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

Chester 10-07-11 02:55 AM

Just spent the night...
- Switching the stock Kenda tires for the Schwalbe Kojaks, after adding cloth rim tape. (The Kojaks are not fun to un/mount, either. A roadside flat repair is probably going to take me a good 15-20 minutes to perform until the bead loosens up.)
- Switching crap pedals with full clips (that had replaced the crap stock pedals) for MKS GR-9 pedals and MKS leathered deep half clips.
- Switched out the stock drop bars for some Alu moustache bar, re-wrapped with some new white wrap I had sitting around.
- Added a brass spring bell.

Psyched to ride the revamped midget around. Looking forward to the wider 'stache bars for the additional leverage.

Next up is moving the shifters to bar-ends and maybe replacing brake levers/calipers if good deals on those come my way.

Oh, and if anyone is interested in expanding the tube valve hole in the rims to fit Schrader tubes, as Dion suggests and which I second as a good idea, you can do it pretty simply with a rat-tail file picked up at any hardware store for a few bucks, and 10-20 minutes of work.

FYI: I've found that most bike shops only carry 20" tubes in 1.5-1.75 or 1.75-2.0 widths. The Schwalbe Kojaks are 1.35 and so, with these on, you've got to be pretty careful when you're stuffing them in and working the tire bead back in. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would've gone with tires in the 1.5-2.0 range...

cedar_lake 10-07-11 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chester (Post 13331147)
Just spent the night...
- Switching the stock Kenda tires for the Schwalbe Kojaks, after adding cloth rim tape. (The Kojaks are not fun to un/mount, either. A roadside flat repair is probably going to take me a good 15-20 minutes to perform until the bead loosens up.)
- Switching crap pedals with full clips (that had replaced the crap stock pedals) for MKS GR-9 pedals and MKS leathered deep half clips.
- Switched out the stock drop bars for some Alu moustache bar, re-wrapped with some new white wrap I had sitting around.
- Added a brass spring bell.

Pictures please! Sounds cool. Since I have done two roadside tire repairs now I can highly recommend that you get a set of robust tire irons that you have had some shop-success with to use on the road. The crap set I had in my kit were almost no good for unmounting my Minits lite from the rims.

cedar_lake 10-25-11 08:04 AM

I just finished my latest round of upgrades this weekend. No pictures yet but soon. Here's my list of everything I've done with this bike:

1. Replaced rubber rim strips with cloth tape.
2. Swapped stock tubes for QBP ultra-lite tubes (these are 451 tubes- if you don't like stuffing a too-big tube, don't do this. Works for me.)
3. Swapped the stock tires for Panaracer Minits Lite. (In hindsight I'd pay the weight penalty yo go with Kojaks)
4. Added a protection strip to the rear tire (see above).
5. Swapped the stem for an Origin8 Ultim8 120 mm stem (bought a 26.0 stem by mistake, the stock bar is a 25.4)
6. Swapped the stock bar for a 26.0 bar of very similar dimensions and shape.
7. Swapped the stock cranks for a older Sakae square-taper set I had kicking around.
8. Swapped the big ring so I have a 56-42 up front now.
9. Swapped the cassette for a SRAM 11-32.
10. Swapped the brake lever bolts for shorter ones that do not bottom out on the bars.
11. Swapped all cable housing with white because it looks cool.
12. White bar tape to match all the other white going on.
13. Swapped the stock saddle for a white Ti-railed one from Nashbar.
14. Swapped the bar plugs for white Origin8 ones that use an expanding bolt.
15. Replaced the stock pedals with a set of look Keo's
16 Swapped the BB to make the new crank work (needed to go a little wider).

All in all I'm pretty happy with the changes. The Minits Lite tires have not been a total success, but I'll get my use out of them. I have no problem stuffing the light 451 tubes in the 406 tires. I could drill the rims out to Schraeder, but all of my other bikes are Presta. The stock saddle simply had to go, as did the pedals. The replacement stem is prettier and longer, but if you need the rise the stock stem gives you, look elsewhere. I ride this bike with a pretty good drop with the replacement stem at minimum insertion. Replace the fixing bolts for the brakes with ones a few mm shorter- this is actually a safety issue in my mind. The new gearing is great. I have the full range of the cassette from the big 56, and the easier half of the cassette from the 42. About halfway down the cassette when I'm on the 42 I get chain rub against the 56. I could get a BB with an even wider spindle but i'm not sure I'm willing to sacrifice the Q I have just to get access to gears I don't need.

vmaniqui 10-25-11 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cedar_lake (Post 13410369)
The Minits Lite tires have not been a total success, but I'll get my use out of them.

any reason why you don't like the panaracer ? i am thinking of getting this tire for my TR.

thanks,
vic

762x54 10-25-11 05:01 PM

So how is the shift up front when going from the 42T to the big 56 tooth chain ring? Bill.

cedar_lake 10-27-11 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vmaniqui (Post 13412527)
any reason why you don't like the panaracer ? i am thinking of getting this tire for my TR.

thanks,
vic

It is sensitive to flatting from pretty minor road debris. Others have had the same experience with the Minits Lite. I put a pretty good cut in my rear tire- time will tell if such cuts are commonplace. I love the way the tires ride and I love the light weight. I guess I'd say if I rode them to the end of their useful life and found that they didn't flat any more often than my other road tires, I'd consider getting another set, but the flats i have gotten already seem to be more frequent than I am used to.

cedar_lake 10-27-11 11:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 762x54 (Post 13412743)
So how is the shift up front when going from the 42T to the big 56 tooth chain ring? Bill.

No problemo. I moved the derailer up a bit on the seat tube so that the cage would just clear the big ring, and I had to fiddle with the angle of the cage just a little bit, but it's a very positive shift with no jamming or skipping.

vmaniqui 10-27-11 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cedar_lake (Post 13420220)
It is sensitive to flatting from pretty minor road debris. Others have had the same experience with the Minits Lite. I put a pretty good cut in my rear tire- time will tell if such cuts are commonplace. I love the way the tires ride and I love the light weight. I guess I'd say if I rode them to the end of their useful life and found that they didn't flat any more often than my other road tires, I'd consider getting another set, but the flats i have gotten already seem to be more frequent than I am used to.

thanks for the input. uncheck the minits on my future purchase. have you tried schwalbe kojaks ? might be a better option for you.

762x54 10-27-11 05:43 PM

Good news on the shifting. I went to a 54T on mine and it shifts OK but I was thinking of going bigger yet. Bill.

Poguemahone 10-29-11 07:30 PM

Here's an interesting tidbit: the headset on the Nano is to the old and pretty much obsolete Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS). I decided to change mine out, as the stock headset is of extremely low quality, had non-standard wrench flats, and did not adjust well. Here's what this means:

1) the threading is the same as a standard ISO/Campy headset.

2) the fork crown race is sized 27.0. Standard size for one inch threaded is 26.4.

3) the headset cups are 30.0. Standard size for one inch threaded in 30.2.

In practice, this means you have limited options in replacing the headset. Velo Orange makes a JIS style headset; it is one of the few currently made. Maybe the only decent one. In addition, headset replacement on this bike will befuddle the average shop (seriously). The headtube on the 53 is too long for the headset press most shops use as a shop standard. A competent shop can mill out the headtube and the crown race to the standard sizes, but I'd make darn sure you have a competent shop to do it. I wouldn't trust your average shop on this job.

I had a box of old headset parts and cobbled together a very nice, NOS JIS headset from it and replaced my headset. I've also installed many a headset with no press, so I didn't have a hard time. I would have milled the head tube and crown race, but I only own the tool for the head tube now.

[RANT] Why Bikesdirect decided to make a new bike with an obsolete standard is beyond me. Probably made it a few cents cheaper. But it severely limits headset choices, and JIS headsets may not exist in a couple of years. There are a serious number of choices in the more standard sizing, from Chris King on down. This is just pure stupid-- it's going to cost the customer a lot extra should they choose to replace the crapola stock headset with something decent. Not everyone has a box of old NOS headset parts lying around. Sheesh. [/RANT]

Pics in the next couple of days; I'm also in the process of changing over my shifters fro Sora to 105, a nice upgrade. At this point, the only thing stock above the wheels on my Nano is the seatpost clamp. I may change that on principle.

itsmoot 10-30-11 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Poguemahone (Post 13429238)
Here's an interesting tidbit: the headset on the Nano is to the old and pretty much obsolete Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS).

Very useful info, thanks :thumb:

Poguemahone 10-30-11 05:04 PM

Bike as it currently stands:

http://i872.photobucket.com/albums/a.../mixtes010.jpg

New upgrades since last photo: Wald basket, 105 brifters, YST headset (JIS), Tektro r556 brakes in white. It runs very well right now. I'm a bit picky; this bike took longer to get riding right than most of my builds. Some of it was the quality of the stock parts, some of it unfamiliarity of the frame type.

Headset and brakes:

http://i872.photobucket.com/albums/a.../mixtes011.jpg

http://i872.photobucket.com/albums/a.../mixtes012.jpg

Upgraded:
Cloth rim strips
Bar and stem
Origin8 seat post
Soma ensho saddle
105 Brifters
Tektro brakes
headset
Panaracer tires
54 tooth chainring
11/28 rear cassette
Axiom rear rack w/wald basket
bolt on skewers
pedals and clips

Original:
Frame/fork
Seatpost clamp
Wheels
Crank, small ring
bottom bracket

cedar_lake 10-31-11 06:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Poguemahone (Post 13429238)
Here's an interesting tidbit: the headset on the Nano is to the old and pretty much obsolete Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS).

Good to know- that's the next thing on my list and I totally would have gone out and ordered a 1" without thinking. Off to VO I guess. Is your preferred no-press method of headset installation the "wood block and hope it goes in straight" or do you have a big length of all-thread?

Poguemahone 10-31-11 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cedar_lake (Post 13433603)
Good to know- that's the next thing on my list and I totally would have gone out and ordered a 1" without thinking. Off to VO I guess. Is your preferred no-press method of headset installation the "wood block and hope it goes in straight" or do you have a big length of all-thread?

I actually used the inserts from a park headset press. I removed them from the press, inserted them in the cups, and then tapped on the inserts with a rubber mallet, driving the cups into the headtube. You'd need one heck of a length of all thread for this bike. I'm not sure how long the headtube on it is, but it is longer than the 62/63cm road bikes I ride-- which my Park press can barely handle. The key is getting the cups in straight-- which, IME, you must watch no matter the tool you are using.

I had a nice sealed bearing headset I was going to use, but once I'd tapped out the cups and crown race of the old one and measured it, I realized the problem. I believe the JIS standard is still used on some very low end bikes (ie Roadmasters from WalMart, etc.), but it is practically obsolete otherwise, and replacement options are limited. I was lucky I had bought a box of headset parts cheap at a bikeshop going out of business sale that contained several JIS headsets of reasonable quality. Phew.

One has to wonder if other BD bikes share this issue. Headsets aren't something the average customer thinks much about. Here on this thread, enough of us like to tinker so that we would think about it. I thought about it from practically the instant I opened to Nano's box. If BD can shave a buck off the cost of a bike, they'd probably rather do it on something that the customer doesn't notice.

Here is a link to the Velo Orange JIS headset
. I'm currently using two Velo Orange headsets-- the needle bearing is on my Serotta track bike, and the sealed bearing unit is on my Serotta road bike. Their headsets are pretty nice, although the JIS style one is the most basic of any of their units. I would ask VO if this a pure JIS headset (27 crown race, 30 cup size). During the eighties, there were a lot of bikes that used a mixed standard (27 crown race, 30.2 cup size). I've installed the VO unit on a bike before-- an Asian made Bianchi-- but I cannot, for the life of me remember what the cup size was.

itsmoot 11-06-11 09:19 PM

Here's my contribution, bought as a "blem" from bikeisland.com:

http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/3...ciernano00.jpg

Tektro RL340 brake levers
Tektro RL726 inline brake levers
Tektro R556 brakes
unknown brand cartridge brake pad holders
Kool Stop salmon brake pads
Jagwire L3 brake & derailleur housings
Novara brake & derailleur cables
Shimano FC-1055 crank w/Biopace 52/42 rings
Shimano BB-UN53 sealed bottom bracket
Nitto Technomic stem*
Soma Highway One bars*
Deda Elementi Mistral bar tape*
Charge Spoon saddle*
Wellgo QRD W01 pedals*
Specialized S-Works FSR Team seatpost (vintage)*
unknown brand rims & spokes w/Quando hubs**
IRC Metro tires**
SRAM 12-26 cassette**
SRAM PC58 chain**

* parts bought for this project
** parts taken off my Xootr Swift when converting to 451-sized wheels. Around 700 miles use

Photo album

cedar_lake 11-07-11 08:15 AM

Got a few pictures this weekend. I managed to flat the rear tire again on a ride this weekend, even with the flat strip in the Minits Lite. I haven't pulled it apart yet to diagnose, but I'm going to guess it is the fault of the tire again...
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net...74144529_n.jpg
But overall I'm really happy with the way this has turned out. Wheels would be nice but it seems to me that if I want zippy wheels I'm going to need to drop some dough on 406 aeroheats and decent hubs/spokes and build 'em myself. Then the question, why do all that just to hang it on this tank of a frame?

Poguemahone 11-08-11 07:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cedar_lake (Post 13462604)
Then the question, why do all that just to hang it on this tank of a frame?

Because it's fun? Seriously, I was just thinking that if BD ever offers a better minivelo frame-- frame only-- I'd probably buy it and switch the frame over as well. The biggest problem I have with this bike is that it is too much fun to ride, and the way I've got it set up makes it a prime urban beater. Yours too.

On another note, the kids at one of the schools I teach at asked to see some of my other bikes, since all they've seen is the Nano. It's the Serotta trackie for them on the morrow, and maybe the ceamsicle Mondia on monday, weather permitting.

Very nice build, itsmoot.

Dynocoaster 11-08-11 09:26 PM

Itsmoot looks close to a touring bike, very nice.

cedar_lake 11-09-11 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Poguemahone (Post 13470177)
Seriously, I was just thinking that if BD ever offers a better minivelo frame-- frame only-- I'd probably buy it and switch the frame over as well.

Who's going to be the first to navigate the treacherous waters of Alibaba.com and order a 1200 gram full-carbon minivelo frame?

Seriously, the thought of getting an alu frameset if BD offered it has crossed my mind as well. Of the US-available minis (Soma, Mixie, Big Shot, Alton USA) I like the design of the Mercier the best. In decent lightweight aluminum with (dare I ask?) a carbon fork, the pocket-rocket vision would be realized, with a reasonably attractive frame.

itsmoot, that is a beautiful build.

jlg1290 11-18-11 03:20 PM

Hi Everyone,

I posted a few questions in the Folding Bike sub-forum about riding this bike in the winter, but not under this thread. Maybe I'll get a few more responses here.

1) Do you know if it's possible to fit studded tires (Schwalbe Marathon Winters) and fenders on the Mini? Is there enough clearance?

2) I've seen a few photos with fenders--are the Planet Bike 20" (like those for a Dahon Boardwalk) the way to go?

3) Any other thoughts on winterizing this bike?

Thanks,
JG

Dynocoaster 11-18-11 07:22 PM

The nano is a great bike. Read this thread as it will help you with servicing the nano. The tire should fit without a problem. I like the SKS fenders that are quick to put on and take off, they are at the bottom of this http://www.thorusa.com/accessories/sks.htm. I would wax all painted metal and keep exposed metals lubed. A good set of grippy pedals.

Poguemahone 11-24-11 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jlg1290 (Post 13508803)
Hi Everyone,

I posted a few questions in the Folding Bike sub-forum about riding this bike in the winter, but not under this thread. Maybe I'll get a few more responses here.

1) Do you know if it's possible to fit studded tires (Schwalbe Marathon Winters) and fenders on the Mini? Is there enough clearance?

2) I've seen a few photos with fenders--are the Planet Bike 20" (like those for a Dahon Boardwalk) the way to goq

3) Any other thoughts on winterizing this bike?

Thanks,
JG

I'm not completely sure you need fenders on the Nano. I've been riding in the rain on mine, and my rear rack does a fine job keeping water off my derierre. Haven't gone thru a winter yet, and central VA winters are fairly mild, but I will findout soon. In snow and ice, I use a converted MTB with a fixed gear drive and studded tires, so I won't use the Nanon in those conditions.

Mr. Jim 11-25-11 02:52 PM

Itsmoot, how bad were the blemishes? I'm thinking of pulling the trigger on one from bikeisland.

rdp36 11-28-11 01:06 PM

fenders
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jlg1290 (Post 13508803)
Hi Everyone,

I posted a few questions in the Folding Bike sub-forum about riding this bike in the winter, but not under this thread. Maybe I'll get a few more responses here.

1) Do you know if it's possible to fit studded tires (Schwalbe Marathon Winters) and fenders on the Mini? Is there enough clearance?

2) I've seen a few photos with fenders--are the Planet Bike 20" (like those for a Dahon Boardwalk) the way to go?

3) Any other thoughts on winterizing this bike?

Thanks,
JG

The rear rack I have works well as a fender, so I don't get too wet, but fenders will definitely keep the bike cleaner. Here in Seattle my Nano is currently coated with leaves, tree bits and road grime.

I think the $30 fenders mentioned above would be a great upgrade.

fietsbob 11-28-11 01:30 PM

Ought to be a good Bike Polo Rig , too.

any one use theirs this way?

narrow straight bar , single speed..


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