Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

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Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 9:42 am

First post in this section, so please go easy on me. I've been using my road bike for everything up til now, but am thinking I'd like a cheap, reliable second bike for my short commute and for riding to school with the kids. I'd prefer to use flat pedals and normal shoes so I don't have to muck about with my SPD-SL pedals and walking like a duck at the school dropoff. I don't have any interest in being a hipster or riding fixed, just want a bombproof simple bike... My commute is 5km from Bardon to the city, so it's got some big hills at the Bardon end, but mostly flat.

Considering two options. Buy a Cell/Reid $200-300 single speed bike. OR Make some mods to my beatup old Trek 8000 MTB.

A couple of workmates have gone the cheap SS route and I'll admit their bikes look pretty cool and would do the job. One of these guys is a serious cyclist and triathlete, but happily uses his CELLfixie for taking his kids to school and riding 5km to work, ie. much the same as me. I see there's a $100 option thru CELL to get a Sturmey Archer 2 speed kickback wheel, which might be worth a look? My kids have Nexus internal 3 speed hubs on their bikes, but they seem a bit crap to me. I've never tried the kickback style though....

I loved my MTB and it was an expensive bike when I bought it new around 2000. It's got a very light frame, decent Bontrager eyeletted wheels, seat, bullhorn bars etc.. But, the SID forks are blown, the FD is broken and the crankset was swapped for a cheap and nasty setup a while back to keep it functional. I looked at putting a widget on it and some surly rigid forks, but it occurred to me that I could strip all the gears off it and just use it as a big BMX basically. The frame could use a respray and the LX/XT components are 13 years old, so probably needs a new chain and bottom bracket at a minimum. I see you can buy spacer conversion kits for the freehub pretty cheap, but it'd still be around $200 to fix up the MTB I reckon. If I made it a single speed with tensioner, I could just remove the extra two chainrings and wouldn't need a widgit?

What are people's thoughts? Go the cheap new bike or try and resurrect the old MTB ?

Appreciate the feedback!
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by BNA » Fri May 10, 2013 10:32 am

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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby HLC » Fri May 10, 2013 10:32 am

Cell have a sale on at the moment. $200 for their entry level fixed/SS bike.

You would be best buying that.

As you say, your MTB is tired, you will end up spending more fixing that up (and probably maintaining it) than you will on the cell. Unless you also suffer from upgraditis.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 10:37 am

cheers. That's probably what my head was telling me to do. Just got that niggling doubt about buying a cheap/heavy frame and wheels...
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby clackers » Fri May 10, 2013 10:45 am

Pub bikes rock!
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby Slvr32gtr » Fri May 10, 2013 11:06 am

Go the Cell/Reid fixie!

I put together an old repco frame with some cheap single speed wheels and parts to use as my commute bike. Its great! It handles the 5km commute each way in North Brizzie easily and goes in all weather with no issues. It also saves me riding the race bike or the MTB which eats away the offroad tyres quickly.

Ive set it up with MTB clipless pedals so that i can use shoes that i can walk in as well. Its definitely worth having a cheap clunker for commuting in my opinion. The money i save on MTB tyres, its paid for itself!
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 1:14 pm

just popped down to the bike locker and checked out a mate's 53cm cell messenger fixie. not bad. not bad at all! Surprisingly the 53cm wasn't miles too small for me. My road bike is 58-59cm, but I reckon I could get away with a 56cm in these things. Does that seem normal?
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby slidetaker » Fri May 10, 2013 1:41 pm

I actually op for fixing up the old MTB.

It is simply because I know I can get better values in return for my dollar, don't mind the work and enjoy something a bit different from the norm at the end...
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby PeteV » Fri May 10, 2013 2:34 pm

BrisVegas wrote:just popped down to the bike locker and checked out a mate's 53cm cell messenger fixie. not bad. not bad at all! Surprisingly the 53cm wasn't miles too small for me. My road bike is 58-59cm, but I reckon I could get away with a 56cm in these things. Does that seem normal?


My fixie is a 54 and my roadie is a 56 so sounds about right to me.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 2:58 pm

cheers PeteV.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby takai » Fri May 10, 2013 3:17 pm

I would fix up the MTB too, costs about $19 for a single speed conversion kit, plus about $10 for a new cheap chain. Add about $15 ea for cheap 26" slicks and youll have yourself a pretty decent commuter.

The double advantage is that it will be much nicer than a Cell or a Reid, and given that its already a bit battered it wont stand out when locked to a pole.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 3:22 pm

takai wrote:I would fix up the MTB too, costs about $19 for a single speed conversion kit, plus about $10 for a new cheap chain. Add about $15 ea for cheap 26" slicks and youll have yourself a pretty decent commuter.

The double advantage is that it will be much nicer than a Cell or a Reid, and given that its already a bit battered it wont stand out when locked to a pole.


I've got some 26" slicks already and I figure I can just take off two of the front chainrings along with the buggered front derailieur. Its the buggered Rock Shock SID forks that I need to replace. Cheapest new option I've seen is a Surly rigid fork from the UK for about $100. The bike shop told me the SIDs were not worth repairing, as it's big $$.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 3:40 pm

actually, found these on ebay... I think they'd work?

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/TWBIKESHOP-N ... 1383wt_756

but I suspect a steel fork might be a safer option...

http://www.wiggle.com.au/surly-instigator-rigid-fork/
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby takai » Fri May 10, 2013 5:28 pm

Perhaps see if anyone on Farkin has an old DJ fork.

If you were in Melbourne I have an old fork you could have for $20 or so.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby ldrcycles » Fri May 10, 2013 6:28 pm

I'm another vote for getting the shiny new fixie from Cell. Being on special for $200 atm that is spectacularly cheap IMO. And singlespeeds are great for just getting about, no gear cables or derailleurs to bother with.

That said I like frigging with bikes, so fixing up the mtb appeals too. Not least because IME 26" tyres pretty much DON'T puncture, unlike 700C, unless they're 28mm or bigger. I have a pair of those Mosso forks, rough as guts off road but on road they'd be fine, I wouldn't have any concerns about durability either as they look to be a pretty solid construction.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 7:42 pm

Haha thanks guys. Seems that opinion is divided!
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby Mulger bill » Fri May 10, 2013 7:53 pm

Another vote for the SS/FG. Loving mine :)
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby boyracer » Fri May 10, 2013 8:07 pm

I'm for the fix. Although a major headache is the vertical dropouts. Sure run a tensioner, even use the old rear mech as one for cheeps....but not the same as true single speed for bulletproofing.IMO.
Why not 1x 7 or 1 x 8? super cheap chain/cogs with good service life for those big hills you wrote about?
2 speeds are way too heavy to justify fitment. Apparently Sram do an alloy bodied one though i havent seen it.

FWIW heres a link to my elcheapo 1 x 8 speed 2004 MTB commuter/CX.
I also have an old steel MTB w/ SS coaster for pub/milkruns/kindy that has been ridden at least a couple of times a week for 13 years now on almost no maintenance/outlay.
http://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=62038
Last edited by boyracer on Fri May 10, 2013 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 8:12 pm

I was originally going to convert the mtb to a 1x9 as the xt rear derailieur is still functional. I thought I woyld need a widgit or similar to prevent the chain falling off though. And then the fork blew a seal and it all got too hard....
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Fri May 10, 2013 8:21 pm

boyracer wrote:I'm for the fix. Although a major headache is the vertical dropouts. Sure run a tensioner, even use the old rear mech as one for cheeps....but not the same as true single speed for bulletproofing.IMO.
Why not 1x 7 or 1 x 8? super cheap chain/cogs with good service life for those big hills you wrote about?
2 speeds are way too heavy to justify fitment. Apparently Sram do an alloy bodied one though i havent seen it.

FWIW heres a link to my elcheapo 1 x 8 speed 2004 MTB commuter/CX.
http://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=62038


Does the geometry change much with the mosso fork? It looks a fair bit shorter than the current 100mm setup.

I love the look of your bike though. Do you have any issues with chain retension? Is the derailieur enough to hold it on tight?
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby boyracer » Fri May 10, 2013 8:37 pm

OG bike was 80mm fork i think. Suprisingly good to ride/handling. now done over 1000km on it. I did some seriously steep/rough MTB trails the otherday at a fair clip...no drama
Chain guide could be 'made' from an old non functioning FD. I had a couple of derailments due to jumping curbs/medians/smallgaps/small children... now have a PAUL unit...my one splurge of cash!
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby celeste boy » Sun May 12, 2013 4:25 pm

I've had the Cell fixie and was a bit disappointed. The rear axle needed new bearing even when new and the dropouts on the front forks were 'out'. I could force the wheel into place but I don't think that's a good thing. I guess as long as you go along and test drive the new bike it would be OK but mine was a gift.

They do look good.

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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Mon May 13, 2013 11:25 am

Cheers CB, that's a bit of a worry about those issues on a new bike.

I had a play around with my mtb on Saturday and removed the buggered FD and two of the three chainrings. I rode it around for a while on the 42 ring and it worked ok, even on the biggest gear at the back. I think 32 might be a better compromise though to give me some short gears for mucking around and climbing hills. I'll need to shorten the chain if I stick with that. I'd love a "widgit" for peace of mnd, but don't have a lot of cash just now. It looks cool with just a single front ring and no derailieur. :-) I can certainly see the attraction in single speed conversions for these things. Without all the extra stuff hanging off the back it would look pretty slick!

I'm leaning more towards sticking with the mtb for now. Some new rigid forks and brake pads and it should be a bit more satisfying to ride.
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby takai » Mon May 13, 2013 2:32 pm

Maybe check cycling deal for some cheap rigid forks too
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby BrisVegas » Mon May 13, 2013 3:37 pm

The Mosso's seem ok, based on what I can find on here and various google hits. Drubie's running them on his SS MTB. For $60-70 they are worth a shot, unless someone knows of a better option...
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Re: Cell/Reid cheapie vs fixing old MTB

Postby takai » Mon May 13, 2013 4:52 pm

This could be ok:
http://www.cyclingdeal.com.au/buy/full- ... ck/WM-1214

UBrake only, no discs though.
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