Last year in January 2013, I reviewed a Lynskey Pro29 FS- 120 with 650B wheels – At the time, Cove Bikes evaluating a new design for a 650B bike and a full suspension frame from Lynskey was sent out for review. The bike – a FS Pro 29 frameset was built up. The issue Cove had was that with the new thinking of low bottom bracket heights and slack geometry, the FS was modified to fit this thinking. The bottom bracket height of the FS was close to 15″ unweighted. and Cove decided to put on a 140mm fork and 650B wheels – lowering the bike’s overall center of gravity and slacking the angles. The ride that was produced was a stable but require more steering input into the steering either by leaning or steering into the corners. I didn’t mind the ride but felt uncomfortable when speed started to pick up. Check out my first review of the bike Testing out cove lynskey 650b-ti
Cove ended up sticking with their tried and true hardtail model (Cove Hummer 650Bj) and from the feedback I’ve read its their best version yet (I also hear that Chaz is riding the bike with 29’er wheels)! I got to wondering if Lynskey got it wrong with this bike so I set out to find out how I could improve the ride. Here some quick lessons:
You can put 650B on a 29’er fork, but not without affecting trail. Trail is a difficult to describe in a few words but an article on Pinkbike.com describes trail as:
“The distance that the center of the tire’s contact patch falls behind the imaginary point that the steering axis (center of the fork’s head tube) passes through the ground. This is what causes the bike’s front wheel to self straighten when it is moving forward. More trail firms up the steering and adds straight-line stability. Less, lightens the steering pressure at the handlebar and gives the bike a more nimble feel. Too far in either direction makes the bike difficult to control.” http://www.pinkbike.com/news/To-the-Point-Wheel-Diameter-VS-Fork-Offset.html
In my initial review, I described the steering as “precise” and required more input during my single track ride. I realize now that this was an understeer problem resulting in a smaller wheel on a longer 29’er fork length. The idea from Cove to use a longer travel fork on the bike to raise the front end and change the geometry to slacker. Ride the North Shore where Cove bikes are born and you’ll know why a bike with low and slack geometry is useful.
I haven’t changed my idea that this is no Shore bike but for the 90% of the trails I ride and for most riders on the Sunshine Coast, a good cross-country bike or Enduro bike is perfect. So I called a friend to borrow his spare 29’er race set.
The difference was so significant that I can’t give the bike back. The under-steer is gone and the suspension is perfectly set up to ride over the worst root sections I could thing of and I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I’m also cleaning the uphill sections of the trail that my Cove G-spot would just bog down. This is a light bike and I feel that I’m just putting unwasted power to the ground (29’er wheels have more of a contact patch) which you just need to spin and hold on!!! Another thing that I love with this bike is ability to stand and hammer – in trail mode or at any time without a noticeable bob.
Did I noticed the tall bottom bracket? To be honest – No – not at all. The bike felt natural to ride and being 5’6″, the small frame was the perfect fit for me and doesn’t feel too big at all. Also, no toe overlap that plaques other 29’er small frame designs. Plus with other design cues like beautiful welds, cold working of titanium tubes to bend and shape them like the Helix tube, a beefy bottom bracket and Shimano press fit pivot bearings make this a stiff and forward propelling bike.
Answering my question, I think that Lynskey got this bike totally right for doing what its designed to do – slay cross-country trails here on the Sunshine Coast. No mods required to make this bike my favourite bikes to ride in a very long time. —WAB1234—