Lynskey Sportive Disc review£1,400.00

Tennessee titanium tour de force

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Lynskey Performance Designs has a longer history than most in the realm of titanium bicycle manufacturing, having started production in Tennessee under the name Litespeed in the mid-eighties. Litespeed was sold off in 1999 and still exists as a separate company, but since 2006 the Lynskey family has been back in the business, making frames that bear the family name.

    The Sportive Disc is a bike built for long distance comfort and, as the name implies, disc brakes are the order of the day – Shimano RS785 calipers matched to RS685 11-speed levers in this case. Lynskey offers a variety of finishes, with the 'Industrial Mill' option used on our test bike being the default for frames sold in the UK. It has a luxurious, muted splendour to it, and the stylish 3D logos lend warehouse chic.

    The 'industrial mill' finish on our test ride oozes understated class:
    The 'industrial mill' finish on our test ride oozes understated class:

    The 'Industrial Mill' finish on our test ride oozes understated class

    Only the choice of fork slightly lets down the ensemble. The Sportive has a proper tapered head tube, but if you want (slightly inconvenient) mudguard eyelets on your fork then you'll have to stick with the straight steerer option with a crown race adapter fitted to our test bike, or go off-brand, because Lynskey's tapered option doesn't offer mounts. There's no meaningful performance disadvantage to this fork, but it doesn't blend in properly with the head tube, upsetting the lines of the bike.

    Otherwise, it's an attractive package, right down to little details like the lovely machined metal barrel adjusters. The rear dropouts are interesting too, with cut-outs for weight savings and interchangeable inserts that mean the frame can be converted to 142x12 thru-axles in place of standard skewers – a really useful feature from a futureproofing point of view. The left-hand dropout also acts as the brake caliper mount, and its substantial interface with the chainstay looks reassuringly robust.

    Since Lynskeys aren't actually sold as complete bikes in the UK, you have complete freedom in your choice of builds. For our money, the spec supplied to us by distributor Hotlines is pretty close to what we'd choose anyway, apart possibly from the aforementioned fork and some bars that aren't quite to our taste, if we're splitting hairs. The DT Swiss R23 Spline db wheels look great, and as they're wide-rimmed, tubeless compatible, and reasonably light, they're a very appealing option. Ditto Cane Creek's ultra-dependable 40 headset, and the Shimano 105 11-speed components that round out the groupset.

    The freedom thickslick 28mm tyres are as thickset as their name implies, but the sportive disc responds snappily when you stomp on the pedals:
    The freedom thickslick 28mm tyres are as thickset as their name implies, but the sportive disc responds snappily when you stomp on the pedals:

    The Sportive Disc responds snappily when you stomp on the pedals

    As a complete package the Lynskey isn't all that light, but good wheels and decent power transfer mean that it just feels right. It has the smooth, unruffled ride quality that you want in a distance machine, without ever being boring.

    It also responds when you push it, and on rapid descents the lack of drama is welcome, as the bike carves a line without a hint of skittishness. The Freedom Thickslick 28mm tyres fitted to our tester might be on the lardy side, but their brash logos complement the bike well, and they don't detract from its pleasant ride characteristics.

    The Sportive's sizing comes up slightly smaller than average, with a medium frame measuring up like a small from most brands, so pay close attention. Get it right, choose your build wisely, and you'll be rewarded with a delightful, versatile bike that will never go out of fashion.

    Spec as tested

    • Size tested: M
    • Sizes available: XS, S, M, L, XL
    • Weight: 10.14kg
    • Frame: 3AL/2.5V titanium    
    • Fork: Lynskey Carbon Endurance Disc
    • Frame alignment: Head-tube and rear dropout perfect, fork good
    • Chainset: Shimano 105, 50- 34t, 172.5mm
    • Bottom bracket: Shimano Hollowtech 2
    • Cassette: Shimano 105 CS- 5800, 11-28t
    • Chain: Shimano HG X11
    • Derailleurs: Shimano 105
    • Gear levers: Shimano ST-RS685
    • Wheels: DT Swiss R23DB Spline    
    • Tyres: Freedom ThickSlick, 28mm
    • Wheel weight: F 1.69kg R 2.09kg
    • Stem: Easton EA50, 100mm
    • Handlebar: Easton EA50, 410mm
    • Headset: Cane Creek Forty
    • Saddle: Lynskey Sport
    • Seatpost: Easton EA50, 27.2mm
    • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS785
    • Price As Tested: £2700

    This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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