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Reviews - What People Say

Alex (Sasha), racer from San Diego, 09.25.01.

" I have been racing for two years on Ellsworth "Truth" and feeling that I need a faster machine to do better. I did some basic research, chose magnesium "Team", and three months ago I built my first hardtail. Since than, I hardly touched my "Truth", because my new magnesium guy can do almost everything for me that "Truth" could, but faster and with better control. I believe this positive experience is coming not just from riding hardtail, but from riding magnesium Litech hardtail.

The bike is light (23lbs), stiff and very responsive. The frame has nice, aggressive geometry and good clearance for rear tire. Welding and paint job look dissent. There is no creaking noise so far, but on a rocky ride, I can literally hear how oversized hallow frame tubes absorb vibration, giving me this some comfortable, unique, Mg-sort of riding. Do not get me wrong, there is plenty job left for legs and body, but they work together with magnesium magic. I do not experience any back or ass problems even after long rides (24-hour race last weekend was not a problem).

To conclude my review, I shell say that for the past two months I have been testing the bike against all possible challenges, and I am very happy with it's performance. This bike rides everything and it rides the best on long steep climbs and flat fireroads. I think that the quality is built in to the frame and it has an attractive prize tag to go with it.

My bike set-up: Frame-Litech "Team" small, fork- Z2 atom race 83 mm, handlebar, stem, seat post- ritchey WCS Race, saddle-SDG Bel- Air, headset- Chris King, wheels- Bontrager Valiant/Chris King/Ritchey Zed WCS Race 2.1 front and 1.9 rear, breaks-AVID Ultimate, drivetrain- Shimano XTR.

Happy trails to all of you!"

Alex, San Diego.

{ Click on the pictures to enlarge them. }

Evan, racer from Chicago, June 5, 2001

"My magnesium 'Team' MTB frame is a wonderful ride: It's stiffer and more responsive than aluminum but less harsh, and it's lighter than titanium but transmits less vibration. Litech also transmits less vibration to your wallet than a ti frame! Lightweight magnesium alloy allows for dramatically oversized tubing in both triangles--well into my second year of use, I expect this frame to last. Geometry features a longer top tube to minimize stem length and enhance handling, according to the American designer. Ti v-brake studs are a nice touch, and now with the disc mount option, there's no reason not to experience the exhilarating Litech ride quality. And you won't notice the porky bits so much on a 2.8 lb frame."

Evan, Chicago

MBUK, July 1999, New Stuff

"Ever since Kirk Precision's cast magnesium frames left the marketplace, there has been talk of magnesium making a surge in the component arena. Well, it's happening. The Taipei show was littered with svelte magnesium parts and there's talk in some more adventurous quarters of the industry about creating an MTB with all magnesium components. Well, nearly all. Bike weight? 18lb wouldn't be out of the question. But first you need a reliable magnesium frame. Hungarian company Litech (Magnesium Litech Kft) think they have the solution. They've sent sample frames to all the leading UK manufacturers, and one to us for long term testing.

The conventional looking frame uses seamless extruded tubes welded into an incredibly light (2.85lb for a 17in frame) structure that offers a ride feel unlike any other. It's comfy over bumps but lacks the springy feel of steel or titanium (we're trying to work out whether this is a plus or a minus). The tubes are 94 percent magnesium and 6 percent secret alloying elements. There are the usual claims for strength to weight ratio and impact resistance, but the big deal here is the proofing coating inside and out intended to protect frames from corrosion, potentially a bid problem with magnesium.

We've build up an XT/XTR test bike that maximizes the low weight bonus of the frame and we'll be giving it a hard time during the next few months. We'll have to wait and see what sort of prices emerge from any big names who take this on as an own brand product, but the tentative retail price is "from 295". If durability and strength claims are true, they could be on to a winner"

MBUK, July 1999

MBUK, August 1999, Playing Out - Opinion

It is becoming increasingly difficult to give a bike a poor review. Sure, every rider will have their likes and dislikes, which will be apparent in a test when a bike challenges their preconceptions and expectations. But likes and dislikes are learned. If riders find time to persevere with an initially disliked bike, they will often learn to like it. Getting the best out of a bike is a learning process, and learning processes open minds ...

Many steel frames fans dislike aluminium frames because they feel 'harsh'. But over time this preconceived drawback will become overlooked in favour of 'light' and 'fast handling' attributes. The aluminium frame fan will often talk of a lightweight steel frame as feeling 'whipy'. But a month or so later, 'whipy' will have become 'lively', even 'animated'. The hardtail fan might initially hate softails because they feel 'soggy'. But 'soggy' will gradually mutate into 'comfortably capable'. And so on, and so forth ... Bikes have their good sides and their bad. You can learn to love a bike in the same way as you can learn to love a person, warts and all.

I have two bikes on long term test at present that emphasise this perfectly. One is a magnesium framed bike from Hungary. The other is a GT I Drive XCR 1000. Very different frames. Both require an open mind. Both require adjustments to riding style.

On paper, the Hungarian magnesium frame has one major benefit. It's light - 2.8lb to be precise. It is also said to be strong, durable and incredibly shock absorbing. So far, I've no reason to doubt such claims. It's certainly a comfy ride over bumps, and it hasn't broken. Initially I translated the lack of 'spring' in the frame as 'dull'. If you compare it to most other materials, the riding feel is unusual. I'm learning to love it, though, because it's light, comfy and fast. All I need to do now is rid myself of any 'bad thoughts' about the last brood of magnesium frames. They often broke. But they were cast, one piece offerings. This one's tubular ...

... And the moral of the story? Don't judge a book by its cover, or even by the first chapter. Suck it and see. Then suck it again and again before you make a final judgement. You'll often find hidden gems in the most unexpected places. And, as with many purchases in life, you'll eventually learn to love anything that you've paid a great deal of money for ...

Steve Worland, MBUK, August 1999

Do the light thing

They come from Hungary, They build stuff in Russia and they make the lightest MTB frames in the world probably. Their name is Magnesium Litech Kft, which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, so they've been selling in the US under the name Lodestar - which sounds to us like a cowboy with a cold. You naturally expect "the lightest frame in the world " tag to come with a price to match. It doesn't. You can pick up a Litech from 300.

The frame we tested weighs 2.85 lb (1.3 kg). To put it in perspective, that's a shade lighter than Trek's OCLV carbon frame and a lot lighter than most titanium frames. There's been plenty of loose talk about magnesium being the next big thing in the bike business, but apart from Kirk Precision's ill fated cast Mg frame of the late Eighties, the only mg bike bits to have made their mark are fork legs. But this year's Taipei bike show was littered with svelte magnesium componentry a reasonably priced 18 lb bike wouldn't be out of the question if only someone could produce a reliable Mg frame.

Litech think they have the solution. With a few nagging doubts about magnesium left over from Kirk's efforts, we've been testing this frame for about eight month now. We haven't exactly given it an easy time either. And the good news is, so far so good. We've had no problems at all apart from the fact that finding a seat post to fit was almost impossible (we shimmed a Syncros one).

The frame looks conventional enough. But the Litech uses seamless extruded tubes welded into a structure that provides you with a ride unlike any other. Magnesium has excellent damping qualities so it's comfortable over the bumps but it lacks the springy feel of steel or Ti. We like it.

The tubes are made up of 94 per cent magnesium and six per cent "secret" alloying elements. Whatever they might be, Litech reckon they've produced a frame with the "highest strength to weigh ratio" there is and boast of its "high impact and dent resistance". There's a comprehensive proofing coat inside and out that should protect the frame from corrosion which is potentially a problem with magnesium. Okay, they're all the usual marketing claims but judging by our experiences Litech really appear to have it succeeded.

Litech have been talking to some big names about using the production facility in Russia to turn out different models, including full suspension, so it'll be interesting to see what sort of prices eventually emerge. A retail price for the basic frame is "from 300". If the durability claims are borne out by the catalogue figures, Litech are definitely on to a winner here. And if you're the market for an affordable ultra-light bike, so are you.

Total MB, October 1999


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