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Old 07-13-06, 04:09 PM   #1
woofman
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Riding differences between 16" vs. 20" wheels

My girlfriend is trying to decide between the Downtube mini (16" wheels) and the VIII-H (20" wheels). Aside from the mini being 3 lbs lighter, what differences in riding might she notice between the two bikes?
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Old 07-13-06, 05:43 PM   #2
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The main difference purely on the smaller wheelsize is how it will perform over bumps at low speeds. At high speeds the tire doesn't have much time to actually fall into the hole unless it is huge. The smaller tires will be more responsive and accelerate better. The DT Mini uses the 305 size in the 16" and I believe you can get Schwalbe Big Apples in this fitment which would make it ride pretty nice. I think the mini will be a hot seller once it gets out there. Either way the hub gears will be awesome. The SA 8spd has a nice gear range. I'd tell her to go with the Mini.
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Old 07-14-06, 10:31 AM   #3
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I have a Strida 16" wheels. For shorter rides, less than 10 mi it is ok. Bumps, low or high speed, are a problem. The shock on the DT might help or do nothing. Cheap shocks mostly do nothing. It is worse at night as you cannot always see them coming. If she is the type to try and ride really fast, she may kill herself, literally. I personally have seen how a small defect in the road can throw a bike over. The mini is not meant for speed. If you have a full size bike, she will not be able to keep up with you safely.

Curbs are not scaled or jumped off easily or comforably.

The mini would be a good neighborhood bike for short shoping trips.

The 8 speed hub is probably not going to be that usefull I find on my Strida that the single gear is OK going up hill. It actually is more of a problem on level or downhill as it is hard to get up to speed, which is good as Strida is unstable at high speed. Extremely steep hills are a problem for Strida, but maybe not for a mini. The 8 speed hub might let you go fast, but that is probably not a good idea on the mini

The rider of a mini might have to lean foward more than on a strida, which will make an accident where the front wheel gets caught in something even more of a problem.

Unlike a strida you probably can stand on the pedals while going up hill, although those plastic folding pedals are unlikely to hold up. Although Strida is actually quite good on hills, it cannot handle very steep hills, I have to dismount.

The 3 lbs might make a big difference to a woman. It might be the difference between occasional and regular use. I have trouble seeing the typical woman lugging around a 30 lb folded bike, and her other stuff, while commuting. A Strida is neat in that in can roll when it is folded.

If you see a kids bike in the trash, pump up the tires and see how it rides.
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Old 07-14-06, 10:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woofman
My girlfriend is trying to decide between the Downtube mini (16" wheels) and the VIII-H (20" wheels). Aside from the mini being 3 lbs lighter, what differences in riding might she notice between the two bikes?
So far women love the mini. Every woman that rode it in our store has bought one. It has a lower standover height, much lighter, has rear suspension. Best of all it seems to fit womens bodies pefectly due to the small size.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 07-15-06, 08:16 PM   #5
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Dahon Sweat Pea:
https://shop.sunrisecyclery.com/item/12182
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2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
1996 Birdy, Recommend.
Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.
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Old 07-16-06, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo8rge
The 8 speed hub is probably not going to be that usefull I find on my Strida that the single gear is OK going up hill. It actually is more of a problem on level or downhill as it is hard to get up to speed, which is good as Strida is unstable at high speed. Extremely steep hills are a problem for Strida, but maybe not for a mini.
Since the Strida went to metal wheels, it really needs the Sturmey Archer AW-3 speed hub. It also needs a Brooks Champion Flyer with springs as you can't really stand up on the peddals and have to take all road imperfections sitting down.
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Old 07-16-06, 08:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woofman
My girlfriend is trying to decide between the Downtube mini (16" wheels) and the VIII-H (20" wheels). Aside from the mini being 3 lbs lighter, what differences in riding might she notice between the two bikes?
The only reason you would go to a smaller bike with 16' inch wheels would be to use the bike in conjunction with the bus. Otherwise, you always buy the larger 20' inch wheel because of comfort.
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Old 07-16-06, 09:12 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
The only reason you would go to a smaller bike with 16' inch wheels would be to use the bike in conjunction with the bus. Otherwise, you always buy the larger 20' inch wheel because of comfort.
So, you don't think the DT with the rear suspension and sprung saddle would provide enough comfort?
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Old 07-16-06, 01:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woofman
So, you don't think the DT with the rear suspension and sprung saddle would provide enough comfort?
Since the bike is for a woman, you may want to get a woman's opinion on this.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 07-16-06, 02:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo8rge
I have a Strida 16" wheels. For shorter rides, less than 10 mi it is ok.
geo8rge, I'm unclear as to why you think using it for rides >10mi. would not be advisable. Can you elaborate?
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Old 07-16-06, 04:44 PM   #11
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Sweat Pea? HA!

It has one single 48 inch gear. I could never recommend it to a grown person.Between the sweet pea and the downtube ,the downtube is a much better value. I also see no simple and inexpensive way to fix the gearing.Also a sweat pea might be excessively salty.
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Old 08-17-06, 12:49 PM   #12
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Bravo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by downtube
Since the bike is for a woman, you may want to get a woman's opinion on this.

Thanks,
Yan
Thanks for bringing that up, Yan!! It's amazing to me how many well-intentioned recommendations I've gotten that were totally crazy for me, even though I shared my X-seam and height! Being a smaller woman is a real pain when shopping for a bike, that's for sure! It's really hard to sift through the various recommendations to decide what will really work, and of course, there is nothing in my area to "test ride". Wish I lived near your store!
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Old 08-18-06, 10:23 AM   #13
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geo8rge, I'm unclear as to why you think using it for rides >10mi. would not be advisable. Can you elaborate?

The bike is a pain in the ass, literally. 16" wheels are not a good choice for longer distances.
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2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
1996 Birdy, Recommend.
Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.
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Old 08-20-06, 12:23 PM   #14
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I was wondering too.....

George, you've got a range of bikes there, so that's good experience to pass on, thanks.

I notice the Moulton bikes have 17" wheels, so would you say it's the suspension in those that makes them viable for long rides?
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Old 08-20-06, 02:39 PM   #15
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On the Moulton site or somewhere on the web Moulton claimed that 20" wheels perform as well or better then larger dia wheels on paved road surfaces with a 'proper' suspension. I would never challenge the Dr.

The Strida is fine until you hit broken pavement, jump off curbs ect. Going more than 10 mi guarantees you will hit a patch of rough pavement, and with 16" wheels Strida finds anything less than smooth rough. I think shocks would make things better, Moulton shocks much better. The seat strida ships with might also not be good for touring.

I read a Moulton review that claimed the suspension was making climbing a bit more difficult, do to enegy going into the shocks not foward motion. In general the problem with suspensions is they cannot be turned off if you do not need them.

I have never seen a Moulton but think about buying one. Maybe instead of going to UK I could save the airfare and buy a new series and a jersy with a British flag on it.

"a mini-bike to go with mini-skirts and mini-cars; all part of the swinging sixties" - Dr. Alex Moulton
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2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
1996 Birdy, Recommend.
Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.
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Old 08-22-06, 11:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo8rge
On the Moulton site or somewhere on the web Moulton claimed that 20" wheels perform as well or better then larger dia wheels on paved road surfaces with a 'proper' suspension. I would never challenge the Dr.
Few would I imagine :-)

Quote:
The Strida is fine until you hit broken pavement, jump off curbs ect. Going more than 10 mi guarantees you will hit a patch of rough pavement, and with 16" wheels Strida finds anything less than smooth rough.
As a recent Strida owner I mostly agree.

Quote:
I think shocks would make things better, Moulton shocks much better. The seat strida ships with might also not be good for touring.
I'm currently looking at alternative seats, maybe even with suspension, *if* I can fit one to the moulding!

Quote:
I read a Moulton review that claimed the suspension was making climbing a bit more difficult, do to enegy going into the shocks not foward motion. In general the problem with suspensions is they cannot be turned off if you do not need them.
Yes, I've read similar with cycle suspension in general rather than Moulton in particular.


Quote:
I have never seen a Moulton but think about buying one. Maybe instead of going to UK I could save the airfare and buy a new series and a jersy with a British flag on it.

:-) I haven't seen one "in the flesh" either.

The exchange rate from UK to US is pretty good ATM, but of course bad if you're coming the other way :-(

I suppose you could try to persuade some kind soul who's going over, to take one with him for you.....

Any relatives over here who are visiting you maybe?

Quote:
"a mini-bike to go with mini-skirts and mini-cars; all part of the swinging sixties" - Dr. Alex Moulton
Yes, it's amazing how long they've been around (Moultons)!
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