On-One’s 456 steel hardtail has been around for a while, but this latest version gets bigger 650b wheels and an 11-speed SRAM transmission in a bid to bolster its trail credentials.
Frame and equipment: tidy tubes meet solid spec
The straight, uncomplicated, triple and double-butted tubes used to build the 45650b have been neatly welded together to create a frame that’s more than happy to accommodate a long-travel (as far as hardtails go) fork, with angles that certainly lean towards aggressive riding and trail razzing fun.
The skinny wishbone seatstays give a decent amount of mud clearance out back:
Skinny wishbone seatstays give a decent amount of mud clearance out back:
The 44mm head tube and 30.9mm seat tube will happily host the majority of forks and dropper seatposts, though sadly there’s no internal routing for a ‘stealth’ post. The threaded 73mm bottom bracket shell is surrounded by ISCG tabs, and asymmetrical chainstays and wishbone seatstays meet at a quick-release 10x135mm rear axle.
We opted for the pricier SRAM X01 build but there is a SRAM X9 build for budget conscious riders. Included alongside the ever-impressive 11-speed transmission (actually a mix of X01 and X1 kit) are SRAM’s Guide RSC brakes, ROAM 30 wheels, RockShox Reverb post and Revelation fork, in 140mm (5.5in) travel guise. We really liked the own-brand Knuckleball bar too.
Ride and handling: high angles make for an acquired taste
There’s definitely an element of feeling perched on top of the 45650b, especially when you start slinging it into turns on mellower bits of singletrack. We had to slam the stem as low as we could on the fork steerer to drop the bar height, but even then, it still felt quite high. It’s also hard to ignore the 320mm bottom bracket height, which, even with a 140mm fork, is quite tall. You could drop the fork travel to lower the BB, but that would also steepen the head angle, which, at its current 67 degrees, feels pretty good when pointed downhill.
On-One’s latest steel hardtail handles pretty well, especially on fast descents:
On-One’s latest steel hardtail handles pretty well, especially on fast descents
The high BB means it takes time to build confidence in the turns. On the plus side, we never snagged a pedal when putting the power down on tree stump riddled off-piste sections. Our 18in frame felt roomy enough in the cockpit on the climbs and the wide gear range and reasonable overall weight meant that winching the 45650b up to the top of the hill was always a comfortable affair.
Get the On-One pointed down steep, technical trails and confidence levels soon creep back up, thanks in part to that high front end, wide bar and short stem. It’s easy to manhandle the bike up and over trail obstacles at speed, and even in the air it feels reassuringly stable. The 140mm Revelation fork – even if it is a little flexy – lets you sit back and clatter down choppy, badly worn trail centre descents as fast as you’re happy to go.
The rear end can feel quite unforgiving after a long stint in the saddle though, especially on really battered surfaces. We’d fit wider, higher volume rubber out back to add a little more cushioning, and a front tyre with a bit more bite.