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Lynskey Tandems....

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Lynskey Tandems....

Old 02-14-08, 11:41 AM
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Lynskey Tandems....

After about a year of being lobbied by Tim Patterson (close friend, tandem enthusiast, TTR co-founder, and manager of Cycology Bicycles in Maryville, TN), David Lynskey is putting the final touches on a new tandem jig which, as you’d expect, means the Lynskey family is getting back in the tandem business.

For anyone not familiar with the Lynskey name, this is the family who owned Southeast Machine near Chattanooga that started building titanium bicycles as a side-line in the early 80's. The side-line eventually grew into Litespeed back in 1986, and then became the American Bicycle Group (Litespeed, Merlin, Qunitanna Roo, and Real Designs brands). The Lynskey’s sold a majority stake in ABG to JHK Investments of Westport, Connecticut, in 1999 and subsequently left the bicycle biz as ABG installed its own management structure.

In 2006, the Lynskey family decided it was time to start a new company using the family name and has reestablished itself back in Chattanooga, TN, with an entirely new line of titanium, hand-made in the USA bikes.

The new tandem jig will get its casters later this week so that each tandem frame will move through the mitering shop and then into welding without being removed from the jig fixture to preclude any alignment issues throughout the fabrication process: pretty cool. The jig will support various custom geometry configurations and the first frame (a coupled model) will be delivered to some very good friends up in the Knoxville area within a few weeks. Look for it at the Tennessee Tandem Rally in June.

Anyone who'd like to know more should contact Tim directly: (865) 809-2476 or by email: tim@cycologybicycles.com
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Old 02-14-08, 05:43 PM
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Had spoken with some of the Lynskey folk at Interbike and they had indicated they 'might' get back to doing tandems.
Good news and more quality choices.
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Old 02-15-08, 07:26 PM
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Looking forward to seeing the Lynskey tandem that is registered for the Tennessee Tandem Rally.
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Old 04-02-08, 07:07 AM
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Saw some photos of the finished machine last evening...

It's really quite a work of art. The frame has a very conventional look to it, similar to what you'd find on a Co-Motion Speedster, but some of the frame details, workmanship, and personal touches (laser-etching & water-jet cut-outs) are quite captivating. I shudder to think of what one of these frames must cost with the couplers and all of that detailed work. It even had David Lynskey's signature on the frame and it appeared to be applied with a Sharpie and not an applique.
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Old 04-02-08, 08:23 AM
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Why does the tandem jig have to move? Does the Lynskey shop have separated dedicated areas for mitering and welding? You state that tandem frames will "move through the mitering shop and then into welding without being removed from the jig fixture to preclude any alignment issues throughout the fabrication process". I didn't think that anyone removed the frame from the jig fixture before welding; it doesn't make sense - you'd just have to set it up in another fixture to hold in alignment for welding. I visited the frame shop while Dennis Bushell was building my tandem frame and he mitered the tubing, set it up in the fixture, and welded it together right there. There was no need to move the jig anywhere.
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Old 04-02-08, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
Does the Lynskey shop have separated dedicated areas for mitering and welding?
Yes... Lynskey was set-up as a large-volume custom production house with extensive and sophisticated CNC / titanium metal working capabilities.

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Old 04-02-08, 09:32 AM
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By "large-volume custom production" do you mean "streamlined custom production"? I can't imagine that they would produce a large volumn of custom tandems - after all, they have only one tandem jig. I would expect a volumn operation to be one in which they fabricated a run of one size at time; where they would miter all the tubes at once and then send them to another area for setting up in a jig and maybe another area for welding. In this way, you would have specialized workers who did only mitering or welding. I don't see how this works efficiently for custom frames.

Also, is titanium fabrication that much different from steel fabrication? I mean - you take tubes, cut them to length, miter them to fit, and weld them together. Are their frames welded by hand, or do they use some sort of automated welding robots? Does titanium have to welded in a chamber, or can it be welded in open air?
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Old 04-02-08, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
I can't imagine that they would produce a large volumn of custom tandems - after all, they have only one tandem jig. Also, is titanium fabrication that much different from steel fabrication?
Don't get overly focused on the tandem as a line of business: the tandem is now merely one of many, many, many different frame offerings produced by Lynskey which include road, off-road, tri bikes, single speed, 29" ers, etc...

Lynskey builds primarily from titanium, but is also building lower price-point models from OX platinum steel. While they offer "houseblend" frames, their stock and trade is presently build-to-order frames: clients pick the model, the handling, the price point, finish, etc... and then they produce the frame. They also produce frames for other brands that may or may not attribute their frames to Lynskey. I believe they may have been building frames for as many as 21 other brands when they owned / operated Litespeed.

Based on their 25 years or so of experience in the frame / bike building business and having produced over some 70,000 frames under the banner of the American Bicycle Group, they have apparently found greater efficiencies by having the 15 or so folks who work in fabrication specialize in set-up, mitering, welding, etc... and move the frames through those work stations. Everything is welded by hand and, yes, welding and working with titanium does require a specialized environment, specialized skills, and other specialized equipment not needed for steel fabrication.

If you want to more about their business I would encourage you to visit their Web site, read any one of the hundreds of articles that have been written about their tenure at Litespeed/ABG, or the more recent articles and interviews that have been done since they got back into the game.

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Old 04-02-08, 05:07 PM
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They produced lots of 'brown wrapper' ti bikes, including the Merckx label.
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Old 04-02-08, 08:22 PM
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I did my winter, team training camp down in North Georgia and South Tenn. There were quite a few locals with Lynskeys. Very nice frames. I loved the etched flame jobs. One guy, a shop owner in Rome, GA. had his painted and it was just amazing. Glad to see them getting back to some tandems.
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