Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of the Lynskey GR250 titanium bicycle review. Grannygear’s other posts on this bicycle can be found by clicking the following links: “Getting Rolling“, “Checkpoint”, and “Checkpoint Plan B“.
Lynskey GR250: At The Finish- by Grannygear
There is nothing new to report on the GR250, and going forward I will be using it just as I intended: For adventure rides that fall within the abilities of the bike to get me there with some kind of grace. I have some multi-day loops planned out and besides that, there are lots of weekly rides to do. But I think I have a pretty good idea about the bike now and I don’t expect to find any surprises in the future but you never can tell. Till then, I will explain…no…let me sum up…on how I feel about the purchase of the Lynskey GR250.
As I stated before, I do feel that the GR250 has hit the targets I set up, even if it might not be dead center on every one. Let’s look at them one at a time.
• A bit more compliant ride over the Salsa Warbird, Gen 2 (alu): Yep. Tick that box. The combo of the 3T fork and the Ti frame does provide a smoother overall ride. The most extra grace seems to be from the front end of the bike as experienced through the bars and even the pedals. It just does not ‘whack’ me like the Warbird would do. Much of that is in the fork, or at least I think so, and my wrists and shoulders are pleased. The back end of the bike feels about the same, but the Warbird was really very good in that regard.
• Room for a bigger 700c tire if I want and the ability to go 650b as well: Done and done. The last post covered that pretty well. Although I do not expect to run bigger than a 42X700c tire on it (it’s not a monster cross OR a 29″er mountain bike), the 650b option is very cool to have. More on how much that 650b option matters later on in the article.
• A bit more adventure oriented approach – Geometry and frame details: Another bulls eye there, although I have yet to install any racks or fenders, etc. They are there though, those braze-ons, awaiting the day. The geometry is certainly more laid back and it gets better as the trail gets rougher, at least to a point.
It’s not all cream and roses though. The compliant ride comes at some expense to pedaling response. The GR250 is not the stiffest frame you could choose. Ti does struggle with this a bit…keeping things solid ‘down there’, and I can see the frame twist up a bit and wag its tail when I am on it hard and on pavement. In this regard the Warbird was superior. I was told by Lynskey that this tube set is shared by the R250 disc road frame and if so, I would not find that R250 acceptable with that kind of frame flex, even if we do take into account a shorter chain stay, etc. Maybe that shorter back end would make a difference…maybe. Apples to oranges, but my hand built steel road frame is much stiffer at the bottom end of the frame (where that matters most to pedaling things hard).
On the other hand I also think that most gravel bikes are too stiff…in a word…overbuilt…and are tiring to ride over long hours on rougher roads. And in that regard the GR250 does ride well and some of that is likely from a frame that is not setting records for bottom bracket stiffness. I generally find it very adequate for pedaling performance when seated and even out of the saddle in the dirt. So it’s a trade off. If I could get more snap out of it when the whip was applied, I would, but not if it was at the expense of a rougher ride. I’m okay with it as is, but not elated either.
It’s not light, that frame. At 4lbs/5oz without the through axle, it is lighter than most any steel frame would be, but not by a lot. A custom Ti frame would cost more by a grand at least, but would likely be under 4 pounds as well. Carbon? Well, a lot lighter. However Lynskey seems to do a lot of discounting and right now the normally $2650.00 frame-only cost is $2120.00. Still not cheap, yes? But far less than custom from most any builder I know where you’re talking $3500.00 and up.
These two things…weight and some flex…combine to say “Not a RACE BIKE”, but Lynskey does not advertise it as such and that was not what I wanted either.
The geometry is growing on me, but the front wheel feels somewhat odd and floppy on road rides, like when I am out of saddle and weighting the bars while steering around a slower corner. In the dirt it feels quite good. If I could I might correct that head tube angle by 1/2 degree to 71.5, not 71. I can haul the mail down a dirt road though and that geometry lets me go scary fast for an old guy like me. It also feels really neat on smoother single tracks, both with the 650b and the 700c tires on there, so that 71.5° head tube, 50mm fork offset, lowish bottom bracket, and 435mm chain stays do add up to a very good all-round adventure bike approach with the nod towards the dirt.
650b? Do I care? Yeah I do, but I would not suggest you die for it unless you really think you will use it. One thing I noticed after a bit was, when running the WTB Horizon 47s, even at 30psi, that the ride in dirt over small rain ruts was quite a bit more abrupt when compared to the 700cx40 wheel/tires at 35-40psi. I can only think it is related to the overall diameter of the complete wheel/tire combo although I can’t rule out tire casings and how that can affect the ride. I likely could have run less air in the Horizons as they are pretty puffy, but at some point they would begin to feel odd on the pavement. After running the ‘normal’ 700c wheels and tires I still think they are the best all around bet. I think I might set up some carbon 29″er wheels I have just to see how they do. On this smaller wheel size note, there is an upswing in 650b based wheels and tires for gravel/adventure coming for the next year. Someone must be betting on something for this to be a reality.
I think that is pretty much it. Although I still nick the left chain stay with my heel every now and then. I am duck footed so some of it is on me and some of it is on how they bent those tubes down there. A bit more room would be nice.
Oh. And I still have not trimmed that darn steer tube.
NOTE: The Lynskey GR250 frame and 3T fork were purchased by Grannygear and is being reviewed/tested for RidingGravel.com. RidingGravel.com is not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.