Litespeed Cherohala SE review

Litespeed has been making titanium race bikes for more than 30 years, and the family-run company can boast a client list that features some of cycling’s biggest names, including Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong (although in the latter’s case you may not have known it at the time, as the bikes were rebadged to avoid upsetting sponsors).

The American brand truly hit the mainstream in 2002 thanks to its sponsorship of pro team Lotto Adecco. Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen took no fewer than 17 victories on his Litespeed Vortex, a cold-worked 6Al/4V titanium masterpiece.

He piloted it to multiple stages wins at both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, while teammates Peter Van Petegem and Mario Aerts won the cobbled Spring Classics Omloop Het Volk and Flèche Wallonne respectively earlier that same season, proving the bike’s versatility.

We still make elite-level race bikes’, says Litespeed’s chief product developer, Brad DeVaney, from the manufacturer’s factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

‘There are only two elite race models now, but we still do pretty well with them in terms of sales. But in our line, it’s definitely gravel bikes that are thriving.’

Litespeed previously had the T5G as its gravel offering, which then evolved into its next-generation model, simply named ‘Gravel’, but DeVaney felt the brand needed to offer something more refined.

‘The Cherohala project was about blurring the lines between an elite-level race bike and a utility bike,’ he says.

‘I wanted to create a single frame that would give you more options to ride however you wanted, whether that’s riding on dirt, touring, or hanging with a group ride.

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