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Ø N E bike to rule them all – I’ve been banging on about this for about 20 years now – what if you had one frameset that is adaptable enough to swap different wheels and even components onto so that you could ride road, trails and everything in between?…

This obsession started for me when I left college and started working as a mechanic – I raced XC and Marathon races at the weekend and then adjusted it for the weekly commute on a disused railway back in the UK – Back then we all had 26 inch wheels with V-brakes and to fit 700c wheels for the commute I had to buy some odd looking brake post risers made by Mavic. When it came time for the cross season I made up a set of drop handlebars with road Sti levers – thanks to external cables I could swap from 26” flat bar race bike to 700c drop bar ‘cross bike within about an hour or so.

When disc brakes properly came along I started experimenting with various set-ups but due to the front mech and mechanical gear cables everything was always a bit of a bodge and there just wasn’t the clearance I wanted. Then I spent a couple of Summer’s touring with a steel frame in places like New Zealand, Canada and all over Europe – I found myself limited by the rigid fork, low front end and pannier racks – I remember one day in NZ where I tried to ride properly off road with the 00’s touring setup, which involved a lot of pushing and when I wasn’t pushing I was repairing racks and lowriders! Fast forward to a couple o years ago when finally the components and accessories had caught up with what I wanted to do and I started designing and working on my “ØNE” – I used it for the first time on a bikepacking ride/race called The Distance and then raced a ‘cross season on it afterwards. Now in 2020 and I’ve just built my third ØNE frame for #aeightbikeco rider, Pip. We’ve now tested the ØNE for two seasons of cyclocross and two Summers worth of adventures – Cam’s tested his ØNE at National Championship level on the Cyclocross circuit and used it for his training, commuting and as his go-to bike for 18 months. So we’ve got the experience now to see what works and what doesn’t.

This particular ØNE started life as an early prototype of mine which I cut up, altered and rebuilt into what has become the current final design for that one bike that really can handle everything.

The 1x chainset keeps everything nice and simple and by changing the front ring to suit the riding you’re doing there’s no compromise on the way it works. The secret to 1x is to use a wide enough range cassette which most of the big brands seem scared of, but coming from a predominately off-road background, it makes perfect sense to me. You can fit anything from a 28T MTB ring all the way through to a 44T Cyclocross/Road ring and with the range of cassettes to choose from it means that pretty much any rider is catered for.

I’m currently running 11-speed Di2 which gives me the option of fitting GRX gravel components or XT mountain bike components. Externally routed brake hoses and Di2 connectors mean that I can swap everything over within about 30 minutes including the wheels – I use Hope hubs for pretty much all applications so that regardless of the wheel/tyre size, I know that the rotors and cassettes will all line up. Now, between the three of us riding ØNE’s, we’ve got about nine or ten wheelsets covering road, gravel, cross and mountain bike.

The ØNE is perfectly suited to what I would describe as 00’s mountain biking – we’ve ridden the South Downs Way, local trail centres, explored new bridleways and taken on a couple of brilliant overnight trips. Thanks to modern bikepacking bags we can ditch the racks and ride to wherever, which was brilliant as soon as the first lockdown eased. You can basically set the ØNE up for anything from road riding to general mountain biking and everything in between. The frame itself features a mix of Columbus and Reynolds to get the best mix of tubing – the super skinny and compliant seatstays wrap around the seat tube to improve clearance without sacrificing ride comfort. The chainstays are wide oval double bend which gives us great clearance and amazing stiffness which keeps the drivetrain efficient. The main tubes are lightweight double butted round tubes picked for the best strength to weight ratio. The headtube is tapered with internal bearings which again improves stiffness and makes the front super accurate. A TRP fork up front allows me to fit the larger diameter 15mm bolt-thru fork and post mount brake which makes the front completely planted.

ØNE’s feature a custom rainbow glitter base coat as standard with #aeightmanufactory camo and are built bespoke for the individual using 20 years of ideas and experience. #aeightbikeco #aeighttech #aeightescape #aeightwheelworks #aeightmanufactory

Photos by Glen Whittington, Pip Jenkins,

Thanks to Geoff Roberts for showing me how to build frames –


#aeightracer – Glen’s an ex-racer who still finds time to ride mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross bikes for Southborough & District Wheelers. He started building custom steel frames in 2013, has worked in bike shops since 2002 and started racing in 1998. He helps out with London and SE Cross League and receives personal support from Helly Hansen, Geoff Roberts Frames, Four4th Lights. His most recent claim to fame is 13th in the British National XC Mountain bike rankings and 15th overall in the National Series whilst setting up the.æight.bicycle.cøllective#aeightracer

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