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Litespeed on Mars, new models on Earth

Published August 7, 2012

CHATTANOOGA, TN (BRAIN) Tuesday August 7 2012 2:53 PM MT—When NASA's Curiosity rover starts crawling around Mars, it will enjoy the distinct riding quality of a Tennessee-welded tubular titanium framework, courtesy of Litespeed.

The company welded parts of the frame at its Chattanooga factory under contract with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Besides the tubular frame, the rover also has a titanium rocker-bogie suspension.

“We absolutely could not pass up the chance to work on this project,” said Peter Hurley, CEO of Litespeed's parent company, American Bicycle Group. “It's been truly inspirational to have played a part in a project of such importance to our nation's space program. And, I'm exceedingly proud of my team, both for their daily commitment to engineering and building the best bikes in the world but also for their willingness and enthusiasm to accept challenges of this magnitude.”

Back on Earth, Litespeed is updating the features, models and nomenclature of its titanium bike line for the 2013 model year.

Litespeed's ti road bike models are getting new names, said Heather Sweet, ABG's marketing coordinator. "Currently, we have the Archon and the Xicon. We will be shifting the Archon to T1, the Xicon to T5, and our new road frame will be the T3," Sweet said.

Almost all the titanium models are being updated with 44mm headtubes, to allow use of 1 1/8-inch or tapered steerers. All the bikes also are getting pressfit BB30 bottom brackets for 2013. The Cohutta mountain bike is the exception: It will keep a 49mm head tube but will get a pressfit BB30.

Some of the mountain bike models are also getting an updated look. The Citico and the Pisgah models are being updated with curved downtubes to resemble the downtube on the Cohutta.

All the new models will be available for test rides at Interbike's OutDoor Demo in Las Vegas next month, Sweet said.

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