Randall Jacobs and Alice Liu invited me to their downtown workshop to check out their new adventure road machine, the OB1, and take it for a test ride. With cyclocross wheels, 700c with knobbies, or with a monster cross setup, 650b with 47mm knobbies, the fun really began. NordicTrack wants to give you $7,500 toward your Adventure Resolution.
The left shifter actuates an internally routed dropper post cable, which is an option available for an additional $200. This short trail riding edit from Specialized will make you ooh and ahh. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]. I’m a typical, skeptical mechanic. Thesis OB1 Do-It-All Carbon Bike.
[caption id="attachment_133424" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] The rear control lines are internally routed through the carbon frame. Each wheelset provides you with a different set of advantages to play with on your OB1. He’d set the bike up for me initially with the tires at 35 psi, which is a lot for me with such a high volume tire. Due in part to its just so damn fun to ride.
With most of the ride off-road, it became evident that despite the large contact patch of the 47mm tire, the slick tread disallowed traction on wet soil or grass, even with the advantage of staying seated using the low 26 inch gear or descending with the dropper down and in the drops, butt hanging over the rear tire. From next-gen tech to ingenious innovation, our weekly peek at emerging products examines the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
The bike also has a great aesthetic — a beautiful blend of aero-road and adventure-by-bike. The brand has built direct, in-person relationships with their manufacturing partners and facilities.
In the bike industry, he found his calling, moved to Asia and learned Mandarin. The OB1 is a stiff platform. Tire compliance helps a lot, but you can still feel the heart of the bike.
Jacobs specs those bikes with the same DT Swiss 350 hubsets from the same production lots if possible for an easy “hot swapping” of the wheels. The same bike that I was hammering on a Friday night road ride could be transformed into a gravel-crushing machine for a Saturday morning adventure ride. Fork blade mounts often have three bolts for a large format cage like the Salsa Anything Cage, but Jacobs did not like the idea that riders would load too much weight outboard on the fork. We recently visited the co-founders of gravel bike startup Thesis in San Francisco, California.
Many riders don’t have the luxury of multiple wheelsets easily swappable on a disc brake equipped bike. A few minor adjustments to saddle height and off I went. Sometimes I’d lower the saddle at a stop light to stay in the saddle with my feet on the ground just because I could.
Thesis OB1 Do-It-All Carbon Bike. The bike is basically perfect.
© Copyright 2020 GearJunkie, All Rights Reserved, Colorado Ski Resorts Want You to 'Know Before You Go', Gerber Launches 'Reserve' Program for Small-Batch Knives, Mitsubishi Unveils Inflatable Camper Buildout for L200 Pickup Truck, Seaweed Skis?! The slotted saddle has a short nose and wide rear, similar to the Specialized Power saddle. It's a true speed machine and by far the best road bike I’ve ever owned.
Sharing in-depth conversations between the world's adventurers, athletes, and outdoorspeople, The GearJunkie Podcast is your inside look into the outdoors industry. Despite my preference for a more compliant frame, this bike feels quick, responsive and racy. The OB1 offers mounting points galore and the option to add a dropper post. A high-performance gravel bike that is versatile enough to chase down roadies and rail singletrack turns, the Thesis OB1 is the closest bike I’ve seen to a true quiver-killer. I fear I have developed a superiority complex because I see all other bikes, especially the $12,000 bling-bling road bikes, as ridiculous now. I don’t mind the single ring set up as it frees up the left shifter to actuate the dropper post. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine[/caption].
I had high expectations for this bike, and I’m happy to say it has blown me away. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'cxmagazine_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_4',125,'0','0']));[caption id="attachment_133420" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] The seat collar is integrated and backward, which is a nice design.
I’ve worked on and ridden every gimmicky bike in the book. Its endurance road geometry makes this bike comfortable on long days. For a decade he learned how the global bike industry worked. The impression I have is that if chased no one would ever catch me because I could just bunny hop over the curb and set off into woods before anyone even knew what happened. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine[/caption].
(But Thesis offers lengths down to 155mm for smaller riders.). Thesis hand-builds these wheels with 24 lightweight aero spokes to ensure a precise lightweight build. These 28-spoke wheels come in at 1,460g and are also handbuilt to withstand whatever abuse your rides throw at you.
His business and their mission are truly all about the end user and a flawless end product.
On the Thesis OB1, 700c wheels with slightly larger rolling diameter than cyclocross tires felt like a normal modern cyclocross bike due to the low bottom bracket the bike starts with. These miles include road, gravel, hero dirt, and singletrack across Minnesota and Colorado. The limitation of the shorter chainstays is that with 700c wheels, 40mm is the tire clearance limit, perhaps 42mm with a squeeze. This is Jacobs’ thought of what that best one bike might be. There are attachment points for fenders, a bento box, a rear rack and five water bottle cages, two in the usual spot, one on each fork leg and one beneath the down tube.
There were no rattles or creaks, no rubbing of rotors, or clicking of gears. Within each ecosystem are different chainring and cassette options to calibrate each wheelset’s gearing to your fitness and terrain.
Thesis sent us a blue review OB1, and we put it to good use on all kinds of roads and trails. The standover height was noticeable but not bothersome since I primarily ride cyclocross bikes.
Thesis owners have access to a Slack community forum where other riders share ride photos and stories, routes, new ideas, and bike questions. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'cxmagazine_com-banner-1','ezslot_2',124,'0','0']));The fork axle-to-crown height is also a road-bike-like 385mm, as compared to a cyclocross standard of 395mm. Active and engaged community that is committed to inclusion, Affordable (relative to comparable builds from other brands), Responsive support, warranty, and crash/theft replacement, Currently in stock and ready to ship (October 2020), From a purist’s perspective, the OB1 is a do-it-all bike and not focused on one discipline, Currently 2-5 weeks out for design and shipping; no availability at local shops for test rides, If you’re introverted, you’ll hate the attention that this bike draws. At the time of writing this article, I have nearly 1,000 miles on the OB1. Assembly is as straightforward as it says. This bike screams capability. And they connect with people who live close for social rides. [caption id="attachment_133418" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] Our bike’s 42cm handlebar is slightly flared and the left shifter is set up to control the dropper post. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]. I dislike the look and shifting over the ultra-wide range cassette. Thesis founder Randall Jacobs launched the brand in 2018 around the idea that one size and style does not fit all. The optional dropper gives you added control and confidence when exploring new gravel roads and singletrack.
If you are looking for a bike that will cover a lot of ground, the Thesis OB1 should be on our short list. While I am not particularly handy, I have done enough work on my bikes to take a crack at this assembly.
The wheels have 28 spokes with external nipples laced 2x around DT Swiss 350 hubs with Centerlock rotors for a durable build. Tons of mounting points for water, bags, racks, etc.
The simplicity of the wheel swap, and thus of transitioning between tarmac and singletrack modes, is what makes the OB1 special. Exceptional versatility is what elevates the OB1 from worthy mention to must-see. The outcome is the Thesis OB1 — an all-road performance bike that is designed to take on everything from spirited road rides to sloppy singletrack. So One Bike, with a nod to old Ben Kenobi: OB1, “Now that’s a name I have not heard for a long time.”. I fear I have developed a superiority complex because I see all other bikes, especially the $12,000 bling-bling road bikes, as ridiculous now. [caption id="attachment_133423" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] Our OB1 demo bike came with a wide-range SunRace 11-46t rear cassette. Thesis’s direct relationships and built-to-order model keep overhead low, making it possible for it to offer a carbon frame, carbon wheels, and a premium spec at an impressive price. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]. He will offer some knobby tire options in the near future as a customized request. Despite what some say, frame compliance plays a role in the overall ride quality. Jacobs is equally proud of the parts mix he’s curated for the OB1.
Both the front and rear ends felt stiff under power when I needed it, like on the road bikes I’m used to, and it was just so fun to shred fire roads and singletrack. To me it made little difference. My OB1 had SRAM’s 12-speed AXS drivetrain with Thesis’s hollow-forged crank and a 44T front chainring. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine[/caption]. Our build came with 650b x 47mm WTB Byway tires that feature a relatively smooth tread.
Thesis places a unique emphasis on inclusion and creating a community around its bikes and those who ride them.
(That’s four wheels, four tires, four rotors, and two cassettes!). © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine[/caption].
So much that on the website he explains his reason for choosing every part of the build. The area behind the BB shell is smooth with no mud shelf. It's raw, filled with crazy drone shots, gorgeous fall foliage, and — well, it's just really good. Longer fork blades accommodate ’cross tire clearance with 700c wheels and mud clearance. Subscribe to Cyclocross Magazine today, and you'll receive in-depth content on riders, tech, reviews, and behind-the-scenes look at races. It even offers the option to donate said rewards to nonprofit organizations that provide bikes to underprivileged populations. Then you can have one bike that offers great on-road performance and very capable off-road performance. The OB1 has a Toray carbon fiber frame with an open mold design.
My appreciation for the thoughtfulness that went into the bike increases the more I ride it. Utilizing unique manufacturing relationships and custom builds for each rider, Thesis has created an accessible high-performance, all-road bike. However, put on the road wheels and tires and you may think differently. That has the theoretical advantage of making the bike more responsive, since more weight is over the rear wheel or because there is less flex of the stays. Thesis’s GT27 (Gravel|Trail|27mm Internal) Carbon 650B Wheelset is built around an asymmetric XC mountain bike rim, with a 27.3mm internal width and a tubeless, hookless design to support high-volume tires at low pressures. I even found myself lowering the saddle a bit when approaching a corner on the road to better rail it.