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Raleigh One Way: Singlespeed love child

by Richard Masoner

He is a sturdy, hard-working cyclocross bicycle who’s retired from racing and works for a living. She’s a slim and beautiful fixed-gear track bike. Put them together and the offspring might be what Raleigh calls “our idea of a perfect single speed commuter.” My quick, initial impression of the One Way is that they’re not far off the mark.

Raleigh One Way 2007 black

The One Way is the perfect all-weather commuter bike. Conservative geometry and design, CroMo steel, high bottom bracket, fenders, 700×35 cross tires (with reflective sidewall!), cantilever brakes, track ends and a flip-flop hub make this a very practical bike for year round use.

Raleigh One Way.
Singlespeed/Fixed commuter bike with cyclecross heritage. Available only in black. Sizes: 50cm, 53cm, 55cm, 57cm, and 59cm. 55cm weighs about 25 pounds with fenders and pedals. About $670 at Raleigh USA dealers.

One speed for the One Way

The One Way is equipped with a flip flop hub in a track fork for 15-toothed fixed or 16-tooth singlespeed use. To change from fixed gear to coasting singlespeed operation, you remove the rear wheel and flip it around. The chainring is 42-tooth, resulting in 71 gear inches in the singlespeed configuration and 76 gear inches when running fixed. A chainguard covers the chainring to prevent any accidents with pants. The pedals are the awful plastic clips and straps that all moderate quality bikes seem to come with; that’s okay since pedal selection is so personal. I plan to replace them with clipless first thing tomorrow.

Cyclocross features

Though I know several people who commute on cyclocross bicycles, I’ve never been interested in cyclocross as a sport. The One Way features many characteristics of cyclocross bikes. Start with a relaxed road bike style geometry and drop bars, bring the bottom bracket up a couple of inches, replace the road brakes with cantilever brakes, increase the tire clearance so you can use wider tires, use sturdy 32-spoke wheels and 700×35 tires with treads or knobs and you have a cyclocross bike.

The Vittoria 700×35 Randonneur Cross tires on the One Way have an eye-catching reflective sidewall that I really like. On my road bikes I’ve always used road slicks. Some people might think of these tires as plush; to me, these tires pumped to their max 70 pound pressure feel like they’re energy robbing. The tread is annoying loud to me, also. I’m open minded about anything bicycling, however, so I’ll try them for a few weeks before I decide to replace them or not. The wide tires makes for amazingly easy trackstanding. The stickiness, however, makes skid stops impossible.

The reason I own a fixed gear bike now is that I’ve been a year-round bike commuter for over 20 years and I’ve lived in places with snow and ice in the winter. Ice is not compatible with derailleur equipped bikes — ice jams things up and salt destroys what it touches — hence the simple fixed gear bike is often considered the perfect bike for urban winter cycling. Using wide cross tires with tread or even studs is the perfect tool for this kind of riding.

I’ll put the One Way through it’s paces over the next few weeks and give you updates on my likes about this bike.

 
Burley nomad 229

29 Responses to “Raleigh One Way: Singlespeed love child”

  1. Tad says:

    I’m looking into a commuter bike for purchase in the next month or two. My daily journey will be almost 10 miles round trip, mostly flat road.
    I’m very interested in the Redline 925 and the Raleigh One Way, so I would very much appreciate any comparison you can make between the two–road feel, nimbleness, gearing, comfort (bar choice?), fender performance, etc.

    Thanks!

  2. Fritz says:

    I think comparisons between the Redline 925 and this One Way are inevitable. They’re both designed for the same market.

    The 925 seems more nimble and “racy,” probably because of its modern compact frame geometry, whereas the One Way bike has a traditional design with a classic look that’s almost retro. The Redline looks faster, and so of course it will be faster :-)

    The Redline comes with faster tires, but that’s easy enough to change out on either bike. Gearing is identical. Fenders are almost identical. 925 has better pedals. One Way’s chainguard is metal, while the 925 is plastic. Plastic chainguards never last long for me, especially in extreme cold weather riding. For winter weather, I think the One Way is the clear winner.

    Handlebars will really be a matter of style — the One Way are very traditional drop bars with brake hoods, whereas the Redline’s moustache bars offer that extra little bit of style.

    These bikes are very similar and in the end I think it comes down to style. The 925 is also about $150 less than the One Way.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can you get the rear tire off without having to remove the fender?

  4. Fritz says:

    Removing the rear tire on bikes with fenders and racks is no problem. Good question.

  5. Smudgemo says:

    Personally, I don’t think you can find a more versatile bike than a steel cross bike. I use mine for daily commutes, child hauling, road rides, and off-road riding including a few fairly sketchy trails. Not everyone cares for drop bars, but that’s pretty easy to change out. I added auxiliary brake levers to my drop bars and find them giving me a nice, upright additional riding position that still allows full use of the brakes.

  6. gwadzilla says:

    although I fancy myself a mountain biker

    I must admit

    cross is cool

  7. Anonymous says:

    Most SS’ers with fenders have forward facing drops. The photo looks like track ends with bolt on hub, and no clearance to get the wheel out without either messing with the fender or removing the axle bolts so the wheel falls out. It looks like a venerable commuter, I”ve been eyeing the XXIX for such duties, but this one appeals more, except the photo looks like the rear wheel would be a pain to remove.

  8. Fritz says:

    I’m actually having “issues” with rear wheel removal, partly due to the reasons posted by Anonymous about the rear-facing dropouts. I’ll let you all know what I find out about this in a future update.

  9. Mike in Florida says:

    The rear-facing “track ends”(I know they’re not actual track ends, but close) are a stupid idea on any bike which will be fendered. Why do manufacturers insist on using them? Fashion. In a perfect world they would use Campy-style forward facing horizontal dropouts(see Surly Cross Check). Bianchi did the same thing with the San Jose. Even RIVENDELL did it with the Quickbeam, although their dropouts are more like reversed Campy horizontals. Surly has it right.

  10. Harry says:

    I agree. If you can get a CrossCheck, or build up an older frame w/semi-horizontal dropouts, it’s a sensible option.

  11. dorkus says:

    I still love my Redline 925 and I generally think the chainguards, metal, or plastic, are generally useless. It was the first thing I took off–I just roll up my pantlegs and my winter leg gear is black so the grease doesn’t show.

    I agree on the “nimble” comment–my 925 is very quick and the price is right. Good review of the One Way, but I won’t be trading in my bike anytime soon.

  12. Mike C says:

    “Even RIVENDELL did it with the Quickbeam, although their dropouts are more like reversed Campy horizontals.”

    The angle of the Quickbeam dropouts was designed so that the brake pad-rim alignment stays constant no matter which of the different chainring-cog combinations you use. A lot of thought went into that detail, and it’s probably the single biggest thing that makes the QB such a special bike (I own one).

  13. Janine says:

    The One Way is a very smart bike, the best in class.

    The only thing that I would change: ship the steerer uncut.

    The 925 designer hit a snag by trying to use 58mm sidepulls w/ fenders. NEWS FLASH: that didn’t work for the Rambouillet. It’s a sketchy choice. If you leave enough of a margin for production errors then there will be no space under the fenders for anything bigger than a 28mm tire.

    My cap is off to Raleigh.

    A lot of bike for the money.

    And check the front end geometry on the One Way. The trail is in the 40s. I’ll bet it rides no hands like a dream and keeps its line in traffic. Looks like Bicycle Quarterly and Kogswell have some fans at Raleigh.

    Good review. Thanks a lot.

  14. Suspeckted says:

    Thanks for this review, I am highly considering purchasing this bike. I want to put both front and rear racks on it for commuting as I’m tired of having weight on my back – the sweat and the pain of it…wondering if you’ve done/are going to mess with racks? Is your commute very hilly? The first 2 miles of mine are and then it’s flat as can be.

  15. Suspeckted says:

    oh, one more thing: what did you pay for it? the only shop in Mpls sells them for $600.

  16. john briggs says:

    Sir,

    Thank you for your enthusiasm for the commuter. I have just begun with my new One-Way.

    Perhaps you could answer a basic question? My bike came set up with the single speed sproket. the wheel is set forward in the dropout and the chain is tight.

    How do I remove the wheel to use the fixed gear?

    Thanks,

    John

  17. suspeckted says:

    I have owned this bike now for about 2 months now. I really do enjoy the bike but it does have some limitations. Switching from fixed to freewheel can be a challenge since the wheel comes against the fenders. It’s easy to pop the chain off once you loosen the axle bolts, but getting you have to push it against the fender to get it outta the drops. Not really a big deal for me now though since after just a few fixed rides my knees hurt so bad I’m not planning on doing that again. The reflective tires are great for being seen but at only 70 psi and a decent tread they are a bit sluggish. However, I’m going to leave them on through this season since I’ll probably be riding with studs on in the minnesota winter. All in all I think it’s a lotta bang for the buck and I woudl recommend it.

    As for Raleigh…how about some better tires and a standard rear rack. Oh, and the stock pedals are absolute garbage. I replaced mine with a half decent pair of strap platforms but anyone have a good recommendation for a good grip strap platform?

  18. Fishbones says:

    Swap the 1-speed for any old hubgear and you’re onto something

  19. suspeckted says:

    Well then you really can’t call it a “one-way” anymore though.

  20. Suzanne says:

    I’m thinking about racing on my one-way for XC season next month. Its just been sitting in my apartment collecting dust all summer. Thoughts? Would you do it if you were a novice racer??

  21. Fritz says:

    Suzanne, unless the race is specifically for singlespeed bikes or the race course is flat, I wouldn’t recommend racing on this bike. Then again, it might be fun.

    I participated in a crazy mixed terrain alleycat in Santa Cruz with the One Way. It was a ton of fun but I had to DNF.

  22. The Fury says:

    I’ve just rebuilt a Raleigh one way that was shown very little love. The pedals were first to go. A set of dimension platforms with power grip straps are making a great replacement. I’ve also replaced the standard brake blocks with soft compund eagle blocks. They’re ugly but very efffective, especially for winter riding.
    I’ve played with the pressure on the stock tires. The standard pressure (70 psi) is way too little for dry weather riding. They easily handle 90 psi. When riding in snow I found 50-60 psi is nice and comfy with the big wide tires.
    The original free wheel was replaced (15t) with a Shimano 16t. 42/15 is just a little too gnarly for a commuting bike in a city with a lot of hills. The original free wheel was of questionable quality. Tough to say if it was the previous owner or the manufacturer.
    All in all the one way is a great winter commuter, great on descents, and comfy to ride daily. I like the high stance and the rugged feel. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on this bike too.
    My only cons are: 1. junky crank arms and pedals. They’re obvious things that shouldn’t havebeen skimped on. 2. Flat top handles. Kind of draws away from the track look and feel of the bike. All in all small set backs.

  23. Ted says:

    Curious what year One-Way you got? Was it the black one above? And what is your concern with the flat-top handles. Not sure I know what you mean there.

    I continue to ride this bike nearly everyday and to me the biggest drawback continues to be the rear facing drops with full fenders.

  24. The Fury says:

    Also forgot to mention I pulled the fenders off and replaced them with mtb style fenders (X3 on the back).
    Full fenders with rear facing dropouts is BAD engineering.

  25. anonymous says:

    The rear-facing dropouts aren’t really a problem if you just deflate the tire before trying to remove the wheel. Replace and reflate.

  26. The Fury says:

    I’ve come to discover that this bike is a tank. With appropriate tires you could probably cyclocross this thing.
    I dumped the vitorrias and threw some schwalbe marathons. Much more appropriate for mixed use. I just keep beating on this bike and it keeps begging for more. Snow, light off road, cobbled streets, and I’ve even otb’d and nothing but a small rip in the saddle. This bike is a work horse that I look forward to punishing for many more years.
    Some of my fellow cyclists have given me some less than kind words about the hybrid nature of this bike. I’ve enjoyed passing them.

  27. Ted says:

    The Fury. I too believe this bike has held up quite well with all I’ve thrown at it as I wrap up another winter season of riding it. I did have to replace my wheels early on as there was a manufacturer defect with the spokes and they were popping like crazy on the rear wheel.

    I built up a set of Mavic Open Sports with double butted DT Swiss spokes and haven’t even needed to true them despite often having front and rear trunk bags full of crap loaded down on them.

    When my knees give out this would make a great candidate for a similar San Jose8 like Sheldon Brown made.

  28. Calvert says:

    Here’s my take.

    Never rode the Raleigh. Enough said.

    I own a 925 and here’s my story:

    I bought one the year it came out, and it’s great, but it comes with limitations. The plastic chainguard is still on and as dorky as it looks, its purpose is well served, It hasn’t broken and I don’t think about getting my pant leg caught ever. Keep it if you’ve got it.

    Last year I spread the rear triangle for a new wheel with a Nexus 8 speed hub and the bike is still my number one all weather commuter. I own six bikes and I ride the 925 the most. It is a comfortable, versatile bike that I’ve even taken on a tour.

    That said. The 925 has crappy track ends that have no place on a road bike. Track ends are pure fashion and anyone who knows knows that even a fixed gear bike on the road will benefit from good old fashioned horizontal dropouts, especially when you get a flat, especially if you’ve got fenders. Look at all the dumb conversions out there and you’ll see. Redline failed in that respect, especially since the bike has fenders. Also, there is no clearance for wider tires. In that respect the Raleigh is superior in that you can run up to 38 mm tires, or so I’ve heard.

    I’m replacing the 925 with a Cross Check frame.

  29. The Fury says:

    I just want to how far this bike has taken me. I have put approximately 25K on this frame. Everything has been replaced with the exception of the head set, seat post and the bottom bracket. The frame is exceptional, bullet proof really. I have moded much of this bike, putting on 3 speed style bars, brooks saddle, 46T chainring, Velocity Dyad wheels, and Aria brake levers. This is the best frame I have ever owned hands down.

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