Just in: Lynskey Backroad
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...