The All-City Nature Boy has long been one of my favorite bikes. Since it was introduced it has been touted as a do-anything kind of bike. Commute on it. Race on it. Tour on it. The simplicity of a single-speed cyclocross frame is always overstated, but the versatility of a bike like this is oft overlooked.
When All-City announced that they would be updating their famed cross bike to a more race oriented product, I got a little excited. I'd always wondered what the Nature Boy would be like if it were lighter and stiffer. Take away the dozen bolts and bosses, lighten the tube set, throw a nice carbon fork on there. The Nature Boy A.C.E. brings those wishes to fruition.
I went from racing on an old stock Nature Boy that uses All-City's 612 tube set; more or less a quality chromoly tubing, to a brand new bike with their new A.C.E. tubing. All marketing jargon aside, the new Nature Boy has sort of a "springy" quality to it. It feels like it wants to jump ahead when you mash down on the pedals. I noticed this as soon as I took it on my first ride, right out of the alley behind my apartment and I felt the same sensation at the bike's first cross race.
The new A.C.E. frame set is over a pound lighter than the standard Nature Boy, which is a bonus. The ovalized top tube helps shouldering a little bit, but lets be real, running with a 20 pound steel bike on your shoulder straight up sucks. Luckily there's hardly any shouldering required in our region's cross races.
Once cross season was over I converted the bike over to a geared setup for gravel riding and I'm happy to discover just how comfortable the Nature Boy rides over long distances. All-City did a great job tuning the ride quality of this frame; it's stiff where you want it, comfortable where you need it.
The eccentric bottom bracket? I could do without. I had issues setting it up but please take my words with a grain of salt (anyone who knows me knows I'm the worst mechanic). To my own credit, after a dozen cross races and several long gravel rides, the supplied bottom bracket sounds like an empty spray paint can. I'd recommend replacing it with something of higher quality.
The Nature Boy A.C.E. also comes in a geared version called the Macho King. It does away with the eccentric bottom bracket in favor of a traditional english threaded product. If you don't have any interest in racing single speed cross, get the Macho King.
Love the bike. Love the paint job. Get you one!