Pace have been producing bikes, forks, components and clothing from their base on the Yorkshire moors for near on 25 years although as they have been mountainbikers through and through you may never have heard of them. During their history several products that have emerged from their workshop have become iconic in the off-road world, most notably their square-tubed aluminium frames that can still bring a wistful tear to a mountainbikers eye in the way an old lugged steel Colnago can do to a roadie's.
Designed by Adrian Carter, the head boy of Pace Cycles, the 42:16 is the first complete bike Pace have manufactured for many years, we asked him why after almost a quarter century of designing off-road equipment they've suddenly decided to come out with a tarmac bike, and a fixed one at that. Adrian said that riding to work on his MTB was becoming bit of a drag in winter so he converted it to a fixed gear by bolting on a drive sprocket to the hub through the disc-brake bolts. Then whilst he was using it as a 'Frankenbike' complete with panniers on a long-distance ride with his wife he realised he should really design a proper bike fit for purpose. As the market seemed awash with cheap disposable commuter fixies he decided to create something that's a pleasure to own, easy on the eye and more stable and comfortable to ride.
The 42:16 frame is made from fillet brazed custom double butted
4130 CrMo steel, the top-tube passes the fingernail flick test with a pleasing and resonant ptingggggggg, and the whole bike track-stands on the scales at 19lbs for the Large without pedals. The steel theme carries on into to the almost unique steel one-piece stem and handlebar that sits on top of a straight blade steel fork. The frame and fork are littered with lovely little details; the stem ahead bolt hidden round the wrong side of the bike, an artistic feature that’s also kind on knees, "42" and "16" embossed in the tops of the fork legs, the chromed chainstay, pin-stripe paint detailing and enigmatic graphics. On a more practical level the frame is designed with room for mudguards, eyelets decorate the track-ends and the forks, and a there's a suitable hole in the seatstay bridge, so there's rear brake possibilty as well.
Attention to detail is displayed in the components too, the 42:16 LTD Ed comes with a Pace CNC machined track rear sprocket, a Charge Spoon saddle with colour-matched logos, stitching and underside to co-ordinate with the frames "Ultra Pale Green" paint scheme, although it looks nearer light blue to us in some lights.
Wheels are Halo Aerotracks with deep section rims, the front is radially spoked and the rear is flipable for singlespeed freewheel fitting should you not have the knees or cojones for fixed. Schwalbe Blizzard 700x25c tyres circumnavigate the rims. FSA supply the headset, layback seatpost and Vero crankset with its smartly hidden chainring bolts. A Tekro brake and lever do the stopping bit that back-force in your thighs can't handle.
The gearing is, as you may have guessed, 42:16
Pace say the 42:16 is not just another track frame dressed up for an urban role but has dedicated geometry and spec’ to provide just the right balance of stability, speed and comfort when out on the town. The twin bottle cage mounts hint at the fact that the bike isn't just designed for trips to the brasserie (do they have brasseries in Yorkshire?) but for longer jaunts as well, to the brasserie on the other side of the hill then.
The 42:16 is initially being made available as a Limited Edition of only 100 bikes, each with individually numbered brass ID plates mounted on the bottom-bracket, ours is number 12, if you were wondering. The 42:16 is available in four sizes, each with a dedicated stem length and bar width, supplied with a front brake only and without pedals for £795.
Everyone that's seen the 42:16 so far has gone a bit gushy with how pretty it is, we'll see if it rides as sweet as it looks.
While we were chatting Pace were keen to mention that they've just moved from their old shed right on top of the moors down into Dalby Forest, home to a MTB World Cup race, a Tour Of Britain finish and some really, really nice riding, both road and off. We have happy memories of pedalling along the wonderful Dalby Forest Drive, part of a great hilly road loop that we must go and do again sometime.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he’s not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he’s not doing either of those he’s pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he’s agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours doesn’t. He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.