The leaves are turning, the weather’s cooling, and in the distance, cowbells are ringing. That can only mean one thing — cyclocross season is here.
Each autumn, a growing number of cyclists switch gears to race or ride cyclocross, a discipline of mud, hurdles, and tight turns. The bikes resemble road models but have knobby tires and are beefy enough to handle the off-road abuse.
State Bicycle Co. got its start with urban bikes, fixed-gears, and singlespeeds. The Thunderbird, reviewed here, is the brand’s one-gear go at a cyclocross rig.
I rode it over the past month on dirt, gravel roads, and pavement for a test. At about $1,000, the bike qualifies as an entry-level competition steed. Or, it’s just a hella fun all-around ride, which can switch from city to dirt, literally, without changing gears.
Sometimes the budget doesn’t include dropping loads of money on new bikes, so when the Thunderbird arrived I was eager to see what a mid-price ($1,000) bike could do.
Cross bikes, like many other performance rides, can reach well into the multiple thousands of dollars, so the Thunderbird represents an acceptable price for a ‘crosser on a budget.
Flashy & Functional
Out of the box, the Thunderbird comes equipped with SRAM levers, a Ritchey cockpit, and Avid brakes. The flashy — if not a little gaudy — electric pink color brings the bike together nicely and ensures you’ll get noticed.
It rides well, and I was impressed with the aluminum frame’s comfort. The carbon fork was forgiving, subtly absorbing the bumps, eliminating trail chatter, and keeping the front end stable through tight turns.
Although the Thunderbird comes set as a singlespeed, an eccentric bottom bracket gives the option of adding gears if you’re interested in tackling steeper terrain.
Rear End Discomfort
After an inaugural ride, I made an immediate change to the saddle. I’ve put my tush on some pretty uncomfortable seats before, but the stock State seat took the stale, moldy cake.
Admittedly, saddle comfort is pretty subjective to the rider, but every tester we tried was quick to mention the discomfort. Plan to invest in something a little more comfy unless your rear end is made of steel.
Solid Price/Performance Ratio
The State Thunderbird is all about bang for your buck. It represents a great intersection of style, performance, and price point.
It might not be the fastest or the lightest bike on the course, but it gets the job done and looks pretty damn good in the process.
Race it or ride it around for fun. For a rider looking to develop their skills on and of the course, the State Thunderbird is a great option.
State Thunderbird Cyclocross Bike
- Frame: 6061 Aluminum
- Fork: Carbon fiber
- Brakes: Avid bb5 disc
- Bottom Bracket: Eccentric
- Cockpit: Ritchey components (stem, handlebars, seatpost)
- Levers: SRAM S500
- Tires: Kenda Small Block 8
- Cable Guides: Affixed throughout the frame
- Price: $999
- More Info / Buy Now