Don’t Fake that Funk with Cjell Moné – Spencer Harding

Don’t Fake that Funk with Moné Bikes

Words and photos by Spencer Harding

I first saw one of Cjell’s (pronounced like “shell”) bikes on a tour of Adventure Cycling’s headquarters in Missoula, Montana.  His lugged 29+ drop bar Great Divide rig hangs on the walls, in all of its patina’d glory.  Over the past few years, we have had a lot of near hangout misses, from a trip to Ecuador to being in Salida, Colorado the same day this past summer. But alas the stars finally aligned and after spending Thanksgiving in White Sands National Monument, my partner and I decided to make a stopover in Silver City for a spin in the hills and a dip in some hot springs. 

Cjell sent me an address to the town’s old Post Office which now lays vacant except for the basement which is  Moné Bikes HQ and the occasional event that use the main floor.  Out back is a 1990 Wonderbread truck that serves as his mobile frame building shop. After discovering the small and remote Silver City on his many Tour Divide rides, he finally decided that he was in love and is now looking at real estate. 

But let’s go back a ways to where this all began in an old VW bus parked outside Black Sheep Bikes in Fort Collins.  He began apprenticing and working under James at Black Sheep before he moved onto Vail to do his own thing, where traded weed for rent in a pool maintenance room.  After having completed a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail all with gear he had made himself, he thought why not make a bike for the Tour Divide in the same fashion. Thus was born the bike I saw at Adventure Cycling HQ.  For the next few years, Cjell bounced between Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Asia, and New Zealand.  After all those travels he came back and decided to set up in the current bread truck shop where he still does all of his custom orders.  Besides his custom one-off bikes, he has a small production run of two frames, El Continente and La Roca.  These frames were built in Taiwan where he personally spent time working with a small family factory on the run.  There is a lovely piece he wrote about his time abroad here 

Though Cjell has many amazing bikes he has built his current love affair is with a 1962 Schwinn Cruiser that he has chopped and screwed. His high-tech modifications include a tukt rear triangle featuring the latest 29er coaster brake technology, custom spun Mr. Tick seatpost, and a Krampus fork squeezed into a 1 inch headtube.  I’ll be honest, I still couldn’t keep up with Cjell on this damn thing.  He definitely doesn’t fake that funk on a nasty klunk. 

He was nice enough to take me and my partner on the usual Taco Tuesday ride outta town.  A lovely romp in the hills along a few sections of the Continental Divide route with a few new sections of buff-buff single track.  Also, no ride would be complete without a few turns around the local skatepark.

Cjell’s bread truck shop is home to some truly inspiring innovations to make such a small space functions as a full-on shop.  His modified lathe for cutting down tubes is unlike anything I’ve seen in any other shop.  I had also never seen a flux bucket before, a device for adding flux in-line when brazing.  His brazing style, more a bead than fillet, necessitates such specialized equipment. It’s all pretty damn impressive. 

Cjell has been there and back, probably on a single speed nonetheless, he’s cultivated a truly impressive style, a perfect brew of old and new.  He wants to make bikes with a soul, and he’s gone around the world and sparked up torches alongside the masters, domestic and abroad, to do so. 

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Check out his production and custom bikes and follow along with Cjell on Instagram 

  • we do not deserve Shell Money in our lives. he’s just the best.

  • Sam Ley

    I love my La Roca – it rides great, checked all my boxes for bike features, and never fails to get attention with the turbo midnight patina and visible fillet brazing. Cjell is a stand-up guy too, very responsive, even when he’s far away.

    The Whip: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhVXmEnHWVo/ (though it now wears a Rhythm 34 fork and Onyx rear hub).

    With so many great builders out there I don’t know why I’d ever buy another big-brand bike…

  • This is really damn cool!

  • A proper piece on a proper shredder.

  • Jamie Shaffer

    Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Cjell, in Silver City. -The Stranger

  • Jeff McAllister

    Requisite Main Source reference clip:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3v_e9UaOWs

  • Sam

    Cjell recently cooked me up one of his unique El Continente models. It’s everything I ever wanted in a bike; a go everywhere, deliciously enjoyable and an all day rideable rig. Best of all Cjell’s bikes remind us that we should have some fun along the way…

  • terriblemcnaughton

    Images of Cjell’s single speed, lefty fork, 29+ are well archived in my “beautiful bikes” image collection. It’d be most rad to see that bad jessie documented on here.

    • spencer harding

      It was down in the basement and we ran out of light that day, but I’d love to go back and shoot more of his quiver as well!

  • marco primo

    I like this guy’s style. Also, that dovetail cut into a Paragon tube block so you can put it on your lathe’s qctp is brilliant.