By Adam Newman
Lynskey is one of the largest titanium framebuilding companies in the U.S., if not THE largest. The Lynskey family put titanium on the map with Litespeed Cycles back in 1986 and after that brand was eventually sold, a new company was born in 2006 as Lynskey Performance. They build frames under their own name as well as for several other brands.
Though they can build anything from mild to wild, the Cooper line of road and cyclocross bikes is Lynskey’s take on a stock geometry and more affordable model. With six stock sizes to choose from, you’re likely to find a good fit without breaking the bank, though if you want to make subtle changes, you can, for a price. At $1,795 the Cooper CX isn’t a bargain, but it’s a great price for hand-made-in-the-USA titanium.
The highlight of both of Lynskey’s stock cyclocross offerings, the Cooper CX and the ProCross, is the disc brakes and 135mm rear axle spacing. Got an old set of quick-release 29er wheels laying around? You’ve got some wheels for your Cooper CX. I probably don’t have to explain the benefits of the discs to mountain bikers, but once I started using them on my road and cross bikes, there’s no way I could ever go back.
I’ve been putting this bike through all sorts trials, from road riding to gravel touring. With slick tires, it makes a great high-mileage road or commuter bike, and with the ‘cross tires on it I took it on a three-day, 350-mile tour along the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal trails in ultralight bikepacking mode. Even with about 15 pounds of stuff strapped to it, it wasn’t too flexy or uncomfortable. The brakes and drivetrain kept on working despite being covered in sandy, limestone grime, though a thorough cleaning was in order when I got back. And perhaps best of all, the titanium will never rust and shrugs off scratches. Even the decals are holding up well to my abuse.
The Cooper CX checks nearly every box on my dream-bike list and I’m going to have a hard time sending this one back. But before I do I have some big plans for it: the 400-mile Crush the Commonwealth road race and the 200-mile Dirty Kanza. Stay tuned for those stories on the blog, and keep an eye out for my full review in print this fall.