As my mountain bikes, single speed and geared road bikes and BMX bikes all hang in the garage, my single-speed cyclocross bike (Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno) is pretty much the only bike that leaves the hanger. Why? Because the fun factor is unmatched.
Using a cyclocross bike on the trails is essentially riding a rigid 29'er with incredible climbing geometry and drop bars. My aspirations of trying to bomb down crazy rock gardens on a 8" travel, 45lb. downhill bike are gone, so trail/singletrack riding on super lightweight, nimble (yet stable) off-road bike is more my cup o' tea.
Although I love my single 'cross bike, I often times wished I had some gears and the option to tackle some big climbs. Most of the climbs I did on the single 'cross bike were short and I'd sprint up them. After staring at my Surly Pacer road bike, I decided to swap out frames (and add a few parts) and build a 1X10 cyclocross bike. This bike would double as a road bike with a quick swap out of road tires for the big social rides we have planned this year.
After looking at a few different options, I went with the Pake C'mute because of the price, value and quality of the frameset. The geometry is relaxed and made out of my preferred material - steel.
I went 1X10 as to not go too far from my single-speed preference, but after today's ride I did discover that the gears came in handy (and in some cases, I wish I had that granny gear!). I used the same handlebar and stem from my Surly Pacer - but on the dirt, I realized that a 46cm wide bar would probably be better suited for me as opposed to the 44cm. I have 46cm wide bars on my single 'cross and my road single speed and I really like to grab a handful and crank away (that didn't sound too good).
I played in Santa Teresa County Park for about two hours, hitting my normal route and rocking the big Coyote Peak climb, Rocky Ridge, etc. One thing is for certain - I need to mix up my geared riding more. I DEFINITELY felt the legs and lungs burn, which surprised me since I'm pretty good with the single-speed. Different type of workout, I guess - but something I'll focus on for a bit.
The Pake' felt really good; super stable and very comfy. I think, combined with the wide 700c X 35 tires, it makes for a nice trail bike. It is not nearly as twitchy as my Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno and I was notably faster on the descents. On the road, however, I know I will be spinning out even with the smallest cog. But, for what I want to do with this bike - it will work perfectly.
I'll do another review of the bike in 3 months. So far, I'm stoked.