The name is delicious or ridiculous depending on how you look at it, but the Cinelli Bootleg Hoy Hoy Rats is, at £605, a likeable, cheap(ish) town runaround.
Ride & handling: perfect round-town manners
Hopping on to the Cinelli Bootleg (as we’ll call it for short), it’s immediately apparent that it’s very comfortable and friendly in and around town.
The short wheelbase and steeper head angle makes it feel very agile through the traffic, and the Columbus fork and generously padded saddle take the sting out of what is quite a harsh frame.
It feels very poised on stop/start rides but it’s less at home on longer rides, where the shortish top-tube sometimes makes it feel a little cramped.
The riding position is quite forward, making the steering seem a little nervous on fast descents, but it never feels out of control.
The reasonably light wheels climb well, and the stiff frame comes into its own out of the saddle, giving a very direct feel when sprinting away from the lights or climbing steep inclines.
The overall package is well balanced, biased towards city riding but capable of longer excursions too.
A riser stem and wider bars would set it up nicely for short touring.
Frame: built for the urban assault
The Bootleg features a no-nonsense 7000 series aluminium frame, with an oversized down-tube and square section stays.
The funky decals and matt black paint mark it out as an urban machine, but where many hybrids borrow from mountain bike geometry the Bootleg’s frame has the appearance and feel of a road bike, with a tight rear triangle and chainstays that angle down to the low bottom bracket.
The welds are tidy and there’s rack and mudguard mounts at the rear, and one set of bottle cage bolts on the down tube.
The Columbus Tusk carbon ’cross fork is good spec for the money.
Equipment: functional and versatile
Cinelli has opted for an eight-speed double set-up which lacks the refinement of some more expensive drivetrains. However, it gives a decent range that could be extended by fitting a wider cassette than the 13-26 supplied.
It’s also no drama to fit a triple if required, as the R440 (Tiagra level) front shifter is three-position.
The FSA Omega chainset runs on outboard bearings and the steel rings will last, even if they’re not light.
The front and rear Shimano derailleurs are a bit ordinary for the price but they’re fine functionally.
Up front there’s a Cinelli branded stem and low-riser bar that gives a good position; the grips are comfy if slightly narrow.
The Shimano R550 levers and V brakes stop the bike without any drama, though the feel is a bit spongy.
The seatpost has a natty integrated LED light (although it means you can’t fit a seatpack) and it supports a decent, if wide, own-brand saddle.
Wheels: reliable & functional
£600 isn’t a massive budget, so Cinelli has sensibly opted for lower-end Shimano hubs and mid-weight rims that build up into a reliable and functional 36-spoke wheelset.
They’re reasonably light and a decent spec for the price. You also get a reflective noodle to wind between the spokes.
Vittoria Randonneur 700x28c tyres complete the package, and they’re perfect for town or towpath, sturdy without being over heavy.
Verdict: inexpensive but fun
This inexpensive but likeable Cinelli is a great choice for proper town riding; it’s quick, nimble and fun, and the equipment is solid and dependable, a little ordinary in places, but exactly what you need from your town bike.
You can give it longer runs out if you want, but it’s happiest in the city.