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  1. #1
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    Anyone still riding a downtube mini?

    Just wondering if anyone is still attached to this bike; it's a long time since I've noticed any discussion of it on these forums. Every so often I think it'd be a nice bike to mod/upgrade but I think I've only ever seen one going on ebay here in the UK.

  2. #2
    jur
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    I suppose it's quiet about these bikes as they aren't sold any more. I still have mine, ride it occasionally as needed only. Currentl;y it serves as a backup bike. It may go on the block soon.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  3. #3
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Shame it was discontinued. Seemed like perhaps the best 16" wheeled bike on the market (price considered).

  4. #4
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    Are there any weak spots on the frame, is it built to last?

  5. #5
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    Mini

    I still have my Mini and love riding it. Mudguards and kickstand are the only additions.

    There have been a few issues with the handlepost hinge area cracking but it's not widespread.

  6. #6
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    Sold mine last year. Loved it for a long time--the "fun" quality of the ride, the compact fold, and the style. I could never leave my house without getting questions or compliments about it. At a certain point, I wanted a higher-performance bike and decided I didn't need the ultra-compact fold, so I sold it. BF member rhm still rides his regularly.

  7. #7
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    I think if I had the opportunity for a second-hand one at a reasonable price I'd go for it, though I doubt that opportunity will present itself in the UK.

    Anyone know if the official weight of 24.5 lbs is accurate?

  8. #8
    jur
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    There are at least 2 frame types in the wild, one with a straight seat tube and another with a narrowing seat tube. Personally I would not buy one with the narrowing tube; the narrow section is where the seatpost is clamped and I think the tube section that supports the seatpost is too short, leading to excess stress and frame failure. Mine is a straight version.

    I think there has been some reports about Downtube frames cracking at this point but I can't be sure, my memory isn't prize-winning material.

    Anyway, I do know Sammyboy has/had a narrowing version and he has placed some pretty huge stresses on his and AFAIK he has not had failure, so I could be completely wrong about this.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  9. #9
    Senior Member JosephLMonti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    Shame it was discontinued. Seemed like perhaps the best 16" wheeled bike on the market (price considered).
    I agree. With the disappearance of the Mini, are there any 305-wheeled folders priced between the Citizen Tokyo ($200) and the Dahon Curve D3 ($500-ish)?

  10. #10
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    I still have 2 DT Minis in my extended family.. both are still great riding bikes that have seen light use over the past few years .. one is used about 3 times a week as a shopper with quick release basket on front.. one week a year, one of them comes with me to the mountains, I'm always impressed when I go for a ride .. with the handling, comfort and Sturmey 8, it was a lot of bang for the buck...

  11. #11
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    Bruce, what's the quick-release front basket you're using on your Mini?

    Also, I wonder if Yan has any plans to reintroduce the Mini; the only bike now available on his site is the Nova, so I imagine he has a whole new fleet of bikes that he's about to release. The Mini had quite a dedicated following here on BF, and is a great value for folks who want a compact, well-engineered folder and don't want to shell out for a Brompton. It would be nice if Yan got rid of the rear suspension to make the bike more rear-rack friendly. A belt drive and kickstand might make this bike even more commuter-friendly.
    Last edited by Urbanis; 09-13-10 at 09:28 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    Bruce, what's the quick-release front basket you're using on your Mini?

    Also, I wonder if Yan has any plans to reintroduce the Mini. It had quite a dedicated following here on BF, and is a great value for folks who want a compact, well-engineered folder and don't want to shell out for a Brompton. It would be nice if Yan got rid of the rear suspension to make the bike more rear-rack friendly.
    I can't tell you the exact model as I gave it as a present awhile back. It has a mount on the handlebars and the basket just slips over tabs on the mount... it has been sold through various vendors and looks like this:



    As to the rear suspension, as Jur and I both did some modifications from stock years ago, you can go from cushy to lock-out without too much trouble... dial in how much suspension you want.. I think that bike was a well thought out design and at an excellent pricepoint ...

  13. #13
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    I still have mine as a backup. Its a nice ride, but the other thing is that treat it as you would a folding bike, eg put it in and out the car, take it on the train, and the groovy-green is scraping off here and there more on my other bikes. If I knew then what I know now I think I would have brought a xootr swift home with me from the states. The mini is nice enough, don't get me wrong, but the price-point is a fair one, rather than an amazing bargain, imho.
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  14. #14
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosephLMonti View Post
    I agree. With the disappearance of the Mini, are there any 305-wheeled folders priced between the Citizen Tokyo ($200) and the Dahon Curve D3 ($500-ish)?
    I don't recall the Mini being cheaper than the Curve...but it definitely seemed like a better bike. Lots more gears, lighter weight, rear suspension, and perhaps even more compact.

    Better than the Brompton in some ways too (more gears, lighter weight) and at less than half the price. IMO the Brompton's fold is highly overrated. The millimeters saved by the Brompton tucking in a few extra bits is not worth the compromises.

    If I ever decided to buy a 16" folder the Mini would have been it. (Although I doubt I'll ever need a 16" folder now. My fitness level has improved to the point that I have don't have much use for multimoding anymore...for under 50 miles it's quicker and cheaper to forget the train and ride the whole way and most transit systems don't extend much further than that. 20" wheels are just as effective or ineffective for storage and taking indoors as 16" wheels are and 16" wheels don't hold a candle to 8" wheels for popping in/out of shops on quick errands around the neighborhood).

  15. #15
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    Gus, does Xootr have no distributors in the UK? The Swift is a fabulous bike to ride.

  16. #16
    The Metropolis, UK
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    I presume Avon Valley Cyclery still stock them despite the page being hidden?

    http://www.foldingbikes.co.uk/xootr_swift.htm

  17. #17
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    I don't recall the Mini being cheaper than the Curve...but it definitely seemed like a better bike. Lots more gears, lighter weight, rear suspension, and perhaps even more compact.

    Better than the Brompton in some ways too (more gears, lighter weight) and at less than half the price. IMO the Brompton's fold is highly overrated. The millimeters saved by the Brompton tucking in a few extra bits is not worth the compromises.

    If I ever decided to buy a 16" folder the Mini would have been it. (Although I doubt I'll ever need a 16" folder now. My fitness level has improved to the point that I have don't have much use for multimoding anymore...for under 50 miles it's quicker and cheaper to forget the train and ride the whole way and most transit systems don't extend much further than that. 20" wheels are just as effective or ineffective for storage and taking indoors as 16" wheels are and 16" wheels don't hold a candle to 8" wheels for popping in/out of shops on quick errands around the neighborhood).
    The Mini was a good folder. But better than a Brompton? I think not! Each to their own but I find the Brompton fold very very effective.

    Downtube make some very nice bikes but I've had a 8H that cracked at the seatpost. Yes I had the seatpost too high as it wasn't log enough for me but it didn't take long to crack. I can't comment on the Mini but I presume some models would have been prone to the same thing?

  18. #18
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulleady View Post
    The Mini was a good folder. But better than a Brompton? I think not! Each to their own but I find the Brompton fold very very effective.

    Downtube make some very nice bikes but I've had a 8H that cracked at the seatpost. Yes I had the seatpost too high as it wasn't log enough for me but it didn't take long to crack. I can't comment on the Mini but I presume some models would have been prone to the same thing?
    All I was saying is the Mini is lighter, has more gears, is cheaper, and folds nearly as small.

    Clearly the Brompton has better workmanship among other advantages.

  19. #19
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    Gus, does Xootr have no distributors in the UK? The Swift is a fabulous bike to ride.
    I think so, but when I last look they were around GBP 650, or $1000 US, for about which you can get a brompton here. Which I have. And, comparing to the mini is apples and pears, but the Brompton is much better engineered, as a bike, and the fold is a different and better paradigm, if you are taking in on a train or bus. It stays together folded....
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  20. #20
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    All I was saying is the Mini is lighter, has more gears, is cheaper, and folds nearly as small.

    Clearly the Brompton has better workmanship among other advantages.
    Chucky a lot of what you said is right. Bang for buck Downtube bikes are the best in their class and nice looking too. The Brompton should have used a grip shift and hub ages ago. i had mine modified to 8 speed Alfine in 2008. Cost me a bomb but never looked back!

  21. #21
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I still have mine but it doesn't get ridden much any more. Got too many bikes. I may let it go to a better home.

    Mine may be the only one ever ridden to the top of Alp d'Huez on the Tour de France route tho. Friend of mine did it, not me, unfortunately...


  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    How many bikes do you have at this point, Sesame?

  23. #23
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    I still have mine but it doesn't get ridden much any more. Got too many bikes. I may let it go to a better home.

    Mine may be the only one ever ridden to the top of Alp d'Huez on the Tour de France route tho. Friend of mine did it, not me, unfortunately...

    That is just awesome!
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  24. #24
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    Yeah, great photo. And is stoking my desire for said bike. Not that I'd look remotely like that riding it, of course.

  25. #25
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    Does the mini rest on a protruding part of the frame when folded (rather than the seat post a la Dahon). . . I think some DT bikes are/were like this?

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