Fixed Gear riding has really taken off in the last few years and I’m afraid to say I’ve been swept along with it. To admit to riding a fixie you’d think I’d be sat here twiddling my well groomed moustache, with my wayfarer sunglasses perched on my nose and wearing skinny jeans. Well I’m not (my skinny jeans are in the wash). The fact is that fixie scene has become very main stream and it’s not just the hipsters and bike messengers having all the fun anymore. However with the explosion of fixed gear riding comes a downfall. Lots of cheap and cheerful bikes are being churned out at an alarming rate. Every tom, dick and harry seems to be releasing a new track frame of some sort.
For those you who aren’t familiar with a fixed gear bike, the basic rule of riding a fixed gear bike is whenever the bike is in motion, the cranks (and your legs) will go continue to go round. The rear cog is screwed directly to the hub with no freewheel although flip flop hubs are becoming more popular which give you the option of either a freewheel or fixed hub. Coasting is non-existent when riding a fixie which can be a bit of a shock to the system at first but can do wonders for building up leg power and strength. Henri Desgrange, founder of the TdF and early hipster is quoted as saying “I feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft…As for me, give me a fixed gear!”. But that was in 1902, where is the fixed gear scene over 100 years later?
The guys at Mash SF have really been pushing the fixie scene in the last couple of years. Originally hailing from the hilly streets of San Francisco these guys have been with the fixed gear scene since the start. The internet is strewn with various videos from their self-titled DVD film which never ceases to amaze. These guys live to ride with a no holds barred attitude to riding which has now become a global phenomenon.
Mash SF consists of artists, Graphic designers, photographers and bike messengers who have all come together through their love of riding bikes. The original collaboration between Mash and Cinelli saw the creation of a purpose built fixie frameset designed from the ground up. For those who think this new frame is just a new colour scheme you’d be gladly wrong.
The original Mash frameset has been further tweaked to produce a new geometry which plays to the preferences of the particular style of fixed gear street riding which has been brought to the attention of the masses by the Mash SF crew. With this frameset you will be able to recreate the trademark riding style popularised in the Mash SF DVD. This geometry will complement your fast switchbacks and scissor like movements and after a bit of practice you’ll be literally dancing in the streets on two wheels.
Cinelli have listened closely to what the guys at Mash SF had to say and have come back with a frame boasting an even steeper head and seat tube angle than previous Mash models also including a raised bottom bracket. The result is a bike that consists of precision response offering fast twitch steering yet is stable at high speed. A negative sloping top tube set the rider up in an attacking, aggressive and committed riding position. The geometry has been tweaked from the original Mash geometry to offer more manoeuvrability to suit the most challenging urban landscapes.
Built from the same high end aluminium as used by those planes you see flying overhead, Columbus triple-butted tubes offer the perfect compromise between weight and stiffness. With a two year warranty against manufacturer defect this should stand the test of time. A nice little feature is the frames geometry is stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket shell.
It’s not just the geometry that had a makeover either. Mash SF rider and graphic designer Garrett Chow has come up with a variation of classic Mash black and grey colour scheme using an angular toning style (reminiscent of a histogram, hence the name) between colours. This design is offset nicely with blue stealth Cinelli lettering which is set to get you noticed for all the right reasons.
That’s enough writing from me, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Below are some close up shots we took of the Cinelli Mash Histogram here in the PBK office.
If you needed anymore convincing even a Mr Lance Armstrong is a fan of what the guys at Mash SF are doing and headed out on a ride with them back in 2007.