All-City Macho Man Disc Review
Cyclocross bikes have long made great commuter bikes. Slightly overbuilt frames and parts, lower gears, stronger brakes, and clearance for larger tires and fenders as compared to most road options, cyclocross bikes make a compelling argument as the right tool for the committed commuter. Add in the ability to hit mixed surface roads and sections of single- or double-track trail and it’s easy to see why many choose ‘cross bikes for the daily grind and the weekend thrills. When I want to cover some ground and have no particular direction in mind more often than not I choose a cyclocross bike, with the All-City Macho Man Disc being my wheels of choice as the summer days turn to autumn.
With ‘cross racing booming, many bikes on the market have trended away from durable and versatile frames toward lightweight machines more suited to number plates and training rides than endless exploring. The Macho Man Disc has race-proven geometry in a full chromoly steel package, sacrificing weight in the name of disc brakes and bike lifestyle compatibility without compromising on the cyclocross heritage. The double butted frame has internal toptube cable routing for easy portage and forged dropouts with a chainstay rear disc mount. Full length housing throughout keeps the shifting and braking in order no matter the conditions. Fender mounts on the frame and lugged crown fork make it commuter friendly, and full ED coating inside and out helps to prevent corrosion when the going gets wet. An English threaded bottom bracket shell is welcome in this age of press-in bearings, and the subtle touches of a front deraileur pulley mount (for traditional bottom pull road deraileurs) and a barrel adjuster are not to be overlooked—it’s the details like this that matter and make it clear that the bike is designed by people that ride.
The stock Macho Man Disc build leaves little to be desired in terms of performance even if it lacks any particular pizzaz. The Shimano 105 shifters are finely tuned shifting machines at this point, leaving little reason besides weight and fashion to go with higher end choices. The rest of the drivetrain is a mix of Shimano with a 10-speed 12-28 cassette and an FSA crankset with 46/36 rings rounding it out. Color me impressed with the Hayes CX-5 mechanical disc brakes—they performed on-par with other mechanical versions with easy setup, plenty of power and very little fade. Wheels are easy targets for criticism with complete bikes and while the Formula hubs and v-section Alex rims perform just fine I’d prefer to see the classic looks and weight savings of shallower box-section rims and even butted spokes. The 58 cm bike as reviewed weighs 26.7 lbs—nothing that was holding me back, but it is worth noting the weight penalty that comes not only with the disc calipers but the frame bits and wheels to make them work as compared to a similarly spec’d bike with rim brakes.
On the road and on the trail I couldn’t ask for much more bike than the Macho Man Disc. It’s a predictable, comfortable ride all around but not sluggish in the least. The bike just feels fast, and makes me want to ride more miles more often. Cyclocross geometry isn’t far from road bikes these days and the Macho Man Disc is no exception, with the same bottom bracket drop as All-City’s Mr. Pink road bike but with a slightly longer wheelbase and slightly slacker head/seat angles. On pavement the bike feels more like a road bike than a slowly plodding touring bike, but those subtle geometry changes make it a capable performer for the unplanned left turn onto secret double-track trail. It’s by no means a mountain bike but I didn’t let that stop me from picking my way through rocky park trails a time or two—the stopping power of disc brakes makes riding on inappropriate trails far less daunting than underpowered cantilevers as far as I’m concerned. Sugar is sweet and so is honey, the Macho Man is on a roll.
If I had to list wishes, I could see wanting seatstay rack mounts or even a third bottle boss for the epic rides this bike is otherwise suited for. Losing some weight around the middle would be appreciated, but comes at an ever escalating cost. As it stands, a great ride—a race bike you can live with. Give me open trails or a gravel road and I’d be quite happy to rip it all day. The All-City Macho Man Disc is available complete as tested for $1795 or as a roll-your-own frameset for $650.