The Bike List

2014 On One Dirty Disco Sram Rival 22 £1200

Tested by Steve Maile

I'd like to think that I appreciate the value of top-end, luxury cycling brands like Castelli and Cervelo but when it comes to bang for my buck I am a huge fan of the very affordable Planet X. I've two Planet X bikes - an N2a road bike and an Excocet 2 triathlon bike - and I wouldn't change them for the world. However, running my best road bike through winter last year ruined my SRAM Red components, and I struggled to stay upright on icy roads, so this year I decided to keep training throughout the off-season and commute on a cyclocross bike.

Planet X sent me a Dirty Disco from their sister brand On One, and one of their own-brand XLS Shimano 105 cross bikes. Despite all my previous miles being on slick tyres, I fell instantly in love with these cross bikes and the extra freedom they give. Trails between my house and office are now a pleasure rather than an obstacle. And there is certainly a rush brushing past tree trunks at 20mph and discovering unknown off-road Strava segments…

The first thing that struck me when I first saw the Dirty Disco was the shape and size of the carbon forks, they look as if they could absorb whatever is thrown underneath the bike and clear any amount of mud that's stuck to the front wheel. On One, who usually make mountain bikes, have only one cyclocross bike that is described as their versatile crosser, commuter, all-rounder.

The Dirty Disco looks great, the nude carbon and orange highlights really turns heads. With its giant forks and interesting curves it's a gorgeous bike to look at. It's also a gorgeous bike to ride. It really does what it says on the tin, it's a comfortable bike but can handle everything that comes its way off road. The cables even run externally across the top of top tube allowing you to place the bike on your shoulder like a proper Belgian would.

Designed with more of an emphasis on comfort in rough terrain, the carbon frame is laid up to allow for more compliance, so jolts hitting the wheels, handlebars and saddle are dampened. It comes equipped with the very impressive SRAM Rival shifters that feel nearly as good as top-of-the-range SRAM Red road shifters - a strange sensation when off-road, but when practising starts and six-second sprints with a local cyclocross club I was able to shift through the rear block precisely, quickly and effortlessly.

Powering the On One Reet'ard wheelset is a 46/36 FSA chainset but the latest version comes with a 50/34T compact FSA chainset that should offer plenty of range both on and off-road. Putting on a spare compact chainset instead really surprised me, I knew that the flexibility of the bike off-road was fantastic but was pleasantly surprised that the bike allowed me to push the big gears and cruise along in the drops at 25mph+ as I would on my road bike, perfect for winter miles and commuting.

I was fitted with a medium (54cm) but because of the bottle cage bolts in the seat tube I had to cut the seatpost down a fraction. Not a major inconvenience but something to consider if selling or buying second hand. I tried to get by with a raised seat but quickly realised that having the saddle any higher than it needed to be limited my ability to mount and dismount the bike easily during cyclocross, resulting in a severely bruised right thigh.

Overall pound for pound I can't speak highly enough about this bike. As an all rounder that will allow me to get winter miles on the road, commute to work and try my hand at cyclocross in the off-season. I can't imagine many beating the Dirty Disco, especially for £1,200! It might not have the race pace (for this, see the Planet X XLS Shimano 105 review), but I imagine very few looking in this price range would notice.

Weight: 9.5kg without pedals - size Med

Planet X XLS Shimano 105 Cyclocross Bike Review £1,100

At a glance

Verdict Great bang for your buck and fantastic all rounder. If flexibility is more important than racing then this is the bike for you.
Value
Performance