I've got the Dahon Hammerhead and it is a great little bike. I use it more than my MUSL (which I also rate) now, the riding position makes fast commuting a lot easier. I would agree with what people have been saying about it not being a folding bike per se, but I have a quick release on the handlebars which means it drops down into a very small package in about 4 seconds. This is really convenient at the moment as the place that I'm working at has a stairwell for bikes and it takes up a fraction of the room of a normal bike. Dahon also do a "sling sack" for the bike as well, which means I have got away with taking it on the tube, something you could not do with a road bike. I have also stuck it in my car across the back seats without taking a wheel off or anything.
I find it just as quick as most road bikes, and very very nippy. Kind of like riding a souped up hatchback rather than a road bike being like a long low sports car.
Dahon have said that they are nto importing any minibikes into Western Europe/USA at the moment as there just isn't the demand for them - I think its a crying shame as they should be the ones pushing the demand by providing supply. Their 2008 versions are separable - so almost true folders and get into small suitcases, I am sorely tempted by getting one from abroad. Apparently if we get 20 people together in the UK, Dahon may fulfil an order to one of their suppliers! Maybe I should just get 20 myself!
Other options are the Hooligan (which I think looks a bit ugly), or doing what people have done on here and taking the old Raleigh twenty and converting it into a road bike.
They are very popular here too (I live in south Korea, far east country). Non-foldable frame is generally much lighter and rigid than foldable ones. And I can easily carry one indoors, but it is much harder to carry a road bike or MTB. (Especially when you walk up /down stairways) They also fit in rear seat of most middle-sized sedans with both wheels attached.
And many people like the look of them.. they look less 'aggressive' than full bore road bikes or MTBs.
Hi Raxel, thanks for your post. I've always like the look of small wheeled bicycles even before I heard the term "mini-velo." I did a quick web research (not a lot of info to be found) and one of the articles I've read states that mini velo bikes are simply any bike with small wheels (24 inch and under) both folding and non-folding.
If this were true, then technically speaking a BMX bike falls under the Mini-Velo category and I suppose same for most folding bikes...
I read that you have posted quite a bit regarding mini velos in the past... would you (or anyone else) be able to add or elaborate some more on the subject as a "category?" For example, is Mini Velo recognized as an official bike classification in the West or is this purely an Eastern thing? One would have to assume that Mini-Velo bikes are adult bikes, and so therefore small wheeled children's bikes are not Mini-Velos, right? Thanks!
I've always liked small wheeled bikes. About 8-9 years ago, I was shopping at a local Walmart one evening, and while walking through the bike section, there was this really cool looking BMX bike. What caught my attention was that it came with a long seat post, and a long handlebar stem. Quite unusual, but a light bulb lit in my head. I knew that I would be able to ride it with the ability to raise the seat that much. I am about 5'9" with a 29 inch inseam so I said to my self, "Why not?".
So I bought it, and it was a blast to ride! With it's stiff triangulated frame, and simple single speed drivetrain that was not hindered by any friction from a derailleur or extra rotating weight from a gear cluster, this thing felt really efficient. Pedaled very light in spite of the fact the frame was hi ten steel, and quite heavy. It accelerated very fast, and I could actually "fly" up highway overpasses without climbing out of the saddle.
I gave this bike to a female neighbor who had her single speed beach cruiser stolen from her yard. I felt sorry for her since she didn't have a car though her "significant other" did. She needed a bike to go to the store, run other errands, etc. Can you all believe that the BMX I gave her was also stolen within a month or two as well? I was so upset.
But getting back to "mini velos", I do see a usefulness for small wheeled bikes with more conventional frames even if they don't fold...if anything because of their stiffness.
I absolutely LOVE my mini rider. As for the space subject, I noticed a huge difference with the bike in my quarters. I used to have a generic full suspension mountain bike for commuting to work, and after 2 weeks of carrying it up 3 flights of stairs.........well the mini was a perfect solution. Just this evening I had my bike in one hand and food in the other and had no problem getting up the steps. I love it!
I think if you need fat tires then as long as the wheel diameter is large enough the extra weight penalty of going larger isn't worth it.
This is probably true in urban environments where the terrain is relatively tame, but the danger of grates, smooth cracks, train tracks, etc necessitates fatties.
However, I still don't think I'd go with a minivelo for urban assault because I think the top tubes of triangulated frames are inconvenient and dangerous and I don't believe a minivelo with a nontriangulated frame would ride any differently than a hinged folder anyway.
Another advantage of smaller wheels is that it's easier to haul stuff.
Last week I rode my folder home with an open box containing 10 bottles of wine. It was very wide and the only thing holding it onto the rack was one foot of cable stretched over it from the back of the rear rack to the seatpost and its own weight (would have brought a bungee, but the trip was spontaneous).
If I tried this with larger wheels I think the box would have fallen off, but with the small wheels the low center of gravity kept it from sliding off.
Citizen Tokyo, A-Bike, Dahon Boardwalk D6, Dahon Boardwalk D7, Dahon Curve D3, Dahon Mu XL, BF Tikit2, Dahon Speed TR, Dahon Curve SL.
Originally Posted by owenfinn
Living in a big city in Japan I get to see some really interesting bicycles, but I must say the mini-velos really standout - very stylish and sporty looking bikes IMO. Performance wise, they are, like most small wheeled folders, quick accelerators - so great for the city. Going only by my experience riding a Curve SL, it seems small wheeled, light weight bikes are good hill climbers, but with a more rigid frame the Mini-velos are probably better, which I suppose is one reason for their popularity here - mountains and hills everywhere.