Tennessee-based Lynskey Performance is now offering two titanium 29er frame models redesigned for 2010, the Helix twisted-tube PRO 29 and the Ridgeline 29, starting at US$1,995 and $1,595 for a natural satin finish, respectively.
"Until recently 29er’s have been heavy with sluggish handling," company co-founder Mark Lynskey told BikeRadar Tuesday. "The perception was that they do roll over things better and work well for really big riders but can’t handle as well as a 26er.
"Advancements in componentry and frame design over the past 24 months has changed all that. A 29er does require a different riding style, but once you figure it out and make the change, you will become faster, whether it be on single track or open fireroads. This is assuming you’ve made the right choices in the frame and its componentry. There are several brands that have not yet made the transitions to the newest philosophies in design."
According to Lynskey, the company -- which launched in 2005 after the Lynskey family sold Litespeed in 1999 -- still does its share of custom orders, but has focused its efforts on providing standard models which fit the bill for riders.
"While we still do customs daily, our business as a whole is 90 percent standard designs," he said. "For titanium hardtails the U.S. market is significantly 29er; it’s at least 80 percent of our U.S. titanium hardtail sales. Internationally the 29er market is small at best, at the moment.
"We do see growing sales in the U.K., Australia, and South Africa," he added. "We’ve seen slight interest in the EU countries but they still seem to be dominated by 26-inch wheels; we’ll be rolling out those new bikes in about three weeks."
Both the PRO 29 and Ridgeline 29 come with optional slider dropouts (SL), a popular design used by several companies.
"We do have a Ridgeline 29er that comes standard with vertical fixed dropouts, but the sliders do bring several benefits to the table," Lynskey said. "The first being that it can be run singlespeed, which is a significant trend at least in the U.S. The other benefit is that right now there are no clearly defined combination of tire widths, front derailleur dimensions, crank arms, etc. that fit a 29er with all the expected clearances.
"Having the ability to back up the rear wheel gives the consumer many more options in the mix of componentry they wish to use," he added. "For example, we just found out last week that the X7 SRAM front derailleur has minimal clearance on our fixed dropout version. And we don’t want to start having to make the chainstays longer just for derailleur clearance."
Sizes for both models include S, M, L, and XL. Lynskey also offers complete bikes.