Q & A

Steve answers some frequently asked questions about
One Cycles L.L.C., Singlespeed philosophy, and the greater meaning of life.

By Marin Campbell - Journalist and Avid Cyclist

Where are you based?
The company is based in Manitowoc, WI, but all of our frames are handmade in Portland, OR. 

Why singlespeed?
Because it's pure and it's exciting.  It's an adventure: pure, raw.  You're committed—you're climbing—no gears.  I don't know how to put it.  Simple.  

Why aluminum?
Aluminum offers pretty amazing ride quality without compromising efficient power transfer.  Very little power loss due to the frame being rigid in the right spots.  It's extremely responsive and light.  And it has a nice rigid feel—very solid underfoot.  And when you have a singlespeed—when you have one gear, you're putting a lot of torque through the chain.  And aluminum just gives you the advantage of putting power straight into the wheel.  Simply because it doesn't flex as much as other materials, and you don't want a singlespeed to flex.

Why the 32-16 gearing?
It offers the great 2 to 1 ratio.  Good torque for a solid all-around ride.  Climbs, technicals…and you still have some pedal under you for when you're descending. 

Why an eccentric bottom bracket?
Good question.  The EBB allows for several really cool features in a singlespeed frame.  One of the best features is standard drops.  And with standard drops, you can easily change a tire quickly, especially during a race.  It allows for ease of caliper-rotor alignment, wheel-frame alignment, and chain tension when the rear wheel is removed.  There's no guessing.  None of those things is compromised.  Whereas if you have sliding drops, you're loosening your rear wheel, and you have more of a chance to misalign everything.  Standard drops are much easier, faster.  And there's also less flex.  The drops are custom-designed to be oversized, which helps the rear to be stiffer.  Now, another advantage of having a standard drop, is your wheelbase doesn't change.  Just because you change your gear ratio, doesn't mean your wheelbase should change with that.  The bike should handle the same no matter what gear ratio you choose.  You shouldn't have to accept the fact that your bike is going to change riding characteristics because you decide you want to run a different gear.  You shouldn't have to compromise your bike's riding qualities because of the name brand that's on it.  For example, a derailleur hanger on a SS bike.  What is that?  Is it a SS, or is it not?  And I think a lot of companies produce a bike that offers horizontal drops just to be cost effective.  And we're not cutting any corners.  Custom drops—solid performance.  That's the bottom line.

Why a larger gauge tubing?
It's a strength to weight ratio, that's it.  Plus, it allows for us to eliminate a lot of flex found in smaller diameter tube sets.

What's important to you as a rider?
Getting what you paid for, and not paying for hype; not paying for a name.  Quality and solid performance.

What is your bike's personality like?
Laughs.  It's a very happy bike.  It's happy to be ridden.  And it's not slow and sluggish.  Happy and lively—with a good sense of humor.  And it's not unpredictable.

Who will appreciate this bike?
Oh, man.  I think that people who look for quality and that are not just buying something because of the name attached to it but are looking for features that will shine—performance.  It's definitely not an overpriced, under-thought out bike that had corners cut.  It's full of awesome features.

What led you to design this bike?
I think that goes back to the first question of why singlespeed.  And singlespeed is…singlespeed is…how can I put this?  Riding a hardtail is very—it's raw, it's pure.  You know, it's solid feel.  And then getting on a singlespeed only exaggerates that.  It allows you to connect further with the trail, and it allows you to appreciate a difficult climb that you conquer, or respect a descent—something along those lines, you know?  When you ride a singlespeed it should be rewarding, it shouldn't be painful.

I'd have to say that riding bikes over the years has—I started to refine my tastes quite a bit, and wanted to provide something that everybody could enjoy.  A bike that has a lot of nice touches, without cutting any corners in the production of a frame.  I just wanted to pass it on.  You start learning what you want after a while, what feels good.

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