On-One Pompetamine Versa 11  £1299.00

5/10

Frame and hub are both great individually, but not so great together

Weight 12500g   Contact  www.one.one.co.uk

by rob_simmonds   November 29, 2011  

Hamilton and Alonso, Mancini and Tevez, Kate Moss and pretty much any pretty popstar of the last decade. Great on their own, but a bit of a disaster together. That pretty much sums up On-One's Pompetamine. Dropping Shimano's hot new Alfine 11 speed hub into the classic Pompino singlespeed frame promises so much but ends up being a sluggish and disappointing hybrid.

When I first saw this bike in sneak preview pics last year I, like pretty much anyone else, hopped up and down making excited 'gimme' noises. The combination of Shimano's fab new Alfine hub, combined with custom STI levers from Versa and the well proven Pompino frame seemed like a recipe for a fantastically versatile bike. On-One clearly think so too, they brand it as a "fast, durable and reliable workhorse machine that's equally as happy on rough tracks and green lanes as it is on smooth city streets..." oh and it's also good as an "urban commuter, tourer, expedition or multi purpose cross bike". That's a lot of hats for one bike to be wearing. Sadly, none of them fit very well.

The heart of the bike is Shimano's Alfine 11 speed hub. Dave has covered the hub in some detail here, so I won't bore you with a whole load of cutting and pasting. Shifting was mostly smooth, although there were occasional disconcerting moments where the hub would drop into neutral mid-shift and the cranks would flip round half a rotation without feeling like they were connected to anything. It's odd, but you get used to it. The biggest advantages claimed for the Alfine hub are the lack of servicing (it just needs an oil change every 5000 miles) and the commensurate increase in reliability over a derailleur set-up. On a relatively short test it would be hard to argue with either of those points.

The Pompino frame has been around since the beginning of the off-the-peg fixie boom and it's a no-nonsense, bombproof piece of kit made out of good old 4130 cromo tubing. Sounds ideal but it's more usually built up into a flickable urban fixie with pin-sharp handling courtesy of the short wheelbase. These aren't characteristics that you would look for in a long distance bike. I found that even though our test bike was the right size (medium, and we measured it just to be sure) it felt far too small for me and the handling was twitchy at low speeds. There's also a generous amount of toe overlap, even without mudguards. Now, speaking of mudguards, Pompinos are usually seen with just a plastic mtb style guard fitted on the seatpost. There's a reason for that, toe overlap at the front and rear facing dropouts on the back, which make removing the wheel if not impossible, at least a major pain in the proverbial if you fit proper full length mudguards. Regular poster STATO suggested an elegant solution - drill some track-ends and screw the mudguard bolts into them. It's neat, but should you have to mess about buying extra bits and taking a drill to them in order to use a bike for its intended purpose? On a bike which is sold as being ideal for touring or commuting, that's really not good enough.

On-One have a comprehensive parts list for you to pick from and the bike came with some nice kit. The FSA Wing bars are lovely, flats on top give a nice resting place for your hands and the shallow drop is easy to reach. The flat bits do compromise bar space though, so if you like to salad up your bike with computer, lights, GPS and other modern clutter you might want a more traditional round profile. The one piece of kit that you can't swap out are the shifters, which are custom made to operate the Alfine hub. They operate very simply, with a variation on the standard STI theme. Behind the brake lever is a long lever for downshifts and a shorter lever for upshifts. It works well, shifts are crisp, there's a positive clicky action to the levers and they are easy to get used to. The hoods aren't the most comfortable, but they're good enough. I'll be interested to see how robust the shifters are, long term, because they do feel a little plasticky - although there was no sign of excessive wear and tear during the test period. The biggest criticism I have is that there is no gear indicator. It's a surprisingly useful feature even on a derailleur bike where you can just look down. On a hub gear bike I'd argue that it's even more valuable and it shouldn't be hard to fit an in-line indicator. Braking is taken care of by Avid BB7 discs, my personal favourite. They are superb, easy to set up, powerful and reliable in all conditions.

Our test bike came with a 45t chainset and an 18t sprocket on the back, which is ok for flatter terrain but wasn't low enough for serious hills or load hauling and I found myself constantly trying to click down to a lower gear that wasn't there. It got me up Cheddar Gorge on the Tasty Cheddar audax, but I would have died like a dog on the Dartmoor Devil. The build list has plenty of other options to give a better range and we didn't spec the test bike, so no marks lost there.

When considering a hub gear, one thing that usually gets raised is the delicate issue of how one copes with a rear p*nct*re. In the spirit of scientific enquiry I tested this on the Pomp. Removing the wheel is actually easier than you might expect, although slightly more fiddly than a derailleur set-up. All you have to do is push back a spring loaded tab on the side of the hub and remove the end of the cable. Oh and then release the cable from the arm on the hub. Getting it back in is another matter though and this is where I start to get a bit grumpy with the whole thing. Returning the cable is straight forward, getting the wheel in the dropouts is a bit fiddly (spacing is tight and the nuts have flat anti-rotation surfaces which have to be aligned in the drop-outs) but getting the chain tension correct, while keeping the brake discs aligned, is an absolute pig. The BB7 brakes can be dialled in, but there isn't enough adjustment to allow for a wheel that isn't properly centred. Ideally it's a two person job, one to pull the wheel back and maintain tension, the other to make the lateral adjustments and do the nuts up. Doing it in nice warm living room was awkward enough, I'd hate to be doing it in the dark on a wet winter evening.

Out on the road I found the Pompetamine to be hard work. For a start it's heavy, very heavy, at over 12.5kg -to be fair it's not like On-One don't warn you, claimed weight for the standard build is 12Kg. I took it on an evening ride with the chaps from the local bike shop and spent even more time than usual dangling off the back. I can usually hang on when riding my Dawes Century, which is no lightweight, but the Pompetamine makes you feel like you've had an extra helping of slow pudding. Once you add in the sluggish tyres (25mm Schwalbe Marathons, great for avoiding punctures but stiff and slow) and some lag from the hub it makes for a frustrating ride. It's harsh too, stiff tyres and a short steel frame don't give much cushioning.

I swapped out the tyres for some Gatorskins, which did improve things, but overall it's not much fun. That's the real deal killer for me. I put over 500 miles into the bike, audaxing, commuting and solo but in the end I rode it because I had to, not because I wanted to or because I enjoyed it. As a final hurrah I took it on a hundred mile cross country journey to the road.cc offices in Bath. I wondered if a long ride would change my mind about the bike. It didn't and I was glad to give it back, which is as damning as it gets.

Lots of people were excited about this bike, including me and it garnered plenty of attention when I took it out. The Versa shifters make the Alfine hub a viable proposition but it needs a better suited frame. Sadly, the Pompetamine seems like a missed opportunity.

Verdict

Frame and hub are both great individually, but not so great together.

road.cc test report

Make and model: On-One Pompetamine Versa 11

Size tested: Black

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame is 4130 cromoly

Shimano S500 Alfine Chainset With Single Chain Guard

Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brake (Road)

FSA Wing Anatomic Aero Handlebar

Selle Italia Flite XC Saddle

On-One Twelfty MTB Seatpost

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

"fast, durable and reliable workhorse machine that's equally as happy on rough tracks and green lanes as it is on smooth city streets..."

"urban commuter, tourer, expedition or multi purpose cross bike"

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
7/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Nice paint work and looks very smart.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

It's good old cromoly, sturdy and reliable, if heavy.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Head tube - 73 degrees

Seat tube - 73.5 degrees

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The bike was the right size for me (medium) as defined by On-One, but it felt far too small. The cockpit was cramped and I had to set the saddle as far back as possible, which put me too far back from the cranks. A larger size might be a better fit.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

It's a harsh ride. The undersized compact frame and stiff tyres don't have much give at all.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

It's too stiff. A change of tyre (Schwalbe Marathons swapped for some Conti Gatorskins) helped a bit.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

No, it always felt a bit sluggish - a combination of hub lag, dead tyres and sheer weight.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

Yes there was. It wasn't much of a problem (at least, I managed not to get caught out) but with mudguards on it could be a serious issue.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Quite lively

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

A very short frame, stumpy stem and almost no rake on the fork mean that the handling is pretty sharp. Nice on a flickable urban singlespeed, not ideal on longer rides.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

Tyres were far too stiff and unyielding. I'd also swap out the stem for a bit more reach.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

Fatter, more supple tyres would help.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

It feels like the bike is losing power somewhere and that comes down to the overall weight and the hub, so there isn't much that can be done.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
6/10

Feels sluggish

Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
5/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
4/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
6/10

Snappy handling can catch you out

Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
4/10

Too heavy and gearing is wrong for hills on this build

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
6/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
5/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The 45/18 chainring/sprocket combination is set-up for fast, flat cruising. On any serious hills I was finding myself in bottom almost straight away, with nowhere left to go. I'd either go for a 39t front ring or the 20t rear sprocket if you want to use the Pomp for touring or any hilly rides.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
6/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
6/10

Tyres (Schwalbe Marathon) are very stiff and don't give much cushion

Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

I'd swap out the tyres. The Schwalbe Marathons are a logical choice but they are heavy, slow and stiff.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
7/10

Versa shifters are pleasant to use.

Rate the controls for durability:
 
6/10

Hard to say on a short test, but shifters don't look or feel as robust as Shimano

Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10

Ok, but hoods aren't as comfy as Shimano

Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The Versa shifters are what makes this bike possible. I liked their operation, with a long paddle for downshifts and a shorter paddle for upshifts, which felt crisp and positive.

Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)

FSA Wing bars are nice and Avid BB7 discs are a long time favourite.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? No

Would you consider buying the bike? No

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Maybe

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
5/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
6/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

Feels like a clumsy compromise, the hub needs a more suitable frame.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 5' 8  Weight: er....85kg

I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa  My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides

 

36 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Would a tubeless tyre and a bottle of tyre sealant be worth using on these unwieldy contraptions? What about an inner tube which is linear rather than circular. Stuff it in the tyre and at least it would get you home? Big Grin

To my mind, it kind of defeats the objective of a hub gear being low maintenance if you cant fix a puncture in decent time.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [521 posts]
29th November 2011 - 17:00

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arrieredupeleton wrote:
To my mind, it kind of defeats the objective of a hub gear being low maintenance if you cant fix a puncture in decent time.

Got to agree with this - I spend more time each year fixing visits from the P Fairy than I do fettling derailleurs. I don't really find derailleur gears high maintenance to be honest - but they are more at risk if you crash.

posted by step-hent [643 posts]
29th November 2011 - 18:03

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You don't need to remove the back wheel on any bike, without a QR, to fix most run-of-the-mill punctures. If you use self adhesive patches or an old fashioned repair kit if that is more your bag, the wheel stays put, you unseat the tyre, you patch the tube in-situ, remove the offending article, reinflate and go about your business. You then swap the patched tube for a good one at a later date, when you remember, in the comfort of your own lounge ('no you ruddy don't' says swmbo)

I think we've all got too used to QR's being the default way to do things tbh.

Really, though?

posted by workhard [299 posts]
29th November 2011 - 18:42

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step-hent wrote:
arrieredupeleton wrote:
To my mind, it kind of defeats the objective of a hub gear being low maintenance if you cant fix a puncture in decent time.

Got to agree with this - I spend more time each year fixing visits from the P Fairy than I do fettling derailleurs. I don't really find derailleur gears high maintenance to be honest - but they are more at risk if you crash.

I think it is the combination of track ends and disc brake which makes installing the rear wheel tricky. After a bit of practice I find that getting the chain tension right in track ends is quite quick. You need to undo a wheel nut one side at at time and "walk" the wheel down the dropouts. Still, a quick release is always going to be quicker. And having the added complication of adjusting the disc brake is a pain. A better frame for a hub gear + disc brake is one with an eccentric bottom bracket. Or sliding dropouts.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1305 posts]
29th November 2011 - 19:32

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My solution for the rear wheel full length mudguard problem is to position the mudguard so that I can just squeeze the wheel into the track ends when the tyre is deflated.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1305 posts]
29th November 2011 - 19:36

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Curious. I have the 8 speed which I bought as a longer distance commuter bike (I do 18 miles each way across London) and couldn't be happier. I had no problem fitting standard SKS mudguards (although I had to fettle a standout pillar for the front to clear the brake). The tyres that came with it (Schwalbe Kojak) were absolute ummm ... not very good, and prevent fitting guards, the Ribmo 28s I have on it now really sharpen the ride (at the expense of comfort, running at 110psi). Saddle got swapped for a Brooks, too.

Ride is sharp but steady, handling is superb. I've managed to repair a 5 x puncture on the rear without taking the wheel off (that was on the Kojaks). Longest ride I've done on it so far was about 80 miles, but I'd be happy sitting on it all day. It's not carbon, but wasn't meant to be, it does exactly what I expected.

Horses for courses, I suppose.

londondailyphoto's picture

posted by londondailyphoto [73 posts]
30th November 2011 - 16:36

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Now, speaking of mudguards, Pompinos are usually seen with just a plastic mtb style guard fitted on the seatpost. There's a reason for that, toe overlap at the front and rear facing dropouts on the back, which make removing the wheel if not impossible, at least a major pain in the proverbial if you fit proper full length mudguards

I'm sorry, but that's just bollocks. Toe overlap is only an issue for people with no bike handling skills whatsoever. As for fitting full length mudguards, it's incredibly easy to setup the rear - just use a pair of SKS quick release doodahs to let you pop the stays off if you need to remove the wheel. Lazy "journalism"

posted by simondbarnes [25 posts]
30th November 2011 - 17:02

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simondbarnes wrote:

Now, speaking of mudguards, Pompinos are usually seen with just a plastic mtb style guard fitted on the seatpost. There's a reason for that, toe overlap at the front and rear facing dropouts on the back, which make removing the wheel if not impossible, at least a major pain in the proverbial if you fit proper full length mudguards

I'm sorry, but that's just bollocks. Toe overlap is only an issue for people with no bike handling skills whatsoever. As for fitting full length mudguards, it's incredibly easy to setup the rear - just use a pair of SKS quick release doodahs to let you pop the stays off if you need to remove the wheel. Lazy "journalism"

No Simon, THAT's just bollocks! And you are talking utter crap.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4113 posts]
30th November 2011 - 17:09

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Sorry I meant to say utter lazy crap

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4113 posts]
30th November 2011 - 17:13

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Quote:
it's incredibly easy to setup the rear - just use a pair of SKS quick release doodahs to let you pop the stays off if you need to remove the wheel

rob didn't have any trouble removing the wheel, as he points out later in the review, and the availability of QR guards has been covered. it's putting the wheel back in that's the real issue.

Quote:
Toe overlap is only an issue for people with no bike handling skills whatsoever

nice elitist viewpoint you got there, what's it like looking down on us proles from the bike-handling high ground? Thinking

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7078 posts]
30th November 2011 - 17:17

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what's it like looking down on us proles from the bike-handling high ground?

It's quite nice actually Wink

posted by simondbarnes [25 posts]
30th November 2011 - 17:27

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How disappointing. I've recently built a Pompino (fixed, 48x18) with a Pompetamine fork, Formula K18 disk brake and bullhorn bars. I'm really enjoying it as a round-London bike. Presumably the same geometry and I certainly wouldn't describe the handling as twitchy - it's positively stately compared to my Fuji Track.

posted by steff [81 posts]
30th November 2011 - 17:53

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londondailyphoto wrote:
Curious. I have the 8 speed which I bought as a longer distance commuter bike (I do 18 miles each way across London) and couldn't be happier. I had no problem fitting standard SKS mudguards (although I had to fettle a standout pillar for the front to clear the brake). The tyres that came with it (Schwalbe Kojak) were absolute ummm ... not very good, and prevent fitting guards, the Ribmo 28s I have on it now really sharpen the ride (at the expense of comfort, running at 110psi). Saddle got swapped for a Brooks, too.

Ride is sharp but steady, handling is superb. I've managed to repair a 5 x puncture on the rear without taking the wheel off (that was on the Kojaks). Longest ride I've done on it so far was about 80 miles, but I'd be happy sitting on it all day. It's not carbon, but wasn't meant to be, it does exactly what I expected.

Horses for courses, I suppose.

110psi?!? Not sure my wrists and bum can take much more than 100psi on Londons potholes. Perhaps i should mtfu Smile

Reasured though that it is possible to repair a tube without taking the wheel off. Does sound like you got a lot of practice though. Hope it will be a while before i have too.

It is also Interesting the different experiences we have had with the bike and no doubt expectations play a part.Glad you are enjoying yours.

bobinski

posted by bobinski [95 posts]
30th November 2011 - 18:06

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steff there's no argument that the Pompino frame makes for a great urban bike - but as the review points out the Pompetamine Versa 11 is being touted as a bike you can tour or audax on. The point Rob makes is that the sort of geometry that makes for pin sharp handling on an urban bike is not usually best suited to a long distance machine.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4113 posts]
30th November 2011 - 18:20

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I dunno, this seems to be quite a heated debate over a few well-made, but mostly correctable points.

First up, the Kaffenback would fare no better. They do an Alfine build, but it's shown with rear-facing dropouts, presumably to control the chain tension. For those who don't know, the new Kaff has swappable rear drops. The only exception would be if you ran rim, not disc, brakes. But then does the Alfine come as a non-disc option? They haven't gone for an eccentric BB on either frame, to my knowledge.

Planet X/On-one let you spec up your build when you buy, so setting up the right stem length for your build as well as sorting the gearing can be done at the point of purchase.

Some bikes just don't fit some people either. I'm right between sizes on Condor frames, so I know that for me, riding one will always be a compromise. My main commuter bike has toe-overlap, and it's a CX bike - if you don't corner with level cranks I've never found it an issue, and I'm not exactly a pro bike handler. Same issue on my tourer too, and yes, they are the right size for me.

The rear puncture thing I can see could be a hassle, but as has been pointed out you can fix one without removing the wheel. Ideally you'd want to use something like a Surly Tuggnut to fix the position of the rear wheel, but unfortunately the Surly part won't fit alongside the Alfine drive side washer. There's a market for someone with the right machine tools, right there.

posted by thereandbackagain [152 posts]
30th November 2011 - 19:52

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If you put quickrelease mudguard brackets (the SKS kind) on the back then it is easy to remove them when you need to take the wheel out. This is what I have done on my Pearson Touche.

I find it interesting that you want a gear indicator. You should be able to tell what gear you are in, just by how fast you are going and your cadence. Fairly basic skill to have with a bike. I can't remember the last time I looked at what gear I was in, even on my MTB or my hybrid. I know if I need to change down or up.

posted by gaz545 [12 posts]
30th November 2011 - 20:09

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I make no secret of the fact my 120mm spaced Ilpompino remains a personal favourite. In essence a cyclo crosser with track ends, I’ve enjoyed many a long steady winter afternoon mile thanks to its engaging, yet compliant handling and old school practicality. Dressed as the classic winter club mount in 30mm bespoke Maplewood mudguards, complete with SKS stays, swapping the wheel round (Box hill on an sixty-seven inch gear seemed a much better bet than my everyday eighty one) was a bit of a pain as we’ve all established. However, the guards vanished when I decided a big cushion of 35mm rubber and dual sided nickel-plated (SPD/Look) pedals were optimum for winter work along the lanes…Means I never leave the house wearing the wrong shoes either!

I like the concept of hub gears but never considered the Ilpompino frameset an ideal recipient/starting point.

Exustar double sided pedal.jpg
Shaun Audane's picture

posted by Shaun Audane [703 posts]
30th November 2011 - 20:19

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fair point on the Kaffenback there and back again, I put that in and meant to take it out after talking to one of the guys at Planet X before the review went up.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4113 posts]
30th November 2011 - 20:56

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tony_farrelly wrote:
fair point on the Kaffenback there and back again, I put that in and meant to take it out after talking to one of the guys at Planet X before the review went up.

No you didn't, *I* put it in! The Kaff shares some problems (dropouts) with the Pomp but from a glance at the website it also has a fork with more rake, which should make it more pleasant for longer rides and possibly a bit more like the fastish do-anything bike the Pomp was advertised as.

Thanks for all the comments. When I was writing this review I did worry that I might have got it all wrong and it didn't feel great kicking a bike that I expected to like. The mudguard issue is a biggie for me, I know that bodgearounds are always possible but they only reinforce the compromise that's being forced on the bike as an overall package. Of those suggested, unbolting them isn't ideal. IIRC there's just one braze-on, so rack and guards would have to share and I really don't fancy having to unbolt the whole lot on a dark night with a full load.... Yes, you can fix the tube without removing the wheel, but good luck trying that if your valve has blown or you've really burst a tyre good and proper.

I like stuff that works well, as designed. I don't think the Pomp does that in this form.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [250 posts]
1st December 2011 - 0:41

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Hi folks

Great to see such a well-informed discussion of one of our bikes. It's a pity Rob didn't like it, but we know you can't please everyone. Thereandbackagain has made a lot of my points for me, so I won't get too deep into detail here, except to say we have lots of happy Pompetamine owners, so we're confident the bike is right for quite a lot of people who understand the compromises inherent in an all-rounder like this.

I think that's where the debate really comes from. The Pompetamine is an all-rounder, designed to be reliable, super-versatile and maintenance-free. It does a lot of things pretty well, but with versatility and reliability comes compromise.

If we were to build a similar bike on a Kaffenback frame, it's hard to see how that would change anything. The tubes and geometry are the same, and both forks have 45mm offset. Looking at the picture of Rob on the bike, I have to wonder if the next size up might fit him better with less toe-clip overlap and a comfier reach.

Nevertheless, thanks for some useful feedback which we'll take into consideration in the next revision of this bike.

John Stevenson
Planet X marketing bloke

John Stevenson's picture

posted by John Stevenson [853 posts]
1st December 2011 - 11:37

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Rob Simmonds wrote:

Thanks for all the comments. When I was writing this review I did worry that I might have got it all wrong and it didn't feel great kicking a bike that I expected to like. The mudguard issue is a biggie for me, I know that bodgearounds are always possible but they only reinforce the compromise that's being forced on the bike as an overall package. Of those suggested, unbolting them isn't ideal. IIRC there's just one braze-on, so rack and guards would have to share and I really don't fancy having to unbolt the whole lot on a dark night with a full load.... Yes, you can fix the tube without removing the wheel, but good luck trying that if your valve has blown or you've really burst a tyre good and proper.

I like stuff that works well, as designed. I don't think the Pomp does that in this form.

It is so so close to being an ideal all round bike. And i too so wanted to enjoy it more than i do...

Steve, thanks for coming along and posting. Look forward to a mark 2 version addressing some of the issues that have been raised here. Perhaps in carbon too says me drooling at the new carbon cyclo cross frame...

bobinski

posted by bobinski [95 posts]
1st December 2011 - 12:46

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I have one of these and love it. I also have an 11 speed alfine that I built into a Dialled Bikes Love/Hate framed mtb which has an eccentric bottom bracket. One of these on the pompetamine would be ace, an ebb that is. Punctures and chain tension are a doddle, that said it isn't exactly difficult on the pompetamine.

posted by cupra [6 posts]
1st December 2011 - 21:13

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Quite a few people have adapted chain tugs for various alfine hub/horizontal dropout bikes to deal with the wheel realignment problem, it would seem.

The most elegant solution looks to be MKS tugs. They have a thin washer that sits inside the dropout and don't need fiddling with, but I have also seen adapts of the On One tugs too.

Some discussion of it here: http://forums.mtbr.com/internal-gear-hubs/alfine-tugnut-521068.html

posted by thereandbackagain [152 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 11:25

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OK, well I've been riding around on one of these for a couple of months now. I'm a regular reader of road.cc but haven't posted before but reading this review I thought it was worthwhile to give my thoughts.
Prior to getting the Pompy I've been riding an On One Inbred 29er with the rigid On One carbon forks. I've used it for a wide range of riding - commuting, mountain biking and touring - and it's a brilliant all-rounder. I became eligible for the cycle to work scheme again though this summer and it's such good value I couldn't resist getting something new. My wife rides a Genesis Ioid with the 8 speed Alfine Hub and having had a go a few times I was very impressed with the hub. The salty roads up here in Edinburgh where I commute had chewed my drivetrain to bits last winter so the idea of an internal hub was one I liked and the thought of a new commuter/tourer built up around the 11 speed Alfine, with my Inbred saved for mountain biking, began to form. I looked at the Genesis Day bikes but when the Pompy came out it seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
I love it.
Coming from an MTB/hybrid-y background the pompy is way faster on the commute, it accelerates better and freewheels beautifully. It is wonderfully silent and where previously my Inbred rattled and chain-slapped over the long lengths of cobbles on my commute I now glide over them quietly and effortlessly. I don't find the ride harsh at all. The other huge advantage of the Alfine hub for commuting of course is the fact that you can change gear whilst stopped at traffic lights. I have a couple of pedestrian crossings on my commute that are located at the bottom of a long downhill/start of an uphill and I would regularly get caught out on my Inbred grinding off uphill in too big a gear having had to brake sharply to a halt when a pedestrian appeared from nowhere to press the button. Not having to do that any more is fantastic. Although most of my riding on the Pompy has been commuting I have accompanied my two teenage boys, who are road racing nuts, out on the local club run a few times. I find the bike pretty comfortable over longer distances. Speed-wise of course it's not as fast as an out and out road bike but that didn't stop me enjoying the ride, or made me feel it was any more difficult keeping up.
That's my overall impression. A few specifics from the review:-
Punctures - OK, it's not as straightforward as with QR's but removing and reattaching the wheel with the alfine hub is not exactly brain surgery either and with a bit of practice it's fine.
Gearing - I run 45/20 which I find ideal for general cycling but would still be a bit high for touring. I toured Cornwall this summer on the Inbred with the family and there's no way I'd have got up some of those hills with a fully loaded Pompy on the current gearing. Having said that, it's not too difficult to change the sprocket or the gear ring if you know you're going to tour somewhere hilly.
Versa shifters. The big downshift paddle is fine, the smaller upshift is a bit spongey and could do with having a more positive feel. Overall for a bit of kit that costs around £200 if you buy it separately I thought the quality could be a wee bit better. Mudguards - don't use them so can't comment on that.
Toe Overlap - Coming from an MTB background you might have thought that this would be a problem but it's not.
Overall I would recommend the bike for touring and commuting.
I do suspect the review above is influenced by the fact that the reviewer (judged on the bikes he rides) is from a road background. Of course the pompy is heavier and slower than the bikes he is used to, but for someone looking to upgrade from an MTB/Hybrid for touring or commuting duties I think it's great.

posted by tj [4 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 12:46

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Hi tj, some interesting points there.

Yes, you're quite right, I'm a 100% road warrior and have no truck with them 'orrible muddy tractor-tyred off-road beasties. As the Pomp is very obviously a road bike that's how I reviewed it, but it's interesting that someone coming from the other side sees it very differently. My main hack (Kona Dew Drop) is another mtb influenced heavyweight (12.4kg without the mudguards and rack, over 13kg with) but it's a nicer and faster ride than the Pomp.

What your comments demonstrate is that there is no right or wrong opinion on something as complex and subtle as a bike. You like yours whereas I would give it away even if it came for free in a Christmas cracker. Both opinions are valid and I hope that any prospective buyer will read the review *and* the comments before making up their mind. Smile

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [250 posts]
2nd December 2011 - 15:37

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"My main hack (Kona Dew Drop) is another mtb influenced heavyweight (12.4kg without the mudguards and rack, over 13kg with) but it's a nicer and faster ride than the Pomp. "

Ha ha, I swapped from a dew drop to the popmetamine and find it (pompy) the better bike for my needs Smile

posted by cupra [6 posts]
5th December 2011 - 14:43

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I think what this frame needs is vertical dropout with a chain tension'er. This would stop the problems with brake
alignment and chain tension.

Walter Sitter

posted by Walter Sitter [12 posts]
8th December 2011 - 0:28

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I would vote NO for a tensioner. There are some advantages but the added friction from pulley(s) and constant spring-loaded chain tension is no good. Plus the chain slapping on the chainstay and increased chance to drop the chain.

I have full mudguards on my Il Pompino. There is some toe overlap but I've only found it to be an issue on single track. Oddly, I am able to remove and install the rear wheel with a 35C Marathon Dureme pumped up without touching the mudguard fittings. It is a bit tight to get the axle past droupout ends but with some controlled force it happily pops in or out.

posted by kide [13 posts]
27th December 2011 - 13:01

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I've had my Pomp Versa 11 for nearly a year now and I'd say the review is quite fair, although the score is a bit harsh. It's probably got knocked down too much for not being a 'fun' bike. Whilst I largely agree with the comments I do think it makes a great commuting bike and a decent tourer too. It's certainly not one for weight weenies, especially my XL one with a dynamo front hub and rear rack. But it's a fine load lugger and can easily handle towpaths and light off roading.
I agree it can be a right pain if you puncture in the rear but it's not too bad if it can be fixed with a patch, as others have said. I've found buying good tyres has made all the difference. I've got Continental Touring tyres (now replaced by Top Contact, which are identical but twice the price. Baffling.). These tyres roll well on the road yet and still decent off it.
It's great to have the dynamo lights, as I don't worry if my (excellent) Exposure flash/flares run out.
The Versa levers are OK. I agree with other comments. They work OK but are not as refined as Shimano shifters. I find it hard to reach the upshift from the drops.
I specced the Alfine chainset with a 39 ring. I pointed On-One to Sheldon's gear calculator and showed them the gearing they were originally speccing was far too high. They seem to have listened as they spec Alfine chainsets all the time now (though sometimes the 44, presumably due to current stock). I would have preferred the 20 tooth sprocket but they didn't have any in stock so I have the 18. But I've got up steep hills when full laden on an 85 miler so it does go low enough.
The gear changes are pretty good on the whole and being able to change when stationary does have its uses when you encounter as many traffic lights as I do! The spread of gears is nice too. The drivechain is certain very easy to clean. I've just ordered an oil change kit and it sounds very simple to perform the maintenance.
Any niggles? Well, I suppose I hadn't really considered the mudguards. I don't run any as I have regular offroad stretches on my commute, which wouldn't be very mudguard-friendly. The new Raceguard Long 'guards look a decent option if they come out in XL. I did find it a bit annoying that the front forks were not drilled to take a dynamo light, since the dynamo hub was sold with my bike.
You do need to do your research on the sizing. XL is fine for me and I'm only 6'. On-One do publish all their geometry so it shouldn't be too difficult. I cannot say I've noticed any issues with toe overlap; the wheelbase is quite long on this frame (then again I've raced on very steep angled TT bikes in my past so I'd hardly find this a problem)!

posted by BikeJon [33 posts]
23rd January 2012 - 16:55

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Oh, I forgot to say that I find the frame anything but twitchy. If anything I notice the opposite but I was glad of slower more predictable handling when I was carry a full load. I also forgot to mention the BB7 brakes, which I agree are excellent (even when your bike with load weighs 32kgs!). The reviewer did say he got the wrong size. He also says the wheelbase is short, which I don't agree with.
I've read his review again and also rode my Pomp home last night. I actually really enjoyed riding it (perfect for Sustrans routes). I think perhaps it falls down when On-One try to sell it as an all rounder. I wouldn't even consider racing on it or even trying to do a fast sportive on it (especially a hilly one) but it's a great commuting bike and good for touring too IMO.

posted by BikeJon [33 posts]
24th January 2012 - 12:21

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