Cell Brunswick 2.0
AG Outdoor goes behind the scenes with a young local bike designer to check out one of the most anticipated launches of the year.
THE ONLINE CYCLING retail space can be a savage place to operate, and Australianbased Cell Bikes plays as hard as some of the big OS operators. Unlike any other Aussie retail outlet, though, it has its own very own bike brand, with a range of rigs from kid’s bikes to Shimano Di2-equipped carbon road rigs that are designed and specced locally and sold at a retail level in two stores in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as online.
The design and configuration of the bikes themselves are the work of Dave Musgrove, a lifelong cycling tragic from NSW with a materials-engineering degree and an appreciation for a bike that not only lasts, but is a genuine pleasure to own and ride.
AG Outdoor’s cycle-heads have been hanging out for the launch of the 2016 Cell Brunswick, the successor to last year’s surprise hit alloyframed cyclocross bike, , with Dave finally dropping by the AG Outdoor office with the first bike out of the company’s Taiwanese facility.
Even though it’s an early production build, with a couple of tweaks yet to be implemented, we are already impressed. The matt-green machine looks resolved and mature, with its 7005 alloy frame worked and tweaked into curves and bends that are not only aesthetically spot on, but also have a genuine job to do.
The devil is in the details, and the Brunswick – named, like all of Cell’s other bikes, after a famed Australian riding locale – has them in droves. Dave has worked hard on the design since last year’s sell-out success, and says the 2016 bike continues the same theme of flexibility that made last year’s Brunny a winner.
“The original Brunswick scored cyclocross podiums, allowed roadies the freedom to escape the tarmac and was a very confident commuter,” he says. “Even though they’re raceready ’cross bikes, they still include the utility features like full-length mudguard [compatibility] and rear rack mounts to keep commuters and tourers happy.”
The range has doubled for 2016, with a more expensive 1x11 speed SRAM-equipped Brunswick 2.0 joining the more traditional, affordable 2x10 speed version. “The Brunswick 2.0 is a whole new level of bike,” reckons Dave. “Those in the know, especially with a MTB background, are looking for single-ring drivetrains and hydraulic disc brakes for their simplicity and superior performance. 1x11 really makes sense on a ’cross/adventure bike.
“SRAM’s new Rival 1 groupset provides that at a reasonable price point, and we’re bringing that to our customers on a high-end aluminium frame with full carbon fork.”
Dave says he’s stuck with alloy for the Brunswick’s frame mainly on a cost basis. “We’re a small company and it takes a lot of time and investment to develop a new carbon frame design,” he says. But there are a few tweaks that the 2.0 frame picks up, including front and rear through-axles, a BB30 bottom bracket and flattened, double-butted seat stays (the tubes from the seat tube to the rear axle are thinner in the middle to save weight and add flex).
Disc-equipped drop-bar bikes are appearing in more catalogues in 2016, and Cell is no exception. The 2.0 runs SRAM units with the hydro reservoirs neatly integrated into the shifter units, with decent-sized 160mm rotors.
One of the issues Cell sees on a regular basis is brand snobbery; if it’s not from one of the big brands, people often won’t look twice, no matter what the spec. “I’d encourage them to take one of our bikes for a ride, and then tell me their thoughts,” says Dave. “Then I could take their feedback and improve our next bike to meet their requests. That’s what happens all the time when I meet customers in our store, on the road and trails or at events.”
We can’t wait to get our own Brunswick for a longer-term test – Dave was justifiably reluctant to let us try and kill his only sample! It has all the hallmarks of a proper turn-key adventure bike with a genuine Australian flavour to boot.
CELL BRUNSWICK 2.0
Frame: alloy 7005 hydroformed Fork: carbon tapered, disc only Groupset: SRAM GX 1, 1x11speed Brakes: SRAM hydraulic Wheelset: