MBA Track Bike £425

Fixed or free urban commuter

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

MBA are the latest brand to emerge from the ever-expanding singlespeed/fixed-gear genre. Priced below bikes from the likes of Charge and Cooper but higher than the great-value Create range, MBA’s debut offers quite a lot for its relatively low price.

The frame is 4130 chromoly, neatly TIG-welded and nicely finished. We particularly like the neat forged rear dropouts with integrated chain tensioners. The matching fork is straight legged and neatly tapered with a thin diameter, helping the front end stay comfortable even over rough road surfaces.

The wheels are solid and smooth rolling, though they weren’t quite as tight as we’d like out of the box and we had to tension both front and rear after our first few rides. With 32 spokes mating well sealed and smooth-running Quando large flange hubs to unbranded 30mm deep rims, they look the part.

The brake track has a wear marker groove in the centre, which is good in theory but it does attract grime, and we had to keep on top of cleaning the brake surface. The chainset is a budget Promax item with 46 teeth, a forged construction that suffered no undue flex, though the cheap end caps disappeared fairly sharpish.

The chainguard is a nice addition, and the budget square taper bottom bracket has kept fairly smooth even in the worst winter weather. At the rear is a 16t sprocket which provides a usable gear for most urban riding, and can be flipped for riding fixed or free.

As for the ride, it’s one we’ve thoroughly enjoyed. The short back end, high bottom bracket and steep head angle make for a bike that’s nippy and nimble despite its 10.46kg/23lb weight (60cm size). The high bottom bracket makes cornering a breeze when riding fixed, allowing for more lean than some road-derived rather than track-based fixed-wheel machines.

We had some initial misgivings about the cockpit; straight, narrow bars we can live with but the huge 120mm stem with a 30-degree rise looks awkward. In practice it means a more upright position that’s great for riding in traffic, but for looks alone we’d prefer a more standard stem and riser bar.

For £425 the MBA has a lot going for it. The frame is worth the price, and though some of the finishing kit hints at its budget price, we’d be more than happy to use this bike on our urban commute.

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