I’ve realized while researching online that there are no really proper reviews of the Cinelli Mash 2010 frameset. I’ve had mine for a little more than a week now (there are actually two in the RATSKL stable!), I guess it would be fair for me to give a quick review on how the ride’s been so far. My build is still incomplete (I need to change my SDG stem and handlebars, for example) and it’s only been a week, but here goes.

We got ours from TR Bikes in Singapore a few days after Christmas. According to them, the amount of bikes thats allocated to each dealer is purely by luck of draw, as there will only be 1000 framesets made worldwide. I practically gave up on this bike knowing that the waiting list is really crazy—if you pre-order now you would only get it around March or April, but luck was on my side and TR Bikes managed to get 6 framesets in (two each in S, M and L sizes). If you’re in the market they still have two sizes left, an S (51cm) and an L (55cm) so be quick.

Mine is the L (55cm) grey colourway (I’ve yet to see the green ones actually). Set it up with black 32H Gran Compes, H+Son rims and Randonneurs back and front, with a Sugino Messenger 44T crankset and Sugino 68×103 bottom bracket. It’s running a Token 17T cog at the rear with a Milwaukee lockring, with a Charge Bucket saddle (a Selle Italia Turbo lookalike, damn comfortable), Wellgo pedals with All City Double Toe Clips and Double Straps. Basically stuff I transferred from my earlier setup which was an 55 Eighthinch Scrambler.

Enough has been said about the graphics, but since I’m a nut for monochromatic swiss grid-based design, I totally love what Benny Gold did for this. The detailing in the modified Cinelli crest is awesome, as well as Gold’s paper plane logo on the bottom of the downtube. Simple and nice. Someone mentioned that it’s a bike that would look good whether you photograph it in colour or black and white, and I agree. Paintwork is top-notch (aside from the carbon forks, more below.)

At around 2kg, it is damn light. So light that when I first rode it on the road (which was immediately after setting it up in Singapore), a bus passed us by and our bikes literally swayed in the wind. Got used to it pretty quickly (before this I was on a heavy, chromoly Eighthinch Scramber, and the other owner was on a Surly Steamroller) and was zipping around confidently among traffic. The triple-butted Columbus Airplane tubing (an Aluminium, Zinc and Manganese composite) sounds hollow when knocked on, none of the familiar ‘ting’ you get when knocking on chromoly or steel). To be honest, it sounds scary, like hardened paper or something. I’m pretty sure it’s tough (It is. It’s the same material they make airplanes with. Maybe), with a high weight to frame strength ratio, but at this point I’m not taking any chances.

The combination of the weight and geometry (I can only describe it as ‘modern pursuit’. Not as forward sloping as real pursuit frames, but enough forward sloping to notice the difference) makes it really really responsive. One pedal push and you’re off. Maybe I haven’t ridden many light framesets, but I sort of understand why many riders look for extra light setups.

It’s because you can sprint like a bitch.

It feels like you’re not pushing your bike, but just your body weight. That’s the simplest way to explain it. And the geometry is extra responsive. I felt safe whizzing around traffic, and doing skid stops at traffic lights. Needs some getting used to (I tended to overcompensate on weight while skidding, which made me ‘overskid’ i.e. the bike goes sideways too much) but once you understand you’re pushing less weight it’s a dream to mash on. Bombed so many hills this past week that my brand new Randonneurs are already showing the red line.

I was worried about the carbon forks at the beginning, but I think so far the worry’s been unjustified. (By the way, the final production model uses an integrated Columbus headset, with the fork-side headset flushed underneath the headtube. If you Google you’d be able to see pictures of headtubes with an external headset at the fork-side. I believe these were show bike setups. Correct me if I’m wrong. Cinelli never made any announcements about this so I’m not sure.) They absorb enough road vibration (roads in Kuala Lumpur are really, really bad and bumpy usually), and doesn’t feel that it’s going to break at all (this is my first carbon fork setup), even while wheelie-ing and going down curbs. You get a nice ‘thump’ when landing wheelies, and not a thin ‘tinny’ sound. Having said that I wouldn’t recommend going down 5 flights of stairs. I believe Cinelli offer replacement forks, but don’t quote me on that. So don’t go ahead trying to break one to find out.

The paint on the carbon forks however scratch off easily when compared to the frame paintwork. I installed a Knog Beetle on the right fork blade and managed to scratch some paint off while transporting it. And the Knog is made of plastic and rubber. -_- I guess paint treatments differ when you work on carbon and aluminium, so be careful about that or you’ll end up with annoyingly scarred forks!

Also more than enough tire clearance for my 700x28X Randonneurs, but the ‘whiskers’ on the tires scrape the inside of the forks every now and then. The back tire fits nicely, allowing me to closely set it up as closely as I can to the seat tube for a tight wheelbase with no problems. Right now the back clearance is less than a finger’s width.

The CNCed steel dropouts look solid, as how Cinelli makes them. My Gran Compes fit in perfectly, no adjustments. Having said that, it’s so tough that I think I sort of overwrenched the hub nuts, which cause my locknut to break in two. Sigh.

Other than that, I don’t have any problems with toe-clip clearance on mine. Can bank a full left and ride without scraping my front tire. I’m using 165mm crankarms, with M-sized toe-clips. I believe you will have less toe-clip clearance (and even toe-clip scrape) on the smaller framesets, as is the case with most other framesets. These can be compensated with shorter crankarms and smaller-size toe clips as usual.

Barspins are not possible, unless maybe if you’re using 650 tires. But why would you want to barspin on a Cinelli Mash anyway, right? Get a Volume Cutter or Kilroy for that.

To be honest this is a mean speed machine (unless you pedal slow). It just goes and goes, limited to how hard your legs can take it. The riser bars do no justice, (personally felt riser bars do not belong to pursuit(-like) frames) so I’m planning to change back to 40mm urban pursuit bullhorns, which I think suits this bike better and allows a better power transfer. Cinelli now makes nice Lola bullhorns, although that’s a bitch to find online right now. Cinelli help me! Not a big fan of dropbars, before you ask.

OK I guess that’s pretty much it. Leave questions in the comment area if you need to ask anything.