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Old 12-29-10, 06:50 PM   #1
no1mad
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Questions about mini-velos...

I realize that there is another thread that features this type of bike, but that one was started originally as a market research thread. As the mini-velo appears to dominate that thread, I thought that maybe it was a good idea to spawn a thread that concentrated on nothing but minis. Think of this as a sort of community resource thread, so these questions are geared to inform/educate. Feel free to post new questions or answer .

1. What kind of max load are these things designed for?
2. Is it possible to run IGH with a coaster brake?
3. What about racks and fenders?
4. How readily available are tires/tubes?
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Old 12-29-10, 08:08 PM   #2
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1. If you are asking if mini velos are designed for mini people, the answer is no. They are designed for a similar max load as their equivalently styled large wheeled brethren. The small wheels themselves are extremely strong, particularly if made with BMX components - and still very strong otherwise, owing to the simple geometric strength in a smaller wheel. Basically, there is no worry that you are "riding on kiddie wheels" that will fall apart.

(It is also a good thing that smaller wheels are stronger, because one downside of them is that smaller wheels also slam into dips and potholes a bit harder than bigger ones do, too)

2. Yes. The mini velo would have to have the appropriate dropout design for a coaster brake, which is the same of any bicycle. A stay that will hold the coaster brake arm or to which a coaster brake arm with a band could be attached to, and not an ultra thin material on the stay. Otherwise, there is no difference. Small wheels allow you to get nice low gear inches with internal gear hubs without exceeding manufacturers ratio specs, if desired. an IGH is also nice on a mini velo, because it keeps a low hanging derailleur from becoming a liability.

3. Again, dependent upon the design just as with a full sized bicycle. Mini velos can easily be equipped with racks and fenders given the appropriate design. As an example, my Cannondale Hooligan was equipped with a rear rack without issue, although the manufacturer had not added full eyelets, there were a small selection that were put to use.

4. If we are talking about 20" wheels, there are 2 sizes: 406, which is common for most BMX and folding bicycles. There is also 451, a much less common size that is used on some recumbents, racing BMX bicycles, and the odd folder.

Tire availability in 406 20" is quite good. Everything from a cheap replacement from a local big box store, to very high end tires from reputable manufacturers such as Schwalbe and Continental are available. You can purchase everything from a thin road tire to a fat knobby tire, winter tires, touring tires, folding tires - essentially, most types of tires are available in this size, and you can at least obtain a basic replacement locally without issue (unless you live in the middle of nowhere)

451 tires are not as common, nor is the selection anywhere as vast.

I've recently been drafting up different designs of mini velos for a real world production unit next year, it's actually easier in my opinion to design a nicely working 20" mini velo than it is to design a lot of other types. 29'ers for instance..

There's a lot of freedom in the mini velo design.

Last edited by Abneycat; 12-30-10 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 12-29-10, 09:28 PM   #3
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Why did I inquire about the max load of the mini velo? Well, it's because I see the mini *potentially* able to fill a market segment- those of us who have considered folders, but meet or exceed the load limits.

Most of the folders I've looked at (online) at a price point that is attractive (sub $500) are rated to carry no more than 235#'s. I personally weigh just under 230 and my daily gear fluctuates in weight daily, depending on weather and what not. I've easily had 40 pounds of stuff on my back (<insert rack comment here>) when I was going to the local community college...

Minis could be a boon for those that are limited on storage space, but yet are too heavy for a folder.
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Old 12-29-10, 10:07 PM   #4
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Well, the weight limit of the mini velo would definitely be dependent on the materials and design of the bike frame and supporting components themselves. The wheels shouldn't be much of a factor. You'd have to inquire with the individual manufacturers as to what their specific weight recommendations are.

If you wanted my *opinion*, i'd say that most non-racing, non-super light, and non-folding bicycles should be fine for someone of your weight. Those ones from bikes direct weren't using toothpick components and didn't seem to be using ultralight tubing, and the Cannondale Hooligan is pretty much built up as a mini mountain bike on a heavy duty set of wheels and an oversized tube set. I'm only 73kg (160lb), but I took my Cannondale Hooligan off jumps for jollies, bunny hopped it everywhere I went and did a few quick trail rides as well, i'd say that bike is as solid as any mountain bike i've used.

If you wanted a folding bike, Bike Friday can make bicycles for your weight range. I'll definitely attest that my Pocket Llama was one of the finest riding bicycles i've ever owned, that little beast was extremely tough and very well designed, alas, expensive as well.

As for solid numbers on weight?

That's more of an age old problem with bicycles and heavier riders in general. There are a lot of people out there who are over 200lbs and always want to know if they can safely ride X or Y bike - but most manufacturers are very ambiguous when it comes to providing much of an answer. A handful state solid limits. Most others, you have to dig for info. If you find a mini velo and call the manufacturer up, you may get a straight answer or a bit of run around.

I wouldn't sweat it too much though. Don't buy a superlight with a handful of spokes on the wheels and you'll be fine.

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Old 12-29-10, 10:09 PM   #5
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One of the reasons I was interested in the mini Velo was my old Bianchi made folder while fitting fantastic doesn't close very tight and so it moves around while riding. Its not a big concern, but having a nice tight fairly cheap bike that fits and has plenty of options for making the bike fit was really great. I still like the Bianchi which happens to have a coaster brake and fun integrated rack, but if the Windsor fits easily in the trunk the Bianchi might find itself on Craigslist. I have a Dahon Boardwalk 6 which I bought for my wife as well if I need a really great bike that also folds for commuting purposes.

no1mad, If you are seriously thinking of a mini velo for your next commuter I would say its worth considering with your multimodal commute. The BD mini velos should be cheap enough to let you try one out without the worry you blew all your cash on something you don't really like.
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Old 12-29-10, 11:05 PM   #6
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One of the reasons I was interested in the mini Velo was my old Bianchi made folder while fitting fantastic doesn't close very tight and so it moves around while riding. Its not a big concern, but having a nice tight fairly cheap bike that fits and has plenty of options for making the bike fit was really great. I still like the Bianchi which happens to have a coaster brake and fun integrated rack, but if the Windsor fits easily in the trunk the Bianchi might find itself on Craigslist. I have a Dahon Boardwalk 6 which I bought for my wife as well if I need a really great bike that also folds for commuting purposes.

no1mad, If you are seriously thinking of a mini velo for your next commuter I would say its worth considering with your multimodal commute. The BD mini velos should be cheap enough to let you try one out without the worry you blew all your cash on something you don't really like.
Bingo! It would make things a bit easier... The smaller form factor would lend itself in a tremendously positive way in my current commuting world. It would fit in the back of the SUV better than my current bike, fit on the bus rack better, and if need be due to a breakdown, easier to just throw it onto my shoulder for a "walk of shame". I shall be watching for a multi-speed IGH with coaster brake variant. May not be my ideal dream bike, but I have no doubt that it would actually be the best tool for the job.
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Old 12-29-10, 11:26 PM   #7
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Bingo! It would make things a bit easier... The smaller form factor would lend itself in a tremendously positive way in my current commuting world. It would fit in the back of the SUV better than my current bike, fit on the bus rack better, and if need be due to a breakdown, easier to just throw it onto my shoulder for a "walk of shame". I shall be watching for a multi-speed IGH with coaster brake variant. May not be my ideal dream bike, but I have no doubt that it would actually be the best tool for the job.
I get everything else, but why the coaster brake? I am curious.
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Old 12-30-10, 09:18 AM   #8
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5. What is the definition of "mini velo"?
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Old 12-30-10, 10:33 AM   #9
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A mini velo is a rigid frame adult small wheel bike. Not to be confused with a folder.

It looks like mine... it IS mine after a wheelset change:

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Old 12-30-10, 12:42 PM   #10
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"Velo" means bike so essentially its a mini bike thats built for an adult to ride. Folding bikes could easily fit in this catagory but they are more know as folders. Of course in general when someone is talking about folders its easy to assume they are talking about a bike with small wheels so mini velo is a pretty good term for small wheeled bikes that don't fold and also separate from say a bmx bike as well. With this definition of mini the wheels are 20 inch wheels or less, but the wheels on my mini velo below are a bit bigger than the BMX wheels most people in the US think of as 20 inch. Long story short a mini velo is basically a bike with small wheels that has a frame that is built for an adult to ride it.

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Old 12-30-10, 03:27 PM   #11
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My Windsor Nano is pretty stout, would not hesitate to recommend it even to a heavier rider.

On something designed for single speed like NormanF's BigShot or the Sillgey Picolo, you could certainly run IGH w/ coaster brake; on my geared Nano w/ vertical dropouts, you could only run that setup if you found some "magic ratio" that would allow for proper chain tension without the use of an adjuster or tensioner. You could certainly run an non-coaster brake IGH hub with rim brakes and a tensioner.

The Nano has eyelets for rack/fenders. Looks like the BigShot does, too.

451 tires which come stock on most mini-velos are going to be a special order at most shops which do not carry recumbent or folding bikes. But they are readily available from distributors. Tire size/style is limited to 1-1/8" or 1-3/8" sizes at QBP. Swapping to 406 wheels will give plenty of tire options.
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Old 12-30-10, 06:31 PM   #12
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"A mini velo is a rigid frame adult small wheel bike."



I guess the Tailwind (with 406 wheels) that I used to ride was a mini velo. Not!
I appreciate the stoutness/durability of small wheels. Acceleration is a plus, too, but not maintaining speed, especially on imperfect surfaces.

What is the typical weight for a mini velo?
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Old 12-30-10, 07:05 PM   #13
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Most of these multi speed mini velos seem to come in around 25 lbs. I recall someone saying that was the weight of their BD mini velo, and that's about what my Cannondale Hooligan 3 weighed in at. I'm willing to think that the Big Shot is probably somewhat lighter, although it hasn't got all the same components as these other bikes at all.

They could certainly go a lot lighter. Of course, none of these bikes are extremely expensive either. I think the Big Shot, Hooligan 8 and BD mini velos all come in under $600. They're a pretty decent weight for the price.

One of those Big Shots with a little front porteur rack and a 3 speed gear hub could be a lot of fun to me
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Old 12-30-10, 08:41 PM   #14
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As long as we're talking about mini velos, I've always liked the Tyrell's out of Japan...

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Old 12-30-10, 09:22 PM   #15
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I really want a mini velo

plz bikesdirect come through

also that tyrell is really impressive @ 7.4kg with brifters

hopefully there's a 20lb(or less) one from BD :O

here's a review on the tyrell (amazing stuff, so glad I found it- explains a lot about mini-velos)
http://www.togoparts.com/articles/ar...php?artid=1742

basically these things are as fast as a road bike, no question.

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Old 12-30-10, 10:21 PM   #16
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Interesting reading.
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Old 12-30-10, 10:58 PM   #17
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As long as we're talking about mini velos, I've always liked the Tyrell's out of Japan...
Looks a bit like Giant's escape, though they forgot a downtube.

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Old 12-31-10, 11:10 AM   #18
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Well, under definitions suggested so far, this bike is a mini velo but this one perhaps is not. This bike would meet the definitions, and maybe this one as well. Mini velo? How about this one?

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Old 12-31-10, 10:01 PM   #19
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It's really not that hard to define a mini velo. It's a bike with road or hybrid geometry that happens to have 20" or smaller wheels.

Yes, there are variations on this. You can probably find examples of all kinds of bikes with small wheels (I do recall seeing a small wheeled mountain bike), and you can call them all mini velos if you like. However, that one sentence description should fit most mini velos on the market right now... and will probably fit most of the ones produced by BD.

--sam
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Old 01-01-11, 01:38 PM   #20
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Most of these multi speed mini velos seem to come in around 25 lbs. I recall someone saying that was the weight of their BD mini velo, and that's about what my Cannondale Hooligan 3 weighed in at. I'm willing to think that the Big Shot is probably somewhat lighter, although it hasn't got all the same components as these other bikes at all.

They could certainly go a lot lighter. Of course, none of these bikes are extremely expensive either. I think the Big Shot, Hooligan 8 and BD mini velos all come in under $600. They're a pretty decent weight for the price.

One of those Big Shots with a little front porteur rack and a 3 speed gear hub could be a lot of fun to me
Kinda disappointed that they're 25 lbs. I have an aluminum folding bike and it weighs around 25lbs. I thought the folding hinge added about a 1lb to the overall weight.
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Old 01-01-11, 03:43 PM   #21
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Kinda disappointed that they're 25 lbs. I have an aluminum folding bike and it weighs around 25lbs. I thought the folding hinge added about a 1lb to the overall weight.
My BD Windsor is 25 pounds and I not that disappointed. Its a $240 bike thats 25 pounds. That seems pretty normal to me. How much was your folding bike?
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Old 01-01-11, 04:26 PM   #22
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Kinda disappointed that they're 25 lbs. I have an aluminum folding bike and it weighs around 25lbs. I thought the folding hinge added about a 1lb to the overall weight.
I don't personally feel that the weight is bad for the price on the BD mini velos. They're not really anywhere near high end, so you get what you pay for.

The Hooligan is a modded mountain bike frame with heavy duty wheels, thick fork, discs and other little things that pack on the pounds, it being 25lbs is pretty much exactly what I would expect something like that to weigh.

I have a Dahon Mu P8 (24lbs, $650) and have owned a Dahon Mu SL (19lbs, $1500), but neither of which are anywhere as cheap - and either one would have simply fallen apart if used for what I used the hooligan for.
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Old 01-01-11, 04:49 PM   #23
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Kinda disappointed that they're 25 lbs.
Why ? you got all the same drive train parts, wheels being smaller are lighter
But the frame has to meet the axles further down, so tubing lengths are longer .

as usual wave more currency and lighter parts can be substituted.
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Old 01-01-11, 07:09 PM   #24
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Well, under definitions suggested so far, this bike is a mini velo but this one perhaps is not. This bike would meet the definitions, and maybe this one as well. Mini velo? How about this one?
Reminds me of the discussions going on since around 1990 about 'What is a hybrid?'
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Old 01-01-11, 07:21 PM   #25
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Just saw this on the description for the Giant mini... and I seriously LOL'ed.
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How much does this bike weigh? It’s a common question, and rightly so. But the truth is, there are no industry standards for claiming bike weights—and this leads to a lot of misinformation. Variances exist based on size, frame material, finish and hardware. And as bikes get lighter, these differences become more critical. At Giant, we believe the only way to truly know the weight of any particular bike is to find out for yourself at your local retailer.
Is that not total marketing BS, or what?

I still want one.
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