Dirt Rag Magazine

Review: Lynskey MT 650

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The idea behind the Silver Series from Lynskey is to offer titanium bikes with a lower price tag, relative to the higher-end models in the company’s lineup. The Silver Series saves some shekels by eschewing extensive tubeset manipulation, sticking to stock sizing, and offering a single build kit.

The tweener MT 650 rings the register at $4,123 with a build kit featuring a Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes and a 120mm X-Fusion Velvet RL2 fork. If you want to build your own, the frame will set you back $1,678. If you still have sticker shock, remember that the “lower price tag” is relative to upscale titanium bikes costing much more.

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Lynskey builds the MT 650 from 3Al/2.5V titanium alloy tubing, with your choice of finish—either industrial mill (resembles the look of the tubes when they arrive from the mill, pictured here) or matte satin (bead blasted). For a $300 up-charge Lynskey will give the frame a “bright brushed” finish. To help keep manufacturing costs in check, the frame sports straight-gage tubing and a 68mm threaded bottom bracket. Despite the 44mm head tube (which ensures compatibility with a wide range of top fork models) the overall aesthetic has an old school vibe.

With its 69 degree head tube angle (with 120mm fork), 23.7-inch effective top tube and 16.9-inch rear center, the bike felt predictable and well mannered. This is one of those bikes that made me feel comfortable from the get go. Its relatively short top tube put my 5′ 10″ frame in an upright riding position, and imbued the MT 650 with a neutral, XC vibe. The geometry was particularly adept at threading through twisties at moderate speed. A quick snap of the bars would flick the MT 650 around obstacles. Lofting the front wheel and bunny hopping—check and check. The MT 650 felt nimble and light on its feet (or should I say, wheels).

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I competed in a couple races aboard this bike. Race speed steering was precise and intuitive. The MT 650 felt reassuring in technical terrain. However, there were times when I would have preferred a longer top tube, for a racier body position and additional weight on the front wheel. Getting into the “attack” position required a deep bend at the waist (with elbows out, and sharpened). I’d describe the MT 650 as a comfortable, all-around XC bike that could be raced on occasion. While the geometry worked well for a weekend warrior like me, this is not a geometry that I’d recommend to dedicated racers.

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The MT 650 frame provided a hint of resilience that took the edge off trail chatter. The frame is more compliant than Lynskey’s Ridgeline 650 VF or Pro650 bikes, which are made from larger diameter tubing that receive additional shaping. The MT 650 is not an uber-stiff feeling ride, by any stretch. But when I jumped on the gas to clear a punchy climb or reel off a hard sprint, the frame transferred my power to the rear wheel without feeling saucy. The bike held its line through hard corners, without lateral flex that would harsh my carve. Sometimes, when the going got rough, I found myself wishing that the X-Fusion Velvet RL2 had a through-axle, for improved steering precision. But that’s my only knock against an otherwise well-behaved fork.

Overall, the MT 650 is a fine choice for the XC enthusiast that’s looking for a well-mannered trail bike. It’s fun and comfortable to ride—and an occasional race is well within the MT 650’s capabilities. It’s not the bleeding edge of titanium technology, but the $1,678 frame price is in the same ballpark as boutique steel frames. The frame has a lifetime warranty and is made in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Vital stats

  • Wheelbase: 43.5-inch
  • Top Tube: 23.7-inch
  • Head Angle: 69 degrees
  • Seat Tube Angle: 73 degrees
  • Bottom Bracket Height: 12.3-inch
  • Rear Center: 16.9-inch
  • Weight: Weight: 25.8 lbs. (w/o pedals)
  • Price: $4,123
  • Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL

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