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Posted on: Friday - Jun 10, 2016

Some of the most famous cyclists in the world ride bicycles that are handmade right here in Tennessee. Litespeed road, mountain and adventure bikes are manufactured by Chattanooga-based American Bicycle Group (ABG).

“Litespeed started a revolution in handmade titanium frames that vastly improved performance for serious cyclists,” Peter Hurley, CEO of ABG, said. “Thirty years later we continue to lead the way with innovative bikes like our 2016 T1sl that combine shape, lightweight and high performance that only Litespeed can provide.”

In its 30 year history, Litespeed bikes have been tested and ridden by major names in the competitive cycling and triathlon world. Tour de France cyclists Greg Lemond, Robbie McEwen and Lance Armstrong, Olympians Simon Whitefield, Jeff Kabush and Vanessa Fernandez, and 59-time French champion and 13-time world champion Jeannie Longo, just to name a few. The company has also sponsored professional teams in the industry, like Team Maxxis, Lotto-Addecc and Astellas.

The company received a Bicycle Guide’s “Best of Cycling” award within two years of its launch. Since then, Litespeed has been acknowledged for its design and performance by many industry publications and most notably, earned the coveted Eurobike design award. In 2010, Litespeed introduced its first carbon aero road bike, one of the first aero bikes on the market, and earned the editor's pick for the aero road category in the 2011 Velo News Buyer's Guide. In 2015, the company introduced its first gravel adventure bike continuing the expansion of the company’s product line.

The innovative techniques that Litespeed uses to produce bicycles is how they stand out from the competition. Litespeed takes the highest grade titanium and makes it better through a tube manipulation technique. The company enhances the titanium through cold-worked shape specific strengthening.  This frame-building process is extremely labor intensive, but increases the lateral stiffness and durability of the titanium. Each Litespeed tube is crafted with attention to shape, dimension, weight function and stiffness. They manipulate each tube’s wall thickness to create the world’s most precision cycling-specific tube sets. Manipulating different wall thickness within the same tube, refines the ride characteristic, frame weight, and overall performance to a degree that is unparalleled in the industry. All operations are performed in-house at the company’s Chattanooga facility.

These original techniques that Litespeed uses to produce titanium bicycles led NASA to reach out to the company for a project collaboration. In 2009, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Litespeed worked together to produce the framework for the Rocker-boogie system for the Mars Rover, Curiosity.

Customers of the brand are typically avid cycling enthusiasts and competitive racers. These people are looking for a bike that is performance oriented, has a smooth ride, is durable and meticulously crafted. The addictive ride quality of Litespeed titanium bikes is one of the many aspects that keeps customers coming back. 

Litespeed’s growth has prompted a move to a larger production facility in order to manage future expansion of its titanium manufacturing. The company is in the process of expanding to a larger facility in order to assemble products in house. This will bring more jobs to the Chattanooga area.

Litespeed is looking forward to its expansion in the great state of Tennessee.

“Tennessee is the best place for our business because of the workforce,” said Hurley. “The people here have a great work ethic, they shake your hand and have great drive to work hard every day. Also, the ability to further your education in Tennessee with little to no cost is a great benefit to our business.”