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  1. #1
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    Mini DownTube pre-purchase question

    I am considering buying a DownTube Mini and I have some questions that maybe some of the more experienced owners could answer.

    How stable of a ride do you get with a 16"? Can you steer with one hand without to much twitchiness?

    Can Big Apples be installed with stock rims?

    What fenders can be used with a mini? How do they attach?
    Can dahon curve fenders fit?

    What is a realistic range for riding a mini?
    5mi round trip?
    10mi round trip?
    20mi round trip?

    How rugged is the frame and welds?

    Is it a problem not having a quick release rear (8sp hub model).

    Thanks in advance.

    v.

  2. #2
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I have 5 folders currently, and the Mini is my favorite. To address your questions specifically:

    1) After you get used to the initial adjustment to 16" wheels, the ride is very stable, especially with the Big Apples. I can even ride hands free for about 5 seconds at a time.

    2) Yes, Big Apples can fit. I have them. I like them a lot and recommend them. It makes the Mini ride very comfortably without sacrificing speed.

    3) I've used seat post mounted fender in the back. Don't know about front.

    4) The Mini (esp with Big Apples), and a extended stem provide me (at 6' tall) with a very comfy ride. Oh, I fortified the seatpost and extend past the minimum insertion line by an inch. The combination gives me a very comfortable ride. I plan to do a metric century (60miles) on this bike sometime soon. I have every confidence in the gear range, bike sturdiness and comfort of this bike.

    5) The frame and handlebar post feels very solid. That is one feature of all the DTs (I have owned every DT model) that I like a lot.

    6) No problems with removing the rear tire if you know how to use a crescent wrench.

    Bottom line, I'm a big fan of the Mini. There are many fans here also. Have you read the big Mini thread?

  3. #3
    Seņor Mambo
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    SC: How do you like the rear shock? Does it move around/bounce a lot?

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    How stable of a ride do you get with a 16"? Can you steer with one hand without to much twitchiness?
    Adjusting for the weird fit, before the mods, the Mini had a decent ride. After the mods, the ride is quite good. I can steer with one hand with little problem. As for riding with no hands, to date I have had no luck over any real distance.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    Can Big Apples be installed with stock rims?
    Yep.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    What fenders can be used with a mini? How do they attach?
    Can dahon curve fenders fit?
    I have no idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    What is a realistic range for riding a mini?
    5mi round trip?
    10mi round trip?
    20mi round trip?
    Really depends on the ergonomics.

    The stock ride is not bad. You can adjust the spring load on the suspension. In my opinion, the Big Apples are a big improvement over the stock tires. I found them to give much better feedback while cornering, less rolling resistance, and be more cushy than the stock tires.

    So if the bike fits you well and your fitness level is good, I think that you can easily do a 20 mile round trip ride. If you have long legs, have a long reach forward, etc., then the ride will be worse.

    On the modified mini, I did a 35 mile ride the other day. My typical commute with the Mini is 19 miles round trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    How rugged is the frame and welds?
    Look fine to me. I am 190 pounds and I mount an SQR bag when commuting to work. So far no problems with the bike after tuning it up and lubing all of the appropriate parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    Is it a problem not having a quick release rear (8sp hub model).
    It can be a pain. But with a little practice goes a long way.

  5. #5
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    SC: How do you like the rear shock? Does it move around/bounce a lot?
    It is adjustable, so I have it tightened to a point that works well for me. Takes just a bit of the edge off. Although the Big Apples do a great job for the city riding that I do.

    In general I don't find rear suspension necessary.

  6. #6
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    I am considering buying a DownTube Mini and I have some questions that maybe some of the more experienced owners could answer.
    I'm going to treat this as a poll, since your questions have mostly been answered already. I am about 6' high and weigh maybe 165. My Mini is stock except for the front hub, fenders, tires, grips and seat.
    I've already discussed most of these upgrades on this forum. I put a Shimano Nexus dynamo hub in the front wheel to power head and tail lights. Tires are a Big Apple on the front wheel and a Primo Comet on the back; the suspension makes the latter ride smoothly enough. The contrast in tire diameter --big in front, small in back-- effectively relaxes the frame angles by about one degree, giving a vast improvement in stability. I can ride no hands as long as I want to (but I have to take corners pretty carefully).

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    How stable of a ride do you get with a 16"? Can you steer with one hand without to much twitchiness?
    The 16" wheels don't seem to effect stability. With stock tires, steering with one hand is no problem, but the bike handles better with some weight on the front wheel.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    Can Big Apples be installed with stock rims?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    What fenders can be used with a mini? How do they attach? Can dahon curve fenders fit?
    I'm not sure what my fenders are, but I got them from Sunrise Cyclery, who now offer different ones
    https://shop.sunrisecyclery.com/item/14886/ for the same price. Are those Dahon fenders? The frame has eyelets on the dropouts and mounting the fenders is no problem, though there may be a little interference with the brakes. If you have a big apple tire on the front, room for the fender is tight; mine often rubs after folding / unfolding, but it's just a matter of pushing it around a little to adjust it.
    [/QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    What is a realistic range for riding a mini?
    I commute 16 miles round trip virtually every day, which is easy. Occasionally I ride 15 miles one way, also no problem. Last Tuesday I did a 40 mile round trip commute, which was fun, but tiring; I may do that again tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    How rugged is the frame and welds?
    Strong enough for me (so far).

    Quote Originally Posted by ivictor View Post
    Is it a problem not having a quick release rear (8sp hub model).
    No, but if you're planning to get a flat tire, you just have to carry a spanner, either 15 mm or adjustable.

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