The On-One Pickenflick is a complete cyclo-cross bike with a titanium frame for a price that usually gets you only the frame. Its handling and adaptability makes it at home on road, cyclo-cross circuit or trail.
When a bike company says a bike is a 'limited edition' but then can't say quite how limited it is, it's hard to know whether to consider the bike exactly as it is now or for what it might soon become.
For the benefit of those looking for a bike now and those considering a near-future purchase I'll do both by quoting On One brand manager Brant Richards, who says: "We're evolving the design to be a bit more all-road style: a longer, lower top tube for a more conventional road fit, and we'll add some rack and mudguard mounts too."
This is useful to know, because as it stands the titanium-framed, carbon-forked, SRAM Rival-equipped Pickenflick is essentially an excellent cyclo cross bike that handles nicely on the road but lacks minor elements of utilitarian adaptability.
There's no doubting its superb value though. You can buy the Pickenflick as a frame alone for £999.99 or as the complete bike package. By the time you add the cost of a carbon fork and a headset to the frame the full bike package is looking like the better deal, by a long way.
The test bike, which varies in minor componentry from the bike shown on On One's web site, came equipped with a SRAM Rival 10 x 2 drivetrain, but with a very distinctive off road bias.
The 42/28 rings of SRAM's S350 crankset are more suited to amateur off road riders than the bigger rings favoured by most expert 'cross racers. Some riders will find a 42 outer ring limiting in terms of outright speed, but I'm not one of those riders.
I use a 38 tooth single ring on my regular rides road bike and I rarely find myself spinning out on 38-11, but then I'm the sort of rider who's usually happy to freewheel down hills rather than churning a big gear.
The only time I found myself wanting a bigger gear than the 42-11 on the Pickenflick was on a pacey group ride on a slightly downhill tailwind section.
On the other hand I found myself using the 28 inner ring regularly on off road climbs and was happy to have the range of options that the 11-32 cassette offers with this chainring combination.
I also liked the fact that I could use the big ring more than usual on off road rides.
There is no 'perfect solution' to gearing on a bike that's intended for frequent use both on and off road. As with tyre choice, every option is a compromise, biased towards road or towards off road.
In fact tyre options and gear options dictate one another on the Pickenflick. The frame's generous tyre clearance is a simple result of the chain stays being designed to curve around bigger tyres than on an average road or cyclo cross bike.
A 42-tooth chainring ensures optimum chain line. You could fit a 44 ring as it stands or you could fit bigger rings with a longer bottom bracket axle and/or bottom bracket spacers to suit, but you would compromise that chain line.
I was content with everything exactly as it was, but then I'll often ride long stretches of tricky off road terrain on a bike like this. The wider, small gear ratios provide more usable gears than those on a typical race-bred cyclocross bike.
The fact that there aren't that many titanium framed cyclocross bikes around is presumably mainly to do with the fact that you'll usually pay more than this for a titanium frame alone.
The direct sales approach of On One, and parent company Planet X, keeps prices low. But don't expect the usual 'sales year' approach of a more mainstream brand. There are times when On One have very limited supplies of particular frames, or complete bikes, so keep an eye on their web site for changes to designs or parts specifications.
The appeal of a titanium frame is that it won't corrode and its shock damping, or perhaps more accurately its vibration absorption, is good.bBut this obviously depends on the design and build quality.
The good news is that the Pickenflick hits the spot. It softens hard edges on rough roads and trails, and inevitably does so more effectively if you add fatter tyres.
The Schwalbe CX Pro 30mm tyres that were fitted have a relatively deep knobbed tread pattern that's great in off-road mud but a big edgy on tarmac corners. I replaced them with 35mm file-treads for most of the test period. This improved both on and off road comfort and performance in most situations by giving an extra boost to the damping characteristics of the titanium frame.
Despite the comfy ride character, the Pickenflick's titanium frame and carbon fork exhibit sharp handling under pressure.
It climbs and accelerates as a sub 21lb bike should and it tames rough high speed terrain better than most carbon, steel or aluminium framed bikes at this price. Its general handling on regular tarmac rides is confident and enjoyable enough to forget the cyclocross tag if you're looking for one do-it-all bike.
Okay, there'll be lots of riders who'll moan about the lack of mudguard and rack eyelets, but there'll be others who appreciate its purist aspirations. As it stands, it's probably comes closer than any bike I've ridden to being the perfect Three Peaks cyclocross bike.
The Three Peaks involves a mix of road and off road terrain that's much more demanding than the average cyclocross. I'm planning to ride it for the fifth time this year and I may well be asking if I can re-borrow a Pickenflick. The combination of the titanium frame, carbon fork, small gearing and disc brakes is ideal for terrain involving long sections of wild undulating trail.
This little film may give you a rough idea:
The complete bike I tested came with a tidy looking matt finished carbon fork with disc brake post mounts.
The Avid BB7 disc brakes are reliable stoppers, with full outer cables to each calliper making them relatively crud proof.
There is plenty room for big tyres, up to around 40mm.
The wheels on the test bike were Selcof WHT29 rims, three-cross laced with stainless spokes to On One hubs, but the web site lists their Reet'ard rims.
A finishing parts package includes a decent quality mix of Planet X and On One house-brand stuff, with a double bolted 31.6mm seatpost, a slim but reasonably comfy saddle and a shallow drop 44cm handlebar.
The gearing is all from the SRAM Rival group.
The frame geometry (72 degrees at the head, 73.5 degrees at the seat on the 56cm model) lends itself well to both road and off road outings.
The top tube stretch on the test bike was 10mm shorter than the seat tube, creating a fairly compact ride position for off road sections, easily fine-tuned to suit personal requirements with stem length/height and seat position tweaks.
The frame's tube profiles, ovalised at the junctures for bigger weld contact areas and lateral stiffness, are pleasing to the eye and left brushed bare which is great for ease of cleaning.
There are two sets of bottle cage bosses and the head tube is tapered 1.125in to 1.5in.
A UK designed titanium framed cyclo cross bike with lots of potential to be adapted to your own riding style and circumstances.
As it is, it's a great ride at a price that usually only gets you a frame. Off-road biased gearing will limit its road potential for some but the designer says it will evolve to suit the demands of more rider types.
Great-riding UK-designed titanium cyclo-cross bike at a price that usually gets you a bare frame
road.cc test report
Make and model: On One Pickenflick
Size tested: 55
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The On One marketing spiel says "This one's a bit special, limited edition, and a huge amount of fun. The On-One Ti Pickenflick is a bike that sees beyond the course tape and run-ups, whilst still being the ideal UK 'cross bike. Bespoke titanium geometry, massive tyre clearance and 10 -speedSRAM Rival set-up. This is not your average CX bike.
Made especially for the On-One development team, with one eye on fast, fun off-road riding, and another firmly on 1 hour blasts around muddy fields in northern England. The feedback has been fantastic, so we thought we'd let everyone else have a go on it too. All the features lend themselves to 'cross riders, such as the stiff oval top tube that feels equally as good between your legs as it does perched on your shoulder, or, the uniquely shaped down tube, offering up nimble steering and pedalling stiffness. We've also changed things around up front, compared to our other 'cross-ers, and slackened the head angle ever so slightly, providing more stable handling, yet never at the consequence of race-lead responsiveness.
For a chassis of this quality you need a groupset that can keep up. We've adorned the Pickenflick with SRAM Rival, a popular choice for 'cross riders due to it's slim weight and assured operation. The famed DoubleTap controls are the key here, allowing you to shift up and down through the 10-speed cassette with one motion, leaving the lever solely for the purpose of braking. Matched with the Exact Actuation technology of the rear derailleur, the shifting is responsive, controlled and smooth; a real bonus when things start getting muddy.
The Pickenflick for it's frame material alone has been the source of much anticipation, and it delivers on all levels as a general purpose off-roader, to a 3 Peaks slogger. Its small number run, teamed with it's sought after ti construction, is sure to make it future On-One classic."
I'd agree with most of that, but it sounds like it might evolve a little in the near future to include mudguard/rack eyelets and possible with a more road biased feel.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Titanium frame, Carbon fork, Avid BB7 disc brakes, SRAM Rival 10-speed groupset with cyclocross-specific gearing
Tidy construction with neat welds and sensible tube shapes
Inevitably, the 42 outer chainring limits road speed, but the gearing and the ride feel is superb for a mix of on and off road, and especially so as the terrain gets more demanding
No long term durability experience, but On One's titaium mountain bike frames have a decent reputation for durability.
Sensibly light for a bike intended to take some trail abuse.
I'd have fitted bigger tyres than the 30mm ones fitted, but they did help to show how comfy the titanium frame and carbon fork are.
I'd be surprised if I saw another complete titanium framed bike with this level of kit at this price. Makes sense buying the whole bike rather than just the frame.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
All-round performance was superb, both on and off road, although I couldn't get on with the tyres on tarmac and ended up fitting 35mm file treaded ones.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ride feel, fuss-free bare titanium finish, comfy ride.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I changed the tyres. Personally I liked the gearing but a couple of other riders said they'd want bigger chainrings, and one rider bemoaned the lack of mudguard and rack eyelets.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I'll be interested to see what comes from the 'further evolution' that On One's brand manager hinted at. For the sort of on and off road mix I ride, I liked it almost exactly as it is.
About the tester
Age: 58 Height: 181 Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Merlin Ti My best bike is: Ibis Silk SL
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,