Fat birds don’t fly….

If you had been wondering why I should come on an idiotically flat route across the Fens, spend two nights camping in early October (which, incidentally, has so far been pleasantly warm and dry), then now you know…..solely because (of) fat birds don’t fly. And only here in Hunstanton, nowhere else. Still intrigued and bemused…..?
Well, there is a niche business, in a niche market, called ‘Fat birds don’t fly’

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….to be found in a simple industrial-looking building on the outskirts of Hunstanton. Unprepossessing in almost every respect, but they happen to be the best titanium bicycle retailer in the country…..bar none.

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The N.E.C. Cycle Show last weekend had further whetted my appetite regarding titanium bikes, and I was ready to dip my toe in the water. Fat Birds carry an almost comprehensive sample of the best on the market, so where better to go to trial several on the same day? Especially reassuring was their willingness, not only to indulge me, but to set up each of the three bikes I trialled to my own specification. So, numbers and measurements featured heavily in the day’s proceedings, as I first trialled a Van Nicholas Yukon

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…followed by a Lynskey Sportive

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….and finally, a Kinesis Racelight Grand Fondo

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I’d like to say they all performed impeccably, and that a final choice would go down to the wire (based on minor aesthetics, perhaps), but there were important differences to the feel, surety of performance and levels of long-term comfort. Most of the differences were down to quality of build, but some could be the result of micro-adjustments to the set-up. It was an intriguing day of scrutiny and analysis.
Of the three I tested, if I were to make a choice, my money would go on the Lynskey…..which happens to be a little known American brand which, I was told, attracts a niche market here in the UK.
Well, there’s a first in my life…..I’ve never thought of myself as a niche buyer. So here is a closer view of the Oscar-winning machine….

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I now go home to spend (probably) several months in deep meditation……backed up, of course, with extensive research ……..in other words, the joy of the hunt.

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on October 3, 2014, in Cycling UK. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. The Lynskey family founded Lightspeed (also a purveyor of shiny ti, though now branched out into carbon), sold their interest in that company and then realised their mistake. Have a look at the Lynskey Helix for a really interesting frame design. Another ti builder to consider is Burls burls.co.uk Justin built my (steel) TT frame. Burls’ ti frames are built in Russia to his design by builders who used to work for Colnago.

  2. ‘Fat Birds’ is where I purchased my Tifosi. I was toying with the idea of going for a Sabbath. I liked the look of the geometry, but I didn’t try one. Dave Thompsett has a Sabbath. Cannot remember which model. Had you considered a Sabbath?
    Dave

  3. Well I was nowhere near close on the purpose of your visit.

  4. I’ve two ti road bikes, both purchased from FatBirds, a Van Nicholas Zephyr and a Lynskey Cooper CX.

    I’ve done 1000s of miles on the Zephyr (bought early 2012) which offers a super smooth ride that’s perfect for all-dayers (I’ve done 175 miles in a day on it comfortably). I absolutely love riding that bike.

    However, the Zephyr doesn’t have proper mudguard or rack mounts and I fancy doing more long distance rides/audax/touring. I also wanted disc brakes and the option of fitting chunky/knobbly tyres to take in some tracks and mix up my road rides. The Cooper CX fitted the bill perfectly, though the recommending sizing is for cyclocross, so I just dropped a size to their recommendation to get the “road bike” geometry I wanted, and fitted a normal-length-for-road stem rather than the shorter stem you’d typically have on a cyclocross bike. I’ve only just built it up, so only done a few short rides, but I’m already confident it was a great choice. The other one I was looking at was a Kinesis Tripster, but at the time it was considerably more for a very similar frame.

    One of my MTBs is also Ti 😉 Didn’t get that from FatBirds but it’s the first Ti bike I owned and with that comes my warning… Titanium is addictive!

    None of that probably helps you mind… except to say that I don’t think you’ll regret buying from FatBirds and I’m absolutely convinced you won’t regret buying Ti.

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