Following on from pop culture-inspired names such as Mr Pink, Thunderdome and Log Lady, US steel specialist All-City has created the Macho Man – named after a song by the Village People (or the ring name of wrestler Randy Savage).
It’s a cyclocross-derived "everyday mount for ripping trails, bombing alleys, commuting, riding in the wet and generally getting rad".
Bags of clearance for big rubber
CX-flavoured gravel bikes like this give you bags of clearance for large diameter tyres. The Macho Man comes with 38mm rubber or you can go smaller and fit full mudguards – the bike has fittings for front and rear ’guards (but no rear rack mounts).
The chromoly steel frame and matching fork display All-City’s usual attention to detail, some of which are rare on such a decently priced frameset. These include a cast logo-embossed seat binder cluster, reinforced bottle bosses, investment-cast stainless steel vertical rear dropouts and a custom bottom bracket shell.
The frame should prove durable, thanks to its ED – electrophoretic deposition – coating. It is dipped in a paint bath and subjected to an electric charge, leaving a thin internal and external coating that’s resistant to corrosion even before primer is applied.
Macho by nature as well as name
This bike rides as it sounds – stiff and powerful where it needs to be, especially for such a skinny-tubed frame. The response to your pedalling is impressive, as is the frame’s rigidity at the dropouts, especially under braking.
The steel tubes have a bit of life to them too, resulting in a well-balanced ride, while the straight-bladed steel fork does a good job of softening big, sharp bumps. Comfort is enhanced by the Schwalbe Smart Sams, their square block pattern tread shedding dirt well and gripping tenaciously on hard-packed tracks. That said, when you’re cornering on tarmac you do get a bit of disconcerting squirm.
The Macho Man is at its best on gravel and rough stuff. The ’cross-derived drivetrain – 46/36 crankset, 11-28 cassette – is also best suited to gravel.
On steep road climbs it suffers a little because of its fat, treaded tyres, an all-up weight of 11kg and a slightly high 36x28 bottom gear. Get further afield and away from the inclines where weight isn’t an issue though, and the ride is smooth and the handling sharp and tight.
All in all this Macho Man is a dream to get dirty with – just don’t expect to get to the dirty stuff at the same speed you would on a more road-focused machine.