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?