Gravel bikes have largely stolen cyclocrossers’ thunder, but we still have an affection for curly-barred barrier-hopping antics, which is exactly what the All-City Macho King A.C.E. is designed for.
Sold as a frameset or a complete bike with SRAM Rival 1× gearing, the Macho King is built from All-City’s proprietary A.C.E. steel tubing, which the brand says allows its engineers to customise the tubing for each bike’s needs.
We’ve got the frameset here, and it’s pretty stunning thanks to that glorious splatter paintjob.
While you could certainly build the Macho King into a capable gravel bike, there are key spec details that betray its racy ‘cross intentions.
The top tube is ovalised for easy shouldering and, unlike the gravel and adventure bikes All-City also makes, there isn’t a mudguard or luggage mount in sight on the frame.
In addition, tyre clearance tops out at 700×42mm, with the frameset apparently optimised for ‘cross-approved 33mm rubber.
The geometry is reasonably racy too. This 52cm frame (medium-ish) has 382mm of reach and 566mm of stack.
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It’s the details that really give the Macho King its appeal. The logo seat clamp is delightful, as is the engraved head badge, and the bottle bosses feature subtle reinforcement.
All-City is proud of its paint too. All the brand’s framesets get a phosphorous bath prior to painting, followed by an “electrophoretic deposition” (ED) coating, which uses the magic of electricity to stick an initial layer of paint to the frame and adds a base layer of rust protection.
This is followed by layers of conventional wet paint and, finally, a UV-resistant clear coat. The end result is a finish that really shines.
The splatter paint is achingly cool. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
Being steel, the All-City isn’t exactly super light. I can’t tell you exactly what this 52cm frameset weighs because it’s currently locked in BikeRadar’s Covid-shuttered office, but All-City says a 55cm frame weighs 1,745g, while a complete frameset with thru-axles comes in at 2,379g.
Would you fancy racing cyclocross on some stylish steel? How would you build yours?
All-City Macho King A.C.E. frameset specification
Frame material: All-City A.C.E. air-hardened, custom extruded steel
Rear hub spacing: 142×12mm
Brakes: Flat mount disc, 140–160mm rotors
Tyre sizes: Max 700×42mm, optimised for 700×33mm
Bottom bracket: 68mm BSA threaded
Fork: Columbus Futura Cross full carbon, 100×12mm axle
Price (frameset): £1,400 / $1,299