We don’t know what Maccatuskil means but On-One describes what it says is the quickest mountain bike in its line-up as a "world class XC race frame ready for you to tackle your local trails with", and we can’t fault that description. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s just a harsh hammerhead with limited laughs though.
Ready to race – hard
"What does it weigh?" is the first question that any serious racer will ask about a prospective bike, and at just 11.13kg for our Large sample, On-One provides an answer that’s seriously impressive for the money and a relatively tough trail-friendly rather than XC-specific spec.
The frame certainly isn’t malnourished either, with the big-barrel head tube blending into the coffin-shaped down tube and a very broad, flat start to the top tube. The flat top tube profile then continues back, forming a shelf around the extended seat tube for impressive lateral stiffness.
The massive chainstays help channel maximum power
The seat tube locks these together equally solidly, turning from round to a broadening rectangular section where the bottle mount is and offset to the left to give space for a double chainring set-up if you want. The bottom bracket and chainstays are massive too, to channel maximum power from the mainframe all the way to the thru-axle rear.
But it’s not just the shaping of the tubes that makes for a muscular authority in the pedal response. It’s the quality of the carbon, and we’re not surprised – it feels significantly sharper under power than most mid-priced bikes with Toray T800 woven into the mix.
While you could certainly go lighter with the wheelset if you sacrificed some stiffness, strength and width, the El Guapo hubs use a 72 engagement point for near instant pickup. The WTB treads are light and supple for their size too, although there’s obviously scope to fit lighter, faster slicks for pure speed duties.
Trail Boss rubber helps smooth your way
The SRAM GX1 groupset keeps things light and clean and the RockShox Reba fork uses the same chassis as the race-branded SID, so there’s no excess weight there either. That means the only things obviously at odds with the XC race positioning of the Maccatuskil are the big El Guapo bars and short stem.
The more sensitive reactions and shorter reach definitely fidget around more when climbing than a traditional 100mm stem/700-720mm cockpit. They’re also a bit heavier, but we’d definitely suggest you stick with them for at least a couple of rides as you might be surprised how well they work with the rest of the On-One.
More than an XC machine
That’s because pigeon-holing the Maccatuskil as just a cross country bike is definitely clipping its wings in terms of its deserved appeal. While its low weight and powerful pedal response mean it certainly doesn’t feel restrictive on a race track (and we’ve got the results to prove it) its muscularity doesn’t come at the expense of masochistic harshness.
Despite being effectively limited to a meagre 100mm of travel, the Maccatuskil has great potential beyond just cross-country racing
Going back to the frame walk around we started with, the top tube gets shallower as it curves back until it splits into super thin D-section seatstays that curve around over the top of the big dropouts. This means they avoid any load transfer from the well-protected disc brake, so can be laid up wholly for comfort-increasing compliance.
That’s not just a marketing cliché either, it really is a genuinely forgiving ride that preserves your back even if you’re racing on the rivet or busting out big back country miles all day.
The mid-width i25 rims are easy to convert to tubeless to add even more pneumatic float to the already supple Trail Boss 2.25in rubber and, as always, the 29in diameter reduces the effect of rocks, roots, ruts and other trail obstacles when it comes to smooth speed sustain.
While it doesn’t have the latest 148mm Boost axle standard and it’s not officially designed for plus-sized tyres, there’s plenty of room around the well-treaded WTB 29ers. That means you could sneak something like a TrailBlazer 2.8 in there if you want to really max out the air-cushioned potential and you don’t mind running things close.
There’s some other neat detailing that expands its versatility too. Two swappable internal routing or blanking panels on the offside and one on the driveside keep the frame looking clean whatever transmission/dropper post options you’re running. The fact it’s ready for both the latest Di2 and Shimano Side Swing front derailleurs as well as an internally routed seatpost shows just how broad the potential of this frame is.
The only slight disappointment is that the seat tube is already erring on the slack side, so we’d advise against increasing fork travel beyond the current 100mm because it’ll make the front end wander and lift too much under power. You’ll be surprised, though, just how much the stability-enhancing 69.5 degree head angle and big bars let you handle anyway and if you’re into classic big XC rides without having to back off on the fun bits it’s simply a great bike for the money.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.