Introducing the Project 1.2 single speed: Reasonably-priced carbon?

Catch up on all of our Project 1.2 posts here!

While it’s been in the works for some time (and we leaked early photos on our Facebook page), our Project 1.2 single speed is now complete.  Hardly a plastic wallflower, the Lurcher has been getting lots of dirty time.  But before diving into the reviews, an introduction.

When the opportunity to pick up one of On-One’s Lurcher 29er frames presented itself, we jumped.  Earlier On-One Inbred and Scandal frames handled brilliantly- and the Lurcher looked set to bring the brand’s high performance, high value ethos to life in carbon fiber.  In fact, it’s the democratization of the magic plastic that’s become the theme of this year’s build. Bike shop and online brands are bringing carbon fiber to ever-lower price points as production capacity has grown and the ins and outs of working with the material are sussed.  Light weight, stiffness and vibration damping for all?  Or at some point does it just become carbon fiber for carbon fiber’s sake?

Let’s start with the frame:  On-One have taken their Inbred/Scandal 29er geometry to the dark side, updating the frame to accommodate tapered forks, Press Fit 92 bottom brackets, direct mount front derailleurs, and the like.  Conceived (though not born) in England, there’s plenty of room for 2.3in tires and a decent helping of mud- even some 2.4s in a pinch.  Bowed seatstays are a nod toward compliance while the massive tube connecting the head tube promise a stiff pedaling platform.  Swappable dropouts (Swapouts) make it single speed ready.  All this at 3.5lb (large) and $800.

Continuing the ‘reasonably-priced carbon’ theme is a host of FSA’s SL-K finishing kit.  Not just an OEM score, the brand’s entry-level carbon bits actually make strategic use of aluminum for cost-effectiveness and peace of mind.  The low-rise bars ($110) and 2-bolt seatpost ($110) make use of the brand’s Carbon Structural Integration, fusing a carbon fiber outer layer with an aluminum inner.  The handsome white stem ($90 in black, $100 for white) makes use of a carbon fiber face plate to keep things sexy (and the bars from flying off).  An SL-K 4-arm carbon crankset provides a stiff connection between the pedals and a 34-tooth FSA DH chainring ($30).  While SL-K parts are most commonly seen with red highlights, white is also an option and works very well with the bike’s color scheme.  Rounding out the package is a pair of comfy lock-on grips ($24) from FSA’s gravity-oriented, um, Gravity line.

As a counterpoint to all of this fantastic plastic, Hope fly the aluminum flag with their well-made Bolted Seat Clamp (reviewed here) and Pick-n-Mix headset.  Hope’s machined-in-England parts are as gorgeous as ever and thir Pick-n-Mix scheme allows riders to choose the right headset for almost any frame/fork combination.  In this case, we’ve smoothly paired a 44mm upper/49.6mm lower head tube with a straight-steerered 1 1/8in fork.  As steering standards evolve, this sort of flexibility is critical to allowing riders to make use of existing parts (in this case a 100mm travel remote lockout RockShox SID XX).  When that is replaced with a tapered fork, sourcing the appropriate lower Hope headset will be easy.

One of the more interesting pieces of this build is Specialized’s Roval Control Carbon 29 wheelset.  In a patent-pending move, Specialized have done away with the hard-to-mold bead hook on their latest wheelset.  Doing so makes the rims’ manufacture significantly cheaper- so much so that the 1,590g wheelset- complete with DT Swiss hubs internals and spokes- retails for a pretty amazing $1,200.  Despite several days of expecting to find a pair of blown-off tires and a Stans-covered workshop, the Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29×2.25s have held tight and held air.  All of the usual axle standards are covered out of the box and we’re looking forward to some miles on these: hard cornering, awkward landings, and all.

Continuing on (or rather stopping) in fine carbon style, we the Magura  MT6 brakes from last year’s Project 24.2 bike.  Still going strong, the Maguras’ composite master cylinder is also available on the  $200/wheel MT4 and downright sensible $140/wheel MT2.  Pedals are Crank Brothers’ latest Candy 3s, providing plenty of platform for single speed stomping.  A flawless Homebrewed Components 2-Piece Cog and Spot spacer kit make the Roval wheelset single speed ready.  Throw in a bombproof Blackburn stainless cage, a light/simple Cateye Strada wireless computer (with older Micro Wireless transmitter), and a trail bell and you’ve got yourself a bike!

The bottom line is a 21.2lb trail weight, or comfortably under 20lb (but much harder to ride) without pedals/sealant/accessories.  We’ll save in-depth reviews for later features, but as built the Lurcher is a solid, predictable bike that begs to be ridden hard- despite a weight that would suggest the opposite.  And it’s a looker, too- wouldn’t you agree?

marc

 

Comments

Keir - 11/29/12 - 11:39am

What was the “reasonably-priced” total cost?

vectorbug - 11/29/12 - 12:29pm

@Keir -
All the prices listed (that I could see) added up to $2374. A few things didn’t have prices. The wheels cost more than the frame (not that theres anything wrong with that). Forks, cranks, brakes weren’t listed but are top shelf. I don’t think the SLK cranks are very cheap, maybe the new XX1 would be a cheaper alternative? But I think the point of the article is save money on a frame and afford nicer components – if you absolutely have to have a new carbon frame.

Although I think most carbon frames are reasonably priced considering the R&D, material and labor going into them (Although labor in Asia costs something like $30 a month per head iirc). But on-one is doing something special here. Their aesthetics aren’t bad, but not great either. I don’t like how the down-tube hangs like a belly though.

It’s like being upset that a disc only costs $1 to make, and yet the video game costs $60. You’re not paying for the physical media!

dgaddis - 11/29/12 - 12:30pm

3.5lbs for a large frame? My large aluminum Scandal frame was 3.8lbs and cost a lot less…

brian - 11/29/12 - 1:01pm

yeah but aluminum isn’t going to ride like carbon. it’s not all about weight savings.

Caliente - 11/29/12 - 1:09pm

The swapout is hot and I’d like to see it on more bikes. Versatility is never a bad thing.
Is it possible to get a pic of the brake mount please?

I’d love to see more horizontal d/o SS disc brake bikes WITHOUT finnicky eccentric BB setups.

This bike looks rad and super fun. Thanks for posting.

Harry's dog - 11/29/12 - 1:38pm

“labor in Asia costs something like $30 a month per head iirc”

Asia is a big place .. and where are wages in a frame factory $1 a day??

Shanghaied - 11/29/12 - 4:38pm

Sure you can hire people for $30 a month, but then we are talking about the most menial and unqualified kind of labour. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.25 per person per day. You won’t be able to find people in Asia to work in manufacturing industries, and export-oriented manufacturing at that, for so little.

Anecdotal evidence: I was in China earlier this year, and saw two recruitment adverts. One was plastered onto a wall in Beijing: entry level security guard, middle school diploma required, ca. $120 per month, room and board. The other one was a TV ad running several times an hour for skilled workers in the construction industry – machine operators and welders, trade school qualifications required, for welders ca. $500 to $1000 a month depending on skill level. Judging by the quality of the welds on some of the steel, aluminium, and not to mention ti frames I’ve seen coming out of China I’d guess that the people making them are near the very top of that pay scale. Taiwan is even more expensive.

Back on topic though, On-one is doing some amazing stuff though – I’ve bought a Lynskey-made Ti 456 frame from them for something like $1000 and a 853 Inbred for $500. Both ride very well. I’m also very tempted by the Pompino – $160 for a 4130 singlespeed CX frame. That said, the paint on them has always been pretty bad as you could expect from the price – my Inbred got half a dozen chip on the downtube after the first long ride.

badger - 11/29/12 - 6:27pm

Heck, that’s an ugly bike. Would it cost more if it looked any better?!

Keith - 11/29/12 - 7:18pm

Put the lightest stiffest carbon suspension fork out there up front and it would be a great bike.

animallover - 11/30/12 - 12:11am

Thats a nasty (deleted)…On One carbon fiber is like mcdonalds filet mignon

Jackie - 11/30/12 - 1:47am

A Sri Lankan can hire a Sri Lankan laborer to make bricks for about $2.50/day and it’ll be a slave-labor deal (obviously). But if you’re talking about a Taiwanese company going into and setting up a factory in China, Vietnam, etc. you ain’t gonna be paying less than $400 (in Viet Nam) – $750 (in China) per month and the worker is gonna require months of training + room & board & health insurance & labor insurance. Can we stop all this talk about people working on carbon bike parts for $1/day??

Hoppy - 11/30/12 - 3:29am

The new carbon lefty sounds good to me Keith

Bubbrubb - 11/30/12 - 8:54am

In all fairness, there is nothing reasonable in the price of the components spec’d except for the frame. In the real world where people aren’t given free parts, most would not opt for the parts you built this bike with, they would aim towards more reasonable parts and save a lot more $.

And as an aside, that bike frame is truly ugly. Not to mention, stop buying direct from bike brands, support your LOCAL BIKE SHOP

Riley - 11/30/12 - 10:12am

In all reality, BR started with a turd and ended up with a polished turd. A nice parts spread coupled with a turd box frame does not equate to something great, you still have the heart and soul (or lack there of) of a turd.

I would be inclined to end this short rant about how this article was a waste of my time but truthfully it was not. BR has really become a site of enjoyment for a variety of reasons that include: 1. The excitement of seeing what 2-3 day old information is going to be posted next. 2. Space filling articles like the one above that provide no value but showcase the epitome of bad decision making. and 3. (the best part of BR) The comments section. I could really care less about the articles but I love the comments section, it makes me laugh. A lot.

I know there are people out there who share my thoughts and enjoyment with BR- Keep up the “good” work, BR!

Pez Dispenser - 11/30/12 - 2:17pm

On-One haven’t taken the Lurcher geometry anywhere. It is using the same 29er geometry that On-One has used for almost a decade with the Inbred 29 and the Scandal 29.

Moving to a tapered headtube is not a geometry change.

It seems BikeRumor’s writers don’t know anything about bicycles, and are forced to fabricate knowledgeable-sounding “review” prose that is empty whenever it’s not mistaken.

The Lurcher uses 29er XC race geometry. There’s nothing new-school or advanced about it.

Tim Aah - 11/30/12 - 4:02pm

@Pez: that’s what the post says. Same geometry in carbon. Updated to current standards. Even I got that.

Marc - 11/30/12 - 6:38pm

Pez,

I’m sorry that it wasn’t clearer, but the phrase “On-One have taken their Inbred/Scandal 29er geometry to the dark side…” was meant to communicate that the bike’s geometry remains the same as the Inbred and Scandal 29ers- the “dark side” being the newest bike’s carbon fiber construction. I, someone who has purchased all three frames with my own money, really like how the bikes handle- enough to choose them over any number of alternatives. Seeing as it’s a 29er XC race bike, the fact that the Lurcher uses 29er race geometry seems pretty appropriate.

As far as my knowledge of bikes goes, I’m sorry that you have that impression. I’ve done a great deal of riding over the past 25 years- and still do- but we all have room to grow. Initial reviews and introductions are just that- unlike some outlets, we do our best to spend a lot of time with the gear that we review. The intent of this post was simply to introduce readers to provide an overview for the reviews to come and to provide some context for the individual component choices.

I do take offense at the suggestion that I am somehow forced to “fabricate knowledgeable-sounding ‘review’ prose that is empty whenever it’s not mistaken-” but if you’re willing to provide specific examples, I’ll work to up my game.

marc

Marc - 11/30/12 - 6:46pm

Riley,

Do you have anything specific you’d like to add about the turdiness of the frame? Bubbrubb alluded to On-One’s consumer-direct model, and may have a valid point. But more detail would make your comment more valuable to everyone reading. To paraphrase Bringatrailer.com’s commenting rules:

It’s easy to say something is ugly or stupid, and sometimes it’s even warranted. It’s harder, and more valuable, to say how you might improve it. Anyone can say a bike sucks— real value is added when you can specify what is wrong and how it might be fixed.

Other readers care a lot more about your opinion if it’s born out of relevant experience. If you know the history of a particular bicycle, or a lot about the category of bike, you’re much more likely to be interesting. Try to speak from your areas of expertise, and let people know what kind of time you have logged with these bikes.

Thanks,

marc

Ol' Shel' - 11/30/12 - 6:57pm

They overheated the down tube, causing it to droop.

Tall Paul - 12/03/12 - 6:13pm

Well said Marc

plum - 12/06/12 - 1:05pm

This bike is Emil-from-Robocop-covered-in-toxic-waste ugly.

Richard - 12/08/12 - 9:23am

Pregnant guppy. That is what it looks like.

Arek - 12/19/12 - 1:23pm

What size is the frame in these pics? Looks like a L?
Can anyone confirm that with single speed swap-outs some sort of a tug-nut system can work? The horizontal drop outs are the only thing that’s keeps me from getting this frame. I want to be able to run a QR wheel in the back – no bolt-ons for me.

Arek

Marc - 12/19/12 - 10:59pm

Arek,

The frame is a large. I’ve been running a Halo brand bolt-type skewer and QR wheels with no issues yet. On-One do sell tugs that fit these dropouts, though.

marc

Mindless - 01/19/13 - 2:37pm

Mark, do not cast pearls before swine. Its a fine frame.

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