The Lynskey Pro29 VF’s multi-shaped tube set offers stiffness, race proven geometry, excellent responsiveness and confident handling. Ideal for tight and twisty singletrack, this bike is at home on technical terrain and gobbles up speedy fire roads and double track
Strengths: Beautiful aesthetics; stunning finish; titanium; unique design; comes together easily.
Weaknesses: The only thing I would point out is that it has a long headtube. I've got a 100mm fork on there. I'm running an external lower cup and an internal top cup (Cane Creek 110). I use a flat bar. My stem is an inverted 90mm Thomson and I'm going to try run it flush with the headset, where I'm confident it will be low enough. But, having said this, I don't run my front as low as some of my mates.
Riders who like an aggressive geo will want to look at the numbers and the headset options to ascertain whether it'll work for them before laying down the cash.
First of all, some points of note: This review concerns the 2012 PRO29 SL. I'm 6'1" - I weigh 70-75 kilos depending on snacks and season. I ride in Wellington, NZ - which is by and large either up or down - long, meandering, flowing single track is rare. I am also a single speeder, I have no knowledge of, or interest in, riding a geared MTB. My build is low-compromise. It was expensive but it is not a weight-weenie build. Where considerations of weight came up against reliability or performance, I opted for the latter.
Now. It is very difficult to extract the review of a frame out from the bike itself, so I will begin with frame-specific comments and then move onto how it rides, with a description of my build. At the price point I was expecting a hell of a bike, yet somehow I was still impressed. I went for the Industrial Mill finish. It's got a certain lustre that I really enjoy - a silver Thomson post looks quite shiny by comparison. I wouldn't personally want it any brighter than this. The welds are immaculate, and the little plate near the BB and the other insignia are really nice touches. Those big twists are a standout feature, and something about the large frame just looks in proportion. The build came together quickly and easily. No surfaces needed facing or chasing, obviously, and it all lined up where it should. I personally prefer an EBB to the sliding dropout system, but obviously I'm willing to yield, since I bought the frame. What I can say is that the sliding dropouts look good. The bolts don't quite go through the entire thread of the dropout, which worries me a little. I will be buying new bolts that go right through the dropout, since I've snapped these before - but longer bolts are cheap, and give you the option of customising the drive-system you use to do them up (hex, torx etc). It would be a nice touch to spec these frames with the upgraded Paragon kit, but that's being a little picky.
In pure trail feedback terms this thing is comfy, yet fast. It's a butter racehorse. Riding it is like bedding the girl next door and finding out she's a hellcat between the sheets - you'd better settle in for some spicy miles. But make no mistake, it is racey. It's incredibly stiff. That big ol' junction at the BB just does not give. The bike goes exactly where you point it, and as such you need to be direct and judicious with your steering. I found I oversteered it initially, but adapted quickly enough. But we seem to be straying into build territory, so here goes...
Cane Creek 110 headset. Wheels: Velocity Blunt SL's laced to Chris King SS rear & 15mm TA front (beautifully hand-built by my sensei and friend, Mike Anderson of The Bike Hutt, NZ). 100mm Reba Race fork - tapered 15QR. Thomson connectors. Niner 710mm flat carbon bar. XTR M960 crankset - single speed only - 33/20 gearing. Chris King BB. New generation SLX brakeset with ice-tech rotors, 180mm F and 160mm R. Charge Knife Ti saddle. Maxxis Ikon 2.2 tyres.
Since I've always been a single speeder, take all my comments against the single speed mantra. Spin spin spin - coast - spin spin spin. I don't know and I don't care how this thing rides with gears. For my purposes, with the engagement of the CK rear hub, and with the stiffness of this frame, I can put the boot in out of a corner and it absolutely takes off. If I get out of the saddle and thrash about, it lays down all the power. No flexing, no quaking, no bending. I just go forward. On the downs it goes exactly where I point it, which was disconcerting at first, since my riding style was previously to suggest a line to the bike through a corner and adjust on-the-fly. Now I'm scoping out the exact route, and I push the bike into it. I know it'll stay put. This is a credit, equally, to the wheel build of course.
Like I said, it's racey. In tight switchbacks I found a propensity to oversteer and almost came to grief. I've since learned to set the front wheel into the corner less vigorously, and I'm yet to find a switchback too tight to negotiate smoothly. This is a no-apologies race geo, and it rides like it. Fit for purpose - can't complain there. And I do love the way it rides.
I'm not going to be so effusive as to say it's the only bike I'll reach for from now on. I still love my Singular Swift. But if I ever need to haul ass, the Lynskey will be what I take out. And, having debuted it in a 6hr Solo, I can say that it's certainly comfortable enough for long ones. I wasn't pining for a full-sus at any point.
If you're looking to put together a no-compromise race hardtail with a bit of a different flavour, this is your frame. My build came in around 23.5 lbs, which is no anorexic, but I stand back from it and consider it perfect - it looks reliable, fast and fun.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
Some photos: http://bikehutt.tumblr.com/post/50689610538/friday-night-bike-build-party-beer-flowed
Strengths: The quality finish. Sliding rear dropouts. Its Titanium!! A real crowd stopper as well.
Weaknesses: 2010 model rear tyre clearance, although I am running a Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 with no problem.
It does have tendency to creak around the seatpost, especially aluminium seatposts. I ended up fitting a carbon post with plenty of carbon grease.
I absolutely love this bike. Our local riding area is very steep rocky and technical and this thing rides over everything with ease. Although I do worry about the wheels sometimes.
I originally set it up as 2x10, then decided to single speed it. Just bought a E13 single XC crank and guide.and rear single sprocket. Fitted spacers on the freehub. Fitted the single speed rear dropout supplied. Removed all the gear shifters and cables and was ready to go. What a difference in weight!!! It was featherweight. Riding single speed really improves your riding style.
After a major surfing accident (broken neck), when ready to get back on the bike I decided to fit gears back on as a easier transition to getting fit again. I just refitted the geared dropout, cassette, rear derailleur and rear shifter and now I had a 1x10 speed xc racer. I found this to be my ultimate preference.
Strengths: Stiff where it needs to be, but with plenty of compliance
Very good geometry, rides lighter than it's weight
Finish and build quality is well thought through
Weaknesses: Premium cost for titanium, but all "Handmade in the U.S.A." is, and this is definitely on the less expensive end for American made titanium.
For 2012, I made the leap to titanium after using steel, carbon, and scandium aluminum. I purchased the Pro29 SL in the Leap Day sale which included a Rockshox SID XX 29 Tapered fork and Cane Creek 110 Tapered headset. I also at the same time purchased the Lynskey titanium seatpost.
Initially, the 4.1lb frame weight (with sliders) was a little disappointing, but it is an absolutely beautiful looking frame with the helix bends in the top tube and down tube with the Industrial Mill finish, and the small details that Lynskey does to their frames. For 2012, a 73mm BB was added to the mix of the previous year addtions: 2in. downtube, plate chainstay, and 44mm head tube. When I built up the bike, it weighted more than my Salsa Selma by the difference of the frame weight (.4lb) but rode lighter. I attribute this to a superior geometry, and a lively material (titanium) that a ride that is more rich in feel, dampening, and responsiveness. The slider system (nearly mirrors that of Paragon Machine works) works very well. It is adjustable from 16.9" to 17.9" which gives a lot of flexibility in cog changes, and also creating a ride characteristic that is just right for the rider. Also a nice attribute, and the reason I chose the Pro29 SL over the Ridgeline was the rear tire clearance. The Pro29's rear tire clearance is drastically more generous than the Ridgeline. My Schawble Racing Ralph 2.25 had plenty of room to spare with the slider nearly all the way forward! The Ridgeline is rated to accept a max 2.1" tire.
I believe Lynskey really nailed it with the 2012. My experience with the other materials have been a series of trade-offs. The carbon (Orbea Alma) I rode was great...light, responsive..but didn't really offer compliance..it was more vibration dampening than anything. Steel: Niner MCR had great dampening at the expense of weight and flex. Aluminum (Scandium with carbon stays) was very stiff and responsive, and relatively low weight, but it would beat you up! The Lynskey Pro29 offered great stiffness at the bottom bracket and head tube like the Salsa, but rear wheel compliance (not flex) of the MCR. Yes it does weight slightly more, but having a dialed geometry and such a well performing frame with great stiffness for acceleration trumps the weight penalty. It rides incredibly light and continually asks for more!
I have to add that the Lynskey titanium post is a great addition, and probably attributes to the ride quality, but definitely worth the investment to just complete the package and provide a ride quality that will just wow you every time you clip in!
Similar Products Used: Specialized Stumpjumper S-Works hardtail (STIFF!!!)
Cannondale Flash 29 (2) Great bike, but wanted something that was more timeless, and reliably SS or geared.
Salsa Selma: Great ride, fast, responsive, very little tire clearance, and EBB created problems where the geometry changed every time I changed the chain or a cog.
Soul Cycle Dillinger (Gen 4): Great riding bike for aluminum! Again...EBB, a little on the heavy side.
Niner MCR: Flexy, flex tend to make the bike feel like it wanted to wander. Great dampening and compliance..but it did not feel as stable or confident as the others. Also a bit heavier than even the overbuilt Soul Cycle Dillinger.
from Alexandria VA USA
Date Reviewed: January 9, 2012
Strengths: Brilliant. Single Track Masterpiece. I have finally achieved the true soul of mountain biking.
Weaknesses: If I really was trying to nitpick it would be the tire clearance in the rear triangle. Their is a caveat - the pro29 is a race bike and is not designed for fat tires because you don't ride fat tires on the race course.
I am a long time bicycle mechanic. I ride everything. I own this bicycle and I can say without running my mouth off that this bicycle is a masterpiece. Period.
Favorite Trail: D-Town ( Durango) Test Tracks/ Hogs Back
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: Lynskey Loft
Similar Products Used: First Ti
Bike Setup: single speed
a Cross Country Rider
from Minneapolis, MN - #1 bike city in US
Date Reviewed: June 2, 2011
Strengths: Amazing appearance, definitely grabs attention. Versatility with dropouts. Climbs strong, turns quick, planted in corners. Maintenance free. Refinish-able.
Weaknesses: Too dirty to bring to bed with me. It's not legal to Marry a bicycle in MN at this time.
This is by far the quickest, most nimble 29'er I have ridden. The climbing is amazing and the handling makes it very exciting to ride. Unfortunately I have not had a ton of seat time to have more response for a review. It might not be for everyone as it is a very responsive, quick platform requiring that you are paying attention and on your game, but it has never left me wanting for more performance.
Similar Products Used: Independent Fabrication - Deluxe 29.
Bike Setup: XTR group, I-9 wheels, Thompson stem/seat post, Chris King Headset.
from Chester County, PA
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2011
Strengths: Light, nimble, versatile, compliant over trail chatter. Sliders work very well w/ Paragon hardware upgrade.
Weaknesses: 2010 rear tire clearance
I've been riding and now racing this frame since September 2010; Including several 6+ hour days, weekly group rides, and expert level SS races.
I've been swapping SS gear ratio's often depending on individual races, which is quick and easy. Clearance isn't the best on my 2010, but I primarily run 2.1 XC race tires (WTB Nano, Conty Race King, various Bontragers) anyway and have plenty of room.
Local trails often have many rocks (some loose) and the Industrial Mill frame/finish has held up great, no need to touch up or any dents.
Handling is great, w/ minimal flex in BB area, but also don't feel as beat up over a long ride as an Alu frame. Similar to my steel Mariachi but a few pounds lighter. I've run it with short a2c rigid fork as well as 100mm suspension fork, handles well in both cases, noticeably quicker w/ shorter a2c, but descends great in 100mm mode.
Similar Products Used: Trek 8000, Lynskey M230, Niner EMD, Fuel EX9, Specialized Stumpjumper, Kona Stinky six, Bianchi Sass, Trek 69er, and Cannondale F900.
Bike Setup: Custom Pro 29er (I'm a 5 foot tall Female that has trouble finding bikes that fit). The bike is equipped with an XTR drivetrain, Rock Shox Reba RL fork, Bontrager RL wheels, Chris King head set, Easton 90SL carbon bars, and Ritchey stem and seatpost.
a Cross Country Rider
from Northern Virginia
Date Reviewed: January 13, 2011
Strengths: Everything! This includes the weight, strength, versatility, cornering, speed, climbing (beyond words) and overall coolness factor.
Weaknesses: Haven't found one yet. The only weakness on this bike is me.
This is a FANTASTIC and I dare say a PERFECT bike. Yes, strong words I know, but this bike ROCKS. Here is what I have to say about this bike and how it works for me.
I got it mainly for singletrack use, but I also use it for commuting and everything else. On singletrack this bike carves turns like Michael Schumacher in an F1 Ferrari. The geometry is perfect for singletrack. I find myself cutting corners closer than I have in the past, and gaining speed quicker as I come out of them; and it doesn't matter how fast or slow I am going.
The weight with the setup I have is significantly less than anything else I have had in the past, including my most recent bike (2001 Aegis ProAxe with full XTR and carbon everything). This low weight in conjunction with the geometry makes it an excellent hill-climbing machine. I have climbed hills on this bike that I have had little luck going up in the past. I haven't ridden anything that flattens the hills like this.
The speed and overall versatility are beyond any bike I have had. I rode this bike on the Shenandoah Skyline Drive in the summer because it was too muddy to get an off-road ride done. On a long and steep downhill, I reached just under 50 MPH (49.8) and it was solid. I didn't feel any waivering or shimmy of any kind; something I had issues with on my Aegis. I felt comfortable at that speed even though the crosswinds were quite high on that ride. The speed on singletrack is more than impressive. It is quite easy to "shoot" out of corners and gain speed on straighter parts of the trails.
When it comes to versatility, I use this bike for all of my riding. I commute on it and even run errands on it. Towing a trailer is done with ease. I tour/camp on occasion, and it actually pulls the trailer, whereas my previous bike seemed to be "pushed" by the trailer. My last camping trip on my Aegis, I spent the entire 110+ miles counter-steering due to the "flexxy" frame. Lynskey has made the Pro 29er SL strong enough and stiff enough to make towing a trailer seem almost effortless.
I realize that comparing an older carbon fiber hardtail to a much newer Lynskey rigid bike is like comparing apples and oranges, but since that was my last bike, that is the best frame of reference that I have. All I can say is that Lynskey Performance has built a bike that is ready to straighten out the curves, flatten the hills and be ready for literally anything you can throw at it. Jack at Lynskey is a great guy to talk to when it comes to answering questions and getting things done.
Thanks to the Lynskey Performance to listening to what riders want, and building a machine to meet our needs.
Strengths: geometry, build quality, ability to futz with the wheelbase length, and run gears or not.
Weaknesses: ability to futz with the wheelbase
I've ridden this bike on NC trails (piedmont and smokeys) for 6 months and in Colorado (Fruita, Salida, and Crested Butte) for the past 14 months. I wrote a glowing review after the first few months after ridding in NC (but can't find it now on mtbr), where I ran the wheelbase as short as possible. I loved it then, mostly because it made everything (tech rides and long rides) feel easier and more efficient.
I left the wheelbase short for my first year of riding in CO, and politely accepted nearly weekly recommendations to adjust the wheelbase longer. I left it short because I wanted to really experience how different a longer wheelbase would feel after I grew accustomed to western trails. I finally made the 1/2 longer adjustment in OCT 2010, after exactly 1 year of living out west, and I couldn't believe how different the bike felt. As expected, the bike felt noticeably less nimble. But I could not have predicted how much better the rear tire contact patch hooked up on long tech climbs and how much more compliant and stable the bike would feel on long descents. The extra climbing traction and overall gain in stability gained by extending the wheelbase far outweigh any nimbleness lost by leaving it short.
I have had the pleasure of riding quite a range of sweet new full-suspension 29er bikes this past year (e.g. Epic, Leviathon, Tallboy, etc), which we're all incredibly fun to ride. It is dumb how fabulous these new bikes are. They all climb well, and are faster down than a hard-tail 29er. However, despite the fabulousness, I have inevitably yearned to be back on the PRO 29er--even in the midst of these super rig rides. It was like the super rig bikes were so awesome, they were almost boring, because they took too much care of the riding chores, I found my mind wandering off the trail.
For me, a TI 29er hardtail feels more like bike riding. Yes, I occasionally have to portage my bike down stuff that I could otherwise ride on a full suspension bike. And, I occasionally get dropped on gnarly descents. But overall I could care less about such incidental situations. I have had my days in the sun jumping, careening through obstacles, as well as my share of separated shoulders, concussions, and broken bones. And, I admit that riding a hardtail is my wimpy pseudo-method of injury prevention, because I am still stupid enough to try stuff above my skill level. I'll get back after the gnarly stuff someday, but I simply can't afford to be laid up off my bike at this point in my life.
Someday, I'll turn the PRO 29 into a singlespeed, which is why I bought it instead of a regular geared frame. I don' think I'll ever adjust the wheelbase shorter again, as I have seemed to have found the sweet spot for the rear, which leads me to think that there is no need to purchase an adjustable wheelbase bike if you plan on running gears. Just buy one with the correct geometry in the first place.
Regarding the helix downtube, it feels like it works as the bottom bracket feels solid in all situations. Personally, I don't understand why Lynskey decided to go with a helix top tube. The extra stand-over clearance afforded by the curved top tube of the 2009 version has "saved" me on many occasions. Plus it sure does make for comfortable trail-side seating. Moreover, the curved top tube is way more appealing to the eye, to me anyways.
The durability of the bike is outstanding. I have had some magnificent crashes that would have certainly destroyed a carbon bike (or even steel or aluminum for that matter), including one that left me scared to look at the seat stay I had bashed incredibly hard while trying to do some stupid stuff in Crested Butte. Incredibly, it was only scratched. Scratched instead of broken.
Given the ride quality, durability, and happiness this bike has given me it gets 5 stars all around.
Weaknesses: Tyre clearance (Chain stays) too narrow, Customer Service
I waited 5 months for this bike, with the delivery date constantly being extended. When it arrived, I thought it was one of the most visually stunning bikes I had seen for a long time. I was thrilled until I tried to fit the back wheel with the sliding dropouts all the way forward. Wouldn't even turn. I was running the factory recommended rim/tyre combination.
To achieve even a few mm tyre clearance, the sliders had to be at a point where there was only around 5 mm of travel left ( the chainstay length measured 450mm as opposed the factory listed 435mm )and this then negated any chance of single speeding. Out of that saddle efforts then resulted in the tyre scraping on the chain stays.
I informed my LBS of this and they started the communication process with Lynskey to get this rectified. Lynskey offered a lower model, The Ridgeline, as they said it has better clearance. Not an option and I informed the LBS that I wanted what I paid for.
After much tooing and froing, Lynskey decided they wanted the frame back and they would repair it. I was extremely reluctant to have this repaired as I paid and waited for for a new frame, not a repaired one and also because of the lack of information given as to how they were going to repair it.
I have searched the internet for some other instance of a Lynskey frame having this issue but can't find anything so I can only assume a mistake was made in manufacture.I have since seen a 26" Lynskey and the chain stay clearance is fine.
As you may be aware if you are still reading, I am extremely disappointed with the whole Lynskey experience, which is a real shame as I can imagine the Pro 29 would be terrific if manufactured properly.
The LBS has since taken back the frame as a measure of goodwill and I am onto greener pastures.
Similar Products Used: Niner SIR 9, Niner Carbon Air 9
Bike Setup: Fox Forx, XX Brakes, DT Swiss 240 hubs with Stans Crest rims and Maxxis Ignitor Tyres
a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder, CO
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2010
Strengths: There are no changes that I would make to this frame. It is made for a smooth, comfortable, and wicked fast / responsive ride. The ti dampens the hard rocky trails out here and I actually feel like the ride gets smoother the faster I go. I love how light it is and it's got major bling factor. I actually got thanked by a bike tech and the staff at a local shop for bringing my bike in to have a small adjustment made! It's nice when other people recognize a sweet frame and understand what solid american made craftsmanship is all about!
Weaknesses: None that I have experienced. It's a phenomenal frame and I haven't had a single problem with it.
I paid $1600 for the frame, crankset and carbon fiber seat post...at that price I feel like I got it for a steal! It's hard to swallow shelling out $2800 for a new frame but now knowing how great this frame is I would spend $2800 on a new one if I had to. If your shopping for one of these sweet rides, check out the Lynskey website and go to the "lynskey loft" where they often liquidate many of their frames.
Bike Setup: SIngle speed set up with FSA afterburner cranks, spinergy xyclone 29'er wheels, titec titanium bars, shimano XT disc brakes, FSA carbon seat post, On One carbon fork, Kenda small bloc 8 tires, shimano XTR pedals - my bike weighs 19.8lbs!
a Cross Country Rider
from Nashville, TN, USA
Date Reviewed: September 20, 2010
Strengths: Fast, great handling and lightweight. This is my first 29er and it's an amazing bicycle. Almost as comfortable as my full suspension but much lighter and climbs great.
There's nothing like riding a titanium bicycle and thankfully there's two great companies (Lynskey and Litespeed) right down the road in Chattanooga, TN still making the best handmade ti bicycles in the world. I also ride a 9 year old ti road bike and it's still rides the same as it did when I bought it. That's the benefit if Titanium. My new 29er Pro from Lynskey is not only stupid light, stiff and a great handling bike, it's going to ride this way forever!!!! Plus it looks great too.
In short, buy a Lynskey road or mountain bike and you will be one happy cyclist.
Does anyone know what the bearing code and quantity is for the main pivot bearings just above the BB of the Scott Spark Pro 29" 2012 model?
I have dissassembled the bearing arm at the rear shock and these bearings are 680 2RS (4 off), but still need to get to the bottom pivot. This takes a bit m ... Read More »
I want a new bike, 29er. I'm ride without the extreme, just on country dirt roads, macadam, forest trails. So, i need touring bike ([B]with rack mount[/B]), but with good suspension. I choose this two bikes:
1) Cube LTD Pro 29 - 1500$
[I]cube.eu/en/hard/cross-country/ltd-pro-29-black/[/I] ... Read More »
First post here--be gentle.
51 year old fit male. Been riding a 2008 Durango 1 hardtail. Location is mostly South Carolina Lowcountry: mostly flat single track with bits of terrain here and there, but no claims or huge descents. Trails vary from tight technical to swoopy fast hardpack. Riding s ... Read More »
My 2010 Fezzari Nebo Peak died in a car accident. Loved that bike but its history now. What do you recommend in the $4k range?
I do mostly XC riding but like the AM plush ride and don't mind the extra weight at all.
I don't race and rarely to go very fast. The 30+ lb Nebo Peak was fine in th ... Read More »