Project Any Road Review: The Versatile Steel Any Road Weapon – All-City’s Mr. Pink
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The pages of BikeRumor are often filled with magic plastic race bikes, high tech full suspension mountain bikes, and lust worthy customs. But today, a slight change of pace with the review of a frameset for the masses – The All-City Mr. Pink.
This frameset was purchased for use in our Project Any Road build that started late last winter. The end goal of the project was to build up a bike that could handle road rides, a bit of dirt, and a lot of gravel. After considering offerings from Soma, Surly, and others, the Mr. Pink was chosen.
Roll past the break for details, opinions, and specs.
After researching a few different frames, I knew the build would include caliper brakes (call me crazy but I just prefer them over mechanical disc brakes on the road). I knew it would be a steel bike. And, I wanted clearance for larger that average tires.
The Mr. Pink from All-City is, by design, a road bike. However, that design includes clearance for large tires, and it has hidden rear fender mounts. The geometry is a bit more relaxed than a race bike. Plus, this isn’t just your average small tubed steel roadie. It has an oversized down tube, press fit BB30, and it’s made from Columbus Zona tubes. The one omission that most would prefer are rack mounts. Personally, I rarely use a rear rack, but many do, and I could see that being a good addition to a bike that is well suited for commuting. If that is more your style, All-CIty does offer the Spacehorse, which is designed for commuting and touring.
The aesthetic touches on the frame include internal top tube routing for the rear brake cable, integrated seat post binder, black metal flake paint that really pops in the sun, lugged rear dropouts, and a sweet metal head tube badge.
The frame is paired with a flat crowned 4130 ChroMoly fork. It features a 1 1/8th inch steerer, 43mm rake, and a compliance inducing radius curve that gives it a very classy look. Keeping with the classy theme, the dropouts are lugged, and just above them sits low rider style fender mounts. The brake mount is designed to work with long reach calipers, and tire clearance is listed a 32mm (28 with fenders), but I have stuffed cross tires measuring 34.7mm with no issues. I have also managed to successfully run a tire measuring 30mm with full fenders and no rubbing.
Weight for the frame came in at 4 lbs 12 oz (2.15 kg.) The fork is 2 lbs 5 oz (1.05 kg.) Retail cost for the frameset is $795.
With the formalities out of the way, lets get down to performance. Having ridden high end steel, carbon race bikes, flat bar commuters, aluminum roadies, and even some Ti frames, I can safely say this is the best all-rounder frameset I have been on. For starters, the bike is smooth. The steel tubes soak up road vibration very effectively, and they yield a wonderfully compliant ride on gravel, dirt, and paved roads. The geometry makes this a comfortable bike for long days in the saddle. That said, it’s no slouch, and if you choose to push the bike hard, it’ll go fast. The press fit BB30 helps give this a stiff pedaling platform, and the bike has very little windup when sprinting out of the saddle. Being steel, it isn’t the stiffest bike around, but given the purpose of this ride, I wouldn’t want it to be. The frame and fork are adequately stiff, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
My only complaint is a minor one, and that is the fact that the handling feels a bit slow. The handling on the Mr. Pink is very stable and predictable. It responds well to rider input, it just takes a tad bit longer to get a reaction from the bike. I notice when cornering, I take a wider line than I would otherwise on a faster handling bike. That said, I’d take slow over twitchy on this bike any day.
Now lets talk possibilities, because this frame has many. The bike can make a suitable build for fast road rides with a light weight parts spec, the addition of a carbon fork, and a slammed stem. Want a faster commuter? Give the bike a sensible 105 drivetrain and fenders and you have a fast ride to work, plus a great rain bike (you can even fit a rack like PDW’s Loading Dock on it with special hardware). Need a gravel racer? Thanks to the abundance of tire clearance, knobbys fit fine, allowing you to hit the rough roads and even a bit of dirt and mud.
The one thing I have noticed, and really enjoyed about this bike, is just how much wheelsets really change it’s characteristic. A wheelset upgrade usually does have a noticeable impact on how a bike rides and feels, and that factor seems to be amplified with the Mr. Pink. Running a fat 35c Schwalbe Kojak tire at 65 PSI on a mid-weight wheel gives this bike a great, predictable feeling cruising down the road on my way to work. It’s super comfortable and fun. Swapping those out for a lightweight A23 build and some 28c Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons perks the bike up and makes it feel racy. I don’t find myself wishing I had taken out the carbon wonder bike when out on a fast paced road ride. When it comes time to run through the gravel, dirt, and mud I have been using a 1440g FSA Team issue wheelset wrapped in 32c Continental CycloXKing tires. The feeling off road is quick, and very similar to my CAAD9 cross rig.
A bike dedicated to do one thing is almost always going to do it better than a swiss army knife bike. The All-City Mr. Pink isn’t the perfect road racer, and a dedicated cross bike is always going to be a bit better off road. But, the Mr. Pink is a more than capable bike for just about any build you can think of, and excels when the pavement gets rough. I haven’t had a ride yet where I wasn’t smiling from start to finish. If you are looking for a bike that works well under many conditions, and has the possibility to take you many places, give the All-City Mr. Pink some serious consideration. Their complete build has a great parts list as well, and can be had for $1895. Otherwise, opt for the frameset at $795 and go nuts with your own build.