I’m currently at QBP’s (Quality Bicycle Products) Saddle Drive in Lake Tahoe where I’m getting to see bikes and products from the distributor’s house brands as well as select products from their suppliers. It’s like a mini version of Interbike’s Outdoor Demo. This has been a great chance to check out bikes from Salsa, Surly, Heller and All City. Much of what I’ve seen that will result in content here at RKP will trickle out over the coming months as the embargoes expire.
All City has taken this opportunity to introduce a new bike for the gravel market, the Cosmic Stallion. All City worked with a supplier to have a proprietary tube set called A.C.E. drawn for this bike to give them the weight, butting and ultimately the ride quality they were looking for. A.C.E. is double-butted, seamless and air-hardened 4130 and features a tapered head tube. You could put this tube set alongside Reynolds 853, though Jeff Frame, the product manager for All City told me that this frame is 5 ounces lighter than their Macho King model, making it their lightest disc-brake bike in their lineup. The carbon fiber fork comes from QBP’s Whisky line.
The Cosmic Stallion has clearance for up to 700×45 tires and the frame includes brazeons for racks and fenders. The carbon fork even has rack/fender mounts. It’s a disc-brake bike designed around post-mount brakes which are still readily available and rapidly becoming a less expensive option as flat-mount becomes the spec of choice.
To keep the Cosmic Stallion on a financial diet, Frane spec’d the Cosmic Stallion with SRAM Rival 22 hydro. The stem and seatpost come from Zipp’s Service Course lineup while the bar is Salsa’s Cowbell. The wheel set features WTB STP rims which run on Clement’s X’Plor MSO in the 40mm size. The drivetrain feature a 50/34 compact crank with an 11×32 cassette to give riders the ability to climb most anything they encounter. You may notice that a couple of details in the photos don’t perfectly match the spec listed above; the bike I rode isn’t final production, but it was close.
I got to take this bike out on some fire roads and singletrack here at the Northstar Resort near Lake Tahoe. The first thing I noticed with the Cosmic Stallion was just how well-balanced the bike is. I rode the 55cm frame, which has a 56cm top tube. All City offers the Cosmic Stallion in six sizes: 46, 49, 52, 55, 58 and 61cm. There was plenty of loose gravel on the steep road and it was important to keep my weight distributed well so that I didn’t lift the front end with each pedal stroke while simultaneously not shifting my weight so far forward that the rear tire slipped.
When I turned off on singletrack—I chose a relatively easy trail as I didn’t plan to take air off any drops with this thing—what immediately stood out about the Cosmic Stallion was just how nimble the bike is. I carved the line I saw and made it easily around the many switchbacks on the way down. In fact, the traction was so good that when I got back to the demo area I had to look to see if the Clements were set up tubeless; they weren’t, and that impressed me. Complementing the bike’s handling was the fact that it was easy to control because the Cosmic Stallion was spec’d with hydraulic discs as opposed to cable-actuated ones.
The Cosmic Stallion goes for $2599 and because hardly any bike shop in the U.S. doesn’t have an account with QBP it is easy a shop to order one (their willingness is a separate issue). I get lots of questions about production gravel bikes that I’m willing to recommend, options to avoid spending $5k or more. The Cosmic Stallion blew me away and if I was on a budget it would easily be one of my top considerations.
Final thought: This horse will take you anywhere.