As mentioned earlier, Twenty Nine Inches will be doing a long term test/review of the Lynskey Performance Pro 29. First off, I should make everyone aware that the 2010 Pro 29 comes as you see here and covers the geared and single speed applications that riders may choose between. No vertical drop version will be offered unless you order up a custom version, which Lynskey is quite capable of doing. Speaking of custom, you can get a Pro 29 with a Lefty compatible head tube, a BB-30 compatible bottom bracket, or even with press fit bottom bracket bearings, all done up in several different finish levels for an up charge. Full custom levels are also available. We are taking a look at the “Houseblend” Pro 29 here, but believe me, this is no ordinary “house” type of fare here! Let’s take a look……

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Obviously, the first visual cue is the Helix top and down tubes used on the 2010 Pro model 29″er. Previously to 2010, Lynskey employed a bellied top tube for lower stand over clearance. However; for 2010, Mark Lynskey explains that he wanted to increase the stiffness of the main triangle, so the Helix tubes were put into service to do the job. (You can catch Mark speaking about the Pro 29 on this You Tube video here:“>.)

For those who would rather skip the video, here is a brief synopsis from Lynskey’s site as to the benefits of the Helix technology:

There are many unique features that make the Helix Tubeset superior to conventional bicycle designs. At first glance you will notice the spiral shaped tube design that adds significant stiffness to the structural integrity of the tube without adding additional weight. This is very important because more force can be applied to the frame without any loss in pedal efficiency or sacrifice in performance. Not to mention the unmatched durability that only titanium can offer.

Lynskey also claims less lateral flex and better torsional stiffness that results in better climbing and more precise handling on high speed descents. Another claimed benefit here is better vibration control to enhance rider comfort and lessen fatigue.

The video pretty much sums up what this bike is supposed to be about. Racy, stiff, precise, and fast are all used to describe this model. So we will be keen to find out if Lynskey Performance has hit the mark here or not. Beyond this, we also were able to check out the 2009 Ridgeline last year. (You can access what we thought about that bike here) In testing that bike I was concerned with an issue I had with the drop outs. In my 2009 Top Ten List feature on the Ridgeline bike, Mark Lynskey chimed in with this in regards to the drop out design:

Hey guys,

First I want to say we’re thrilled to be a part of the “best of” conversation. We’ve put a tremendous amount of time into 29er developement and we’ve learned so much. The sliders are a perfect example. An important thing to remember is that just because something works well for a 26? wheel does not necessarily translate to 29? wheels. Until this past summer the slider version we were using was basically what had been around for years…a well proven design….for 26? wheels. However by mid summer it became clear that the design we were using simply wasn’t holding up the way it needed to. To keep a long story short we beefed up the design considerably. We upgraded the alloy, eliminated the windows ( they were pretty and light but…), increased the thickness, and beefed up the chainstay/seatstay dropout connection. And so far so good.

Thanks to the customers that had issues and found the patience to let us get the problem solved.

All the best,
Mark Lynskey

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A close up of Lynskey’s new sliding drop out that they manufacture for the 2010 29″er models.

Indeed, upon inspection it is easy to see that the drop out has been beefed up. I will be interested to see how this new design holds up under heavy pressure during climbs. I must say that for now it looks as though the drop out is going to be better than the old design. Beyond this, the usual neat as a pin welds, impeccable finish, and flawless execution of the design here exude an air of class and quality that Lynskey has become known for. Even the box it was shipped in was packed incredibly well. Better than almost any bike I’ve cracked out of a box in my wrenching career. Pretty impressive.

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Also impressive are the components that are hanging from this frame. This test/review is to be focused on the frame, but a mention of the build is certainly in order here. Lynskey definitely hung a “pro” level set of parts on this rig. Industry 9 single speed specific hubs laced to Stan’s Arch rims shod with WTB Prowler rubber make the Pro 29 roll. The front end is steered by the classic combo of an Easton carbon bar and Thompson stem spinning on a Chris King Sotto Voce headset in red ano. The rig is whoa-ed up by Avid’s Elixir CR brakes, which we are really liking here at Twenty Nine Inches.
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The front end is suspended by the Fox F-29 100mm travel fork with the new FIT damper. (The frame is designed around a 100mm travel fork) Seating is provided by WTB with the revived SST perch which is held at the proper level by a classic Thomson seat post to match the stem. The seat collar, a Lynskey piece, is provided with the frame, by the way. Cranking out the power is done through a TruVativ Stylo SS crank set up with a 32 tooth ring and guard turning an Endless 18T cog out back.

Now back to that frame……..

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The Helix down tube was employed into the design of the Pro 29 here and its job is to stiffen up the front end and bottom bracket area. You can see on the thumbnail here (clickable to enlarge) that there is plenty of clearance around the Prowler, but if I wanted to have more clearance for a bigger tire, all I would have to do is slide the drop outs rearward. They are set at a forward position in this image, but not quite slammed. (See drop out pic above) Note also how the BB/down tube junction has a lot of overlap and weld area. This should also arrest any flex down here. In the other image you can see the heavy manipulation of the Helix down tube which stiffens the tube helping to prevent torsional flex and hopefully gives the rider a more precise steering bike. (Note the down tube mounted cable stop for geared set ups)
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Finally, the Helix down tube curves and flattens vertically slightly at the head tube junction. This affords tons of fork crown clearance and also helps with torsional stiffness. The top tube, which also gets the Helix treatment here, is another feature designed to stop flex in the front triangle. Keep in mind the goal here is to produce a race oriented, precise handling rig. We’re going to hold it to that standard in our review.

Reactions to the bike have been positive by those who have seen it here, even by “non-mountain bikers”. The Helix tube shaping is hard to ignore! Being an old art student, it immediately reminded me of the columns on Bernini’s Baldachin in St Peter’s Basilica. But that may be just me. (I have no idea if the Lynskey’s were inspired by such “high art”) That said, the frame either looks like a twisted mayhem of tubing, or a very organic, flowing work of metal forming. The purpose here was not the look, but the function. It still will turn heads at the trail though, that’s for sure!

Looks aside, the performance is what will matter and that will be affected by the geometry to a degree, Lynskey changed up the geometry slightly for 2010 to reflect the longer fork, (100mm travel), and increased off sets that the latest forks are using. The decision was made to slacken the head tube angle just ever so slightly and some other minor changes were made as well. The complete geometry chart can be found by scrolling down at the page listed here. Measuring the example sent to Twenty Nine Inches, (Size Large), yeilded similar numbers to Lynskey’s own with the exception of a slightly shorter top tube on the example here. Lynskey lists a Large as having an Effective Top Tube Length of 24.5″. The example here measures out to 24″ on the nose. Still, even with that the critical positioning dimensions for my self were easily attained with the size Large. (I am 6’1″ with a “cycling inseam” of 34″, for the record)

Other notable measurements here are the effective chain stay length, (with the current 32 X 18T gearing), which is 17 5/16ths inches and the weight as shown which is 22.7lbs.

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Will the Pro 29 measure up out on the trail? Will we find a racy, precise handling rig? Will the “magical” titanium ride be there? These questions and more will be addressed as the review goes on. Look for a First Impressions post when the snow clears out here in the Mid-West.