The All-City Log Lady: Sometimes Bikes, Like Men, Jump Up and Say ‘HELLO’ – Kyle Kelley

The All-City Log Lady: Sometimes Bikes, Like Men, Jump Up and Say ‘HELLO’
Words by Kyle Kelley, photos by John Watson

From the beginning All-City has been ahead of the curve. They are dedicated contributors to the current evolution of cycling, pushing their own boundaries and those of the industry around them, making bikes that are actually fun to ride. They began making high quality, affordable track cranks and hubs when there was nothing but Campagnolo and Sugino to choose from. Next they introduced the world to the 32c production road “race” bike. After that, they took the cyclocross world by storm and produced a NAHBS quality production single speed cyclocross bike. And during the vintage MTB craze of 2014-2015 they made a modern day, old-timey MTB equally equipped for ripping down the trails as through the streets to the bar.

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When the people at All-City go about designing a bike they draw inspiration from their home, the people there and the kind of riding they do. The result translates to what I think is a versatile and impressive bikeography. Their latest release is no exception. The Log Lady is a single speed mountain bike with steep angles, meant to get you around, in between and above anything the trail throws your way. The MTB world struggles to understand bike’s like this today because they have loosened their interpretation of what “aggressive” means, often calling what I see as pretty slack angles aggressive. The Log Lady is not a point-shoot-let the slack head tube and suspension do the rest kind of ride, that’s for sure. This bike reminds us that aggressive actually means agile, steep angles and maneuverability. I was excited to try one out because I haven’t had a single speed mountain bike in ages.

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It took a little convincing to get Jeff from All-City to send one out to California for me to test but he eventually located one in my size and I couldn’t wait to get the party rolling!
It took a few changes to get the stock Log Lady ready for Southern California riding. The first, and by far most important thing, was to get it geared for climbing in these parts so I swapped the stock cog to a 20 tooth. I could have gone even bigger, but I had already given the 22 tooth to John for his baller build Log Lady, which you might have seen featured earlier on the Radavist. The second adjustment I made was the handlebars. The ones the Log Lady comes with are just too narrow to manhandle your way up the steep, sandy single track here. I decided to put on some of the Ritchey Carbon Bullmoose bars instead. Finally, because I got the rigid version of the Log Lady I threw some WTB 2.8 tires on it for a little bit of cushion for the pushin’. After these changes the bike was ready to party and party it did!

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Mountain biking in Southern California is something truly special. The climbs are steep and long, either on loose two-track or tractionless single track. I found that the Log Lady’s geometry allowed it to climb very well, keeping me on top of the bike and not behind it. It had solid maneuverability around the switchbacks, but struggled when powering up steps and other rocky features on the trail. The front would sometimes need a little bit of help to roll over something. The descending is fast here and cornering can get a little sideways, but the rigid fork and the bike’s ability to house a 2.8 meant I never felt out of control. That being said, I still would have liked a front through-axle for added stiffness. The short chainstays allowed me to really throw the bike around bunny hopping logs, doing high speed manuals, jumps, slow speed wheelies, etc. My time with this bike was short, but I can say with confidence that I’d love to have it in my stable. Sure, I’d change a few things on the stock build, but it’s pretty damn close to perfection. Closer than any other production single speed mountain bike I’ve seen.

Hopefully one day I’ll get to rip one of these around the homeland! Brown County Trip anyone?

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  • sauhsu

    goshdarn – hand it to All-City to make fun bicycles – #partybrand

  • Joseph Choi

    love ss mtbs…

  • R A D

  • Isaac Smith

    Great review! How does the trend toward super-short stems jive with the steeper geometry on the log lady. That bullmoose doesn’t look like a Mondraker to me.

    • Short stems are in use because companies made their bike’s top tubes longer.

      • Agleck7

        More to it than that. A longer front end plus short stem handles differently (better imo) than a shorter front end and longer stem, even with the same reach to the bar. The move to longer front ends is to take advantage of the handling benefits of a shorter stem (and, generally, wider bars)

  • breed007

    “The MTB world struggles to understand bike’s like this today because they have loosened their interpretation of what “aggressive” means, often calling what I see as pretty slack angles aggressive.” YES. A little sick of seeing 67 degree headtube angles.

  • rocketman

    In concept this could be a winner… but the geometry has some issues… BB drop of 40 mm is pretty small for a B+ wheel, making it more unstable descending. Also the fork rake seems way too short at 42. Stretching it out would add some smoothness to the ride. Kudos to All City for breaking the mold with this style bike… but on paper it seems just not there.

  • c.a. metzler

    In the Cap City (of Ohio) there is a select group for which the Brown Down is an annual (sometimes bi-annual) event, and quite the event. Holler if you plan to be in the area this summer, there’s always enough Brown to go around.

  • Trevor Martin

    Any chance this lady will fit a 3.0?

    • Timothy C Clinton

      Fit a nobby nic 3″ on blunt35’s with the axle about 3/4 of the way back in the dropout. The clearance is not bad at all.

  • Luke Heerema

    Just when I get my dinglespeed Krampus built up….damn

    • Quinn.e

      It’s that what always happens, enjoy the Krampus

  • Israel Magalit

    Kinda spendy for a rigid steel SS

    • Jacob Samborski

      Some people like those more than plastic geared bikes……..

      • mrbiggs

        This. Is my steel hardtail SS worth “less” than a Pivot Doohickey 8.6 EXG with 7 inches of stuff? Nah. Not to me it’s not, thanks.

  • Chris Gonzo

    That carbon bullmoose has my old steel mooses whistlin’ and hollerin’!

    • moe

      Wish this beauty wouldn’t cost > 200…

  • Quinn.e

    I need one

  • Fenton Crackshell

    Just to provide a little context, the Log Lady has geometry reminiscent of a circa-2001 SS 26er. The no-name steel frame costs $900, has 135mm spacing, and doesn’t fit 27.5+ tires. My LBS is an All-City dealer and decided to order precisely zero Log Ladies because no well-informed customer would buy one at that price. For $100 more, you could get a Niner SIR frame in Reynolds 853, with through axles and 29″ wheels.

  • Chris Chou

    YES. YOU COME STAY AT MY HOUSE AND WE GO TO BROWN COUNTY

  • Quinn.e

    Did you fit the 2.8’s on the stock wheelset?

  • jtbadge