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Full-on tourer from one of the founding fathers of the Ti bike industry

David Lynskey was making Titanium bicycles when the only tubes he could get his hands on were scrap aeroplane parts from the family's metal business, so he should know a thing or two about making Ti bikes by now. Through Litespeed, and now Lynskey, he's been behind some of the iconic designs of the last three decades. Lynskey have a full range of road, urban and mountain bike frames and this Backroad is their fully-loaded touring option.

Lynskey claim the Backroad is 'the strongest touring frame available'. We're not intending to try and break it – and then try and break all the others – but it certainly does come across as a solidly-built machine. The tubing is oversized 3Al-2.5V double/triple butted Titanium, and the 45mm downtube and 35mm top tube are designed to give the bike plenty of torsional rigidity, even when fully loaded.

Up front the oversized head tube runs a 44mm headset bearing, using larger bearings which are designed to handle bigger loads and require less maintenance. It also means that you can fit a fork with a tapered steerer tube if that's your fancy.

Disc brakes are becoming more and more prevalent on touring bikes and the Backroad takes the now-standard approach of fitting the calliper inside the rear triangle to give better clearance to racks and mudguards; there's two mounting points on the rear dropout. The Lynskey touring fork that our bike came fitted with puts us in mind of that old favourite the Kona P2. Like that classic fork it's a straight-talkin' Cromoly affair, and comes with mudguard eyes and low-rider mounts. It looks a touch odd with the beefy head tube but should be plenty strong for touring duties.

Our bike has been built up by UK importer Hotlines in what you might describe as a fast touring guise; the bike gets a full 105 triple groupset which doesn't have the low-end range of the mountain bike equipment you'd normally see on a bike like this in expedition spec, but it's still got plenty of climbing cogs. Wheels are load-friendly XT hubs laced to Mavic A317 rims, and Avid's excellent BB7 road discs take care of hauling you to a standstill. Conti World Tour tyres and Pro-Lite finishing kit round it all off. All-in the bike weighs 11.3kg (25lb) which is very tidy indeed for a disc-equipped tourer.

If you're after a shiny (well, matt in this case) new tourer then the Lynskey frame isn't cheap at £1,599 for the frame and fork, but it's certainly built to last and builds up into a strong, light machine. We'll be racking up some miles on this one to see how it fares out on the open road...

www.hotlines-uk.com

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

24 comments

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andybwhite [250 posts] 5 years ago
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 40 That is one truly ugly bike! I hope the tester hides his/her face when riding it.

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seabass89 [212 posts] 5 years ago
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Is it me, or does the fork look like a prosthetic?  39

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BigDummy [314 posts] 5 years ago
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Ouch. Horrifyingly ugly. One to cover with nice, big colourful Ortlieb luggage and get dusty I think.

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1961BikiE [390 posts] 5 years ago
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Looks like a bike to me. Fork doesn't look right. Niner carbon fork though that would omit guard and rack mounts. I'm sure there will be a carbon fork somewhere that could be used.

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RoadChimp [18 posts] 5 years ago
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That headtube/fork combo looks like a Rocket.

I rather like it.

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Chuck [590 posts] 5 years ago
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I like it, looks purposeful. The fork is a bit jarring though.

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Ush [1005 posts] 5 years ago
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Funny how many people don't like the front fork. I find it pleasing.

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Fringe [1047 posts] 5 years ago
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must be the first thing everyone notices..as it is a tad odd looking.

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step-hent [726 posts] 5 years ago
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Personally, I dont think the rest of the bike is ugly - just the fork. Other than that, it looks solid and reliable, with a few nice details (like the engraving on the dropouts). Horses for courses, I guess!

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rjw [52 posts] 5 years ago
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There's nothing wrong with the fork, it just doesn't suit that beer barrel sized headtube at all. Stick a standard headtube on there, or a more substantial fork, and it would be fine.

The tyres aren't doing it any favours though.

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Fringe [1047 posts] 5 years ago
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i spose while we're kicking when its down so to speak, that bar tape/saddle combo could be improved upon (brown/brown or black/black) and a set of decent m'guards would help.

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Fringe [1047 posts] 5 years ago
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oh and the black chainset with silver rear mech is also a bit of a no no.

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step-hent [726 posts] 5 years ago
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fair point fringe - i guess i was referring to the chassis rather than finishing kit, but you're definitely right that the brown saddle, black tape combo looks a bit off.

I do quite like the frame though - shame about that head tube...

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Fringe [1047 posts] 5 years ago
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step-hent wrote:

I do quite like the frame though - shame about that head tube...

i suspect Hotlines built it up (from the spares box) just to showcase the frame rather than as a 'finished' bike?.

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The _Kaner [1146 posts] 5 years ago
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Deffo looks like my P2 fork...ugly on a Kona Jake...uglierererer on a Ti Lynskey..especially in comparison to the head tube...looks out of place/weedy...
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dave atkinson [6329 posts] 5 years ago
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Fringe wrote:
step-hent wrote:

I do quite like the frame though - shame about that head tube...

i suspect Hotlines built it up (from the spares box) just to showcase the frame rather than as a 'finished' bike?.

That's a Lynskey touring fork that's designed to be used with the frame, so it's not a spares box job. There are a number of other fork options on the Lynskey US website but I don't know how many are designed for touring.

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Raleigh [1667 posts] 5 years ago
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The only thing bothering me is the breaking of velominati rule *8

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limitingfactor [17 posts] 5 years ago
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rjw wrote:

There's nothing wrong with the fork, it just doesn't suit that beer barrel sized headtube at all.

Agree absolutely. I get the outsize bearing thing - sound engineering principles, but the end result with that fork just looks wrong. TBH a standard bearing would probably go the distance and would allow a normal sized headtube. As it is, it looks like someone's nicked the fork off another bike.

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bikeylikey [227 posts] 5 years ago
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Why a lovely lightweight (and very expensive) titanium frame with a heavy dull (and cheap) chromoly fork? Negates at least some of the benefits of titanium surely.

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Philx [37 posts] 5 years ago
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Not to bothered about the looks, (most touring bikes look like dogs tbh... except my Condor Heritage of course  3http://goo.gl/6lDtx) Would like to hear how it handles with a full expedition set up.

Ti isn't usually the material of choice for touring but I'd be open to giving it a go... I'm certainly not in the 'Robin Thorn' camp of touring - "If you have anything other than a steel frame, flat bars and a Rohloff hub - WOLVES WILL EAT YOU"  4

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ctznsmith [92 posts] 5 years ago
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What are the angles/geometry? Looking forward hearing how it rides, no point in it looking nice or being light if you end up in a ditch whilst loaded.

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donerwin [1 post] 5 years ago
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Hopefully when fully dressed the front end looks better. I agree that the fork isn't the most attractive horse in the race, however, you'll find that a good, sturdy steel fork that will indeed support 100 pounds up front ain't easy to come by. We chose the 44mm oversized head tube to insure unmatched stability, the 1 inch chain stays to allow for heavy loads in the rear, and the oversized 1.75" down tube to be the structure load bearer for the whole package.
Sure, she ain't your first choice to ask out on a date to the main dance party of your last year in university school, but she is the one that will never let you down when you are riding her hard like the most reliable horse on the farm.  4
See the dressed version of her here:

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Fringe [1047 posts] 5 years ago
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now that looks so much better...  4

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grumpus [8 posts] 1 year ago
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rjw wrote:

The tyres aren't doing it any favours though.

I like how the Michelin World Tour rides, although I far prefer the look of the all-black version.