For 2014, Lynskey have introduced a new line of more affordable titanium frames. Changes have been made to keep costs down, the most obvious being the use of a plain gauge rather than butted ti tubeset, but the design and development are from the same engineers responsible for Lynskey’s flagship machines, and they are entirely handbuilt by the same welders at Lynskey’s Chattanooga headquarters.
HIGHS: Full of sharp-edged handling traits; well suited to racing but still not out of place for sportives
LOWS: Frame only means that you’ll have to decide on how to build it
BUY IF… You want a top-class metal frame without going spending more than a grand and like the idea of speccing it up yourself
The Breakaway is part of Lynskey’s Silver Series range, with a more aggressive stance than their comfort-orientated Peloton sibling (both of which are available frame-only for £999.99). Our 57cm test bike features a 165mm head tube, 30mm shorter than the Peloton, and its wheelbase is also shorter. The result, when paired with its 73-degree head angle and 73.5-degree seat tube angle, is a bike with a nice sporty attitude.
The slender frame tubes may only be plain gauge but they do still offer a little compliance in the ride. The Lynskey-designed full carbon fork keeps the front end taut, which infuses a welcome snap to proceedings.
Substantial chainstays and seatstays and huge cowled dropouts suggest that the rear end is going to be firm – and it is. It also has a planted solidity, but it’s not an uncomfortable ride. Ideally we’d replace FSA’s simple aluminium seatpost with a carbon seatpost, or even Lynskey’s own titanium post (£169.99).
Lynskey breakaway: the rear is very stiff: lynskey breakaway: the rear is very stiffCycling Plus
The Breakaway’s rear end is solid and firm without feeling uncomfortable
The Lynskey Sport saddle is firm and narrow, and though its shape is comfortable enough, its relatively short length meant that we had to slide it back on its rails to gain a better position. It also lacks flex at the heel and we never really warmed to it.
For a bike with mid-level gearing and middleweight components its weight – just over 8kg – is pretty impressive. Even more impressive is how this mass feels when you ride it. It simply doesn’t feel like an 8kg bike, even on the climbs where we’d expect to notice the basic Shimano R500 wheelset. What we did find was a bike with some urgency on the climbs and a willing partner for serious ascents.
While Lynskey’s business is mainly frame-only, the 105-based complete bike we requested is an affordable entry into the world of titanium bikes. The test bike came with a 50/34 compact and a pretty aggressive 11-25 cassette, which definitely puts it on the sporty side of sportive.
We also reckon that if you fancied getting into criterium racing – with its tight corners – or fancy a crack at road racing, then the Breakaway has all the right ride characteristics and handling. It’s affordable as a frame too, and it should be able to take some serious knocks and still come back fighting.