Lynskey is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has a long history with titanium. The four Lynskey brothers were born into a metal fabrication business and began building bikes in the 80s. In 1986 they introduced their first bike, the Litespeed Titanium. Over the years Litespeed has become one of the leading authorities in titanium bikes, achieving both competitive and professional success. The family sold Litespeed in 1999 but returned to the bike industry in 2006 as Lynskey Performance.
Each Lynskey bike comes with a company crest headtube badge that pays respect to the family's history. The badge features a shamrock for their Dad's Irish heritage and a hunting hawk for their mom's maiden name and British heritage. Across the badge, you'll see their late dad's signature.
I tested a limited edition 2016 Lynskey R345, made to celebrate the Lynskey family’s 30 years building Titanium bikes. It’s based on their ultra-successful R330 model and Lynskey calls the R345 a workhorse built for miles and miles in the saddle. The bike has an understated look with a brushed finish and simple laser etched logos.
It has a matching Lynskey titanium seatpost and carbon fork, and Shimano’s dependable Ultegra 6800 drivetrain. It uses unique diamond shaped tubing for the toptube and downtube, increasing stiffness in the front, and gently curved seatstays to improve compliance in the rear.
The frame uses their sport geometry, which provides balanced handling for all conditions. It weighs in at a modest, but respectable 18.5 lbs.
Riding the bike, I immediately felt the comfort that titanium bikes have become so well known for.
The R345 feels so compliant in the rear that at first I almost questioned if I had a flat. The frame isn’t flexy by any means, and the front end is precise and stiff enough for confident descending. But the R345 definitely doesn’t feel like a race bike. When I really stand on the pedals, I can tell that a stiffer package would be faster and more efficient.
But, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, speed isn’t everything. The surprising comfort the R345 offers after a lifetime of having my butt rattled to pieces by overly-stiff race bikes is a welcome relief. It almost feels like there’s a forcefield between you and the road, muting out all the buzz and chatter. Holes and bumps don’t faze you, and you’re able to stay seated and fresh for longer.
The R345 is a bike that I could see myself putting hundreds of thousands of miles on, day after day. I can do huge rides, centuries, gran fondos, multiday events, even touring, and not feel beat up after. It simply helps me enjoy the ride. I could ride it deep into my old age, into my grave, and I’d be happy and comfortable the whole time. If you wanted a bike to live with every day, and to ride forever, this is it.
Bruce is a writer who loves getting his bikes dirty, trying new tech, and riding tough trails that make him suffer for hours at a time.