When it comes to bikes, it’s easy to get caught up in intricate designs and over-engineered add-ons, when simplicity is often best. Sometimes, the best bikes are the ones without all of the frills and extras; a reliable, durable bike that can handle the dirt, take a hammering and keep on going.
For this very reason, we love the Rock Lobster Team TIG Singlespeed bike. It’s designed for hitting the trails, with simplicity in mind. This is a bike you can count on not to break or need adjustments while you’re out in the mountains.
You’ll never have to hike your bike back to camp with Rock Lobster because a chain slipped a gear, and you don’t have the tools out on the trail to fix it. Plus, it’s built for performance, with exceptional hand-made quality. Let’s take a closer look!
About Rock Lobster
Before we look at the bike itself, let’s talk about Rock Lobster as a company. Rock Lobster is a small, independent operation based out of Santa Cruz, California. It’s owned and operated by its founder, Paul Sadoff, who has been building bikes almost his entire life.
Sadoff began working as a bicycle mechanic in 1976 and started his own business in 1987. Since then, Rock Lobster has produced frames for bike events all over the world, including the Olympics and world championship cyclocross competitions.
The truly unique thing about Rock Lobster is that no matter how much his business has grown, he never delegates the frame building process to others. Every one of his bikes is hand-built by Sadoff himself. And with over twenty years of experience, you can count on the quality of a Rock Lobster bike.
Of course, since he builds every bike himself, production is slow, especially when larger companies place an order. However, it’s worth the wait. Sadoff knows what goes into a quality bicycle and optimizes it for performance and a smooth riding experience.
What We Like Best
Rock Lobster has been producing some of the best single-speed bikes in the world since 1987, even before they were popular. The Rock Lobster Team TIG Singlespeed bike is a prime example of simplicity as a strength.
The Rock Lobster bike features butted alloy tubes seamlessly welded for a stiff frame with just enough compliance for riding on rough trails. Where multiple gears can help when it comes to steep hills, single speed is excellent at tackling dirt tracks and mountain roads.
We love the attention to detail Rock Lobster has put into this bike. It’s carefully constructed using only quality materials. It really is one of the most robust mountain bikes you can get.
It’s simple but is super durable, so you’ll have it for years to come. Also, it comes powder-coated, which is a long-term finish designed to hold up in rocky and sandy conditions. What’s more, it performs smoothly, with just enough compliance to keep you from getting too beat up on bumpy roads.
The Rock Lobster is constructed by hand, built in the United States, and top-notch quality. You really can’t go wrong with one of these bikes. It’s a quiet and straightforward riding experience designed to remain stable even at high speeds.
Overall, the Rock Lobster Team TIG Singlespeed bike is for mountain biking. It’s built for riding dirt trails and rocky terrain. It features what Sadoff calls “swoopy” dropouts for an SS setup that is dedicated. It’s durable and built to last.
What We Don't Love
Because of how the Rock Lobster bikes are constructed, the wait times to receive an order can be pretty excruciating, especially if you’re excited to get out there and ride. In some cases, it can take several months for your bike to be built and shipped.
As we mentioned earlier, Paul Sadoff personally constructs each frame. While this is appealing because you know his twenty plus years of experience are going into it, he gets backed up with orders sometimes, especially when large retailers request several bikes at one time.
While Sadoff does delegate the painting and basic assembly to others, it still takes time to build each bike. So, while this is a good thing, it’s also not so good because it can take months to receive your bike.
Another downside to this Rock Lobster bike is its steel frame. A steel frame can feel heavy and unwieldy for inexperienced riders, making this a more challenging bike to handle. That said, steel does improve durability over a carbon frame. It really becomes a matter of preference, but it’s crucial to be aware of this fact.
Rock Lobster is a great company and showcases what a small, independent business can do in the United States. It’s founder, Paul Sadoff, is dedicated to his craft of building bikes and makes some of the best in the business.
However, Sadoff is an old-school builder, using steel tubing instead of more modern materials like carbon. While this has its advantages, it does make Rock Lobster bikes a little more cumbersome than some of its competitors.
Still, part of the appeal of Rock Lobster is its durability. The Rock Lobster Team TIG Singlespeed bike is simplistic and tough. Hitting the trails with one of these is an experience unto itself, providing a smooth and quiet ride.
All in all, the Rock Lobster Team TIG Singlespeed bike is built with a durable steel frame and single-speed reliability. While multi-gear bikes allow for improved handling on steep inclines and sharp downhill descents, this bike offers an authentic mountain biking experience on dirt roads and rocky trails.
With its robust powder coat and seamless steel frame, you’ll have your Rock Lobster bike for years to come, but be prepared to wait for your order because a bike of this quality takes time to construct.