Raleigh One Way: Singlespeed love child

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.

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