Lynskey Ridgeline 29″er: First Impressions

After getting a few great runs in on the Lynskey Performance Ridgeline, I can give a few impressions of this titanium single speed. So far, it has been a near flawless ride.

Unattended Ridgelines may spontaneously float away. (Not really!)

Unattended Ridgelines may spontaneously float away. (Not really!)

Weight: Okay, let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. Yes- the Ridgeline is a light frame and you could definitely build a “redicu-lite” rig with it. As this one sits, it has no real glaring “weight weenie” parts installed, but it still evokes a “Dang! This is light” response every time I handle it. Does this matter? Is it really a big deal out on the trail? The answer to that is a bit more complicated than you might think.

The Ride: This frame and fork work really well together, first off. The Ridgeline as it was sent to me is a great, racy feeling single speed that changes directions really well and yet is steady enough that it doesn’t feel like you are getting in over your head when things around you turn into a blur.

The fork is a big reason why. It tracks very well, takes off the sharp edges on trail hits like a good rigid fork should, and the offset matches the head angle in a way that makes for a snappy handling hard tail. Lean a bit with your hips for directional changes at speed, or throw the bike over and steer it through a fast switchback. Either way works here.

I will only say that things will get a bit hairy if your descents consist of very long, technical, and bump strewn single track. Why? Because first off, this is a rigid bike, after all. Secondly- because the steering leans towards the fast, twitchy side as opposed to the laid back, stable side. Mind your business while descending and the Ridgeline will reward you with a thrilling downhill ride.

You get snappy handling and a smooth feel on the trail with a Ridgeline

You get snappy handling and a smooth feel on the trail with a Ridgeline

The frame is smooth, as you might expect. It feels eerily similar to the finer steel rides, like the Milwaukee Bicycle Company 29″er we just finished up with. It has a give that steel riders crave. Nice stuff. The lateral stiffness is good. Not great, just good. The bottom bracket can be twisted up in a severe, mashing style when just cresting a long hill. You might hear a tooth pop or snap in the drive train if you ride in this style when you have extreme power on at a slow cadence. I had to change up my style just a bit to alleviate the problem, and I’m happy to say I have not heard a peep out of the drive train since. (I probably am pedaling in a more efficient way to boot!)

Of course, Lynskey Performance has done much tube manipulation on the Ridgeline, and it shows up in a frame that tracks well, and while it gives, it does so in a subtle way that doesn’t seem to affect performance in a negative way, (besides the issue mentioned above) . Braking, turning, climbing, and descending are all accomplished without fuss, and in some cases, the low weight of the bike comes into play to make the ride even nicer.

Climbing is a given when you talk about how a light weight bike benefits you. However; it also makes power maneuvers easier and I was able to clean a difficult rooty section on a steep climb that required a bit of a lunge/hop. I executed the move to perfection on the Ridgeline, but missed it with a heavier steel geared bike a bit later because the steel bike was too heavy to toss around like you can the Lynskey.

So, while a light weight bike is cool, impressive, and climbs well, it also can be a couple of other things. In the case of the Ridgeline, it makes for a more maneuverable bike, but comes at the expense of some bottom bracket flex. A rider can learn to overcome this, but it might not be your cup of tea.

Stay tuned for more on the Ridgeline as I break down some of the components on the bike and give my two cents on them in the next “First Impressions” post.

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