On-One Pompetamine Commuter – a few months later…

The most popular posts on this blog continue to be those of my On-One Pompetamine build. The project started out with the goal of building a cheap commuter/errand runner bike that I wouldn’t worry too much about being beaten up, or worse, stolen. Another requirement was that it should not require much maintenance.

At first though this would be a cheap single speed beater. I live in a very flat city and don’t really need gears for getting around. As I started to source parts this changed a bit. I saw a good deal on an Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub and the built quality and price went up from there. Needless to say this bike isn’t high end, but it certainly is not a beater either.

The Pompetamine after a few months of commuting.
The Pompetamine after a few months of commuting.

I’m happy to say that after a few months of commuting to work and lots of biking around the city, I couldn’t be happier with how this bike turned out. A bit of a surprise, its one of my favorite bikes to ride. Why that is, is not immediately apparent to me, but I think it’s partly due to the Alfine hub. I didn’t anticipate it, but the ability to shift while stopped or not peddling is huge when trying to cycle though the city. That ability is taken for granted now, and I find traditional bicycle drivetrains a bit annoying in the city compared to the Alfine. Another plus for the hub is that it’s almost silent in operation, nice.

One of the other things that has turned out to be rather pleasant are the tires. I ended up going with 28mm wide Clement Strada LLG. They are nice fast tires but they also have a bit of ‘give’. No punctures to date, knock on wood. With the Mavic A319 rims, 28mm is the smallest tires that will fit due to the rim width. This tire is about as small as I would go anyways.

Not everything about the Pompetamine frame is perfect although you might expect that for $130CAD. The paint is very thin. Lots of paint will be removed when you lock this bike to a bike rack or lean the frame up against almost any hard surface. Another downside is that the effective top tube length is on the small side. This is most likely since it was probably designed for use with drop bars.

The frame scratches very easily.
The frame scratches very easily.
Tubus Fly rack + Abus Bordo lock
Tubus Fly rack + Abus Bordo lock

The only other non-frame related downside to this build is the rear cog sizing that I picked. It is geared too high. Instead of an 18 tooth cog, I should have went with 20 tooth. This will be changing shortly and look forward to slightly lower gearing.

Since the original build, I’ve added a Tubus Fly rear rack. This rack is very minimal and thats why I like it. Extremely light weight but robust enough to carry a change of clothes and a laptop. Additionally to the rear rack, I’ve added an Abus Bordo
lock. Attached to the frame, its never forgotten and always easily accessible. The Bordo, combined with a locking from skewer makes locking the bike up quick and painless. Next up is a locking seat collar.

The only change I will be making to this bike is the addition of a dyno hub built up as a new wheel. The wheel will be shared with the Surly Ogre. More on that later.

That’s all I can really think to report on at the moment. If anything comes up in the future i’ll post an update. If your on the fence I would recommend trying it out. After all, if it doesn’t work out your only out a minimal amount of cash.


Alfine 8 hub in the winter

With the warm temperatures here in Edmonton I decided to head out on the On-One Pompetamine bike I just built. Yesterday I rode across the city to the in-laws house. Today it was a ride in the river valley on the trails there.

The ride went well yesterday. I was surprised how well the 700x33c Maxxis Mud Wrestler cyclocross tires worked in the snow on plowed roads. Lots of grip except in the loose slushy areas.

Today was a bit of a different story. It had snowed a little, perhaps 1 or 2 cm. This caused my tires to kick up a lot of ‘snow dust’ in the air, making its way on to my chain. 20130106-220109.jpgAfter a while ice built up near the rear cog. When this happened it caused the hub not to free wheel properly. I didn’t think much of it at first and had thought that it would eventually clear it’s self and it did. Another 10km or so went by and it happened gain, however this time instead of clearing it seems to have forced cog out-of-place where it could spin freely without engaging the hub. After some troubleshooting I decided I didn’t have everything I needed to fix it out in the snow. Needless to say it made for a long walk back to the parking lot.

I’m not really sure if there is a good solution to this. I wonder if a lock ring similar to what is used on a cassette would have been a better design choice instead of a snap ring which is used with the Alfine.

For now i’ll have to use my mountain bike with a traditional derailleur system.

On-One Pompetamine Commuter Build – Part 3

The Pompetamine commuter is almost complete!

The only things left to do is cut the steerer tube and install brake rotors after they arrive.


As you can see, I’ve installed the fenders, brake cables, shifter cable, seat, front brake calipers, pedals, and last but not least, built the wheels.  The front fender was a little awkward to attach on the brake calipers side but it works.


The wheel builds went surprisingly well.  I used the Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance book for guidance.  The instructions in the book were very well done with the exception of the 2 cross lacing instructions which contained some errors.  As suggested, I used a 2 cross pattern for the rear wheel due to the size of the hub.  In retrospect I think I should have used a 3 cross pattern.  Time will tell if the 2 cross pattern is strong enough, especially with my 190 pound weight.

Here are the wheel build specs.

[table id=2 /]

I would have used some black spokes if they didn’t cost twice as much and I was more confident in my wheel building skills.

I can’t wait to get it on the road.  I think I may get some studded winter tires and do a bit of riding this winter seeing as it has the internal hub and all.


On-One Pompetamine Commuter Build – Part 2

Just a quick update on the Pompetamine build.

I went down to our local community bicycle shop, BikeWorks to install the headset and crown race.  Everything went fairly smooth with only a couple of minor hiccups.  The top of the head tube is every so slightly out of round so it was a bit challenging to get the headset to press in straight.  The other minor problem I met was that I picked the wrong adapter for the crown race installation tool.  After trying to set the crown race it jammed inside the adapter.  After a few taps with the hammer the adapter fell off.  I selected a different adapter then all was good.

I’m going to try a standard riser bar for now but i’m tempted to try a On-One Mary Bar, or a Surly Moloko Bar.

So as you can see i’ve installed the Alfine crank, shifter, as well as Avid brake leavers and one of the BB7 calipers.

Next week I will attempt to build the wheels.  I expect that being a challenge since it will be my first time.

See part 3 here.

On-One Pompetamine Commuter Build

Next year I would like to start commuting to work via bicycle at least 2-3 times a week.  I’ve decided to build a custom bike during the winter to use for this purpose.

My criteria were the following:

  1. <$1000 cost
  2. Disk brakes
  3. Tires around 35c or so
  4. Single speed or internal hub

On-One had a nice sale on their UK web store and I ended up picking up the Pompetamine frame and fork for $250 USD shipped to Canada.  Not a bad deal.

I’ve been shopping for parts lately, picking up deals as I see them.  So far the build looks like this.

  • Alfine 8 hub.  I managed to get the newer SG-501 version for $225 CAD.
  • Mavic 319 rims
  • Avid BB7’s
  • Alfine crankset

Looking back I should have purchased the On-One Mary bar with the frame since I would like to try an ‘alt bar’.  Ordering it now would cost too much in shipping.  I might end up going with a Surly Moloko bar or even go with a standard mountain bike riser bar, who knows.

I’ll do a few build posts as I start putting everything together.

See part 2 here.