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Bombtrack Arise 1 singlespeed bike review

6 Feb 2018
Verdict:

Practical and steady on the road and lively off it, the Arise 1 is light, fast, versatile and fun

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£800

Buy the Bombtrack Arise singlespeed bike from Triton Cycles here

A launch bike for Cologne-based Bombtrack, the Arise has spawned several offspring over the years, each tailored to different disciplines yet retaining a fundamental multi-purpose design.

For 2018, the Arise 1 goes back to basics. A simple steel singlespeed, with mini V-brakes and plentiful scope for customisation.

Faithful to the philosophy ‘Keep it simple – keep it singlespeed’, it promises extreme versatility. But will it prove a chromoly polymath, or does the Arise 1 spread its talents too thinly?

The frame

The skinny tubes of the Arise’s frame and fork exhibit enough flex to dampen down rough surfaces, something especially noticeable offroad.

With its front triangle made of double-butted tubing the frame is light for the price and this helps keep the ride lively.

There’s slightly more lateral flex than some bikes, but never enough to be remotely troubling.

There’s not a huge amount going on design-wise. The tube profiles are conventional.

The fittings, a 1-1/8in head tube, 27.2mm seatpost, and 68mm threaded bottom bracket are all sensible, reliable, and easily serviced.

With mounts for racks and mudguards, front and back, you won’t be caught short if you want to adapt the Bombtrack.

It’s got plenty of clearance, too. Interestingly there are also stops for a rear derailleur cable, which means it would be possible to add gears later – although it would require some advanced level bodging.

Upcoming models are due to feature a new dropout design allowing for easier conversion.

Simple, well thought out, and readily adaptable, the Arise is great out of the box while also being a fantastic canvas for future modifications.

Groupset

The own-brand square taper crankset looks neat and features a sensibly sized 42-tooth chainring, and the matching chainguard will prevent it chewing your trouser leg.

Paired with a 17-tooth cog at the back, it provides a ratio that’s relatively spinny on the flat and easy enough to get up most hills.

Stopping the Arise are mini V-brakes which provide greater power and modulation than conventional rim callipers, along with good clearance for mudguards.

Employing replaceable cartridge pads, they’re good quality.

Compared to disc brakes they’re lighter too, although slightly prone to gumming up with mud in sticky conditions.

Finishing kit 

Whoever compiled the Arise’s spec list deserves an extra day’s holiday – they’ve clearly been working hard.

The bars, with their shallow and gently flared drops, perfectly suit the bike.

Allowing you to stay low and comfortably cover the brakes, their increased width provides the leverage necessary to control the bike in the rough.

Up top their ergonomic profile is a comfy place to rest your hands, while a minimal forward throw places the lever hoods within easy reach.

The seatpost is a quality model, quick to adjust and sturdy enough to hold the saddle solidly.

The saddle is decent, but may be a little firm for some tastes.

Wheels

The 35c Kenda tyres feature thousands of tiny bobbles. While happy enough on smooth tarmac, they really come into their own on rougher terrain, and performed well on both an early season cyclocross race and our daily canal-side commute.

The rims supporting them are fairly broad, so we wouldn’t advise fitting anything narrower than 28c.

The Bombtrack uses a rear wheel with a conventional cassette hub, with spacers and a single cog, rather than a screw-on freewheel.

This facilitates quick and solid power transfer, and should outlast the cheaper option; the downside is that it’s freewheel only – there’s no option to fit a fixed sprocket for the authentic fixie experience.

Another minor gripe is that the hub uses old-fashioned nuts rather than bolts or a quick release, and since they are in different sizes front and back, you’ll have to lug two spanners around in your emergency toolkit for tyre changes.

On the road

Call us shallow but the matt paint twinned with colour-matched cables and accents instantly had us onside.

Hopping on board, the simple, light frame is surprisingly fast. Combined with quick-to-turn gearing, it’s easy to set spinning.

Stable geometry and the ability to plough through most terrain meant we found ourselves hopping kerbs and seeking out cheeky shortcuts.

This nippy nature is checked somewhat by the tyres, though. Designed for rougher terrain, their tread is slightly buzzy at higher speeds on the road.

Moderately slack and with a lengthy wheelbase, the Arise is stable both on road and off.

This easy-going nature also means it’ll behave itself when loaded up with panniers.

It’s not a bike that needs much chaperoning in any situation. The front end is of middling height. Not too low, but not excessively upright either.

With flared, shallow bars it’s happy to be ridden on the drops for extended periods. Despite being a budget alternative to disc brakes, the mini-Vs easily bring the bike to a halt.

Clatter into a pothole or tree root and the 35c tyres will do a good job of soaking up the impact, while the broad rims that support them also make pinch punctures less likely.

Although not too much of a drag on tarmac but swapping to slick tyres capable of higher pressures will drop the Arise’s rolling resistance significantly.

Both frame and fork are a little flexy. Yet what tiny amount of momentum you might lose in terms of forward propulsion is easily made up for by the additional comfort this imparts.

The frame is the most instantly comfortable on test, partly due to the tubing, but also thanks to the slightly more stretched out geometry, which gives the pipes a bit more room to move about.

On the road, the Arise is practical, if a little steady going. Where it excels is on slightly more taxing terrain. When grinding along rough-and-ready roads, or hacking around a cyclocross race it’s unflappable.

The wide bars play a part, helping you to exert the leverage necessary to keep it heading where you want it.

Rather than tracking dead straight, the Arise’s pliable nature means it’s better to let the bike find its own way through chattery sections, instead of trying to bully it into submission.

With broad and stout wheels, the rest of the componentry is easily tough enough to take a thrashing. 

Ratings

Frame: Uncomplicated and lighter than you might expect. 8/10
Components: Sensible, reliable and easily serviced parts. 8/10 
Wheels: Durable cassette hubs and good all-round tyres. 7/10 
The Ride: Light and lively handling makes for a fun ride. 9/10

Verdict

Practical and steady on the road and lively off it, the Arise 1 is light, fast, versatile and fun

Buy the Bombtrack Arise singlespeed from Triton Cycles here

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 558mm 560mm
Seat Tube (ST) 540mm 538mm
Down Tube (DT) N/A 632mm
Fork Length (FL) N/A 410mm
Head Tube (HT) 137mm 139mm
Head Angle (HA) 71 71
Seat Angle (SA) 73 73
Wheelbase (WB) 1019mm 1022mm
BB drop (BB) 65mm 65mm

Spec

Bombtrack Arise 1
Frame Double butted 4130 CrMo frame and fork
Groupset N/A
Brakes Tektro RX6 mini V-brakes
Chainset BT Bikes square taper, 42t
Cassette 17t heat-treated CrMo cog
Bars BT Bikes CX-1010 flared
Stem BT Bikes Origin forged -7 deg
Seatpost BT Bikes 612
Saddle BT Bikes Comp
Wheels A-M1 double wall, 32h sealed hun, 11-speed compatible, Kenda Small Block 8, 35c tyres
Weight 9.86kg (size M)
Contact bombtrack.com

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