It's bike check time again! This time we're looking at our general manager Steve's All-City Cosmic Stallion, and what a beauty of a bike it is. All City are known for producing high quality bikes that not only look stunning but are tough enough to go the distance as a utilitarian workhorse. Focusing mainly on steel as their material of choice with their own custom drawn A.C.E tubing, All City bring high-end performance and classic design cues to their bikes.
Steel has come a long way as a material over the years, and far from being retro and heavy as many people would assume, technological advancements over the years mean than steel can be made to produce an extremely strong and lightweight (not to mention beautiful) bike frame. Steel has had something of a renaissance recently, and by developing their own custom tubing with custom butting profiles, All City are able to put strength exactly where they want it, and remove material where they don't, with the end result being a lightweight, strong and amazing handling bike.
All City's custom A.C.E tubing is designed to be both strong and light weight
Steve built his Cosmic Stallion - All-City's flagship mixed surface/gravel bike to be his workhorse daily commuter, all weather bike. It's important to enjoy the bikes you ride, even if it's your commuter bike, and while this isn't the flashiest build around, Steve certainly didn't scrimp on any parts of it either. It certainly is an enviable steed for most riders.
For a workhorse build like this, a 1x drivetrain is almost a must. Simplicity is key for a daily rider and ease of maintenance means less time spent working on the bike and more time riding it. Since 1x drivetrains made their way over to drop-bar bikes over the last few years they've become a lot more commonplace. Thanks to clutch derailleurs and narrow-wide chainring technology trickling across from the mountain bike world, road and gravel bikes can now have simpler more reliable drivetrains with pretty much the same range as a traditional derailleur setup.
Apologies for the dirty drivetrain, this bike gets a daily workout!
Here Steve is using a shimano GRX drivetrain on an 11-42t cassette and a 46t chainring up front. Since he's mainly using this bike for commuting and likely won't be taking it out for any big gravel/road climbs he doesn't need a super wide range and instead has opted for a bigger gear and closer ratios, keeping things nice and simple.
Keeping Steve's speed in check are Shimano's reliable and powerful GRX brakes. Essentially the same as Shimano's famed Ultegra R8000 series brakes, the GRX stoppers have been proven time and time again to be robust, with great feel and amazing power, with little more you could ask from them. Perfect then for this super-commuter gravel machine. Paired with Sram Centerline XR 6-bolt rotors not only do they work well but they look incredible too.
Did I say utilitarian? Chris King hubs might be a little bit on the expensive side, and not what you might typically associate with your daily commuter, but hear me out on this one. Producing their own components in-house in the USA since 1976, Chris King know a thing or two about quality. One of the few companies that actually make their own bearings in-house, King are able to ensure that those bearings are up to the highest quality. Not only that, but the bearings are fully serviceable without removing them from the hubs, and come with a lifetime warranty. For reliable, amazing feeling hubs, it doesn't get much better than Chris King.
Laced to those amazing hubs are a set of DT Swiss GR531 rims - their top-tier welded aluminum rims. With an internal width of 24mm and weighing 535g each these rims don't break the bank at $156, but they're some of the strongest, best performing aluminum rims available.
Finishing off the build is a smattering of carefully chosen parts and stunning frame details, because even though it's a workhorse, it still needs to look the part. Holding onto Steve's water bottles are some Stainless Steel King Cages. The headset compression plug and top cap are an Ultra-light HD9100 from Whisky Components.
Keeping Steve safe from rogue pedestrians with its clear, crisp tones is a bell from Spurcycle. All-City themselves also have a keen eye for detail, and some stunning finishing touches include the all metal head tube badge and an absolutely beautiful integrated seatpost clamp.