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Old 07-28-07, 11:41 PM   #1
dancedoula
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Downtube Mini for Touring?

I'm planning on touring Europe next year for about 6 months. I was wondering if anyone had any experience touring with a mini?

I've been searching through the forums for a while now, and I've found a lot of great things about the mini but not a whole lot of positive info on touring with a mini.

The reason I'm so set on the mini is because I need the ultra-small fold (I'll be on a lot of discount airlines and my bags need to be less than 62"), and it's in my price range. At first I was thinking about a brompton, but I don't think I'd be able to afford that.

Does anyone think it would stand up to a 6-month Europe tour? I'm planning on riding pretty much every day. Probably 30-40 miles or so a day.

Can a mini be ordered with a rear rack, or would I have to put it on later? And can it be fitted with mudflaps and the other "essentials" for touring?

I'm living the car-free lifestyle right now and unfortunately I haven't had a chance to get up to the bay area yet to test ride a mini. Hopefully I'll be heading up there next weekend though.

Anyone know of any folding bike "clubs" near the Fresno, CA area?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-29-07, 03:03 AM   #2
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One issue might be your own body size. As far as I have understood from Wavshrdrs detailed review, the 'cockpit' size is fairly compact (less stretched out riding position than the Brompton or its knock off clone the Merc). Wavshrdr is 6'2" I think and he felt that for all the mini's good characteristics, he wouldn't be comfortable riding it for longer distances (from memory, I think he said 15 miles). See here -> Review of Downtube Mini with internal hub

I have a Brompton clone and am pretty short. I'm riding mine 20 miles a day just for exercise these last few weeks. I can easily ride forty if I need to, but I'm only 5'6". The Mini is a little shorter from saddle to handlebars. I don't suppose you could try one anywhere near where you live, could you?

I've toured with my Merc, but it has front luggage and a rack built in. I'm not sure how well provided with mounting points the Mini is, but it certainly looks a robust and sweet little bike.
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Old 07-29-07, 07:29 AM   #3
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There was a BF poster named Crankypants who did a multi-month tour of Eastern Europe with a modified Mini. You can send him a private mail and ask him what his experience was like.
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Old 07-29-07, 08:05 AM   #4
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I'm sure you could do it. I would make sure to have any spare parts that will be hard to find /replace on the road, particularly spokes. I'd also get a smaller front chainring for better climbing. I'd also keep extra cash for bike-related contingencies.

That said, not sure I'd recommend it. I think you will have issues with pannier clearance, and personally I would not want to use flat bars for 6 months; and I suspect even with the suspension that the ride will be rough.

How many flights are you taking, by the way?
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Old 07-29-07, 10:35 AM   #5
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I wonder what happned to crankypants. I was looking forward to reading of his travels.

Certainly spokes should be part of your travelling spares kit. The failure of parts of heavily laden bikes and the odd rough patch of road need to be planned for. Spokes are the kinds of parts you'd likely need to attend to - just like punctures. To be fair though any decent bike shop can cut and adapt spokes for any bike, but why risk having to find one? Replacing a bust spoke yourself is quick and easy if you have spares and a spoke key. I had a spate of spokes go 'ping' on my Merc after a touring trip.
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Old 07-29-07, 11:57 AM   #6
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I wonder what happned to crankypants. I was looking forward to reading of his travels.
Touring on the Mini must have killed him.
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Old 07-29-07, 12:44 PM   #7
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Touring on the Mini must have killed him.
I'm not superstitious, but I'd hesitate to make that joke myself - LOL. I do HOPE NOT!!!

I want to read about how he got on. The world can seem very big when you start to travel it by bicycle - even a full sized one.
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Old 07-29-07, 03:37 PM   #8
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I wonder what happned to crankypants. I was looking forward to reading of his travels.
I've seen him post since his return. He just hasn't given a trip report yet. Probably too much effort.
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Old 07-29-07, 04:17 PM   #9
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I just heard from him. The mini was great
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Old 07-29-07, 06:57 PM   #10
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I just heard from him. The mini was great
Are there any details you can elaborate on?
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Old 07-29-07, 11:55 PM   #11
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He has yet to post a trip report, but hopefully he won't mind me posting this.

This was the reply:

"Yeah, I need to write that review! Well, the mini works great. I'm assuming that you know about how you need to customize the seat post and stem to get the reach you want. Also, you might opt for a slightly smaller sprocket on the crank if you'll be climbing a lot even though I made it fine in the mountains with the way it is set up now. The only gripe is that the rear suspension can get bouncy. Consider adding a hard rubber bushing (I haven't done it yet). Awesome, portable bike that's great to ride, all in all! Two thumbs up, and many people who've tried it who're gonna get'um!"

Sure sounds great to me
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Old 07-30-07, 02:56 AM   #12
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That's great then. I look forward to reading his reports. Hope he does it soon.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:00 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dancedoula View Post
He has yet to post a trip report, but hopefully he won't mind me posting this.

This was the reply:

"Yeah, I need to write that review! Well, the mini works great. I'm assuming that you know about how you need to customize the seat post and stem to get the reach you want. Also, you might opt for a slightly smaller sprocket on the crank if you'll be climbing a lot even though I made it fine in the mountains with the way it is set up now. The only gripe is that the rear suspension can get bouncy. Consider adding a hard rubber bushing (I haven't done it yet). Awesome, portable bike that's great to ride, all in all! Two thumbs up, and many people who've tried it who're gonna get'um!"

Sure sounds great to me
Just to let you know, the rear springs can be adjusted via an allen bolt from the bottom. This helps a lot.
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