it's not the 'not top of the line' it's the design and component specification... namely, they design it for riders that don't have legs the size of oxen, will put power down in a normal way, don't need a lightweight frame beyond a certain level of impressive performance, and they spec it out with parts that will withstand normal riding abuse but not gain much of a competitive advantage.
the one way is much heavier and more compliant than a rush hour pro, which is in itself VERY far off from a top of the line carbon track bike.
the one way is a great bike, but it's meant for the average rider who just wants a bike that can absorb potholes and perform well enough to ride day in and day out as a commuter, that is fender and rack compatible, and fits generally well for giving an upright riding position and comfortable controls.
and the "n00b question" comment was NOT directed at you personally. I apologize if you felt that way, I was simply stating that the question you asked was a typical newbie type of question about a bike that has been well documented and discussed on this forum in the distant past, and there have been a handful of threads like that this evening all at the same time.
please don't take offense at the term, i wasn't calling you out personally as a newb. sorry about that, i shouldn't have used that term right off the bat. welcome.
i like the one way but it was way nicer in 07 when it came with nicer fenders and had a generally more low brow design.
the name plates and color schemes they have now exude snideness to me.
I take nuub as a sign of who I am, not as offense.
I've read several of the one way threads, but I don't see it being compared to anything.
for example, to any of the threads on the first page.
Why do the kilo tt, surly steamroller, and bianchi pista have so much of a following, while the one way simply has the same answer "the one way is a great bike... average rider... absorbs rough roads... commuter..." and many of the statements in your post?
I'm curious as to if there is anything between a oneway and a rush hour pro or if everything in between is just preferance.
there's a huge difference, the one way is specifically built, down to the tubing used for the individual tubes of the frame, to be a commuter bicycle that can go many miles without service, while still handling all the demands of a city/town commute.
the rush hour is another raleigh that is very similar, but it has less in the way of compliance and a longer fit so that you will be more tucked and aero.
to a large extent, all of the bikes in this range differ only in 'just preference.' a fast rider is going to be faster on a one way, set up to his liking, than a slow rider on a rush hour or rush hour pro.
however, the one way is specifically made to cover a lot of ground with little complaint. it's not really designed for the same end as the kilo tt, steamroller, or pista. all of those bikes have steep road geometry and are meant to be streetable track-style bikes, suitable for use on a track.
the one way is really meant to be used as a commuter. it has canti brakes, which are better for running full fenders and better at shedding mud grime and water, and its set up as a singlespeed instead of a fixed gear. it comes with larger width tires than the other bikes you mention, which absorb chatter and hazards better and last longer than skinny race/track tires.
the differences aren't huge to a novice rider, but they will present themselves very differently and after a month of daily riding should be crystal clear when switching from one bike to another.
what i'd ask you, personally, is what is it that you like about the one way? and what type of riding are you selecting your bike to accomplish? furthermore, what type of riding do you think you will most enjoy while you have this bike?
commuting to about 2 miles from class to apt. & riding at the beach for a nice long cruise/sprint(depending on the mood) once in awhile.
i'm in So-cal So there is no rain or mud really... or any weather...
the one way is a great bike... but two miles is not really enough to get much out of a nice bike.
i hate to steer someone to bikesdirect and away from an established company that cares about the cycling culture in a whole new league compared to bd (raleigh is a GREAT company), but a windsor the hour or a kilo tt may be more to your liking for socal.
i could be wrong, the one way i'm remembering had cantis and fenders... but in socal that's just more stuff to get stolen or snagged while locking up.