On-One Inbred 29 X9 review$1,581.40

A true off-roader

BikeRadar score4.5/5

It’s been around for years, but the On-One Inbred’s ability to treat the most technical trails with complete contempt in control and traction terms is still remarkable. Add a simplified frame allowing ultra-aggressive direct sell component collections and this is a truly remarkable rough off-road bargain.

Ride & handling: The solid, stop-at-nothing bike equivalent of a Land Rover

While the far better quality kit than its price peers makes the On-One attractive, it doesn’t represent good value unless the ride of the bike is worth hanging quality bits on. Happily On-One don’t disappoint. Rather than a skinny whippet, the Inbred 29er is built as a dependable bulldog of a bike and while there’s a reasonably sturdy feel underfoot acceleration isn’t a strong point.

The big Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres make it something of a slog on smooth surfaces. However, while it doesn’t accelerate easily, it doesn’t decelerate easily either. Get it off road, drop it into gear and keep churning away and what this bike will roll over and grind up is genuinely gobsmacking. Persevering with the pedalling meant it cleaned several summer trophy climbs in the worst conditions imaginable and traction levels were so high we thought we must have flatted the rear tyre on the run-in.  

While the angles are relatively steep in contemporary terms, the same anchored frame feel underpinned its steamroller confidence on even the most treacherous snow and rock descents. A planned bar change will reinforce that handling confidence even more. What it lacks in zing and spring it pays back in precise and reliable line picking, rather than the random ricochet that can plague the steering of finer boned steel 29ers on rutted and rocky trails.

Frame: High weight and sturdy feel but outstandingly smooth, surefooted and tenacious

Yorkshire-based On-One are sticking with their own well-proven DN6 steel tubing blend with its plain straight gauge head tube and reinforcing plates above and below. The multi-pipe wishbone seatstay arrangement that gives vast mud room, even with 2.35in tyres, stays, as do down tube or top tube rear braking options. 

Frames arriving by the time you read this will have lost the modular multiple axle swap-out dropouts and bolts for optional V-brake studs. You'll get old-style ISCG (International Standard Chain Guide) chain guide mounts, and the gear cabling will use full-length outers clamped under the top tube, rather than open down tube routing. This simplification means ride quality is unchanged but reduces frame pricing to allow On-One to fit the outrageously good sub-£1,000 spec seen here.

Equipment: Amazing kit value, as long as you don't mind buying direct

The biggest bonus is the RockShox Reba RL fork that's a far more sophisticated, adjustable and controlled suspension unit than is usually found on 29ers at this price. Even without a tapered steerer the 15mm Maxle screw-through axle gives it better tracking precision. 

SRAM’s X9 groupset more than offsets the weight of the steel frame and production bikes will get a SRAM S1000 2x10 chainset set-p. X9 shifters are getting a running bearing upgrade this year for a lighter, slicker feel that should satisfy several of the test team who preferred the feel of the cheaper Shimano triggers.

The high-rise On-One bars will also be replaced with low-rise 700mm Truvativ bars and matching 60mm stem. On-One’s adaptable axle wheels will stay, although they’ll be wrapped in new Maxxis-made On-One tyres rather than the Nobby Nics seen here.   

On-One inbred 29 x9: on-one inbred 29 x9
On-One inbred 29 x9: on-one inbred 29 x9

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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