Space Horse-in’ around

The All-City Space Horse, ready to ride. I went for a 58cm this time, following a run of mostly too-short bikes, just to see what’s what.

There’s another new cayuse in the stable, albeit temporarily — an All-City Cycles Space Horse. I only have the one short ride on it so far, for all the usual reasons, but I hope to enjoy some extended saddle time next week before toddling off to Interbike to slobber over all the rest of the new toys.

All-City is one of the brands clustered under the umbrella of Quality Bicycle Products, which also covers Surly, Salsa, Foundry and Civia, among others. I stumbled across the outfit at last year’s Interbike, after a four-year absence from the show, and I liked the retro look of the Space Horse. Hey, who doesn’t pause to glance at a bike called “Space Horse?”

The bike is another one of those sturdy utilitarian steel machines I’ve grown to appreciate, like the Soma Double Cross or Surly Cross-Check. With eyelets for racks and fenders fore and aft and clearance for 700×42 rubber, it can serve as a commuter, a grocery-getter or a lightly loaded touring bike. You can also just ride the damn’ thing for the pure pleasure of riding, if that’s what blows your skirt up. But don’t expect to see any dopers riding it, penitent or otherwise, because it’s made of 4130 chromoly and a 58cm model weighs nearly 25 pounds without pedals.

The Space Horse can be had as either a complete bike or a frameset, for those of us who, like Your Humble Narrator, always seem to have at least one bike’s worth of parts cluttering up the garage, where the car wants to be. Mine arrived as a ready-to-ride bike, and beyond noting that Shimano is making the ugliest friggin’ cranksets in this universe or any other, I’ll keep my big yap shut until it’s review time.

Anybody else riding new machinery? Let us know about it in comments.

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21 Responses to “Space Horse-in’ around”

  1. Douglas Glondeniz Says:

    Like a lot of us I don’t NEED any more bikes than I have. That being said, I am eyeing a new 2010 Cannondale CAAD9 5 at my LBS. The component package is OK ,105 with FSA crank, and Tektro brakes. What’s really drawing it to me is the fact that it is the LAST of the USA made Cannondale frames. They want $1250 as is, or $1400 with an upgrade to Mavic Askium wheels. I’m inclined to go with the wheel upgrade as I am about 240lbs. Any thoughts Pat, or any of the usual suspects that hang out on this blog. Opinions would be appreciated

    • Larry T. Says:

      240 lb? I would suggest having a good wheel-builder lace up something with 36 spokes and a high-quality rim vs pretty much any of the “out-of-the-box” wheelsets out there. Make sure a 25 mm tire will fit on this thing, otherwise you’ll have trouble with wheels and keeping the fillings in your teeth on anything other than “champagne asphalt”.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Doug, I’m with Larry. I’m 6 feet tall and 180 on a good day, and I run simple, sturdy wheelsets on just about everything — Ultegra hubs, Mavic Open Pro 32-holers, that sort of thing.

      I’ve had good luck with the Excel Sports Nimbus wheelset. And I have a totally burly set of 36-spoke wheels from Rivendell on my touring bike.

      I’d consider having the wheel guy at your local shop build up a nice pair of hoops for your bike. You can’t go wrong with a set of handbuilt wheels.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Ditto here as far as Patrick and Larry’s advice, Douglas. I’ve spoken to Lennard Zinn while offering advice to some of the larger folks I work with up in BombTown. The typical low spoke count designer wheels were not designed for big folks like yourself. These work fine for skinny guys you typically see in the peloton, but 240 lbs is linebacker country.

  2. Andy Bohlmann Says:


    Does that mean those toilet seat awards are coming back.

    I vote for….so many nominees are out there!

  3. Larry T. Says:

    Let us know about ride quality, OG. I bought a similar bike for the wife a few years back, thinking the 4130 tubes would be OK for a fendered winter bike. She hated it! And after taking a brief test ride I understood why – the tubeset had essentially NONE of the lively, springy ride you get from the better quality tubes. I notice the difference between my Mondonico-built Torelli’s with their NEMO 747 (.7mm at the butts, .4 mm elsewhere) tubesets vs the cheaper thicker-wall Oria tubing on an older Torelli frame I have. Cheap steel bikes ride like..well, cheap steel bikes. Nothing wrong with any of ’em but it’s like wine, the cheap stuff tastes just fine until you try some good stuff…makes it hard to go backwards. I solved the wife’s problem by slapping some Crud roadracer fenders on her ancient LandShark made from Tange Prestige tubes. Now she has a winter bike with the nice feel of quality steel.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Will do, Larry. Tubing is where I think Soma has the edge in this all-round-bike category, as they use Tange Prestige in the main triangle. There’s a lot of Reynolds 853 in the garage, too, from Steelman, Nobilette and Voodoo. Love me some steel bikes. …

      • Larry T. Says:

        Really? Tange Prestige? I thought that was long-gone. The wife’s ‘Shark has a lively ride, the downtube can actually be squeezed with your hand near the bottle bosses! Yep, you can see it move. I think her bike is pretty similar to the one Slawta made for a certain A. Hampsten to ride in the Giro back in ’88. Still a nice bike but her made-to-measure Torelli/Mondonico is a whole ‘nother thing.
        Someone asked me the other day if I could have any bicycle FREE, what would I choose? Couldn’t answer as a Mondonico FOCO bike is impossible to get since Antonio retired and I don’t think anyone is doing anything with that tubeset these days. Maybe the Columbus Spirit tubeset is similar? A client has a FOCO Antonio made for him and I tell him every time I test ride it – “if you EVER want to sell this, give me the first crack at it” It’s that sweet…makes me wish I’d gotten one when Antonio was still making them.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        It seems to be hanging around, Lorenzo. The latest Double Crosses still use Tange Prestige in the main triangle, as do many of the other Soma offerings. Maybe they’ve cornered the market.

  4. gbtco Says:

    Now I feel like a schlub…I picked up a Motobecane Mirage for 3 bills- and I must admit, I am quite happy with it. I did, many years ago, have a Mairag made with Columbus ST tubing. The Mirage just isn’t the same, yet it is a nice ride. For an inexpensive bike, it is fun and is set up the way I wanted it. Gives me an excuse to start up-grading. When I start riding again.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Don’t sweat it. All bikes are good, some are just better (and more expensive) than others. The bike I ride the most is a Voodoo Nakisi drop-bar 29er with house-brand Black Magic tubing and parts from the Mad Dog gack box. I probably didn’t spend more than eight bills bringing that Frankenbike to life, and I ride it everywhere, from sedate pavement to evil single-track. And mind you, I spent nearly as much having a good set of wheels built by one of the local wizards as I did on the frame and fork.

      • Larry T. Says:

        +1 I fear for the chromed lugs and stays on my personal bike in Italy so when we go down to Sicily to live by the sea I bring “Bugno” a bike from our rental fleet. Rides just fine – I constantly remind Bill McGann, who used to own Torelli about how fine a job he did with a bike that sold for less than $1500 at retail back in 2005. While we’ll certainly sell off the rest of the rental fleet at some time in the future, “Bugno” and his brother “Bartali” will be kept. I even rode this bike in 2011 on our Legendary Climbs tour and NEVER once thought I was being held back by the bike, especially on the descents!

    • khal spencer Says:

      Motobecane Mirage circa 1970’s build? That was my first adult bicycle. I rode the wheels off of that thing as my daily driver in graduate school and eventually replaced every part on that bike including the front fork, that fork (and wheelset) upgrade courtesy of an argument I lost with a U-turning motorist in a VW Bug.

      I bought a Surly Long Haul Trucker frameset last year on a whim (just before I bought the ’95 K1100RS–my Punjabi bride had to be restrained from chasing me around the house with a kukri) and built it up from the Local Garage Parts Supply. Its got oversize Cr-Mo steel tubes, even if they are pretty basic 4130 and that oversize tubset seems to make the ride a little more lively. Its a cheap but fun ride as a daily driver; last winter I put 26×2.1 light knobbies on it and it can just about plow snow. Eventually if I live to retire I plan on getting a higher end touring rig, but until then, this one is nice.

      • gbtco Says:

        Actually, it is a 2012 model. Rather nice- and well built. The frame is also 4130 straight gage; remarkably well made. The components are primarily knock-off, no-name stuff, but it does perform well and is pretty darn responsive (well, that is after 12 years riding only a mountain bike.) I would say it is a sleeper of a deal. When I saw that Motobecane was “back”, I knew that was the bike for me. I started with a ’70’s Nomade and wanted to recapture the magic. I would say that, in many ways, I have. Now, all I need to do is get a steady schedule so I can fit in some riding.

        Thanks for the encouragement!

      • khal spencer Says:

        The Cr-Mo is an upgrade over the old days. The Mirage and Super Mirage of the late 70’s (I bought it in ’79) was high tensile steel and the Mirage had basic steel “don’t ride in the rain” wheels. The SuperM had alloy wheels.

        I had not had a bicycle since my Sears single speed of my teens, so it seemed a huge upgrade.

        It wasn’t long before I was doing all sorts of upgrades to that bike, including alloy wheels and upgraded gear train as I gained strength and started ranging out to the East End of Long Island from Port Jefferson. That binge of upgrades eventually ended when I bought a 1985 Cannondale “Black Beast” road bike and subsequently used the Mirage for commuting alone. I eventually sold the Mirage to a student at the U of Hawaii after snagging a Univega Speciallisima at a garage sale.

  5. Steve O Says:

    Not riding anything new, but pulling something. A Burley Bee trailer, which turns every ride into a real thigh-burner, especially when it’s loaded with the optional 65 pound two year old.

    Sixty-five, you ask? Breaks down approximately as 25 for the kinder, 15 in stuffed animals, 12 for sippy cups and snacks, 7 lbs of coloring books and markers, and around 6 in unnecessary jackets, extra clothes, blankets, and other junk her mom has conditioned her to believe she can’t leave the house without.

    • Steve O Says:

      Did buy a new bike. A day-glo pink Strider. And Esperanza scoots about on that thing like she was born on it. Won’t be seeing any training wheels in our house!!

    • john Says:

      Oh, that takes me back. Enjoy your little one! They get bigger, and in many cases better, but they’re only little once.

  6. frosty Says:

    RE: Shimano Cranks, “Ugly, ugly, very ugly.”

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