Lynskey Ridgeline 29 SL frame review
Lynskey’s Ridgeline 29 is craftsman-built in North America and, at the same price as some steel frames, offers great value – you could easily pay a lot more than this for a titanium frame with less heritage. Its stout chassis makes for confident handling.
Ride & handling: Agile 29er – just don’t expect a Ti ride feel
You won’t be far down the trail on the Ridgeline before you notice that it doesn’t match up to what you’ve been led to believe a titanium frame will feel like. The legendary idea of a ‘springy’ titanium ride came about mainly because early bikes constructed from the material were made out of tubes like drinking straws. That’s clearly not the case with the Lynskey.
There are a lot of big tubes in there. Mix in a 20mm through-axle and you’ve got a stout, accurate bike combined with low weight and (largely thanks to fat tyres on big wheels and a skinny seatpost) plenty of comfort. If this was our bike we’d ditch the Answer ProTaper bar for something ﬂatter and not quite so wide, and probably pop an ever-so-slightly longer stem on too. That’s not a sentence you’ll see in a bike test all that often.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with ProTapers but the Ridgeline’s front end is already pretty high without putting a riser bar on. It’s also a fundamentally fast-handling bike – thanks in no small measure to the generous offset on the Manitou fork. And the cockpit setup makes it light on the helm too, which isn’t always a comfortable combination.
The Ridgeline comes as a frame only, so what bits end up bolted to it are entirely up to you. UK importers Hotlines kitted our test bike out with things from other companies whose goods they distribute – Manitou, Hayes, Sun Ringle and WTB. The Manitou Minute 29 fork is something of a rarity but it’s actually pretty good. The 20mm through-axle with double pinch bolts either side feels a bit like a relic in the age of Maxles and QR15 but it certainly helps with stiffness.
Special mention for the 29in WTB Bronson tyres too – the chunky, fast-rolling tread is one of our favourites in its 26in version and the bigger one is great too. Wrapped around a Sun Ringle wheelset the Bronsons round out a solid yet light wheel package that helped disprove the idea that 29ers are hard to get up to speed.
Frame: Good value for a US-made titanium chassis; sliding dropouts and 44mm head tube deliver versatility
Chattanooga is one of the world’s most splendid place names. And the town is home to the titanium specialists Lynskey. Many years ago the Lynskeys founded Litespeed, one of the ﬁrst titanium builders, eventually selling the brand. After a bit of thumb-twiddling, pretty much the whole family decided to start again. Lynskey now make bikes to other people’s designs – the Cotic Soda and Ragley TD:1 are both made by them, for example. But the Ridgeline 29 is all their own.
Titanium is pretty amazing stuff to build a bike from. It’s roughly the density of aluminium and stronger than steel, as well as being highly resistant to corrosion – no paint needed here. The downside is that it’s not the easiest stuff to work with because it’s harder than most cutting tools and remarkably difﬁcult to bend. It’s also tricky to weld, being intolerant of oxygen contamination.
Despite all this, Lynskey have gone out of their way to manipulate the Ridgeline’s frame. As well as the obvious curve in the down tube, it’s ﬂattened towards the bottom bracket while the top tube has a diamond cross-section. All the tubes at the front end are hefty pipes, with a 1.75in down tube being the most obvious fat one. The seat tube is signiﬁcantly oversized too but an alloy sleeve inside the top means that the Ridgeline takes a conventional 27.2mm post.
Continuing with the big theme, the head tube uses the 44mm headset standard so you can use internal or external headset bearings to accommodate regular or tapered steerers. These should make the frame reasonably future-proof. At the back, chunky seatstays and chainstays swoop their way to tidy bullet-shaped end caps. The Ridgeline 29 is available in two versions: the VF has conventional rear dropouts while the SL we tested has adjustable sliding dropouts.
This allows you to easily tension the chain if you want to run the bike as a singlespeed. If you’re using multiple gears instead, the sliders also give you a bit of adjustability out back, although it’s not as much as you might initially think. Our test bike arrived with the dropouts in the middle of the slots but the rear wheel wouldn’t go any further forward without the tyre hitting either the chainstays or the front mech clamp. The 2.2in tyres on the test bike are on the big side – smaller boots would give more scope.
Video: Chase Trails Cycle Project reaches lottery awards final
We reported earlier this year how volunteer trail building group Chase Trails had reached the semi-finals in the Best Sports Project category of the UK’s National Lottery Awards.
Well, now they’re in the final, and will find out their fate live on national television this Saturday night. The volunteer group have been designing, building and maintaining mountain bike trails in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, in partnership with the Forestry Commission, for the past eight years. Their handiwork is enjoyed by thousands of riders each week.
While the public vote is now closed, it’ll be those votes that decide the winner this weekend. Should they win, they’ll receive £2,000 of extra funding as well as a huge amount of publicity for their cause. Check out their video below for a closer look at the work they’ve been doing.
BikeRadar Deals of the Week – Mountain Bikes
BikeRadar’s weekly round-up of great online deals from our recommended retailers could save you both time and money.
If you just want to get to the bargains, skip to the end of the article to see the deals listed as Quick Links.
Otherwise, read on for more details including pictures, BikeRadar reviews and your opinions wherever possible – so you can make sure you’re fully in the picture before parting with your hard-earned cash.
These offers won’t last forever though, so be quick if you want to bag yourself a bargain.
1. Norco Scrambler (2010) – Buy Now from Winstanleys Bikes for £224.99 and save 41 percent
What the manufacturer says:
“Get down and dirty with this cross-country hardtail. Built around a durable 7005 alloy frame with an SR Suntour XCT V2 fork with 100mm of travel. Stopping power provided by Tektro mechanical disc brakes both front and rear. Shimano shifters and drivetrain. This easy climbing bike is finished off with double wall alloy rims and mountain bike on/off road tyres. A good mix of price and quality.”
2. GT Sensor 3.0 (2011) – Buy Now from Wiggle for £844.99 and save 35 percent
What the manufacturer says:
“The Sensor 3 offers plush trail performance with GT’s Independent Drive rear suspension, with an X-Fusion O2 RL air shock and RockShox Recon Silver fork. The GT Independent Drive system provides improved pedalling efficiency by isolating the drivetrain from the suspension action. The strong double-butted, hydroformed, 6061-T6 alloy frame is combined with Shimano M445 brakes front and rear, Maxxis Highroller tyres, Shimano Deore derailleurs and Alex TD24 rims. Perfect for long cross-country loops and adventurous trail rides.”
3. Cube AMS Comp (2011) – Buy Now from Chain Reaction for £1,049.00 and save 25 percent
What the manufacturer says:
“Marathons and long distance rides are the perfect terrain for the Cube AMS Comp. At its heart is a classic but dynamic HPA 7005 Hydroform STK triple-butted frame design. Added to this is a sensible RockShox Reba RL suspension fork with fully active 100mm of travel. Other quality compenents include Hayes Stroker Ryde hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Deore derailleur, Sun Ringlé Ryde XMB wheelset and Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance tyres.”
- Norco Scrambler (2010) – Buy Now from Winstanleys Bikes for £224.99 and save 41 percent
- GT Sensor 3.0 (2011) – Buy Now from Wiggle for £844.99 and save 35 percent
- Cube AMS Comp (2011) – Buy Now from Chain Reaction for £1,049.00 and save 25 percent
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Gore Alp-X SO jacket review
What first struck us about the Alp-X SO was the light, non-bulky feel of the Gore Windstopper fabric – it’s very sleek and wears that way too. Riding through the worst that the end of our UK summer dished out we can attest that it keeps a chill wind at bay, and it kept us dry even though it’s not billed as waterproof.
The cut is slim-ish but because of stretchy inserts where it matters we never felt compromised in range of movement across the shoulders – in fact the articulation and comfort in the riding position is second to none. Sneaked into the raglan shoulder seam is a zip. This allows you take the sleeves off, extending the Alp-X SO’s use as a gilet (they fit into the pockets too – in case you feel the need to switch midride).
Because it undoes from just underneath the back and up the front, you can also use it as a pit zip. But best of all, and to prove the smallest detail can make all the difference, we love the slim Neoprene-like seals at hem, collar and cuff. They emphasise the lightweight feel but are very effective. Overall, the Alp-X SO is a great jacket.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike