On-One wants you to know the “Inbred was designed as a bike for riding. No fancy clever bits…” No new revelation here. Singlespeeds are all about the bare basics in a bike. After test riding the Inbred singlespeed for over a month, it finally occurred to me what this British bicycle company might be implying. I believe these Brits have full confidence in not having component or frame failures. The Inbred is “kid proof”, “bullet proof”…it’s overbuilt.
Dirt Rag collaborated with On-One to send the Inbred singlespeed to my friends at The Bike Barn in Phoenix, AZ. Like many other things British, the front brake was right-handed (like motorcycles), while the rear brake was controlled by the left hand. The Inbred has a bold look, highlighted by its hand-built 1.25” (3.2cm) five piece, DN6 chromoly rigid front fork and black anodized 1.69” (4.3cm) diameter Full Monty hub set with 8mm hex locking bolts. These bolts require carrying an additional hex wrench in your tool kit, since most handy tool clusters only have 6mm. Another drawback is the need for the large wrench to pull the front tire off to put the bike in the boot (thanks to Doug K. for a bit of British dialect). However, the frame’s Reynolds 853 main triangle double butted tubing is visually small with the top and seat tubes measuring 1.125” (2.9cm) in diameter and the downtube measuring 1.375” (3.5cm) in diameter. The pearlescent white color of the frameset, with its nice Inbred mascot decal, was complemented well with the black anodized contrast of the team issue Planet X riser bar (25” or 63.5cm wide), stem (80mm x 5°), and seat post. The following completes the color coordinated scheme and bike build: team issue gray Kevlar WTB Velociraptor tires, Planet X black and silver saddle (with Kevlar side panels and rail fore/aft scale) and SRAM 7.0 brake set with Planet X pads.
Planet X is another English company and warranties its components against bending for two years, supporting my interpretation of On-One’s motto of, “it’s a bike for riding.” In fact, Planet X is a sister company. The story goes that Brant, a designer for Planet X, wanted to do more hardcore stuff. On-One was launched to do “crazy, really niche projects.” The Inbred singlespeed was the first such project. Why the name “Inbred?” Well…Brant just felt it summed up lots of things.
My strategy for a proper evaluation of the Inbred was to build up to a singlespeed endurance level, see how I could hang with my fellow riders and compare it to my geared bike rides. Out here in AZ, we ride hard year round, so it just makes sense to test this On-One Inbred in the same manner.
The inaugural ride was an urban assault to a common meeting location where a group of 8 friends gathered for another short cross town leg. The road ride gave me the first impression and acclimated me to the one-geared spinning cadence I’ve seen so often…pedal like hell (for as long as you can), coast, pedal like hell, coast. Talk about a quiet ride! The short handlebar stem and riser bar combination put me in a more upright position than I was used to, and when I stood up to stretch my legs, it seemed like I was automatically placed over the front tire. Trying to lift over a street curb and jump onto the dirt trail made me feel the weight of the Inbred (24 lbs.). I basically bashed over the curb and at this point, I knew that I would need to adjust my style from finesse to plain brute force. Once on the dirt trail, I found the feel of the Inbred to be solid and firm. The basic frame geometries were very much the same as my personal bike: 16.25”-17.75” (41-45cm) chainstay length, 42.13” (107cm) wheelbase with the axle set at 17”, 71°/73° head/seat angle, and 22.8” (57.9cm) top tube. I had forgotten what a rigid fork felt like, and I didn’t mind the sharpness of the hits. On the rolling hills, the Inbred accelerated on the descent and followed a straight line in the direction that I pointed the front wheel. The 11” (279.4mm) bottom bracket height, which is approximately 0.75”-1” lower than most mountain bike frames, provided a lower center of gravity, and in conjunction with its rather healthy build, made it an excellent bike for fast, sure-handling descents. However, I could feel a rapid deceleration, like the rear tire was deflating, when ascending the opposite side of the roller.
Everything I had felt in the bike’s handling only became more apparent with test rides on the more challenging terrain. The bike didn’t drift or feel like it was jumping from side to side as I accelerated down the hill. There was no guesswork when cutting through turns with the big rigid fork—point it and as long as the tire gripped, it was on line. I carried plenty of momentum and speed to bash over rock obstacles, and grind up the rest of the hill. On another, more technical trail, I found myself constantly interrupting my cadence to avoid clipping rocks with the 180mm crank arms. These cranks made me realize that this bike was designed for riding trails with low or smaller obstacles, short easy hills and “roller coaster” routes, downhill, jumping, and urban assault.
Is the On-One Inbred a singlespeed for singlespeeders? I guess the answer is linked to the psyche and riding style of the individual. Singlespeeders are a rare breed of mountain bikers. The demographics of singlespeeders, as I see it, is better than 90% male, between the ages of 25-35, in good physical shape and better than average bike handling skills with race experience. They thrive on riding the same trails as their multi-geared brethren. The harder the better! Ask any singlespeeder why they ride one geared mountain bikes and you’ll hear reasons like… “It’s the purest form of mountain biking: the bike, the terrain, and your ability;” “not everybody else can do it, but you can;” “they climb faster;” “the bike is sleeker, lighter, quieter, with lower maintenance;” and “it’s more efficient riding style that works your whole body.” The one common theme for all singlespeeders is the need to be recognized and acknowledged as unique mountain bikers. To be quite honest, I think the whole singlespeed thing is regression, especially for us older riders, to our early riding experiences. We all remember the feeling we had of being recognized as one of those nutty mountain bikers, and we remember the satisfaction of cleaning a challenging obstacle or completing a skill maneuver. Riding the On-One Inbred singlespeed on the same trails that I “grew up” on with my multi-geared bike, re-invigorated me mentally and physically. I wanted a new feeling on a bike, and the On-One Inbred was definitely a change I needed.
Contact: The On-One Inbred is distributed in the USA by Team Planet X, PO Box 370518, Montara, CA 94037; 650.728.2453; www.teamplanetx.com.