All-City’s mix of old-school steel and new technology continues with the Zig Zag’s handmade frame featuring thru-axles, hydraulic disc brakes and tubeless tyres – showing steel doesn’t have to be retro.
You’ll have to save your pennies and break the bank for All-City’s new Zig Zag, though, its first bike with disc brakes.
As with many steel bikes, All-City’s Zig Zag is also available as a frameset for £1,300 or as a complete bike for £3,550 with Shimano Ultegra hydraulic and an upgrade to Halo Carbaura carbon wheels.
The Zig Zag may have endurance geometry, but it romps along at an almost indecent lick.
Theoretically, the 30mm tyres may be slower than 25 and 28mm tyres but you’d never notice it, and whereas I’m normally happy to spin along on the flat at around 20 to 24kph for much of the time, this accelerates effortlessly up to 30kph and well beyond, letting you watch the world whizz by.
The handling is impeccable. On a sweeping descent at 65kph my riding line to hit the apex of the bend was taking me near a deep, dangerous-looking pothole that I wanted no part of. Minimal steering effort and a little braking took me safely into a much better line.
Straight-line speed is excellent and, living up to its name, it zigs and it zags with the best of them.
The combination of a steel frame neatly TIG welded in Taiwan and with a lovely, classy seat collar, carbon fork and Schwalbe’s 30mm tubeless tyres maximises comfort.
The groupset is full Shimano 105 hydraulic (with an upgraded Ultegra chain) and it’s fabulous. I appreciate the 34t sprocket on the wide-ranging 11-34 cassette, and the gear changes are slick, while the braking is powerful and controlled.
Halo’s handmade Devaura Disc RD2 wheels are a very decent call for a £2,750/ $2,700 bike and they’re up to date. Their 19mm internal width rims will take tyres from 25 to 38mm, and they’re a semi-aero 30mm deep with Aero Racing bladed spokes.
Weight is a reasonable, if not super-light, 1,760g per pair. They gain speed quickly and are virtually silent until you freewheel, when the rear’s 120-point pick-up fires up the chainsaw.
They come supplied already tubeless with tapes and sealant and are paired with Schwalbe’s excellent 30mm Pro-One tyres. If you want to go wider, the Zig Zag will accommodate tyres up to 35mm wide.
I did actually suffer a very rare puncture on some truly horrific wet roads, which the sealant didn’t cope with. Fortunately, it was pleasingly straightforward to remove the valve, insert a traditional inner tube and re-seat the tyre. Sorted. Punctures will always happen.
All-City’s Zig Zag is great fun; it’s fast, stylish and has some lovely finishing touches. Who doesn’t like a classy head badge, brazed seat collar and even – retro touch ahoy – pump peg?
Large tyre clearances and mudguard mounts add oodles of versatility. Yes, it’s going to be heavier than a similarly equipped carbon bike, but I never noticed this.
A strong wheel and tyre pairing, flared bar and an unobtrusive saddle complement the comfort of the steel frame and carbon fork. Thru-axles and Shimano 105 ensure the braking and gearing will never let you down.
Even after my first puncture in a very long time, I found very little to criticise about All-City’s Zig Zag – apart from the price. It’s not wildly out of kilter for a bike of this quality and with such an appealing all-round ride. However, nearly three grand would buy you a lot of carbon.
But being steel, you should get a lifetime of fast commuting, training sessions, Sunday best rides or whatever your favourite riding is.
All-City Zig Zag geometry
- Sizes (* tested): 46, 49, 52*, 55, 58, 61cm
- Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
- Head angle: 72 degrees
- Chainstay: 41.5cm
- Seat tube: 52cm
- Top tube: 54.5cm
- Head tube: 14cm
- Fork offset: 5.1cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 7cm
- Wheelbase: 1,011mm
- Stack: 56.2cm
- Reach: 38.4cm
How we tested
This bike was tested as part of a five-bike grouptest of steel road bikes and road-biased all-rounders.
Steel might be the oldest of bike building materials but can be used to create comfortable, long-lasting and repairable bikes. It’s also recyclable, so better for the planet than you might think.
Modern tastes are felt though with disc brakes, tubeless tyres and clearances for wider rubber all making an appearance.
Bikes also tested:
|Price||GBP £2750.00USD $2700.00|
|Available sizes||46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61cm|
|Tyres||30mm Schwalbe P-One tubeless|
|Seatpost||Genetic alloy 27.2mm|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano 105|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano SM BBR60|
|Frame||Custom-extruded ACE steel|
|Fork||Whisky no9 tapered full carbon|
|Cranks||Shimano 105 50/34|
|Chain||Shimano HG X11|
|Cassette||Shimano 105 11-34|
|Brakes||Shimano 105 hydraulic discs|
|Wheels||Halo Devaura Disc|