The Lynskey family business has been through some ups and downs, like every family, but the continued existence of their titanium bike business today is proof of their strong unity. More evidence is the near cult-like status a Lynskey frame has among those who respect fine titanium craftsmanship.
The family founded Litespeed in 1986 after creating one of America’s first titanium frames and taking it to the Long Beach bike show, where it generated considerable interest and demand. The company grew and eventually Lance Armstrong was racing a Trek-branded Litespeed for his time trials.
Litespeed was sold in 1999 but bicycle frame building stayed with the family, forming Lynskey Performance Designs in 2006. Hedley Widdup is a Melbourne rider who has a deep appreciation for finely tuned machinery and worked with Sasha at Pony Bikes to build up his dream titanium bike, a Lynskey R230 frame:
“As with many bespoke projects, experienced and knowledgeable counsel is required. I’ve worked with Sasha at Pony Bikes now on several projects, and been nothing short of thrilled with the results. She’s also become a good friend, so I was able to seek her opinion and guidance before bringing this concept to life. Far from talking me out of crazy ideas, she encouraged them.
“I wanted four spokes on each wheel to match the Chris King orange (sorry, mango) hubs and headset — no problems,” Hedley continues. “The finish quality Sasha puts into a bike is incredible — so much attention to detail from fit through to finish.
“Having invested so much money and emotional energy in a concept, having all the small things done 100% right means that every time I ride it, I get an immense sense of satisfaction.
“Late last year, I lost my grandfather. He had been a major creative influence in my life, and taught me to make many things. He was a talented artist and fabricator, and instilled in me an appreciation of how things work.
“Granddad left his grandchildren some money, and I deliberated long and hard over what to do with it. I wanted to create an enduring memory with granddads money, and so my bike project commenced.
“Grandad marvelled at things that go — steam engines, motor cars, aeroplanes, watches. Bicycles are an elegant mechanical device, and fall squarely into the category of ‘things that go’. Granddad always took deep interest in what we liked.
“When we were younger, this meant grand kids buzzing round him like bandits on little bikes. So I feel certain that he would approve of a bicycle, and given his interest in mechanics and metals, that this one is made of the same stuff as a space shuttle would not be lost on him.
“When the build came together, there was one thing missing, and that was an element of personalisation that both granddad and I could share. One of the first things he taught me to draw is a ‘nest of eggs’. It became a symbolic sign off between us — it probably adorned hundreds of letters, cards, drawings between us over 30 years, so hardly a more appropriate icon to adorn the dream granddad helped me realise.
“I had a sticker made up, so now when I drop my head riding into a wind, I see our nest of eggs and I remember him. I have many happy memories of my granddad. This bike is not a commemoration, more like our last project together. I recon he’d be pretty happy with how neat my nest of eggs has got, too.
“My advice to anyone out there thinking about their dream ride is go see Sasha at Pony Bikes, and don’t let her give you any crap about being busy — all the best clubs have a line up!” Good advice. I’m sure Hedley’s granddad would approve. Special thanks to Hedley for the story, Sasha at Pony Bikes and James Hall for the excellent photos.