It is time for the Lynskey Ridgeline to head back to Tennessee, so here are my final thoughts on this gray metal, single speed wonder-bike. If you want to catch up with my thoughts so far on the Ridgeline, check out my First Impressions post here.
The Ridgeline still has me awed by a few things. First off, the weight, which I don’t think I’d ever quite get over, is approaching road bike lightness. This isn’t reflected in an overly flexy, uncontrollable ride though. Quite the opposite. It actually has a very composed, stable feel on downhills and the bike does technical, “pick your way through”, and slow speed maneuverings without getting that wiggle that spells disaster. I really enjoyed descending on this bike even though it was a lightweight. It didn’t “ping” off stuff, and rode downhill a lot like a heavier rig. Of course, the climbs were very nice. Yes, you notice the lack of heft in the chassis, and don’t let anyone tell you to “just lose a few pounds” and live with your current steed. While losing body weight does indeed make a difference, so does a lighter bike.
The ride quality is very nice as well. I suppose I should mention the Lynskey titanium seat post here. The combination of the seat post extension and titanium frame was really nice. Trail chatter was definitely muted. Now it isn’t a soft tail feel, nor suspension by any measure, but I would liken it to the carbon stays of Salsa Cycles Mamasita/Selma frames, as a reference point. Of course, the test rig I rode had a White Brothers Rock Solid fork, but with a plush Reba up front, I think this may approach perfection in hard tail ride quality. That would be something I would definitely try if this were my own rig.
Of course, the mere fact that this is titanium is the icing on the cake. It won’t rust, and if it were to get scratched, I could refinish it myself to look practically new. Nice! Now if gray is too depressing, you could get it painted, but the silvery gray color was pleasant enough for me. Would I keep it for my lifetime? That’s always one of the benefits touted when titanium comes up in conversations. Hmm…….maybe. It is that smooth and the handling is pretty decent as it sits with this fork. A longer offset fork like the 46mm ones now being proffered? (Note: The Rock Solid is listed on White Brothers site as having a 42mm offset) I don’t know if I could do that for a lifetime, but I would give it a shot!
There were some things I had issue with on the Ridgeline. First of all, the flex in the frame’s bottom bracket area precluded me from using anything wider than a 2.2 inch tire. I could get bigger rubber to rub the chain stays. For me that would be a down side. I am a bigger guy though, and some have said I have a pretty powerful pedal stroke, (Not my words), so take that with a grain of salt. Still, there is a bit of flex that some folks might find objectionable, especially if you crave fat rubber on your single speed. If you don’t need such fat tires, and/or are not such a masher, this likely will not be an issue with the Ridgeline. Secondly, the drive train was subject to popping on extreme power strokes up steeps. Every time it happened, I would find the chain slack. The chain line was spot on, the tensioners were locked down, and I never could ferret out just what it was that was happening. I’ve never experienced this with sliders on any other single speed. (Many of them with designs identical to the Ridgeline’s sliders) My only guess is that it was chain related. The Ridgeline as sent to me was set up with a 9 speed SRAM chain. If this were my rig, I would swap out to my typical 8 speed chain set up, or a 1 1/8th chain set up. Lighter riders might not ever see this happen, but if you are like me, I would definitely think about using a heavier chain.
Conclusions: The Lynskey Ridgeline is a “budget” titanium frame with exceptionally worked over, shaped tubes, fine welding quality, and a great ride. Calling it “budget” is really a misnomer. I would say more like a “custom production bike”. Of course, you can get a custom steel frame for this price, and that is a consideration here, especially if titanium’s non-rusting, easy care finish holds no sway over you. That said, the ride feel of titanium is different than any steel rig I’ve thrown a leg over. That would be a tough question to answer: custom steel or “custom production” titanium. That said, the Ridgeline is a high performance raceable bike that can be geared or set up single speed and will likely be under the weight of any steel frame out there. Considering these facts, The Ridgeline looks hard to beat, if the geometry suits you. If you are a bigger, more powerful rider, you may experience some unwanted frame flex in the bottom bracket, so beware. Otherwise, the Lynskey Ridgeline is an impressive titanium 29″er on many fronts.
Thanks to Lynskey Performance for supplying the Ridgeline for this review. Check out there website for more: http://www.lynskeyperformance.com/a/