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-   -   Bikesdirect Mini Velo upgrade thread (http://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bikes/735211-bikesdirect-mini-velo-upgrade-thread.html)

Harorld 09-22-11 12:34 PM

Is this the set you're referring to?

http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1559


Quote:

Originally Posted by Dynocoaster (Post 13262964)
Black double cranks from Bike Island http://www.bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BK...%20Cranks-Road


Dion 09-22-11 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Harorld (Post 13263629)
Is this the set you're referring to?

http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1559

Go with the FSA Vero Crankset if you intend to stay with the square taper BB. Better chainrings and a better quality.

Dynocoaster 09-22-11 01:26 PM

I was just showing their crankset page but +1 for the FSA crankset.

Harorld 09-22-11 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dynocoaster (Post 13263951)
I was just showing their crankset page but +1 for the FSA crankset.

Is this what I am looking for? There are a couple of options for the 170mm.. Standard 39/53 or Compact 34/50.. Which would work best on the velo?

http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1411

Will I still have the full 16-speed functionality with this baby?

Dion 09-22-11 01:41 PM

You want the 53/39 crankset. And yes, 2 chainrings in the front, 8 cogs in the back... 2 X 8 = 16! :)

Harorld 09-22-11 01:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dion (Post 13264030)
You want the 53/39 crankset. And yes, 2 chainrings in the front, 8 cogs in the back... 2 X 8 = 16! :)

DOH!!

(thanks!)

Pics of the ninja should be here (hopefully) in a week, two at the tops!

Chester 09-26-11 06:23 PM

Got mine last week and took it out for a couple rides this past weekend. A few notes, much of which will just be echoing previous data points:

- Y'all Are Paranoid: I rode about 35 miles on SF City streets and started feeling really self-satisfied about not falling prey to all the puncture alarmism in this thread. And then I flatted.
- No, Actually, You're Not: You must put in proper rim tape. People are totally right when they say the stupid rubber strip just shifts around, exposing the tube to spokes.
- Get Some STRONG Levers: The tires are the hardest tires I've ever had the displeasure to remove. Someone recommended shelling out for the Lezyne alloy levers. I'm ordering a pair, myself, because I broke two levers removing just one of these Kenda Kwests.
- Upgrades Imminent: Have a pair of Schwalbe Kojaks and a couple rolls of Velox rim tape waiting at home for when I'm feeling like punishing myself by trying to remove two of these absurdly-tight Kwests.
- Switch to Schrader: Dion made the suggestion that one open up the rims' valve holes to take Schrader tubes. I'll second this as it is pretty much impossible to find 20" Presta tubes in stock in even good bike shops...unless they happen to pay attention to folding bikes/recumbents. I'm going to try to file them wider instead of drilling, but...same difference.
- Everything Else is Fine: Maybe I'll change my mind when I switch out to the Kojaks, but the Kwests didn't feel particular sluggish. And the brakes -- levers and calipers -- seem fine to me. Had no problem with braking while hitting descents at like ~35MPH or responding to general urban chaos.
- Don't know if it's a hardware or adjustment issue but the rear derailleur often has a hard time settling on gears in between the extremes of the cassette. Shifting on the front chainring is fine, though I did pop the chain off once when going from small to big chainring.
- Handling-wise, it's a fun, nimble bike. I don't feel any real compromises riding it aside from some squirrellyness when climbing...probably unavoidable due to the height of the stem but probably also not helped by the narrowness of the handlebars. I was even riding it with a right-side pannier on a rear rack and I think the lower center of gravity actually makes it more comfortable carrying a load on this bike than on a 700c rig.

Pretty much everything on the bike is crap, but I think the only mandatory change is adding proper rim tape. And, since you have to battle with the almost indomitable bead of those Kenda Kwests, you might as well swap them out for something that won't leave you crying on the side of the road with a handful of snapped tire levers.

Through last night, I'd only switched saddles and put a rear rack on. But I have a bag of stuff to throw on: the aforementioned rim tape and Kojak tires, MKS GR-9 pedals, MKS half-clips, a moustache handlebar...and whenever I get around to ordering and receiving 'em, bar-end shifters, and probably new brake levers and calipers, and maybe even a new crankset.

So, basically...I'll end up having spent $300 on the frame and wheels.

Totally don't regret it.

ynggrsshppr 09-26-11 07:54 PM

Good call on the rim strips. When I deinstalled the stock strips I could see where the spoke holes left an impression on the strip and some of them indicated that a few holes were partially exposed.

I had a chance to sand down the brake pads, and you're right! There really isn't any problem with the braking system. They work fine as long as you break them in and adjust everything properly (which I hadn't done due to my lack of experience with these types of bikes).

That being said I had a pair of Kool Stop dura type holders and pads come in today that I can test out later this week.

Harorld 09-26-11 08:38 PM

I just got mine today, walked up the block and hung with some of the dudes in the bike shop while they changed the rim tape and swapped in my schwalbe slicks. They checked out the bike and made sure everything was good to go. I spent the next 40 minutes or so cruising around my neighborhood and am REALLY digging this bike.

One thing that I'd like to do, though, is install brake levers for for when I'm gripping the straight part of the drop bar. I don't feel totally comfortable having the brakes accessible ONLY when I'm gripping the lower/curved part of the handlebar.

Can you guys recommend what I'll need to make this happen? Do I simply need to buy some Top Mount Brake Levers?

Dynocoaster 09-26-11 08:46 PM

http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1067

Harorld 09-26-11 08:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dynocoaster (Post 13282925)

Great! Thank you. So this is it? I'll be able to tie it into the existing brakes?

This is such a newbie request, but could someone link to an image of what these brakes would look like installed?

Dion 09-26-11 09:51 PM

Read up! Everything said is spot on.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chester (Post 13282377)
Got mine last week and took it out for a couple rides this past weekend. A few notes, much of which will just be echoing previous data points:

- Y'all Are Paranoid: I rode about 35 miles on SF City streets and started feeling really self-satisfied about not falling prey to all the puncture alarmism in this thread. And then I flatted.
- No, Actually, You're Not: You must put in proper rim tape. People are totally right when they say the stupid rubber strip just shifts around, exposing the tube to spokes.
- Get Some STRONG Levers: The tires are the hardest tires I've ever had the displeasure to remove. Someone recommended shelling out for the Lezyne alloy levers. I'm ordering a pair, myself, because I broke two levers removing just one of these Kenda Kwests.
- Upgrades Imminent: Have a pair of Schwalbe Kojaks and a couple rolls of Velox rim tape waiting at home for when I'm feeling like punishing myself by trying to remove two of these absurdly-tight Kwests.
- Switch to Schrader: Dion made the suggestion that one open up the rims' valve holes to take Schrader tubes. I'll second this as it is pretty much impossible to find 20" Presta tubes in stock in even good bike shops...unless they happen to pay attention to folding bikes/recumbents. I'm going to try to file them wider instead of drilling, but...same difference.
- Everything Else is Fine: Maybe I'll change my mind when I switch out to the Kojaks, but the Kwests didn't feel particular sluggish. And the brakes -- levers and calipers -- seem fine to me. Had no problem with braking while hitting descents at like ~35MPH or responding to general urban chaos.
- Don't know if it's a hardware or adjustment issue but the rear derailleur often has a hard time settling on gears in between the extremes of the cassette. Shifting on the front chainring is fine, though I did pop the chain off once when going from small to big chainring.
- Handling-wise, it's a fun, nimble bike. I don't feel any real compromises riding it aside from some squirrellyness when climbing...probably unavoidable due to the height of the stem but probably also not helped by the narrowness of the handlebars. I was even riding it with a right-side pannier on a rear rack and I think the lower center of gravity actually makes it more comfortable carrying a load on this bike than on a 700c rig.

Pretty much everything on the bike is crap, but I think the only mandatory change is adding proper rim tape. And, since you have to battle with the almost indomitable bead of those Kenda Kwests, you might as well swap them out for something that won't leave you crying on the side of the road with a handful of snapped tire levers.

Through last night, I'd only switched saddles and put a rear rack on. But I have a bag of stuff to throw on: the aforementioned rim tape and Kojak tires, MKS GR-9 pedals, MKS half-clips, a moustache handlebar...and whenever I get around to ordering and receiving 'em, bar-end shifters, and probably new brake levers and calipers, and maybe even a new crankset.

So, basically...I'll end up having spent $300 on the frame and wheels.

Totally don't regret it.


Poguemahone 09-27-11 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Harorld (Post 13282895)
I just got mine today, walked up the block and hung with some of the dudes in the bike shop while they changed the rim tape and swapped in my schwalbe slicks. They checked out the bike and made sure everything was good to go. I spent the next 40 minutes or so cruising around my neighborhood and am REALLY digging this bike.

One thing that I'd like to do, though, is install brake levers for for when I'm gripping the straight part of the drop bar. I don't feel totally comfortable having the brakes accessible ONLY when I'm gripping the lower/curved part of the handlebar.

Can you guys recommend what I'll need to make this happen? Do I simply need to buy some Top Mount Brake Levers?

You might try interrupter levers. You'll still have the standard drop bar levers, but you'll have a second set of levers atop the bars.

Commonly used on touring bikes.

Harorld 09-27-11 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Poguemahone (Post 13284240)
You might try interrupter levers. You'll still have the standard drop bar levers, but you'll have a second set of levers atop the bars.

Commonly used on touring bikes.

Thanks for this. This is exactly what I was looking for, just didn't know what they were called. Will the interrupter levers be able to be incorporated into the factory brake system on the mercier?

Does anyone know the diameter of the factory bars?

Dion 09-27-11 08:53 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Harorld (Post 13282895)
One thing that I'd like to do, though, is install brake levers for for when I'm gripping the straight part of the drop bar. I don't feel totally comfortable having the brakes accessible ONLY when I'm gripping the lower/curved part of the handlebar.

Please don't take this as offensive, but in cyclocross racing we call those "p#ssy levers" :)

Call me the biggest p#ssy, because my CX race bike has a MTB flat bar :p

All kidding aside, learn to ride the "hoods" - this is the top part of the brake levers (third photo in the illustration below). This is a common hand position for all riding situations - climbing, sprinting, spinning and on occasion, descending (although I pretty much only descend in the drops). This illustration should help you understand the different hand positions for drop bars. This is from www.sheldonbrown.com which pretty much can answer any question you have in regards to bikes.

http://sheldonbrown.com/deakins/imag...rpositions.jpg

Riding in the "drops" or the lower part of the handlebar is usually for descending, hard sprints, headwinds, or any other situation where you'd need to "tuck" down. For casual riding, riding in the drops isn't necessary. However, your bike should be fitted so that riding in the drops is comfortable. If the brake lever is unreachable on the top part, or "hood" position, you need them to be adjusted to where you CAN reach them. Unfortunately, you will need to remove the handlebar tape to do this and re-wrap your handlebar with new tape - my biggest criticism of stock bikes is the position of the levers... all factory bikes should come without the bars wrapped.

Bad part is you're throwing away new bar tape, good part is you can get a new, cool color and bar tape is usually pretty cheap.

You should NOT have to take your hands off the handlebar and change hand positions to brake. Your brake levers should be in the sweet spot where you can reach them in the drops AND on the hoods. If you are riding on the "flat" part of the handlebar, you should be able to simply slide you hands over to the hoods. In fact, when changing hand positions, I always maintain contact with the bar at all times.

Anyway...

Here is my bike in it's complete form. I am taking it out today for my "lunch ride" and plan to climb a couple thousand feet with the new cranks and shifters. :)

Put a fork in this one - it's DONE (yeah right). It's 26.3lbs right now and it would be awesome to lighten it up. After discovering a set of Dahon Pro wheels would run me about $500... I think I'll call it quits while I'm ahead.

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=220431

Cglenny 09-27-11 07:44 PM

Would someone take off all the components and weigh the frame please? That would be awesome. I am, however, considering just buying a Big Shot Mini Polo being that I want single speed. If I were to get a Nano I would convert it to ss so I am deciding what would be the better way to go. I wonder what the weight comparison between the Nano frame and the Mini Polo frame is?

Harorld 09-27-11 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cglenny (Post 13287477)
Would someone take off all the components and weigh the frame please? That would be awesome. I am, however, considering just buying a Big Shot Mini Polo being that I want single speed. If I were to get a Nano I would convert it to ss so I am deciding what would be the better way to go. I wonder what the weight comparison between the Nano frame and the Mini Polo frame is?

Out of curiosity.. What are the benefits of converting over to single speed?

Dion 09-27-11 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Harorld (Post 13287575)
Out of curiosity.. What are the benefits of converting over to single speed?

Sheldon Brown answers all...
http://sheldonbrown.com/singlespeed.html

Hey y'all - I did a follow-up initial impressions review AFTER my upgrades. It is now a completely different bike with a much more "usable" choice of gears over stock.

http://www.dionridesbikes.com/2011/0...i-velo-in.html

cedar_lake 09-29-11 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dion (Post 13284564)

Bad part is you're throwing away new bar tape, good part is you can get a new, cool color and bar tape is usually pretty cheap.

Nice thing is the stock tape on these is non-adhesive (at least mine was) I'm a total scrapper when it comes to bike stuff so when I changed the bar out I just re-used the tape.

cedar_lake 09-29-11 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cglenny (Post 13287477)
Would someone take off all the components and weigh the frame please? That would be awesome. I am, however, considering just buying a Big Shot Mini Polo being that I want single speed. If I were to get a Nano I would convert it to ss so I am deciding what would be the better way to go. I wonder what the weight comparison between the Nano frame and the Mini Polo frame is?

No idea on the weight. If I was planning on a single speed from the get-go, I might consider the Big Shot just to get the track ends. I personally think the Nano frame is the more elegant of the two (if such a thing can be said about a minivelo frame). I also wonder if the geometry of the Mini Polo is more suited to slow speed pursuits (like bike polo) as opposed to riding distances on the road. The Nano is twitchy enough for my taste.

cedar_lake 09-29-11 08:20 AM

So I said I'd update on the Minits Lite tires when I flatted. Well, after three weeks of commuting (12 miles a day, 5 days a week) I did manage to flat the rear tire on a small glass chip last night. No biggie, I pulled over, popped the chip out of the tire, put in a new tube and pumped it up and got home. The too-big 451 tube showed no signs of strain or wear related to being crammed into the 406 tire, and the new 451 tube I stuck in there was installable roadside as easily as it was in the pristine confines of my shop.

I would say that the flat I got is more typical of what I might expect to get on my road bike with its thin lightweight tires. A tougher tire probably would not have flatted on this glass chip and a rim strip would have prevented the flat altogether. If it happens again in the next couple of weeks I might consider putting a strip in, but altogether i still really like these tires. Urban warriors should look elsewhere, though.

james_swift 09-29-11 08:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cedar_lake (Post 13294338)
So I said I'd update on the Minits Lite tires when I flatted. Well, after three weeks of commuting (12 miles a day, 5 days a week) I did manage to flat the rear tire on a small glass chip last night. No biggie, I pulled over, popped the chip out of the tire, put in a new tube and pumped it up and got home. The too-big 451 tube showed no signs of strain or wear related to being crammed into the 406 tire, and the new 451 tube I stuck in there was installable roadside as easily as it was in the pristine confines of my shop.

I would say that the flat I got is more typical of what I might expect to get on my road bike with its thin lightweight tires. A tougher tire probably would not have flatted on this glass chip and a rim strip would have prevented the flat altogether. If it happens again in the next couple of weeks I might consider putting a strip in, but altogether i still really like these tires. Urban warriors should look elsewhere, though.

I put the Panaracer Flat-Away liner in my Minits and haven't had a flat on my urban commutes since. I've still had to pick out bits of glass and sharp rock, but none of it got past to the tube.

cedar_lake 09-30-11 07:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by james_swift (Post 13294382)
I put the Panaracer Flat-Away liner in my Minits and haven't had a flat on my urban commutes since. I've still had to pick out bits of glass and sharp rock, but none of it got past to the tube.

Looks like I'm going to have to put a liner in the rear tire at least. I flatted again this morning. Just a little cut, but it slowed me down (and impressed upon me the difference between good tire irons and the cheesy crappy ones i had in my kit) I would have been five minutes faster fixing the flat had I had functional tire irons on me!

james_swift 09-30-11 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cedar_lake (Post 13299051)
Looks like I'm going to have to put a liner in the rear tire at least. I flatted again this morning. Just a little cut, but it slowed me down (and impressed upon me the difference between good tire irons and the cheesy crappy ones i had in my kit) I would have been five minutes faster fixing the flat had I had functional tire irons on me!

When the self-torture included with these tires has gotten old, I highly suggest the Schwalbe Kojaks. I've been commuting on these tires for months and am still waiting for a puncture, let alone a single nick or cut in the casing. As I mentioned previously, these tires are made of indestructible material harvested from downed UFOs.

(My Panaracer Minits Not-So-Tough are on my Swift.)

Dion 10-03-11 02:38 PM

Hicks Rd. to Mt Umunhum - Tackling the BIG hill with the SMALL bike (Mercier Nano Min
 
(from my blog @ dionridesbikes.com)

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-j5LDfYecQI...ridesbikes.jpg

As I've mentioned in previous posts, Hicks Rd. to Mt. Umunhum is one of the toughest climbs in the SF Bay Area. John Summerson touts this climb in "The Complete Guide to Climbing (By Bike) in California" as:
Quote:

For all of California:

#7 Most Difficult Half Mile: 14.3% (mile 0.3-0.8)
#5 Most Difficult Mile: 13.9% (mile 0.1-1.1)

For the San Francisco Bay Area:

#1 Most Difficult Climb
#5 Steepest Climb (10.2%)
#5 Most Technical Descent
#4 Highest Elevation Attained Climb (2,846 ft)
#5 Greatest Length of >10% Grade Climb (1.6 miles)
So... what better bike to do it on but the mini-velo?!

Of course, this self inducing punishment was planned to test the limits of the mini-velo in terms of epic climbing, and to prove to the naysayers that the mini-velo can be used as a contender against a formidable hill. With two water bottles, two bars and my Garmin Forerunner 305, I stepped out the front door with an intent to go suffer.

Again, I did not feel any difference in speed, although my Garmin and my B.icycle app tells me I was 1MPH slower on my mini-velo, and that was probably due to the loss in rolling momentum on the smaller wheels. Also, this little bike is heavier than my road bike by about 3 lbs.

I am very happy with the re-gearing, because it did come in handy. When I hit "the Wall" on Hicks Rd, getting over the the 32t cog bailed me out as I started to gas on the last 1/4 of the ascent. Unlike my road bike, however, I did not have to stop to take any breaks; on occasion I will to get some water on the 700c bike. With the efficient granny gear, (39/32) I spun up without worry.

I felt strong when I hit the top to Hicks Rd., which is about 1500ft of elevation gain at 9 miles. After chilling out and taking the picture (below), I decided to continue on to the Mt Umunhum gate, and beyond.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TE42cjfk14...ridesbikes.jpg

I passed the gate and continued to climb beyond. Of course, as I went up things got very creepy and stories of the locals started to get in my head. I was way the hell up there and no one with me - so I was totally exposed.

As I was going up, I went beyond the "no trespassing" sign, when I heard a gun shot.

I am an avid shooter and gun owner and know what that sounds like (not like the movies). It was at that point (around 2,900 ft. of elevation gain) I turned around. Could've been sport shooting or getting rid of a "varmint", but I was not interested in sticking around to find out.

Here is my total trip:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/1...LthSOA.blogger

In all honesty, I was really starting to gas out on the long steep climbs which are a very different type of climb that I'm used to: short, fast and mashable. But to be fair, these "steep" climbs are REALLY steep!

The Mercier Nano Mini Velo is a better bike than I am a rider. It handled this test well beyond my expectations and there was very little lacking in the speed department. I do have to note that the small wheels did not enjoy the pot holes nor the bumpy descend, so I should've compensated with slightly deflating the tires when I started to head down (I have them at max, 100psi). I am happy that I did not go thinner than 20 X 1.50.

The next ultimate test will be a century on this bike.


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