Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lynskey Ridgeline

DO NOT BUY LYNSKEY. My frame was an absolute noodle with rear end tire rub, squeaking, popping, dropped chains and general no-funnery. I spent a year bickering with several representatives at Lynskey (including the arrogant David Lynskey) only to be told that I needed to tighten my seat post clamp, lubricate my slider every 3 rides (what?!), etc. Ultimately the frame broke both in the sliders (hairline crack) and failed massively at the headtube-downtube junction. The original fix was going to be a replaced downtube but after lots of argument they finally sent a replacement frame. I sold the replacement frame without assembling it on Craigslist. I received an email soon after posting the frame for sale telling me that they were shocked that I was selling it without riding it and if they had known I was just going to sell it they wouldn't have offered a replacement frame. These guys are the friendliest people you'll ever meet when you're buying a new frame but it turns bad fast when things aren't going well. For those of you around bikes awhile this sounds a lot like the BS surrounding Litespeed under Lynskey's watch prior to the brand being sold off. Do youself a favor and give your hard earned money to people that actually ride and know how to design and support bikes. As always, you may have a wonderful experience unlike me but why take the chance?

So, its been a LONG time since my last post. I haven't been out hiking because of the heat of the summer. I have been doing a lot of mountain biking locally. I've read about the 29" wheel single speed movement for awhile now and finally decided to give it a try. My local bike shop, Harrell's Bicycle World , had a 2008 Raleigh XXIX that they were willing to give me a little break on so I bought it. First of all, I can't say enough good things about Raleigh's XXIX single speed. There's a great review of it here: Dirt Rag's Raleigh XXIX Review I've been riding this bike two to three times a week on our local trail system in the Harbison State Forest since I brought it home. I like the simplicity of the ride so much my high end Moot's RigorMootis sat idle all summer. Its not that I don't like the Moots - the larger wheels and single speed make the ride smoother, quieter, and in some cases even faster. Here's a photo of the XXIX.

After a few months of riding and some soul searching I decided to build up a nice single speed 29'er. What I finally settled on was ultimately the best of the Moots and the Raleigh XXIX. The frame is a Lynskey Ridgeline with single speed slider drop outs. Lynskey created LiteSpeed which was ultimately absorbed by American Bicycle Group. When big brother took over I assume he went off to do his own thing and eventually started Lynskey Performance.

I built the Ridgeline up as a rigid single speed - simple. Titanium is famous for being smooth and compliant like a steel frame while remaining stiff and lightweight. The tubes on the Ridgeline are heavily shaped allowing maximum stiffness with minimum material. As a result, the 19" frame (size L) only weighs 3.4lbs. Another advantage with titanium is its corrosion resistance. No paint is required and as a result there are no scratches or scuffs to fuss over. The rigid fork offers precise handling and less mechanical bits to maintain or break. Obviously, no suspension also means feeling all of the bumps and vibration associated with trail riding. To take the edge off there there are carbon fiber bits here and there (fork, bars, seatpost). Add in hydraulic disc brakes and some gorgeous single speed cranks and Ti chainring from Shawnee and you have a sexy ride for sure. Part of what helped me settle on the Lynskey was this series of reviews at 29 Inches: Twenty Nine Inches Ridgeline Review This is the intro review. You can follow the links at the end of each section for the next segment of Guitar Ted's review. I've only ridden the Lynskey around the neighborhood so far. If the weather cooperates today I'll have it on the trails as soon as humanly possible after work. I can already tell that the handling is significantly faster than the XXIX so I'll have to keep on my toes on the fast and technical sections. I've also noticed that the rear triangle is a lot stiffer so I should have more efficient power transfer. We'll see how much harsher the ride is as a result of the stiffened rear end.

Here she is... sexxxy!

The obligatory 'SIMPLIFY' theme (also lasered on the grips - thanks ODI)

Super sweet single speed cranks modified from XTR M960 cranks & Ti ring from Shawnee

Foster approves... FAST!