ride for cyclists to tangibly appreciate the ride quality of a titanium Litespeed. An ability to be stiff where wanted, but also capable of dulling the buzz of rough roads, making it a great bike for, well, everything. Road sprinters, mountain bikers long-distance time trialists could tangibly appreciate what titanium could do to enhance their ride. Their ride was stiff, light and much more comfortable.

Suddenly, Litespeed was the bike to have. We supported several professional mountain bikers like Geoff Kabush, and triathletes like Cameron Brown and Tim DeBoom, a few domestic and international professional road racing squads, with names like Robbie McEwen winning stages of the Tour de France. We even made bikes for top Olympians (there’s a reason our first headbadges featured the rainbow stripes of the world champion).  

Our reputation for mastery in titanium extends beyond bikes. In 2012 when we were tapped to assist NASA with developing, testing and creating strong, light titanium sub-assemblies for the Mars rover “Curiosity.” The experience furthered our capacity to expand what’s possible in bike tubing.

Since then, Litespeed has maintained its place as the global standard-bearer for quality and performance in titanium road, gravel and mountain bikes. We’ve grown into a massive factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., have expanded our team of frame welders, finishers and assemblers.

Behind every Litespeed headbadge is a team of brilliant, forward-thinking engineers, pushing the envelope on what’s truly possible in titanium. While many bike companies today are content to work with standard round tubes, we’ve develop the capability to manipulate round tubesets into shapes that on their face add a new stylistic look to a Litespeed, but more importantly pair that with a team of expert frame-builders that many regard as the finest in the world to wield a torch, and Litespeed is making dreams in titanium come true on a daily basis.

And they are dreams. Whether it’s editorial reviews or feedback from our customers, our bikes continue to carve clean lines on the road, kick up dust on the trails, and stack up miles on gravel. Ask any Litespeed owner and they will tell you—in great detail—how special a Litespeed rides.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting stories from former athletes. We’ll recall the Thrift Drug Classic as Steve Hegg takes us through everything from his 1996 Atlanta Olympics time trial race to his mid 1990s antics on the domestic road race circuit with Chevrolet-L.A. Sheriff. We’ll chat with Tim DeBoom, recounting his 1999 Hawaii Ironman winning performance, and we’ll talk to Geoff Kabush, the Canadian mountain bike speedster who still has the Litespeed hardtail he raced in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

With every bike still handmade in Tennessee, Litespeed (using globally sourced premium materials) continues to set the high bar for performance titanium road, mountain bike and gravel machines. After 35 years, the legacy continues…