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  1. #1
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    The MEZZO Thread



    EDIT: MEZZO/Ori are made in the same Ori factory, model designations change
    from country to countery. - Thanks - S.

    A phew people have asked questions about the 'pink' Mezzo D9 I'm riding, so here's a thread for the Mezzo and Ori bikes. We have a couple of people on here who have a lot more experience of the Mezzo breed than I so I'll do no more than kick start the thread.

    Mezzo's (Italian: 'half or medium') were designed around 2002/2003 by Jon Whyte, a mechanical deisgn engineer who had worked on Formula One cars and MTB's. It was a very difficult job, says Whyte and took two years of CAD design, ride and revise. The result is a bike which looks like it came off the International Space Station, with 21st Century engineering everywhere. Catches are very solid and foolproof and the bike snaps together with a loud 'clack'. The finish is flawless.

    I first rode one during a Hyde Park Folding Bike Society meet, where I spectaculalry rode it into the kerb edge, and fell in a noisy, sweary heap. At that moment, I knew that any bike which survived an hour with me had to be very good indeed.

    The bikes are all alloy spar-frame, anodised where it counts instead of paint, and run 16" rims. The wheels, unlike many folders, have double-walled rims for strength. The fold is not unlike a Brompton; the rear subframe swings under the bike, the front wheel unclips from the fork and also swings under the bike. See Youtube for demos.

    An offset in the pivot for the rear subframe swings it to the offside of the bike as it rotates. Astonishing. Rather than fit a chain tensioner, two chain guide studs holds the chain in tension as the rear moves. Smart, and no added parts. The front wheel stays attached to the bike by a solid mudguard, and is never loose in any sense, even if you forget to do up the QR. A facelift in 2006 or so revised the front QR mech and clip so the fold is now even snappier.

    It's slightly larger than a Brompton when folded, but fits where other 16" bikes fit. It's slightly wider, too. Weight is around 11Kg, too heavy to carry far, but the fold is fast and the unfold faster. A non-removable rack with rollers for pushing the folded bike completes the commuter look, and there is Mezzo branded luggage.

    The ride is astonishingly stiff and responsive, (though less hard on the hands than the Brompton) as there are no folds on the massive spar frame but the Mezzo stock tyres need 85 psi in them to firm them up, and Schwalbe Kojaks at 100 psi give a faster if less forgiving ride. With everything locked together, twanging the rear frame with a screwdriver has the entire bike ringing like a bell, a sure sign of rigid build.

    At the pilot end of the bike, the steering is by traditional MTB parts; a threadless headset, elongated stem, height adjustable handle-post, along with a modest riser bar give that familiar MTB feel. Brakes are Promax dual pivot, transmission is 9 speed derailléur with a Shimano Tioga cog-swapper, and SRAM Attack trigger shifter. Early Mezzo reviewers grumbled that the bike was undergeared, later models have a 54T front on them instead of a 52. I've added a 32T cog on the back, and have a spare 48T Stronglight front for 'alpine pursuits' and grocery hauling. BB is square taper, and sealed cartridge. Both wheels hubs are QR and spokes are stainless.

    Mezzos are not cheap, prices have fallen a litttle but they are at the mid-price 'Brompton' end of the folder market. Used ones arrive on Ebay from time to time, as does the Mezzo luggage, which clips onto the rear rack. The large case holds a laptop, and a weekend's supply of Red Bull. Early hubgear I4 bikes turn up on Ebay too.

    A new good-looking curved hydroformed frame is now on the current Mezzo/ Ori D10, and the design, from Whyte's co-designer Iain Alexander is now licensed to Ori who make them for the non-UK market. There are no holes for a bottle cage on the bike, so I use a clamp-on one, and the pump is zip-tied to the rack. The stock saddle is fine, I've added an SDG lightweight one since the pic was taken, as my road bike has one fitted.

    Enjoy the Mezzo. It's a great bike, especially if you appreciate the utterly smart design which has gone into it.

    http://youtu.be/rIYVAnV8s1Q
    Last edited by snafu21; 03-25-12 at 01:24 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  2. #2
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    I would just like to say that having a Mezzo in urban South Korea is great. As I'm sure would be any other comparable folding bike. Semi-unrelated to that, here's a photo of mine from a camping trip last summer. I got lucky and managed to score this bike for $400 new.

  3. #3
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Ooooh!
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  4. #4
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    There is also the "upgrading a mezzo /ori "threads as a source of upgrade solutions /headaches!!
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  5. #5
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    Okay so here's a more recent photo of mine in my kitchen.

    And also a link to the thread I made about building a box for the airline.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ighlight=mezzo

  6. #6
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    I sawthat being built. Have you flown with it yet?
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  7. #7
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    Yep, arrived intact and undamaged in South Korea.

  8. #8
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    HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: The Good Samaritan did not ride a Mezzo.

    Mezzo riders are a feckless and snooty bunch, they will zoom past you on the other side of the road with their nose in the air as if you were not there, they are noted for it - at least several of them.

    Mezzo riders make Bromptonaughts seem like down home good ol boys.

  9. #9
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    ^^^
    Yes, this is certainly true. We try and avoid mixing with the lower orders, unless they are buying the drinks. :-)
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  10. #10
    Senior Member Casbah's Avatar
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    I'm curious. For those that have had both a Brompton and a Mezzo, which do you think folds quicker &/or more easily? Which rides better and is lighter? I've heard Bromptons fold the smallest but can't imagine you save that much more space.

  11. #11
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Wellllllllllllll, the Brompton folds smaller. A bit. If you're on a packed commuter train, a bit makes a difference. Both fit in the back of a city car.

    The tiny Brompton fold is of interest to the nerdy. Include me in that. The Mezzo fold is wider, and the handlebar-post hinge sticks up. The Mezzo though, looks and operates like an alloy-framed 21st century bike which was designed from scratch to be hugely stiff and light. The Brompton is an evolution of a 1979 or so handmade steel bike. The Mezzo's stiff double wall rims and spar alloy frame are a bonus. It's a fast bike.

    The weight of the bikes is as similar as makes no difference. You won't want to run far with 11Kg.

    The ride quality depends on what you prefer; geometries and materials are very different, and so is the ride.

    So ya got old Brit 'gaspipe' hand-bent traditional design and manufacture, vesus CAD and advanced metallurgy, backed up by Formula 1 suspension guru Jon Whyte expertise. The new Mezzo D10's (curvy frame) use hydroformed alloy, about as advanced as bike frame design gets. The Brompton frame got a face-lift a few years ago, but is basically much the same as things were thirty years ago. Some people like that: Schwinn v. LaPierre, perhaps.

    One important difference is that Bromptons are cult bikes, and in the UK retain their used prices. They are seen as Very Jolly British, although almost all of the parts are imported. They are assembled in the UK.

    The Mezzo, (as this is a Mezzo thread) is How Folding Bikes Should be. The Brompton is How Folding Bikes Used To Be. Take your pick.
    Last edited by snafu21; 03-23-12 at 09:58 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

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    I think that the Mezzo folds faster on account of you don't have to tighten wing nuts on any of the hinges. I've only ridden a Brompton a couple of times but I thought it rode nicely as well. Honestly, had I not managed to buy the Mezzo at less than a third of the price of a new Brompton I probably would have gone with the Brompton just on account of the front carrier attachment. I like the idea of using a Brompton as a touring bike that you could take onto trains as well. Of course, I could do this with the Mezzo, I just might have to use a backpack or something. There's a bag you can buy to attach to the rear rack of the Mezzo, but when I tried to acquire one every online shop I could find was sold out. I'm not sure if they were discontinued or what.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Casbah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    Wellllllllllllll, the Brompton folds smaller. A bit. If you're on a packed commuter train, a bit makes a difference. Both fit in the back of a city car.
    What little public transport we have round here doesn't get quite so packed so the teeniest fold one can afford isn't as necessary. So the speed/ease of fold and ride quality would be the main concern if the weights are the same. I've watched youtube vids of both being folded but still can't tell which is easiest/quickest to fold. I must say I do like the looks of the Mezzo better.
    Last edited by Casbah; 03-23-12 at 12:41 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    It's horses for courses. If I were rich, and I am not, the curvy Mezzo D10, with snazzy hydroformed frame would be the next upgrade, but the D9 works well for me.

    I don't think that there's much in the speed of the fold or unfold of either bike. As Omiak says, the Brompton has those little twiddly butterfly clamps which work very well, but it's all a bit Steampunk. Both ends of the Mezzo snap together like an automatic weapon in about five seconds, and there are quick releases on the wheelsfor puncture repairs, and so on. A Mezzo Quick Release rear wheel comes out in about ten seconds, about five to ten minutes longer for the hub-geared Brompton, they say. Wheel-nuts mean carring a spanner, but QR's mean losing a wheel if you leave the bike locked up outside. Although you won't.

    One important factor in rider comfort is handlebar height, the Mezzo has a telescopic handlebar post, along with most other 21st Century bikes, the Brompton does not, but offers a pretzel shaped handlebar as an extra instead. I'm a funny shape, so the Mezzo fits me well. I prefer a slightly head-down position which puts a little weight on my wrists; and therefore the front tyre for more grip, I can fine tune that on the Mezzo, but not on the Brompton which was too low for me. Consequently there was too much weight, and too much road shock coming up through the bars. If you're tall, telescopic handbar posts on smaller bikes are vital.

    Aesthetics are important, I agree. I still don't know if I'm horrified by my rose-pink Mezzo, or in love with it. It's just a bit 'Hello Kitty.'

    RE: luggage, I have the large Mezzo bike briefcase/bag, I found on ebay for £15 ($25?) It's fine for a day out, or lugging books and a laptop to lectures. The Mezzo and Brompton racks will take a variety of luggage by other manufacturers.



    Storage Bags for either are available. I got a generic carry bag for the price of two burgers from Ebay. The bike sleeps in that in my car.

    Finally, the Mezzo uses a standard derailléur drive train, a great advantage for me. The rear cogs ('Cassette') can be replaced in minutes, or a 11-32 tooth granny cog-set fitted for hilly areas and a wider spread of all nine ratios. The front crankset can be reduced to a 48T for Alpine pursuits, or increase for street racing, fitting both costs only around £44, and the originals can be refitted at any time. The original chain is retained for these changes.

    Drivetrain spares: rear mech, chains and so forth are no more expensive than for a mid range road bike or, say, a Dahon folder.
    Last edited by snafu21; 03-24-12 at 02:26 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omiak View Post
    There's a bag you can buy to attach to the rear rack of the Mezzo, but when I tried to acquire one every online shop I could find was sold out. I'm not sure if they were discontinued or what.
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=mez...w=1252&bih=626

    Winstanley bikes (apparently) ship free to the USA.

    I'd recommend this bag. Downsides are you can't fold the bike without removing it, and I found my thighs touched it. Fixed by 1) (da-dum!) removing it, and 2) I just use a second, minutely-longer strap, and it's great.

    The bag is Mary Poppins big. I used it as my only luggage for a 5 day stay in the Loire Valley, and when my partner foolishly won a food and drink hamper in a wine-show prize draw, I managed to find room in it for 2 bottles of wine and a few tins of food: we ate and drank everything else.

    Damn, that was a good holiday!
    2008 Mezzo D9
    2012 Giant Avail 2

  16. #16
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    My hint on the bag strap.
    Shorten it when ridding (else it can get stuck in mud guards), lengthen it when carrying. Takes about 3 seconds to adjust.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Casbah's Avatar
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    Your bike is pink? I thought it was red. Love the color though. Didn't see pink as an option on their U.S. site. I like the sound of the Mezzo better than the Brompton. What is the biggest difference between the Mezzo D9 and D10? I'm sure their cheapest bike is out of my price range but how much do they cost over there?

  18. #18
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Pink, red, waddevah. I can't send it back. :-) Mezzo bill it as red, I'm told.

    The new (read expensive) D10 has the sexy hydroformed curvy alloy frame. Oooh. It also has ten gears. This is because nine speed bikes are so completely last year, dahling, and everything is gonna be ten speed, real soon now. There's little real advantage over nine, unless you're Lance Armstrong. The rest of the bike is much as the D9. Nine is fine. (Edit: Ori bikes are selling 8 speed models using the same frame design.)

    Prices for the D10 are idiotic. The D9's sell for about £550 over here , especially if you can find a 2010/11 model. Winstanly's are ok, but they lost an order of mine a couple of years ago, and they're off my Christmas card list.

    Before forking out for an expensive 16" wheel bike though, riders should try one. Sixteen-inchers are challenged slightly over 20" wheel bikes, in that rolling restance is a little higher, as is the twitchyness, and they don't like rough ground much. The last time I said this though, I got death threats from Brompton owners who apparently ride the things in downhill mountain bike contests.
    Last edited by snafu21; 03-25-12 at 01:20 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Shame that Mezzo only do 16", would be interested in a 20" version.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Casbah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    Pink, red, waddevah. I can't send it back. :-) Mezzo bill it as red, I'm told.




    Before forking out for an expensive 16" wheel bike though, riders should try one. Sixteen-inchers are challenged slightly over 20" wheel bikes, in that rolling restance is a little higher, as is the twitchyness, and they don't like rough ground much. The last time I said this though, I got death threats from Brompton owners who apparently ride the things in downhill mountain bike contests.
    lol
    I've never test ridden a bike w/ 16" wheels, just 20s which I personally can't tell the difference from 26ers, tbh.
    Oh, is the D10 also lighter than the D9?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by keke View Post
    Shame that Mezzo only do 16", would be interested in a 20" version.
    I believe that the Ori Surpaz is essentially a 20" Mezzo.

    http://www.oribikes.com/products/det...0&cID=1&Key=30
    At least where I'm at (S Korea) they're absurdly expensive though. Roughly 3 grand for the aluminum one, 5 grand for carbon fiber.

  22. #22
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Ok, I may be wrong in that the frame of the D10 is hydroformed. A review on the not-always-terribly-very-accurate Folding Society site says the frame is 'mono-coque', made from two halves then welded together down the centre. The weight, it is said, at about 12 Kg, is about the same as the D9 but the bike is meant to be 'an upgraded' model, hence the ten-speed upgrade.

    Thanks to Omiak for mentioning Ori bikes which, I understand are made by Ori - the factory who make the Mezzo, and are sold under licence. Ori's seem to be widely available in the Mysterious East.

    Here's the product line-up. Yum!
    Last edited by snafu21; 03-25-12 at 01:22 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by keke View Post
    Shame that Mezzo only do 16", would be interested in a 20" version.
    Same here. 20" is the magic number for me. Not too small, not too big. Just right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omiak View Post
    I believe that the Ori Surpaz is essentially a 20" Mezzo.

    http://www.oribikes.com/products/det...0&cID=1&Key=30
    At least where I'm at (S Korea) they're absurdly expensive though. Roughly 3 grand for the aluminum one, 5 grand for carbon fiber.
    Beautiful. Shame it's a gazillion times more than I'd like to spend!

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    A question I have about the Mezzo is whether the steering design (stem+handlepost) brings magic to the steering experience of small wheels. Is there a noticeable difference in steering due to this design? Is the Mezzo less "twitchy" than other small-wheeled foldies, for example?

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