I’ve had a few bikes ? Cervélos, Cannondales, Litespeeds, all sorts,? says the 6ft 7in giant of time trialling Ben Instone, who has already broken six course records this year.
“Basically Lynskey contacted me through Planet X to ask if I wanted to try one of theirs and
I said I?d give it a go. The Lynskey family are the people who started Litespeed back in 1986,” explains Instone.
“They sold it to American Bicycle Group but decided they liked making bikes after all so they started back up under their own name.”
So the Lynskeys are in Tennessee, Instone is in Surrey ? how did they get together and decide on a bike? “Lynskey would normally custom fit it, but I knew the geometry I wanted through years of riding, so I gave them the measurements and they made it. It?s halfway between a Cervélo P3 and a Litespeed Blade.”
Did Instone ask Lynskey for anything in particular other than the geometry? “With Lynskey?s full custom bikes they ask you how you want it to ride and they custom-make the tubes,” Instone explains.
“No, I didn?t ask for anything in particular ? I left it up to them to make it out of Ti-6AL-4V titanium. They also made me a road bike out of that ? it?s really good. They?re sending me a couple of new bikes in a few weeks,? Instone continues, ?to show me the new tubeset they?ve got, called Helix ? a time trial bike and a road bike; I?m going to try and do a few road races this year.?
So will a new Lynskey TT bike replace this one? “I got this one halfway through last season,? Instone says. “This one was more just to get the geometry sorted out. It was what they call a quick knock-up, but it?s much better than most people?s!”
How much could the average, non-record-breaking punter expect to pay for something like this? “Hotlines [www.hotlines-uk.com] is importing them and they?ll be bringing in production versions of these things,” Instone says. “They?ll go from £1,200 up to about four grand I should think. They do four different levels of custom build and the cost depends on what you go for.”
What?s the story with the four-spoke Xentis wheels? “I?ve got a whole selection of wheels at home,? Instone says, ?and these don?t seem to be any slower than anything else, and they?re quite a bit lighter.”
Does wind tunnel or other test data affect his choice? “No, I just ride them,” Instone says. “I don?t pay too much attention to wind tunnel data. You might get a really fast wheel but if it feels horrible there?s no point in having it. I know what times I should do on which courses and that?s how I compare kit.”
“The tubs are what I?ve used for years,” he says. “They?re Veloflex carbon (22mm) on the rear and Servizio Corse (20mm) on the front. They?re not the fastest or lightest, but I don?t have to worry about punctures or road conditions with them as they do everything well. I fitted these ones about two years ago.”
Instone says he was amazed when he weighed the Lynskey. “Normally I put a bike together for strength rather than weight,” he says. “When you weigh 90kg you?re better off worrying about strength, but it only weighs 15.8lb.”
And how does Instone get on with the USE Tula tri-bars? “USE sent me them about four weeks ago to try. They?re comfy and they work, and that?s all they need to do. The first ride was interesting and I didn?t remember where the brakes were ? it was a hilly, twisty course. But once you?ve used them a couple of times you know where to go for the brakes.”
British company USE sent Ben Instone a pair of their Tula tri-bars. Once he’d worked out where the brakes were he got on with them fine.
Instones cables are a mixture of Shimano, Nokon and iLink. All feed neatly out of the tr-bars in to the frame to keep mess to a minimum.
Rear facing dropouts have cut-out detailing.
A front view of the bike shows how it cuts through the air.