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Old 12-25-05, 08:33 PM   #1
LittlePixel
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Custom minibike

Small-wheel not folding warning!

This custom built bike was posted to the Fixed Gear gallery today and it's a corker! It's so close to a notional bike I have in my head and in the odd sketch - a small wheel road bike with obvious bmx lineage but lightweight road sensiblilities. I think it's a lot more elegant than the upcoming dahon hammerhead. If someone made these I'd have one like a shot! Maybe I should get a quote on a frame?

http://homepage.mac.com/w.rentschler/PhotoAlbum79.html
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Old 12-25-05, 09:43 PM   #2
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It is a Very nice bike all it needs is some wine corks for the handlebar ends.
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Old 12-25-05, 10:14 PM   #3
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Oh man...that's a luscious Phil/ENO flip-flop hub. I want that rear wheel for my Swift.

Last edited by james_swift; 12-25-05 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 12-25-05, 10:16 PM   #4
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Man, that is such an awesome machine, it looks tougher than Titanium coffin nails. Much nicer than the Hammerhead indeed. The guy can really build/weld and he's got class too! (Saddle, Bag and other components).
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Old 12-26-05, 11:08 AM   #5
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nice idea about that brake disc adapter combined with single speed adjustability ....

very nice bike indeed... congrats
thor
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Old 12-26-05, 11:21 AM   #6
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@ pixel, please do ask how much the frame would cost! And if he can do an SS coupler or even better folder version, that would rock!
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Old 12-26-05, 11:27 AM   #7
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I don't think he could do an SS coupler version on account of the aero-profile downtubing but I do aim to ask him about a cost for a build as I can see myself on something like that to be sure!
I'll let you know what I find...
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Old 12-26-05, 01:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittlePixel
I don't think he could do an SS coupler version on account of the aero-profile downtubing but I do aim to ask him about a cost for a build as I can see myself on something like that to be sure!
I'll let you know what I find...
If you can, please also ask him about the spacing on that rear wheel (it looks like a 110mm, but I could be wrong).
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Old 12-26-05, 07:43 PM   #9
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Ok I wrote and the guy - Tony Rentschler - got back straight away - very happy to hear we are liking his bike; a very nice man all round it seems.

He says he had it in mind to build a folder all along but wanted to get the geometry and handling right in this first one and that he might try a folder or demountable in another incarnation - which he might also upscale to 451 wheels for better handling. Probably not with a S&S coupling though. He says he spent no small amount of time looking at other folders - especially Moultons - and this is where the mono suspension comes from - something he's definately a convert to since building the MiniVelo.

The long steerer is aparently custom - two tubes simply brazed, and the rear spacing is the standard mtb 135mm for ease of sourcing parts which is pretty sensible if you ask me.

The bad news is - at least for now - he's only building for a hobby and as such isn't 'set up' as he put it for re-sale - though he says he will think this through and see if it's practicable. One problem is he's getting parts at full retail price rather than wholesale so things aren't really economic if say you wanted a frame with those dinky forks or whatever....

But maybe as a 'frame-only' deal he could be persuaded to knock out a few? I'm gonna ask - maybe he can find the time!
I'll keep people posted if they're still interested
Huw

Last edited by LittlePixel; 12-27-05 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 12-26-05, 07:45 PM   #10
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Yeah i like the Aero tube though i am sure it would work nearly as well with regular tubing. I like how you can see in some of the background in his workshop that he did tons of research (lots of pictures of similair bikes including the Swift)... this guy seems thorough and skilled. Digging it.
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Old 12-27-05, 09:56 PM   #11
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After seeing Tony's cool design I felt a bit odd as his frame is something like a design I've had in my head for a while. I had an Illustrator file with about 20 odd various geometries based on F1 bmx, road, Mtb and folding shapes and was working slowly towards one that I thought would be best. I spent a bit of time working on one of these tonight and thought I'd share. It's a bit taller and less bmx than Tony's, and has wishbone seat-stays, but the other details - front disk (though I think I'd go for a Pantour Susp. hub) and outsize fork are freakily similar. Anyway - here you go. Maybe I can convince someone to build me one. Custom frames have got to break the bank though right?

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Old 12-27-05, 10:46 PM   #12
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You have some mad Illustrator/CAD skills Pixel! I really like it! Nice to hear that the builder is a cool cat and might consider building some frames. Keep us posted please!

And a real good idea for a custom bike. Hmm i don't know if custom bikes have to break the bank. I'd like to think not, i guess the key would be to find someone who builds 'for the love of it' and that might mean that he won't necessarily charge a $4itload for building a bike of which he diggs the design. Or otherwise maybe have a few build in the far east.

As for your design itself, some questions and comments:

1. Why make a taller frame/bigger triangles? I see little advantages (but i am probably missing a few things) and some disadvantages, to wit:

-The center of gravity will be somewhat higher than necessary and this is one of the things that i love about Twenties and other such designs, they bank like mad, feel super stable and rather light because the weight is where you want it, close to the ground.

-The bike will be a bit harder to mount and dismount, no biggie though.

-The longer Steerer/front tube may mean your choices of fork are limited (just like with Twenties).

-The added strength is pretty much moot, you have to do some crazy a$$ things to mess up any properly designed and build 20 inch frame.

2. I really hope there is an (affordable) way you could make a bike like that folding! I ask because if so i might order a frame along with you...

3. Might it be an idea to contact BF, they sort off specialize in custom after all and they may have similair designs knocking about (Tikit?).

4. Have you considered including drops in the style of the Xootr Swift or the On One Sliding Drops frames? If i were to custom order any frame i'd want it to be the 'frame to end all frames' and for me that would mean i could ride it for another few decades during which i would likely want to try loads of different drivetrains.

Lastly i was curious, what do you hope this proposed bike will be superior in when compared to a Twenty. Things i think where (minor) advantages could be gained: Styling, tubing quality, handling/geometry, weight etc. What do you think?

Anyway, once again, great design and i hope it becomes a reality for you, the more small wheeled bikes in this world the happier i will be.
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Old 12-28-05, 08:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
You have some mad Illustrator/CAD skills Pixel! I really like it!
Thanks! Easy to lose an evening doing that. It's like I was 10 again beavering away on my Rötring drawing board.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
Nice to hear that the builder is a cool cat and might consider building some frames. Keep us posted please!
I will do. I get the impression it won't be like tomorrow but if I hear anything I'll let you know.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
And a real good idea for a custom bike. Hmm i don't know if custom bikes have to break the bank. I'd like to think not, i guess the key would be to find someone who builds 'for the love of it' and that might mean that he won't necessarily charge a $4itload for building a bike of which he diggs the design.
I'd hope that you are right. I've had a little look around and might send my design to a few with a view to getting a few quotes. If I do bite the bullet and get one made, equipping it might be over a bit of time so maybe the cost wouldn't seem so bad overall. I doubt I'd be able to run to the cost of those carbon HED wheels though haha...



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
Or otherwise maybe have a few build in the far east.
Hrm. I'd rather do something closer to home for the reasons of not wasting the worlds resources shipping a bike back (kinda the same problem with one of Tony's frames) and also for reasons of not exploiting far eastern workers. The maths of it never seems really fair.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
As for your design itself, some questions and comments:
1. Why make a taller frame/bigger triangles? I see little advantages (but i am probably missing a few things) and some disadvantages, to wit:
The big triangles are so that the bike has the same wheelbase at the points where the tyres hit the road. It was kinda traced over an image of a Trek 6060 - a sort of slick-wheeled mtb city bike I had stolen, so that the main points of the geometry mimic those of the bigger bike (where possible) - i.e. reach, handlebar height, bottom bracket height and steering rake. In fact the wheelbase ends up every-so-slightly longer than the bigger bike because the front wheel needed to jut out slightly to keep the same rake with the lower 406 axles. Overall: yes - it could have been lower - I have about four variations based on different heights - but to be honest it came down to the look of the thing. This size just looked right. It has good proportions. You lower the top tube and suddenly the seatstay angles look too shallow and the front too congested. There's lots of ways to crack an egg - this is just the one I thought most successful.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
-The center of gravity will be somewhat higher than necessary and this is one of the things that i love about Twenties and other such designs, they bank like mad, feel super stable and rather light because the weight is where you want it, close to the ground.
I'm not sure the 'centre of gravity' thing applies too much here. If you look at it without the top tube - it's not that different to a Dahon or R20 (though it would need more bracing obviously!). I can't imagine the weight of the top tube would make a whole heap of difference - especially in comparison to the weight of the rider. As I see it the 'centre of gravity' thing is more dependent on the height of the wheels. Which is the same as most folders. I may be totally wrong of course. I've just started reading 'Bicycling Science' and may find my bike would be a turkey in the flesh haha.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
-The bike will be a bit harder to mount and dismount, no biggie though.
This is true. I have to say I find my Twenty harder to mount than it looks. Only the new ultra-low Dahon (Cappucino is it?) solves this so I can't say I'm really that bothered. I like the 'bigger bike' feel it has at this height.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
-The longer Steerer/front tube may mean your choices of fork are limited (just like with Twenties).
I'd have to do some more accurate measurements but the idea was that if it was disc braked then the fork could be from a bigger bike like on those Kuwahara Gaaps and Airnimal Rhinos. It would especially cool with a Cannondale Lefty monostay fork, or any one of a number of forks that take a disc. The headtube would be 1 1/8" Aheadset so I think it'd be reasonably easy to find a fitting fork with a long enough steerer tube.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
-The added strength is pretty much moot, you have to do some crazy a$$ things to mess up any properly designed and build 20 inch frame.
This is true. I love the way 406 wheels seem impervious to going out of true. But on the frame - it wasn't really born out of a notion that it must be stronger - more - that it would be a fun and compact bike that could still fit in a smallish spot with the wheels quick-released off. The look of conventionality is something that might make more conservative riders look again too. I think this is maybe where the Dahon Hammerhead might fall down - it looks a little too odd with those curved tubes and high-rise road style for their first foray into mini-bikes.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
2. I really hope there is an (affordable) way you could make a bike like that folding! I ask because if so i might order a frame along with you...
Haha well if I can get one done I'll let you know the cost. How tall are you?



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
3. Might it be an idea to contact BF, they sort off specialize in custom after all and they may have similair designs knocking about (Tikit?).
I know nothing of this Tikit of which you speak! Maybe other people would be interested to get in contact with them but I think they're probably very happy with what they are doing already. I'm not sure they'd be so down with building something like this. I could be totally wrong though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
4. Have you considered including drops in the style of the Xootr Swift or the On One Sliding Drops frames? If i were to custom order any frame i'd want it to be the 'frame to end all frames' and for me that would mean i could ride it for another few decades during which i would likely want to try loads of different drivetrains.
I suppose 70's style dropouts would offer the most flexibility if I ever wanted to change the drivetrain - it's a good point. I was reading all about ENO eccentric hubs yesterday - if I was foreseeing it with a lifetime just as a fixie then I could just have one of those hubs and vertical non-track dropouts but you're right - it's probably good to fit in some future proofing. I would however - leave all other cable-guide brazeons out for now to keep it's clean lines. Another thought occured that it might be good to extend the clearance of the wishbone stays so a 451 or even a 24" wheel could be snuck in at the back...



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
Lastly i was curious, what do you hope this proposed bike will be superior in when compared to a Twenty. Things i think where (minor) advantages could be gained: Styling, tubing quality, handling/geometry, weight etc. What do you think?
I don't think I was really thinking in terms of bettering the Twenty - more just a new project and something interesting not oft done before. I like the idea of minibikes - I hardly ever fold my bike to honest as it lives in the yard at home and in a rack at work. So I think I'm just looking to combine my love of being a little less obvious and my love of these cute small wheels with a bike that's admittedly less practical in some ways but also more elegant and simple. I was a serious Lego kid as a child and get a big buzz out of this sort of creativity. My ambition then was to design cars so bikes may be my true vocation haha... It might be another cool project to do a 2006 Twenty based on more modern, lighter materials but I'd say this area is almost covered - especially by bikes like the KHS Westwood which is so similar a geometry - so in a way off less interest as it's kinda like reinventing the wheel.



Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
Anyway, once again, great design and i hope it becomes a reality for you, the more small wheeled bikes in this world the happier i will be.
And me too!
Huw

Last edited by LittlePixel; 12-28-05 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 12-31-05, 01:22 PM   #14
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So now I've finally got the amazing "BikeCAD" online Java-based design app to work on my Mac, I've done this design 'properly'. You key in some of the dimensions and it does the rest... It's really an amazing program - have a go with it here:

http://www.bikeforest.com/CAD/index.php

Here's my .bcad file if anyone wants to play with it. Apparently - some frame builders can literally work from the bcad file as it works out all the tube lengths to be cut, the mitre angles and all. I'm pretty amazed - and this isn't even the Pro version of the app.





I think I might need to raise the Bottom Brack a bit (though at the same height as my Twenty it's probably ok) and probably fit a taller steerer/stem combo for a more comfy riding position, but I'm really getting to think I might get one made....
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Old 01-12-06, 08:03 PM   #15
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<boing> Gauging interest here - how 'marketable' do you think a frame (or whole bike for that matter) like this would be?

Dahon seem to think Minibikes might be worth a punt as the next big thing. Would anyone here think about a non-folding 406 wheeler like mine? What would you pay? what features would you want?

(I ask as it may be something that could happen...)
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Old 01-13-06, 07:36 AM   #16
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Hmm i don't know,.. in my case i think the non folding would be a no go. Unless it was a machine superbly suited to long distance touring and quite affordable. Personally i'd only be interested if it was a frame only deal or a complete bike with pretty good parts, both cases i'd have to be fairly affordable as it would be a secondary and not primary bike most likely.
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Old 09-24-06, 06:57 PM   #17
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Resurecting this old thread cos I found this nice Japanese sweety earlier...

Cute fast smallwheeler here
Nice huh?
W h y c a n ' t w e g e t t h e s e i n t h e w e s t ?
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Old 09-24-06, 11:28 PM   #18
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Wow, I love your design little pixel! I think that you would do well to market your small wheelers, even if they don't fold. It would be great if you can include brazeons for front/rear racks, 2-3water bottles, fenders, as well as horizontal drop outs.
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Old 09-25-06, 08:58 AM   #19
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Personally I don't see much of a market for non-folding mini bikes, it's a niche product. For most people, the disadvantages of small wheels are a good trade-off when you can fold the bike but not worth it otherwise.
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Old 09-25-06, 10:04 AM   #20
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For most people, the disadvantages of small wheels are a good trade-off when you can fold the bike but not worth it otherwise.
I agree. I am willing to give up riding quality, speed performance and even comfort IF I can take my bike with me where I cannot take a regular size bike. As far as I can tell, if I can take a non folding Mini-bike, my full size bike can go too...

Now, if any of these designs could fit in a travelling luggage, I would pay US$1000.00 on one if it had all the features I want...
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Old 09-25-06, 05:12 PM   #21
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Personally I don't see much of a market for non-folding mini bikes, it's a niche product. For most people, the disadvantages of small wheels are a good trade-off when you can fold the bike but not worth it otherwise.
They're very popular in Japan. Just do a google search for "minivelo." There can be a big difference between the performance of a bike designed to fold, and one designed for speed, but with smaller wheels. The ride and performance of a folder is not necessarily represenative of small-wheeled bikes in general.
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Old 09-25-06, 05:23 PM   #22
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I agree. I am willing to give up riding quality, speed performance and even comfort IF I can take my bike with me where I cannot take a regular size bike. As far as I can tell, if I can take a non folding Mini-bike, my full size bike can go too...

Now, if any of these designs could fit in a travelling luggage, I would pay US$1000.00 on one if it had all the features I want...
I have a bike with 451 mm wheels that I ride 98 percent of the time! I don't give up riding quality, speed, performance, or comfort. A bike's design - primarily frame geometry - has more bearing on those qualities than wheel size. Not that wheel size doesn't matter - of course it does - and not that big-wheeled bikes don't roll more smoothly, they do. But you can still have a fine-riding small-wheeled bike. I think the performance of the mass-market folding bikes is probably quite different from that of a high-performance machine with small wheels.

Note that the frame of the "mini racer" is actually quite small. These bikes don't have to fold to be transportable. If you take off the wheels and remove the seat and pedals, a bike like this could fit in a case used to carry electronic keyboards. You need folding for commuting, or stuffing into a "regular" suitcase, but there are other possibilities!
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Old 09-25-06, 05:56 PM   #23
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rafael - why have you changed your username to 14R?
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Old 09-25-06, 07:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
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The ride and performance of a folder is not necessarily represenative of small-wheeled bikes in general.
I ride a Swift as my main bike, which is about as stiff a ride as it gets on a folder. But even that bike has a rougher ride and more *ahem* responsive handling than a 700c bike. Mind you, this is not to say that "small-wheeled bikes suck," only that there are reasons why larger wheels became the standard in most of the world.

Since I can't read Japanese, I can't explain why they're popular over there.
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Old 09-25-06, 07:23 PM   #25
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rafael - why have you changed your username to 14R?
I am a graduate student and researcher. From time to time people try to find me ("googling" or whatever) on a professional level and more than once my name was more associated with bicycles and other hobbies that I have than actually with my career and professional field.

Safety was also something that other people pointed out, but, in my case, was just secondary.
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