Few bicycle manufacturers manage to blend bleeding-edge design features, timeless aesthetics and an instantly recognisable flair quite like the All-City Bikes – in fact, we’d probably go as far as saying that none do. From their HQ in Minneapolis, All-City’s aim is to create production bicycles that can go head to head with boutique options on any metric. Up-to-date geometry, hand-built details: frames ready for the latest tech but with a casquette lightly doffed to cycling’s heritage.
With a couple of exceptions, the All-City range is built from steel. Not just any steel though: the workhorses are made from double-butted 4130 cromoly, with diameters and wall thicknesses picked out for each frame size on each model to balance out required strength and minimal weight – and the true featherweight options take this attention to detail even further. Back in 2016, All-City produced their own custom-extruded steel tubeset for maximum design control, right down to the stays. That’s a degree of bespoke construction that even those building by hand can’t match.
The All-City Cosmic Stallion recently spawned a new iteration, this time in a custom-drawn tubeset of titanium named Oberon, for more weight-saving and a trademark exotic ride flavour. The innate toughness of titanium is ideal for this all-terrain mile-muching machine.
At the other end of the spectrum, the All-City Thunderdome – as the name esoterically suggests – is a model destined for the steep boards of the velodrome. As such, this model is built from aluminium for its incredible stiffness-to-weight-to-cost ratio.
As much as the design and manufacturing techniques set All-City Bikes apart, the first thing we all notice is the paintwork. This doesn’t happen by accident, in fact the visual impact of these bikes is firmly at the heart of the All-City ethos. The designers pool inspiration from sources as broad as classic motorsport, personal ride memories, and the emotional response of shades and tones before settling on a scheme for a given frame.
Once the design is complete, the physical paint process begins. Frames are dipped in a phosphorus bath to remove any contamination. Then a base coat is applied by electrophoretic disposition – this provides a uniform thickness of base coat for the top layer to adhere to, and one that is incredibly durable. Finally, wet paint is applied. Rather than saving a few quid on a less labour-intensive powder coating process, All-City have opted for liquid paint applied by highly skilled technicians. This provides an unlimited range of colour options, as well as a depth that really has to be seen to be believed. Finally, a clear coat lacquer is applied to protect the paint from UV damage and general wear and tear.
Featuring All-City’s ACE full-custom tubeset for low weight and a zingy ride, the ZigZag could have been purpose-made for UK road riding. While the focus is on long days in the saddle – a fairly tall headtube, and long wheelbase – the stays are still short, giving an engaging ride sensation and snappy handling.
One of the most versatile bike designs around, the All-City Gorilla Monsoon can go from drop-barred mountain bike to a road-tripping tourer with just a wheel change. Run up to 2.4” wide tyres on 27.5” wheels, or stick to asphalt and gravel with 700x42. Plentiful mounts cover luggage capabilities and dropper post routing means no trail is too tough.
Borrowing features from gravel bikes but with an eye on classic town bike style and practicality, the Super Professional can be run geared or singlespeed, drop or flat bar, 650b or 700c wheels. Mudguard and rack mounts take care of business, and dropper post routing starts the party.
Agile, tucked geometry for bursts of extreme acceleration and the premium ACE tubeset for low weight: the Nature Cross is race-ready come ‘cross season. With clearance for up to 42mm tyres, there’s no reason not to take on a few MTB trails and longer, less circuitous rides too. Just ask our Jake!