We’ve been spotting the Litespeed Gravel bike since it was still a concept and as a more polished “final” version with added rack. Now, that bike has a more road-oriented sibling in the 2018 Litespeed Cherohala SE. The model name borrows that of a scenic Blue Ridge Mountain-area drive called the Cherohala Skyway, which is a mashup of Cherokee and Nantahala. Compared to the Gravel, this one has geometry closer to that of their road bikes, but with clearance for 40mm tires. And while the Gravel can switch between 27.5″ wheels with Road Plus tires, the Cherohala is optimized for 700×35 but will fit 700×40 and 650Bx2.0 file tread tires (as in, not knobbies).
The Cherohala also gets a higher end, lighter 3/2.5 titanium tubeset than the Gravel. They say it’s essentially an endurance road bike adapted to fit larger tires.
The bike will come as a frameset ($2,900) with their carbon gravel fork, which gets additional mounts at the crown and below the dropout for a front fender, but no rack. Three complete bikes are offered, all with Shimano hydraulic disc brake groups – 105 ($4,750), Ultegra mechanical ($5,650) and Ultegra Di2 ($6,300).
Mechanically shifted bikes will get external routing with Di2 holes/plugs to run the wires inside, but Di2-specific frames are also available without the cable stops. The rear brake hose runs inside the downtube and pops out just in front of the bottom bracket to run under the BB shell and chainstay.
Complete bikes ship with 50/34 compact cranksets, sitting inside a PFBB30 shell. Compared to the road-only bikes they offer, the Cherohala makes room for the bigger tires and front and rear racks…
…plus mounting spots for a rear rack.
Litespeed says availability on the Ultegra 8000 groups is limited and behind schedule, so it might be a minute before those are shipping. The 105 build and frameset are available now.