Just in: On-One Pompetamine Versa 11

Do-it-all commu-tourer with Alfine's 11-spd hub

by Rob Simmonds   September 12, 2011  

We like rare and unusual beasts at road.cc. I myself am often to be found commuting on a Wyvern, especially if the Gryphon has a flat tyre. However, we currently have an even more rarefied specimen on test. Alfine 11 hub gear, drop bars, disc brakes and proper STI shifters? On the same bike? It’s a veritable chimera! What is this, an award winning cycling website or the Fortean Times?

The heart of this particular beast is a Pompino frame, much loved in its single speed form and very handsome in new black livery, with the Alfine hub dropped in at the rear. Shifting duties are taken care of by Versa STI shifters, a departure from the usual Shimano/Campag/Sram triumvirate and essential to work the hub effectively.

They also operate the Avid BB7 mechanical discs, another old favourite. The rest of the spec can be customised endlessly – ours came with FSA Wing Anatomic Aero bars, Selle Italia Flite XC saddle and Schwalbe Marathon tyres. The tyres are a logical choice on a workhorse, especially one where you really don’t want a flat on the rear, but they aren’t listed on the On-One website, which seems odd.

On-One are proud to call their Pompetamine (I hope I don’t have to spell it out for you) the worlds first Alfine equipped drop bar bike. For those of us who enjoy practical bikes, the prospect of an off-the-shelf, drop barred, disc braked, steel framed do-anything commuter/tourer has been a long time coming. A belt drive would tick all the boxes, but you can’t have everything.

We’ve been pretty excited about the prospect of testing one so now it’s arrived there are a few questions that need answering: Just how good is the Alfine hub? Is removing the rear wheel going to be as fearsome a task as it looks? Do those Versa shifters match up to those of the big boys? And more importantly, is it as much fun to ride as it should be? Our bike is even now being thrashed around the lanes of Devon, so we should have some answers soon. Watch this space…

36 user comments

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I have one Big Grin

Hub gears work great most of the time tho i do get the occasional delay and a jump into gear that is somewhat offputting especially given the general smoothness of the gear changes.

Brakes are....AWESOME! light to use and quickly effective. Quite a shock to ride my sl pro and use calipers. They wont be for everyone. I cannot feather the brakes yet as i like to do when necessary though it may just be a question of wearing or bedding in or adjustment.

Now i can only compare the bikes handling to my sl pro, for which i had a fitting at The Bike Wisperer and which i love but i am struggling to enjoy some aspects of the bikes ride. I am using durano 25mm, not the plus's at about 95psi so less pressure than my sl. The bike is obviously heavier and the weight is largely in the wheels though but i really do feel the weight. It takes a while to get up to speed. I dont know if there is any drag in the hub or discs, i assume not because the wheels turn freely when spun, or whether it is just the weight of the wheels, the rear in particular, but it is significant and i am struggling to get used to it and definately ride in a lower gear as a result. Perhaps i should mtfu! perhaps the tyres are having an impact here? i dont know. which brings me to my 2nd issue. I feel battered after riding the bike in a way i dont with the sl pro. The set up has been adjusted to mirror the pro too. Yet I feel every bump in the road. If i was to descibe the ride i would say it was "harsh" and frankly exhausting as a result. It is not helped by the versa hoods which are hard and uncomfortable to my sram hoods and i am slower too which is annoying though not unexpected given the differences between the 2 bikes. I feel also as if too much of the harshness i experience comes up through the down tube and up the seat post. Not sure whether to change the tyres, perhaps the durano plus's at 23mm or to go wider and softer but surely the ride will become stodgier and slower?

i have not dared remove the rear wheel! a quick look at youtube scared the bejesus on that score!

Re reading this it sounds like i am unhappy with bike. I am struggling with it. It is a shame because in many respects it is ideal and certainly looks even better in the flesh than in pictures, bar the cabling another poster refers to. And then there is the dynamo hub which i have yet to find a light for...

I look forward to the review to see if my experience of the bike is at odds with the reviewers and in the meantime will update this post as i ride the bike more and perhaps change my position on the bike and tyres and so on.

bobinski

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
12th September 2011 - 16:53

2 Likes

If the threaded hole for the rear mudguard is still on the bottom of the yoke of the seatstay wishbone then best thing to do is just to drill the guard through and bolt it from the inside of the guard.

posted by BigDummy [288 posts]
12th September 2011 - 18:17

4 Likes

You could have the belt drive with the Milk Bikes RDA and in my opinion the RDA frame looks nicer.

posted by shaws [4 posts]
12th September 2011 - 18:33

3 Likes

shaws wrote:
You could have the belt drive with the Milk Bikes RDA and in my opinion the RDA frame looks nicer.

Nice, but a lot more expensive (£1650). Thinking

As various peeps have commented, it is drilled for mudguards, although with that odd under-yoke thing on the rear and only through the rear of the fork crown.

Lots of interest in the bike so far - if you have any burning questions, let me have 'em.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
12th September 2011 - 20:57

4 Likes

Rob Simmonds wrote:
that odd under-yoke thing on the rear and only through the rear of the fork crown.

Rob, there is nothing 'odd' about mounting a mudguard direct to the seatstay/chainstay bridge and fork crown - it would be one of the defining features of a custom-made frame if you planned to fit mudguards. MUCH tidier and nice to see on a production frame.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
12th September 2011 - 21:35

2 Likes

The Grande Route I played with back in January had something similar - bolt straight through the mudguard and into the rack tubing - but I've never seen the like on a common or garden bike.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
12th September 2011 - 22:09

3 Likes

The worlds first Alfine equipped drop bar bike? Er, what about the Genesis Day 01 Alfine introduced last year? I'm sure there must have been more too as the sti was designed for this application.

posted by steelisreal79 [1 posts]
12th September 2011 - 22:13

2 Likes

They probably mean Alfine 11 equipped, Genesis also does an 11-speed one now but it's a 2012 release, so I guess On-One got theirs in the shops first.

Stewie

posted by stewieatb [298 posts]
12th September 2011 - 23:39

3 Likes

bobinski wrote:
I feel battered after riding the bike in a way i dont with the sl pro. The set up has been adjusted to mirror the pro too. Yet I feel every bump in the road. If i was to descibe the ride i would say it was "harsh" and frankly exhausting as a result. It is not helped by the versa hoods which are hard and uncomfortable to my sram hoods and i am slower too which is annoying though not unexpected given the differences between the 2 bikes. I feel also as if too much of the harshness i experience comes up through the down tube and up the seat post. Not sure whether to change the tyres, perhaps the durano plus's at 23mm or to go wider and softer but surely the ride will become stodgier and slower?

My commuter is a Kaffenback. Essentially the same frame and fork, but with a different dropout/brake setup. I originally ran 25mm tyres, but also found the ride harsh. Even though 'steel is real', fat and heavy steel is still unforgiving (not as bone shudderingly harsh as my old CAAD5 was, but harsh nonetheless). Also, those Durano tyres, with their plastic belt, are not exactly supple.

I now run Schwalbe Marathon Racer 30mm rubber, and the ride is a lot better. I had no trouble keeping up on the club runs through the last couple of winters. And with full guards and fat rubber, I was much happier than most through the worst of British weather. I even won the Sunday morning World Champs sprint a couple of times, so 30mm can't be that slow (And I think it annoys the others no end that someone out-sprints them on a city bike with a rack Big Grin). The 'Racer' version is only ~350g, so not heavy. But no plastic beading, so not quite as durable as the Duranos. I've had, IIRC, 3 p*******s in the last year, though one of those was a spoke head popping though an old rim tape.

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
13th September 2011 - 10:08

5 Likes

If you're interested in that bike, you'll certainly be interested in this thread on an Irish cycling forum http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=74187378

Especially post number 6 by Lumen. He talks about his custom made bike based on this frame. Might give ideas to people. It certainly does to me Smile

posted by enas [4 posts]
13th September 2011 - 10:40

2 Likes

Matt_S wrote:
bobinski wrote:
I feel battered after riding the bike in a way i dont with the sl pro. The set up has been adjusted to mirror the pro too. Yet I feel every bump in the road. If i was to descibe the ride i would say it was "harsh" and frankly exhausting as a result. It is not helped by the versa hoods which are hard and uncomfortable to my sram hoods and i am slower too which is annoying though not unexpected given the differences between the 2 bikes. I feel also as if too much of the harshness i experience comes up through the down tube and up the seat post. Not sure whether to change the tyres, perhaps the durano plus's at 23mm or to go wider and softer but surely the ride will become stodgier and slower?

My commuter is a Kaffenback. Essentially the same frame and fork, but with a different dropout/brake setup. I originally ran 25mm tyres, but also found the ride harsh. Even though 'steel is real', fat and heavy steel is still unforgiving (not as bone shudderingly harsh as my old CAAD5 was, but harsh nonetheless). Also, those Durano tyres, with their plastic belt, are not exactly supple.

I now run Schwalbe Marathon Racer 30mm rubber, and the ride is a lot better. I had no trouble keeping up on the club runs through the last couple of winters. And with full guards and fat rubber, I was much happier than most through the worst of British weather. I even won the Sunday morning World Champs sprint a couple of times, so 30mm can't be that slow (And I think it annoys the others no end that someone out-sprints them on a city bike with a rack Big Grin). The 'Racer' version is only ~350g, so not heavy. But no plastic beading, so not quite as durable as the Duranos. I've had, IIRC, 3 p*******s in the last year, though one of those was a spoke head popping though an old rim tape.

Matt,
thats interesting. The only problem with changing the tyre for on more supple is of course the dreaded p******* fairy and the hassle involved in removing the rear wheel etc to change or repair the inner tube. Perhaps something puncture resistant on the back and another lighter more supple tyre on the front? and a change of seatpost perhaps? Its not the saddle by the way which is fine though i actually prefer the firmer planet x saddle on my sl pro Confused Go figure.

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
13th September 2011 - 10:49

2 Likes

bobinski - I expect the lack of speed you feel is due mainly to the weight, afterall it will be significantly heavier than your good bike.

For dynamo lights get yourself a B&M Cyo-plus from SJS or SPA cycles, i went for the fancier (but similar) Edeluxe and ive been really impressed with it.

As for the ride, well i found my old Pomp ok but then i had a carbon post. I also agree with what other said about the tyres, as good tyres make a huge difference to speed and feel.

Finally, please find someone to teach you how to use and maintain your Alfine! They are great things for commuting as they are reliable... unless you fail to do basic maintenance such as checking gear set-up regularly. Removing and refitting the wheel is very simple when you have someone explain it to you, find a local shop who can give you a lesson, you will appreciate it when you get a puncture.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [415 posts]
13th September 2011 - 10:51

3 Likes

STATO wrote:
bobinski - I expect the lack of speed you feel is due mainly to the weight, afterall it will be significantly heavier than your good bike.

For dynamo lights get yourself a B&M Cyo-plus from SJS or SPA cycles, i went for the fancier (but similar) Edeluxe and ive been really impressed with it.

As for the ride, well i found my old Pomp ok but then i had a carbon post. I also agree with what other said about the tyres, as good tyres make a huge difference to speed and feel.

Finally, please find someone to teach you how to use and maintain your Alfine! They are great things for commuting as they are reliable... unless you fail to do basic maintenance such as checking gear set-up regularly. Removing and refitting the wheel is very simple when you have someone explain it to you, find a local shop who can give you a lesson, you will appreciate it when you get a puncture.

Hi Stato,
I knew it would be heavier but somewhat surprised by the bikes harsh ride.But there again its not really a racing bike and i have to accept that. I suspect it is ideal for what it is designed for and if i can just improve the ride to remove the harshness then all will be fine.Tyres first and i will have to learn to remove and refit the rear wheel to change them Big Grin

Thanks for the tip on the lights. They look great.

cheers

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
13th September 2011 - 12:09

2 Likes

Alfine removal isn't too bad, but track-ends and full-length mudguards? No thanks.

posted by ir_bandito [59 posts]
13th September 2011 - 12:48

2 Likes

Needs a belt drive to complete it

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
13th September 2011 - 13:36

1 Like

ir_bandito wrote:
Alfine removal isn't too bad, but track-ends and full-length mudguards? No thanks.

I solved that problem on my Pompino with SKS guards and drilled/tapped chaintugs...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dickyelsdon/3696836767/

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [415 posts]
13th September 2011 - 13:51

4 Likes

ir_bandito wrote:
Alfine removal isn't too bad, but track-ends and full-length mudguards? No thanks.

Good point.

STATO wrote:
I solved that problem on my Pompino with SKS guards and drilled/tapped chaintugs...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dickyelsdon/3696836767/

Neat solution! I like that...

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
13th September 2011 - 20:46

3 Likes

What is going on with the bottom bearing of the headset ?

Walter Sitter

posted by Walter Sitter [12 posts]
15th September 2011 - 2:01

3 Likes

Walter Sitter wrote:
What is going on with the bottom bearing of the headset ?

Its an on-one headset. Uses a bigger bearing for better life.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [415 posts]
15th September 2011 - 11:03

2 Likes

Dont Genesis do this, but only better?
Cool

posted by prawsk [5 posts]
15th September 2011 - 18:25

4 Likes

Just noticed the bars and stem are non standard items as well as the tyres. Seems strange the review bike is non standard.

Got the cyo plus dynamo light today. Going to attach it over the weekend. Hopefully the wire fitting is not too challenging.. Confused

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
16th September 2011 - 14:57

0 Likes

Ummh...

there is no obvious way to fit the light bracket to the fork crown.As noted above, its is only drilled at the rear.Darn...

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
16th September 2011 - 19:53

4 Likes

Thinking What do i do now was waiting for the cyclescheme to start again and buy this bike, not so sure now ! Keep us updated on the new tyres

Jonty71

jjts

posted by Jonty71 [1 posts]
17th September 2011 - 17:49

1 Like

Dropped the pressure in both tyres to about 90psi and ride much smoother as you would expect but noticeably slower.

Don't want to drill the front of the fork to allow the fitting of the light bracket. anyone have any ideas how i can mount the light? i think these lights are designed so that the light beam is at it's most effective when mounted in front of the fork bridge.

cheers

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
17th September 2011 - 19:46

4 Likes

Think what you probably want is one of these...

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/schmidt-headlight-bracket-for-suspension-fork...

Personally id just drill a hole through the crown.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [415 posts]
19th September 2011 - 13:42

4 Likes

STATO wrote:
Think what you probably want is one of these...

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/schmidt-headlight-bracket-for-suspension-fork...

Personally id just drill a hole through the crown.

I dont have the skills or the tools and my lbs expressed concern if anything went wrong Big Grin

Great find on the bracket. I have spent a fair bit of time googling for a bracket but had not seen this. Thanks again.

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
19th September 2011 - 16:55

5 Likes

Sad

bracket does not fit in a way that would accept the light. Thought i was being silly but showed it to my lbs and they agreed. They wont take a drill to the fork but i know anlbs that might...

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
22nd September 2011 - 19:16

3 Likes

Persuaded my lbs to drill the fork crown so light now fitted. They went further and ran the cable to the dynamo internally so it pops out of a little hole just by the dynamo fitting Big Grin
Lowere saddle a smidge and now a little less harsh through the back end Smile but still very harsh through the front. And noticed by a friend who wanted to try the bike.

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
26th September 2011 - 15:51

2 Likes

Glad you finally got it sorted. On my original Pompino i switched to a carbon cyclocross fork, massive improvement. Carbon disc forks are pretty rare but a nicer steel fork might be an option, i heard Singular-cycles sell forks from their disc tourer seperatley, might be worth some investigation.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [415 posts]
28th September 2011 - 7:49

3 Likes

STATO wrote:
Glad you finally got it sorted. On my original Pompino i switched to a carbon cyclocross fork, massive improvement. Carbon disc forks are pretty rare but a nicer steel fork might be an option, i heard Singular-cycles sell forks from their disc tourer seperatley, might be worth some investigation.

Ta,

Yep i am already looking at the KINESIS fork... Smile

Cheers

bobinski

posted by bobinski [117 posts]
28th September 2011 - 13:23

3 Likes