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Could There Be A “One Bike That Does ALL”? Would Anyone Even Want That?


December 2022

I wrote a post a short while ago about a YouTube video in which the fella tried to make the case that the S-Works 1x electronic shifting Crux cyclocross bike is possibly the One bike that will do it all.

Of course, because there’s thankfully no such thing, his talking points were quite simple to dispatch. A 1x bike has no place in a paceline unless it’s a relatively flat course. Even then, it’s quite simple to show that’s not a good idea. There are “cadence holes” at important speeds that will have the rider feeling like they’re always in the wrong gear. For that reason alone, if a bike that will be ridden in a pack, especially a $12,500 bike, doesn’t have a 2x drivetrain, the rest of the group will put the 1x rider in the hurt locker. Unless they’re substantially stronger than everyone else they’re riding with.

I can make a legitimate case that I need at least three of my bikes and I can make a reasonable argument for a fourth. I could probably shave a couple off of that, though, if I limited my trail riding. And we’re off…

The first is going to be either my Venge or my Trek 5200. I like having a rain/trainer bike, but I could arguably live without one. The jury is out on which I’d choose. The Venge is the cat’s pajamas in my stable. At 16 pounds and aero, it’s a beautiful machine. On the other hand, my Trek is completely customized and incredibly old school cool.

To tell you the truth, it’s a tossup. The Venge is faster, but the Trek is mine. Completely custom from the ground up.

We’ll say, if you held a gun to my head, the Trek.

Next up is the tandem. Now, our new tandem, which should be arriving in the next month or two, will be able to pull double duty. We’ve got road and gravel wheels coming for the bike. A speedy set of lightweight Rolf tandem wheels for the road and the wheels that come with the bike for gravel. It’ll take up to a 45mm tire for gravel riding and we’re going to roll with 30s for the road. So that’s two. I wouldn’t want to live without a tandem nowadays.

Next up, we’ve got the gravel bike. I love my gravel bike. It’s awesome… and wonderful to ride after the summer road season. I gotta have a gravel bike. Now, if Specialized hadn’t screwed up and limited our frames to accepting just a 32mm tire, we’d have been able to ride the gravel rigs on trails. So that makes a mountain bike a necessity, though I really don’t ride the trails enough to “need” a mountain bike. That’s something I could currently live without. There are my four. And I’ve got five.

My wife has, counting the tandem as one also, six.

The question is, though, is there one bike that can do it all?

Leaving the obvious glaring point that we must possess at least one tandem in all of this; technically, I could see a gravel bike as a one bike does all solution. With the setup like we’re doing our tandem, two sets of wheels, one road, one gravel, a 2x 50/34 drivetrain with an 11-32 11 or 12-speed cassette, you could make the case that one really could do it all on a bike like that. It’d have to be a fairly high-end rig, though, so you could keep the weight down. Anything over 19-pounds simply won’t get it. We’re looking at the 17 to 18-pound range (7.7 to 8.1 kg range).

And if you’ve seen bike weights lately, let’s just say steel with rim brakes is back in the picture as a frame material again.



  1. Brent says:

    Actually, you need one more. You know what I’m going to say here…

    I ride a cyclocross bike, which is all there was in 2015 that had hydraulic discs and wide tires. I put 37mm road slicks on it, which really soaks up the bumps and keeps me from banging the wheels out of true in endless miles of New England potholes. It’s got a 2x Shimano 105 setup, so there are no holes in the gear range like you pointed out for 1x setups. I could buy a set of gravel wheels if I wanted to do gravel, but I don’t on that bike. So it’s reasonably close to a “does it all” bike, at least for my needs. If I suddenly got faster (not likely), I might have to consider a “real” road bike. But at my speed, the cross bike is perfect for everything other than what I use the mountain bike and touring bike for. Or the fat bike…

  2. Uncoffined says:

    It reminds me of the time, I competed in a 40km (25 mile) road race on a mountain bike with road tyres on it. The bike was far too heavy, with wide handlebars which meant I caught the wind big time.
    A defining moment for me was been passed by two women idly chatting to each other, while coasting down a hill, while I was peddling just to keep a good speed.

  3. I guess it depends on what a person’s definition of “all” is, but really the answer is, NO! 😁 A do-it-all bike is always going to be a Jack of all trades, but master of none.

  4. Blasphemer. The mountain bike is the only bike you NEED.

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