The Nature Boy might seem like a niche within a niche – a singlespeed cyclo-cross bike – but don’t rush to dismiss it. We can’t see the validity of a one-speed bike for racing, but the Nature Boy makes a huge amount of sense for commuting, especially if your route to work takes in any off-road sections – and if it doesn’t, the Nature Boy will tempt you to ﬁnd some.
With a 72-degree head angle matched to a 73-degree seat angle, the bike has a stable feel; the handling is quick and agile off-road but not twitchy on tarmac. It’s no lightweight – 10.5kg (22.9lb) for the complete bike – but thanks to the WTB Pathway tyres it doesn’t roll heavily on the road and still has enough traction on the rough stuff in all but the slimiest conditions.
The frame is crafted from double-butted 4130 steel, complemented by a matching straight-bladed steel fork, and both the frame and fork are pre-treated with an anti-rust coating inside and out before being painted. The horizontal dropouts are made of stainless steel and feature integral chain tensioners. There’s clearance for up to 38mm tyres.
Should you want to run mudguards, the Nature Boy has ‘hidden’ eyelets front and rear, and enough room to run 35mm tyres and a mudguard. It’s also great to see the rear brake cable cleverly internally routed so, should you want to shoulder the bike, it’s clean and comfortable.
The rest of the bike is well chosen, with particular highlights being the high quality Cane Creek S3 headset, a very well made and designed unit that will last and last. Decent Tektro cantilever brakes work well with the excellent All-City-hubbed wheelset – a good, solid, 32-spoked pair that have coped admirably with off-road jaunts and regular commuting, regardless of the weather.
As a commuting bike we love the Nature Boy; its simplicity makes it a joy to use. It handles as well as cyclo-cross bikes that cost twice the price, and the frameset itself is beautifully ﬁnished and looks superb, with an attention to detail rarely found at this price. A note on sizing: our test bike was a 55cm by All-City’s speciﬁcation, but it had a 56.5cm top tube and 57cm seat tube, which is bigger than claimed and made it perfect for a rider of 6ft 2in or thereabouts.