Hot off the plane from Tennessee two new frames from Tennessee Ti-masters Lynskey – a brand new sportive frame and a new fixed aimed squarely at the two fastest growing parts of the road riding scene. We popped along to see them yesterday at UK distributor, Hotlines, dealer show in the slightly surreal surrounding of Bristol City Football Club both are so new they don't even have names as yet – so it's just the Sportive frame and the Fixed for now.
First up let's look at the new sportive frame – the accent here is on a fast comfortable ride. Lynskey's road bikes have always majored on performance (we'll take a gander at some of their race bikes down below) the idea with the new frame is to retain those performance characteristics but add in some comfort.
Standard Lynskey road geometry is aggressive for a fast handling responsive bike, where most other road bikes would have a 74° seat angle it would be a 73 on a Lynskey, it's the same for head angle too. Top tubes aren't long, the XL has an effective top tube length of 59 – seat tube are positively short though the XL's is 56, so we're talking plenty of post on show for the big fellas. Lynskey add in a Medium/long size to their range to accommodate those mid-sized riders with short legs and long bodies (like me) so that everyone can get the benefit fo a long post. Lynskey also favour shorter chainstays which also ups the ante on the performance stakes making for very immediate power transfer. How short, well 40.8cm on all but the XL where they've given the big lads an extra 2mm to play with – so, getting on for track bike short. All that adds up to a small, stiff, fast handling machine with the power transfer turned up to 11.
The Sportive frame takes as its starting point the Lynskey Cooper – the Tennessee outfit's straight down the line no fuss race bike but with some modifications to add in some comfort. To that end the head tube is 15mm taller than on a standard Lynskey road bike and the chainstays are longer giving a slightly more upright position and a smoother power delivery – a long day in the saddle riding a sportive being about getting in a rhythm rather than delivering an explosive burst of power in the finishing straight – well it is the way I ride 'em anyway. All that exposed post will also add in some extra cush too, particularly – dare we say it – if you were to run a carbon one. Swept seat stays add in another layer of comfort at the back end – Lynskey are from the school of frame builders who reckon this does make a difference.
Other sportive friendly touches include mudguard mounting points on the rear dropouts – the frame has clearance for 'guards and up to a 25c tyre running with standard drop calliper brakes – there's no rack mounts though. Other nice bits include Lynskey's trademark cloverleaf chainstays and other details like the handsome chainstay bridge and the all-round level of finish and attention to detail on the frame.
Like all but one of Lynskey's frames the Sportive frame is made from 3.5AL V titanium tubing drawn and manipulated by Lynskey themselves. The standard finish is industrial mill with satin polished graphics. Lynskey offer three levels of Ti finish: industrial mill, satin, and polished – each one a tad pricier and involving more work with the Scotch Brite for someone in the finishing department. Finish options don't stop there though, you can also have your bike painted in a combination of three 'house blend' colours, or go the whole hog with custom paint and graphics… the only limit is the depth of your pockets.
Size run through from XS to XL with M and ML in the middle, that equates to seat tube lengths of 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, and 56cm, the bike is a semi compact so the effective top tube lengths are the ones to go for when gauging length and those numbers are 50, 52.5, 54.1. 55.7. 57.3 and 59.
The Sportive frame should be available from April and the standard version is £999 as a frame only.
Even newer than then the sportive bike the Fixed frame on show in Bristol is, so far, the only one in existense. This frame manages to combine a stripped down approach with Lynskey's usual high level of finish. Final geometry for the head angle hasn't been set, but the intention is for a frame that's a tad steeper than Lynskey's standard road geometry but a touch more relaxed than classic track – that said, Lynskey's approach on things like chainstay length isn't that far off as it is.
The Fixed frame should be available in the UK from early summer and can be yours for £999, same price as the Sportive frame - same sizes too.
The tubeset is single-butted with bullet ends and simplified [horizontal] dropouts – it's goodbye fancy cloverleaf cut out, hello cloverleaf drawing. There are no cable guides for a rear brake, which is probably as you'd expect, but also no drilling for fitting a rear brake at the moment which does away with the option of running the bike as a singlespeed which might narrow its appeal a bit especially given that if what bikes shops tell is true, that the majority of 'fixed' bikes are actually run as singlespeeds… suppose you could try drilling the brake bridge yourself – might take a bit of time though.
It's not new, but it sure is purty, so we weren't going to take a look at a load of Lynskey's and not look at what for many will always be the star of the show, the Lynskey Helix – the race bike with a twist – literally. What we have here is the very top of even the standard Helix range, this is the Helix Pro, cold drawn 3.5Al V titaniums tubing drawn and manipulated by Lynskey, and what a lot of manipulating it must take. And is there a point, apart from eye-catching looks?
Why yes there is say Lynskey who reckon that the Helix frame is 20 per cent stiffer than a standard titanium frame. The Helix Pro aimed at the semi-pro rider (and above) who wants a stiff race frame, but not in carbon, is another 7-8 per cent stiffer still thanks to the addition of a BB30 bottom bracket and a asymmetric headtube. All yours for a piffling £2999.99 in a satin finish. To find out more about Lynskey frames visit www.lynskeyperformance.com