First things first: we think that Space Horse is one of the best bike names ever. The moniker may elicit chuckles, but the best thing about this new ride from Minneapolis's All-City Cycles is the smile it puts on your face when you ride it
At 11.52kg it isn't light, and with super-fat 35mm tyres it's no speedster, but none of that matters because the Space Horse is an absolute blast to ride.
- HIGHS: A great fun ride, but not one for wannabe racers
- LOWS: It's not exactly a flyweight
- BUY IF... You're the sort of rider who enjoys getting off the beaten track as much as sticking to the smooth stuff
The big Freedom Ryder tyres give it plenty of cushioning. While they are very heavy, they have tenacious grip on tarmac, and also allow you to attack dusty towpaths, cobbles and byways at serious speeds. The relatively short riding position and wide mid-drop bar make the All-City's handling more akin to that of a cyclocross or mountain bike, so there's always the temptation to chuck it down flights of steps, up and off kerbs, and to find excuses for forays into the sort of territory usually reserved for dirt bikes.
The Space Horse is a bike that demands tough kit and thankfully, it hasn't been short changed in this department. Full Tiagra, including the matched two-piece chainset, means excellent shifting, with the 12-30 cassette helping you on climbs despite the bike's weight. The wheels are tough Alex DA16 rims with 32 spokes and hardy Tiagra hubs. We subjected the Horse to some significant abuse and plenty of ill-advised wheel-off-the-ground time and they remained true.
But just because the Space Horse is one big ol' bouncy blast doesn't mean All-City have skimped on the small stuff. The frame is full of great features and displays an attention to detail unusual on a bike at this price. The rear brake cable, for instance, is routed through the top-tube with some neat external braze-ons and a full-length guide inside too, so shouldering the Horse is comfortable and snag-free.
The rear dropouts, designed in-house, are semi-horizontal, so unlike bikes with vertical dropouts, you can run this as a single-speed. The intricate design has a polished steel slide and built-in adjustment screw to adjust chain tension, but thanks to a tab at the entry, the wheel will always locate in the ideal place when replacing.
All-City have thought about protecting the ferrous metal from the elements too, giving it a pre-paint Electrophoretic Deposition coating. This rustproofing agent goes inside and out, and should see this Horse gallop on for many years.
The frame also features front and rear mudguard mounts, fittings for a rear rack – rated to take 30lb – plus front low-rider rack mounts, rated to 20lb. With the potential to carry 50lb of kit, the Space Horse could equally handle your weekly shop or a globe-trotting expedition.