Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Review of the Lynskey Helix OS

16.2 lbs as seen here.  With Edge 1.25s, it goes down to 14.6lbs!
A review of the Lynskey Helix OS
Why go Friendly’s when you can eat Ben & Jerry’s? Why tolerate Bud American Ale if you can splurge on your favorite local microbrew? Why endure another year on another carbon frame when you can ride a Lynskey?

Wait! Lynskey, you say? Don’t they make titanium frames? And isn’t titanium so, you know, the year 2000? Answer: not any more it’s not. Behold the second coming of titanium glory and fix your eyes on Lynskey Performance Designs’ newest frame, the Helix OS!

This is a racing machine.

Lynskey has been around the bike biz for decades, originally as Litespeed in 1986 and 20 years later as Lynskey Performance Designs. Each frame is beautifully crafted, whether custom or stock sized.

While the company has remained true to its traditional titanium frame building roots, it has really popped the cork with the unveiling of the Helix and Helix OS. Made from 3al/2.5v, this signature frame has twisted top and down tubes as well as seatstays, which provide greater stiffness without adding weight. This, of course, is the mantra that gets fed to bicycle consumers year after year: more stiffness; less weight. The Lynskey Helix, however, cuts through the marketing fluff and has created a product the family from Chattanooga, TN, can easily say is an incredible racing bike.

Available now, the Helix OS ratchets stiffness and performance levels to even greater heights with a beefy oversized headtube and the soon-to-be-industry-standard BB30 bottom bracket shell. I’ve built my frame up with an Edge 2.0 fork, a Cannondale Hollowgram SL crank, and a smattering of superlight Sram Red and Bontrager parts. Since I worked at Fit Werx in Waitsfield, VT, which is one of the most respected boutique bicycle shops in the country, I’ve ridden dozens of high enders: Serotta Meivicis and Legend Ti, Parlee Z1s, Guru Geneos, Cervelo R3SLs, Trek Madones (5 and 6 series). All of these brands are highly respected and make fantastic products, each with their own unique characteristics. I’ve also been riding and racing since I was 15 and I’ve got to say, that even with all of the carbon featherweight frames out there and all of the aerodynamic test results shooting from the pages of Velonews, my Lynskey Helix OS is my favorite bike of all time.

For me, this frame represents balance. Now for the superlatives. It’s sublimely smooth and stable. It’s also quiet. At 145 lbs., you’d be ill-advised to bet on me to be your go-to source for bicycle stiffness. I can offer to you though, that it feels stiffer than a Trek Madone 5 series with Dura-Ace 7800 cranks I had two years ago. It won’t leave you speechless with its weight, but it isn’t portly, either, at 14.6 lbs with my Edge 25 race wheels. It’s snappy, crisp, and agile, and SO fun to ride.

The Helix OS represents the pinnacle of titanium craftsmanship. It’s stunning to look at and even more fun to ride. I can’t praise this bike enough.


  1. Let's see a picture of your build!

  2. Yeah, a pic would rock. I have three Lynskey's, and the last piece would be a stiffer road frame than my Merlin from 2001. Plus, the right amount of bikes is +1 more....

  3. I have a Lynskey Helix with an Edge fork; Reynolds carbon clinchers and Campy Super Record 11. I also have a Litspeed Ghisallo that is 8 years old with same equipment. I love both bikes and would describe the Lynskey as a "thicker more stable" ride and the Litespeed as a "thinner slighly more nimble ride" The Lynskey is faster on the flats and much more stable at high speed especially high speed descents. The Litsepeed is quicker on long steep climbs. All things considered the Lynskey is the better machine. It also does not hurt that the Lynskey frame is custom etched and is really a work or art. One could hang the frame by itself as the centrepiece in any room of one's house

  4. I have had my Lynskey custom now for about two months. (I had it built with curved seat stays, rather than the straight helix). I have to pinch myself it's so smooth, and so much more efficient than my LeMond that my Bee Team club riders have started calling it the magic bike. I'm ecstatic !

    Ben Barry

  5. I have a Lynskey R230 with Spinergy deep dish carbon wheels. Bought it for myself last Christmas. It isn't the "top of the line" Helix, but it is a great riding bike. Better than my old steely and much smoother than my Colnago Dream! I love it more every time I ride it! It always wants to go further than I have time to ride. It smooths out the Texas Chip Seal and loves climb in the Hill Country. The beefy bottom bracket really puts every ounce of energy into the drive train. I'm no racer, but I sure wish I woulda had this bike when I was doing randoneur rides. Its made for double and triple centuries!

  6. Ordered my Helix with Superrecord 11 and Fulcrum Racing Zero's a month ago. To say I am as impatient as a child on Christmas eve to open his present is an understatement. I cannot wait and the days I am waiting seem that bit longer!
    I have been using a 1991 (!!) old LiteSpeed frame which frankly has another 19 years of life in it. Soooo much more unique than all the carbon on the road. Frankly I like being a bit different and the Helix design clearly meets that twisted need whilst simultaneously being a brilliant bike! Here's to many years more cycling. Vive titanium! :-)

  7. I want a Helix/Helix OS...
    Have 2 roadbikes, an ti Airborne Manhattan Project 2004 and a Bianchi Infinito 2010. The Bianchi was a hastful purchase.
    My Lynskey Helix wont be a hastful buy. Considering adding internal routing, will cost me $850, we'll see how my finances are later ;-)

    Charles, Damn sweet roadmachine you've got!!!
    All the best to you and your family!

    /Mikael, Sweden

  8. Do you have the frame weight of your bike?

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. 1427 grams for medium frame. A little hefty for today's market, but comparing carbon frame weights to titanium is an apples-to-oranges thing. I've built my with parts to get it in the 16.2-16.5 lbs range when training (saddle bag, etc...) to 14.6-15.1 lbs. range with race wheels. Hope this helps.

  12. Got an R230 after breaking my 2nd AL frame. The R230 was an XL. I found it to squirelly. The high speed wiggles ended the love affair. To Lynskeys credit they made good on an XL Helix. Sent the R230 back for full credit. The Helix picks up where the 230 left off. This pilot is the weak link on this machine. Great ride, looking forward to many years with this dream machine.

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