Titanium legends return with striking custom bikes
Bikes made by the Lynskey family are set to return to the UK through Poole, Dorset dealer Bikelab. The Lynskeys founded titanium bike maker Litespeed in 1986, selling the company to American Bicycle Group (ABG) in 1999. Mark Lynskey went to ABG to run the company, but left in 2005. Other family members left when ABG took over, or in the years between 1999 and 2005. The family is now back in the titanium frame game, offering a range of custom bikes with the option of some wild custom paint jobs under the Lynskey Performance Designs marque.
As well as Mark Lynskey, the new company includes his brothers Tim, Chris and David and their mother Ruby. They were all involved in the original Litespeed which grew from Tennessee Machine, the metal fabricating company founded by the brothers’ father and uncle.
Despite the domination in recent years of non-metallic frame materials for very high-end bikes, the Lynskeys have chosen to stick with titanium for three reasons. There’s their obvious expertise for a start: the Lynskeys helped forged titanium’s reputation as an ultra-reliable frame material. In addition, the family says titanium has a better overall blend of weight, energy transfer, strength, and durability than either carbon fibre or aluminium, and offers the greatest scope for customisation of any material.
In a recent interview, Bicycling magazine asked Mark Lynskey’s brother David why he was back in the bike business after leaving Litspeed when it was sold to ABG. “Because I was the only one in the family who didn’t want to sell it,” he said. “I made all the equipment in the place. I designed all the bikes. It was the most fun I ever had in my life. I started down the road to another career trading commodities and futures and options, but it wasn’t me, sitting in front of a computer all day.”
This time round, rather than sitting at a computer, Lynskey will be working in detail with each customer that orders one of the company’s custom bikes. “Now when I get a custom order from a guy, I get to sit down and talk with him on the phone, something I’ve never been able to do before,” he said. Lynskey Performance offers four levels of customisation, plus ‘houseblend’ off-the peg bikes.
At its highest level, Lynskey’s customisation involves fine-tuning the entire tubeset for the rider, as well as the geometry. And if that’s not custom enough for you, the company has teamed up with painters who usually work on Harley davidsons to offer a range of striking finishes, as you can see in the pics below.