Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Lynskey deal exclusively in titanium bikes. They’re known for their frames with the ‘twisted’ down tube design, which is instantly recognisable, but they also make classic-looking frames like the Rouleur, all left in a natural look finish.
They claim to be the foremost experts in Ti bike design, and with a heritage that goes back to the mid 80s when the Litespeed brand was founded, it’s hard to argue.
With a frame/fork combo that’s worth the best part of £1,200, it’s obvious where most of your money goes with this build. The titanium frame screams old school cool with its thin tubing and natural-look finish.
Ours has been built up with a Shimano 105 10-speed groupset, and even though you’d probably expect Ultegra or equivalent for just over two grand, you’re buying a premium frame here, and that’s why you get slightly less for your money in terms of kit.
Having said that, Lynskey offer the Rouleur as frame-only for a grand, so £2,200 for the full build is probably the best price you’ll find for the spec. 105 is a good choice, though, as it offers much of the functionality of Ultegra, and with the new 11-speed 5800 105 group available very soon you’ll be able to get even closer performance for your money.
The DT Swiss 1450 Tricon wheels are a significant step up from your usual entry-level alu clinchers. They’ll reduce weight, improve ride quality and make a noticeable difference.
Finishing kit comes courtesy of ControlTech, who are well known for their fancy carbon accessories (check out their Manta aerobars), but here they add an aluminium seat post, stem and bars, while the seapost is topped off with Lynskey’s own Sport saddle.
Given that most of our time is spent riding carbon or aluminium bikes, it’s always a pleasant surprise when we board a Ti ride and experience the different feel again. And the Rouleur is a great example of what titanium has to offer.
Yes, it might lack a bit of stiffness compared to top-of-the-range carbon under lab conditions, but it certainly doesn’t make a difference at the amount of power we’re able to produce. Plus, there’s that slight extra comfort, which is most noticeable when the road surface turns lumpy – something we experience quite a lot on our regular routes!
We also quickly noticed why Lynskey categorise the Rouleur as the entry-level in their road racing range: it’s a very lively ride which, while not necessarily daring you to ride fast, makes it very easy to. Handling is sharp and responsive; we soon found ourselves throwing the bike through corners and holding speed very well, simply because the sure nature of the bike meant we could.
Uphill it climbs nicely – the fact that it’s a hair over 8kg certainly helps – and we felt equally at home staying in the saddle or standing when the gradient kicked up. At no point did it feel like there was anything lacking in response when riding hard.
Shifting-wise, Shimano’s 105 is an excellent groupset that offers really good performance for the price. Shifting is relatively light, precise and you get a pleasing level of feedback when you make each shift. Braking is good, which adds to your confidence and encourages you to push the bike even harder.
Once again, it’s the frame that’s the undisputed star of this bike. But that’s the best way round to do it, because lots of smart kit on a poor frame will still result in a poor ride, whereas lower-end components on a great frame provide a huge amount of upgradability options in the future.
And the lifetime of titanium frames is very long so this could, potentially, be a bike for life.
Lively, fun and encourage you to push the bike hard.
Pretty good, but you could probably do a bit better than the quote for the complete build.
At £1,200 you’ll get yourself a frame set that’ll last a very, very long time.
Just the right balance between comfort and performance quality.
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