Cinelli MTBFever City Bike



Peter's Personal Bike - Not for Sale


Heavily influenced by Jon's upright riding Stumpjumper, I wanted a big, strong, stiff city bike that I could also ride on the dirt. Though I wouldn't be comfortable climbing the steepest hill or bombing a rough downhill, the Cinelli has proven stable and worthy for the occasional urban mountain biking challenge or fire road exploration. It is the perfect bike for exploring Taylor Yard and the Ruff Side of the LA River.

Coco's buddy Charlie tipped me the Cinelli on San Diego craigslist about a year ago. It was equipped with low grade steel Shimano 7 speed stuff and I believe the only parts I kept were the frame, fork and saddle. It was not an expensive bike back in the day and it had been poorly maintained in a beach city, so it makes sense that most of it was ready to be replaced.

The key to this build is to get the bars up and wide. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. At the absolute cheapest, you would look for a used, tall steel MTB stem and a $15 seat of Wald steel bars. Of course, you will probably have to re-cable the brakes and shifting as the change in height and width will effect cable reach.

One step more expensive, in a Taiwanese way, would be to use a Kalloy version of the Nitto Dirt Drop/Periscopa stem and a Soma version of the Nitto Albatross. These components are of nice quality, though not as beautifully finished as the original Nitto versions. We go this route quite frequently as you can see from this Stumpjumper that we built.

The Kalloy Dirt Drop/Soma Albatross-esque is pretty elegant. Very nice for a city bike. But, when the bar gets that wide, it adds some flex.

Beautifully finished welds

For dirt riding, I wanted something stiffer. And though the Nitto/Rivendell Bosco bullmoose bar is the more expensive option, it is really cool, really beautifully finished and not that expensive at $155. Remember, this is stem and bar, so that will help mitigate the $155 shock. You can read more about the bar at Rivendell. The US distributor for Nitto has been out of them for some time (Hi Joe!), but we hope to have them back in stock soon.

We have not equipped used bikes with this bar as it adds so much to the build, but maybe we should try to build one when they get back in stock. Build something modest, ugly and cheap into something very comfortable and practical. Spend more on the bar than the bike which makes complete sense to me. Easier to say than it is to do. I often hear, "I don't care what it looks like, I just want it to work," but when it comes time to open the checkbook, it is hard to fork out the money for something that is ugly and doesn't make you smile. Stay tuned as we try to find a middle ground of cost, refinement and aesthetics.

Though the bar has a long back sweep, it is still pretty compact in terms of fitting a grip, brake lever and shifter. Best to use an integrated pod with both shifter and lever. I have a 8-speed XTRs (Hi Joe, again! Thanks!) but if you were building on the cheap, any indexed 7 or 8-speed would work. If you are going to use separate levers and shifters, it would be sensible to use a set that were meant to go together as they will fit snug.

I love Suntour and Shimano Deerhead friction shifters, but I think the indexed pods is the way to go. You may disagree, I am interested in seeing your build and I could be convinced otherwise. In fact, Jon now has the same bar and I can't remember what he used.

Inexpensive Tektros 720s, but you could totally use whatever cantisor v-brakes you have. I like these cheap Tektros as a new option as they come with nice cartridge pads and they are available in silver. 

I currently have Continental Explorer knobbies but I would prefer the Continental Town and Country tires. I have the Explorers as I wanted to ride on dirt and, as they were in my used tire stack in the basement, they were the most economical choice. The Town and Country would not be as capable on dirt, but would be much smoother on the streets. Besides, the knobby makes the most different when you are climbing and it is not a great bike for the steep stuff.

Rest of the build is sort of like making breakfast with leftovers - use what you have. Of course, it is never as easy as that, as everything needs to work in harmony, but it is definitely a mixed bag.

The fact that it is a Cinelli gives it some panache. The Italian manufacturer's jumped into mountain biking when they felt they had to and then jumped right back out though not before Campagnolo designed the ugliest group in their history. It is a nice frame, feels good and looks great, but honestly, any long top tube steel mountain bike of the era would do the job just as capably. I am a sucker for the faux-Aztec graphics.

From Tracko

From 18MPH

When I bought it, I didn't know that Keith Haring rode a Cinelli MTBFever. Our man Tonkery tipped me to the Haring/Cinelli MTBFever connection after I circulated pics of my latest score. Good enough for Keith is good enough!

Frame/Fork: Cinelli Tamputocco

Headset: unknown parts bin

Bars/Stem: Rivendell/Nitto Bullmoose Bosco CrMo

Brakes: Tektro 720

Hanger: Origin8

Cranks/Chainrings: Sugino triple

Pedals: MKS Lambdas

Wheels: modern Deore laced to Sun CR-18 with Deore skewers

Cassette: unknown 8 speed Shimano

Tires: Continental Explorer

Front derailleur: unknown Shimano with a 9-speed decal

Rear derailleur: XTR

Shifters/Brake Levers: XTR 8-speed

Grips: Ritchey

Bar ends: Cat Eye

Seat post: unknown parts bin

Saddle: Cinelli MTB

Rear light: Lezyne