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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:14 pm 
retrobike rider
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novekili wrote:

Hey, I was speaking about Kona. Lynskey is VERY populay (well, for what a ti bike can be popular)


Ah Novekili, that's more like it! Always knew that the Italians had an eye for understated quality and style. 8)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:52 pm 
retrobike rider
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As I have mentioned earlier, I have been riding mountain bikes nearly everday for the last 20 years and have always been looking for the 'Holly Grail keeper for life bike' during all that time.

I thought way back in around 1996 when I bought a Marin Team Titanium, with White Industry hubs and cranks, XT and Manitou Ti forks, that I may have found that 'keeper'. See picture below, it sure looked pretty in an understated way.

I was wrong though, it was just another bike in a long line that just didn't hit the spot. :cry: The ride was soft and sluggish, with no instant 'zipp' or 'take-off' acceleration that I was looking for on the hardpack. At best it would have made a beautiful all day cruiser as it was VERY comfortable and soaked up all the 'buzz'. Sold it after only a year of disappointment.

This bike almost put me off my dream of owning a Ti bike until I read the reviews on the Litespeed Obed way back in 1998. I then decided to give Ti one more final go and I am very pleased that I did. The ride is totally different to the Marin, the Obed just 'takes-off' on acceleration, I find it almost almost begs to be ridden fast and totally exhausts me while at the same time soaking up all the trail 'buzz'. Still make me 'grin' when riding it in anger after all these years. :D

My point is that if you have ridden Ti bike in the past, try not to assume all Ti bikes are the same. It would be like comparing a Halfords steel Carerra to a Reynolds 853 tubed frame, both are steel but a mile apart when it comes to 'feel'.

In summery after countless bikes over 20 years, only two have made it into my 'Holy Grail keep for life' list because of how they feel on the trail.

One is a Kona Explosif and the other is the 1998 Litespeed Obed, and thats from someone who thinks a Marin Team Titanium is 'disappointing'! :shock:


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marin ti.jpg
marin ti.jpg [ 295.54 KiB | Viewed 2411 times ]


Last edited by shaun on Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:02 pm 
retrobike rider
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In my facinating facts about Lynskey at the start of this topic, I state that Lynskey Litespeed were asked to help NASA with a project.

This has now made me reserch into what part they actually helped NASA with.

It happens to be on the Mars Pathfinder Lander Mission, Litespeed supplied the titanium parts for the suspension system for the Mars Rover. :shock:

The suspension system was critical as the actual Rover took the full impact when landing on the surface of Mars. Failure was not an option, so NASA turned to Litespeed as they required perfection, strength, reliability and crutially light weight.

I know that this fact has nothing to do with the bikes they produce, but I do find it facinating that NASA approched Lynskey, a bike frame builder, rather than use any other titanium fabricator in the whole of America! 8)

The bike feel good in its own right, but facts like this make it feel even more special if thats possible?


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-Mars Pathfinder Lander.jpg
-Mars Pathfinder Lander.jpg [ 153.62 KiB | Viewed 2399 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:36 pm 
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1993 Raleigh John Tomac
John Tomac's legendry 1993 racing bike required Litespeed to make the titanium front head lug and rear triangle that was mated to the carbon main tubes. The bike was decked out in full Tomac-sponsor gear from Tioga, Rock Shox, Shimano, Grafton and Grip Shift. This bike retailed for $6300 in 1993 and there were approximately 60 made according to Mountain Bike Action magazine. COOL! 8)


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Tomac.jpg
Tomac.jpg [ 142.28 KiB | Viewed 2370 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:47 pm 
retrobike rider
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As well as helping John Tomac out at Raleigh, several other professionals have ridden Lynskey Litespeeds painted as other brands. European brands such as Eddy Merckx and Bianchi have contracted Litespeed to construct titanium frames in their own lines.

My personal favorite though was in the 1999 Tour de France when Lance Armstrong rode a titanium Lynskey Litespeed Blade painted and labeled as a Trek during time trials! :shock:


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Lance Armstrong Tour de France.jpg
Lance Armstrong Tour de France.jpg [ 63.92 KiB | Viewed 2366 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:03 pm 
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shaun wrote:
I do find it facinating that NASA approched Lynskey, a bike frame builder, rather than use any other titanium fabricator in the whole of America! 8)



Maybe Lynskey were the cheapest bidders? That's how sub-contracting usually works :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:49 pm 
retrobike rider
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Fudd wrote:
shaun wrote:
I do find it facinating that NASA approched Lynskey, a bike frame builder, rather than use any other titanium fabricator in the whole of America! 8)



Maybe Lynskey were the cheapest bidders? That's how sub-contracting usually works :wink:


'Fudd', I am sure that the likes of NASA and the greatest legends in cycling like John Tomac and Lance Armstrong always go for the cheapest options regardless of reputation and quality! :facepalm: Just think, if Jon Tomac had spent a little more on his bike he may have won the NORBA National XC Series in 1993 instead of coming just second. :wink:

Like your sense of humour though 'Fudd'! :lol: I have posted a picture below that will make you laugh.


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'Fudd', Lance Armstrong on his Halfords Carrera in a bid to save money! LOL.jpg
'Fudd', Lance Armstrong on his Halfords Carrera in a bid to save money! LOL.jpg [ 90.11 KiB | Viewed 1822 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:21 pm 
retrobike rider
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In my facts about Lynskey at the start of this topic, I state that Lynskey had a reject rate of upto 50% of all frames and some have questioned this as 'poor' quality. In fact it's the opposite, the reason being titanium is so difficult to weld, faults can appear even with the very best welders. These faults were spotted under x-ray conditions and were not noticable to the eye. This is what some call 'perfection' and is why lynskey Litespeed will last a lifetime and then some.

I have also stated that I would never own a later ABG Litespeed because of poor quality and some thought this not correct. All I can say is look on the internet and read the many, many letters on forums of cracking frames and poor warranty excuses by ABG. See a very typical letter below -

Litespeed (not) Lifetime Warranty

Hi all,

Just wanted to share my recent experience with Litespeed regarding their "lifetime warranty" for those looking at purchasing a new Litespeed or others with warranty troubles.

A few weeks back I was riding my 2001 Unicoi (bought it new in early 2002) one of the local trails and noticed a creak from the front of the bike. I checked the bike over that night (fork, headset, wheels) and nothing seemed out of place. The next ride, I was climbing the first hill and my bike made a loud crack. I promptly got off, and noticed a crack, starting under the downtube/headtube weld and jetting backwards a few inches. The crack was on the downtube and went ~270 degrees around.

I submitted a claim to Litepeed for the frame with some photos of the crack and their information spreadsheet. They promptly responded that they reviewed my claim in their warranty meeting and it was due to "wear and tear or fatigue" (note that fatigue is not covered in their warranty exclusions) thus they were not going to honor the warranty and this decision is final. The bike has never had a significant wreck, no dents, etc.

I asked what they considered the useful life of a Litespeed frame in miles and they responded 5-7 years.

So basically their lifetime warranty isn't a lifetime warranty. I searched the Internet and these boards and am not the first to have issues with Litespeed / ABG on warranty claims.

I am mailing their CEO a letter today expressing my disappointment that they claim to have a 'lifetime warranty' but don't honor it. In the meantime, I have a useless cracked frame.

Anyways, hope that sharing this information is useful to others considering Litespeed.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:32 pm 
retrobike rider
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Pic below: Tomac in 1993 riding his beloved John Tomac signature Raleigh / Lynskey bike in the NORBA National XC Series. My favorite rider and bike ever!


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Jon Tomac 1993.jpg
Jon Tomac 1993.jpg [ 84.29 KiB | Viewed 1813 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:21 pm 
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In conclusion, I would like to thank all who took time to reply for a very interesting debate. It has at least made me look into the brand and learn even more about it.

At the start, I knew I was fighting a losing battle thinking that the undervalued brand of Lynskey Litespeed might be seen as worth collecting and preserving as part of mountain bike history, but I honestly thought with all the intersting facts, quality, ultimate ride, history and knowledge about the brand, that I could win a few serious members over, but I think I was wrong.

This is the only bike in 20 years that I will ever keep for life and hand on to my son. I knew that it would never be seen as 'collectable' as other brands such as Kona, Klein etc. but I bet, if nothing else, its made you want to have a go on one some day to see what all the fuss is about!

Lastly, I would like to thank David Lynskey and his family in America for his love, dedication to quality and craftmanship in titanium frame building and for being one of the first pioneers along with Merlin way back in 1985.

THANKS DAVID, I FOR ONE 100% GET IT! :D :D :D


Attachments:
1998 Litespeed, last of Linsky signed frames.jpg
1998 Litespeed, last of Linsky signed frames.jpg [ 458.88 KiB | Viewed 1808 times ]
The Lynskey Family with David top left.jpg
The Lynskey Family with David top left.jpg [ 22.32 KiB | Viewed 1816 times ]


Last edited by shaun on Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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