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First Mini Velo build; options, pros & cons, ideas, help

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First Mini Velo build; options, pros & cons, ideas, help

Old 07-12-20, 08:54 AM
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zbdiy
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First Mini Velo build; options, pros & cons, ideas, help

Hello Brains Trust,

I am getting ready to build a mini-velo.

Considerations are:
- Urban commuting (10km daily)
- Easy storage (small flat)
- Weight (carrying up stairs etc)
- Total build cost < $US2k
- Some nice components - Shimano 105 or better
- Disc brakes would be nice - Mechanical are OK.
- Pannier rack - I have a Tailfin X rack that will fit most frames, so not a big issue.
- I'm keen on drop bars, but unsure of STI levers + disc brake options.

I'm tossing up between two very different frames:

1. Java Carbon minivelo Aero from Aliexpress: (I am not allowed to post links, but a search of these keywords will bring you to the right link)
2. A Titanium minivelo frame from ebay. Seller is called TiSport. Search for TiSport Minivelo Bike Frame


Some question:
- Any subjective opinions or thoughts on these two frames - any free flowing discussion appreciated.
- Any thoughts and experiences on mini-velos as commuters
- Wheel options? I'd like something more sure-footed than my road bike, so maybe some wide tyres - 32mm-35mm?
- Any links, references to articles etc.

I'm a beginner at this, and am collecting & soaking up any information I can find in an unstructured manner.

I'm not allowed to post photos. Could someone please Google the frames in question and post them below?

Danke!!
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Old 07-12-20, 11:41 AM
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joey buzzard
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Will you put 406mm or 451mm wheels on the bike?

If you want a chunkier tyre than what's on your road bike, maybe 406mm (standard BMX sized) wheels would be more ideal? I prefer this size myself because in an emergency it's easier to source spare tyres and tubes. Also, because 451 wheels generally take skinny racing tyres, the smaller 406mm rims generally make up for the size difference when you put on a chunkier tyre because of the difference in tyre heights.

Kenda Kwest tyres are cheap and roll well. Right now I have Swalbe Marathons on my bike. I don't think that these are particularly inspiring fast tyres, but they are very well constructed and I estimate that I've done several thousand Kms since mounting them and haven't had a puncture. There's something to be said for that while on the road in foreign lands.

Also, my personal preference would be for a titanium frame over carbon fiber. More durable and more beautiful imo. I might be wary buying something like that unseen over the internet though.

Anyway, good luck, and please post pics of the build when it comes together.
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Old 07-12-20, 12:09 PM
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Subscribe & see Rinko adaptations covered in in Bicycle Quarterly magazine https://www.bikequarterly.com/ ..

there is a thread in this section on the US Importer bikes direct, Importer of this style of bike. https://www.bikesdirect.com/

generally with smaller wheels, the bike parked in the expensive place to live, like yours, , so smaller apartments, it takes up less space..
Without just buying a folding bike, instead..

or .. Bike Friday https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-bikes/

Pocket Rocket is their 451 wheel drop bar road bike line. basic offering, just under your $2k cost cap.
you can call on the phone & discuss your desires,, 800 number (or email chat back & forth..
they are built there, not warehoused imports.







...

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Old 07-12-20, 04:27 PM
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I am clueless on carbon, so I did not look at that frame.

I think this is the Titanium frame you are considering, you should confirm that:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/TiSport-Tit...e/133188653278

It is unclear to me if the fork is included, i did not see one with it but did not see a separate fork for it in their Ebay store either. Photo of bike looks like it is threaded fork, not threadless. Thus a very tall quill stem would be needed.

Unclear if the frame has 130 or 135mm dropout rear hub spacing.

Lots of things are unclear on that, for example is it for 20 inch wheels?

I did not see any rear rack mounting, would you need a rack for commuting?

If you are carrying a bike up and down stairs, I certainly understand the desire for a light weight bike and therefore understand the desire for a Titanium frame. But, making a frame out of Titanium does not automatically make the bike light. If you had a steel frame mini-velo, how many pounds would that add?

I did not see seatpost clamp inclusion.

Some photos suggest rear disc mount, some suggest only rim brake.

Often there is a replaceable hanger, that looks like it is not replaceable. If so, hope it does not break.

I have never ridden a mini-velo but own one folder and have ridden other folders so I am familiar with small wheel small frame bikes. I would look at other options, including steel frames. Have you looked at the Velo Orange frame, and if so what is the weight difference on that. The Velo Orange is a standard threadless steerer tube, you should be able to use standard stem, mount a rack on it, etc.

I think you have a realistic budget. You could also get a good 20 inch folding bike for that price.
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Old 07-12-20, 07:12 PM
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1. Java Carbon minivelo Aero from Aliexpress: (I am not allowed to post links, but a search of these keywords will bring you to the right link)
2. A Titanium minivelo frame from ebay. Seller is called TiSport. Search for TiSport Minivelo Bike Frame
>> I'd take the TiSport frame in a heatbeat. More durable for the use that you are looking at (and seems like a good price)
Aluminium frames offer great value for money and are as good as the other 2 materials in many cases (I also have a steel and alu mini velo and have a few folders)

Raleigh has one (in Singapore, but probably can find a like frame on the web too )


Ascent Bikes has a nice one with disc brakes as well
https://www.ascent-bikes.com/bolt-mini-velo



Some question:
- Any subjective opinions or thoughts on these two frames - any free flowing discussion appreciated.
>> IMHO, Ti over carbon, your usage seems more rugged that what a carbon bike will be for.


- Any thoughts and experiences on mini-velos as commuters
>> I use it a lot for daily commute and riding (often against road bike riders too ). They are great fun, very nimble for more trafficked areas and more convenient to get into elevators, tight corridors, etc)
Ultimately, it won't be as fast as a road bike, but for many cases, it works well.

- Wheel options? I'd like something more sure-footed than my road bike, so maybe some wide tyres - 32mm-35mm?
Yes, imho wider tires will be more sure footed and comfy especially as the wheels are smaller.
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Old 07-13-20, 07:05 AM
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Well, I love my Ti mini velo so would tend to favor the TiSport frame. In my experience, there's a comfort edge with Ti frames over steel or aluminum, although carbon is right up there for damping. However, there's not much info on the ebay page. Have you been in touch with the seller to get dimensions, etc.? I wonder if the frames are made to order so you can specify brake type, internal/external cables, etc. If you can get it set up for disc brakes then you can go with either 406 or 451 wheels. As others have stated, 406 is the better choice if you want lots of choices in wide tires (I use 451s on my mini velo and 406 on my folder).

I find small-wheeled bikes great for commuting, if, by commuting, you mean riding in traffic. Along with the nimble handling and ability to fit into limited spaces, smaller wheels allow you to go with a narrower handlebar without sacrificing control of the front end.
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Old 07-13-20, 11:50 AM
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Thank you so much @joey_buzzard.

I have communicated further with the ebay seller. They seem genuine, and have provided more photos of the Ti frame. It has disc brake mounts as well as rack and bottle cage eyelets.

Re. tyres, I have Marathons too on my old Brompton which I'm about to sell. Agreed, they're great.
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Old 07-13-20, 12:18 PM
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@pinholecam thank you for the considered response. Wow, the Raleigh and Bolt both look lovely.

An off the shelf bike would make my life a lot easier, wouldn't it? I guess part of the attraction is the diy factor. I love building things.
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Old 07-13-20, 12:22 PM
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Trocadile any possibility of seeing some photos of your Ti mini velo? Where did you get it?

Yes I have been in touch with the seller since my last post. He seems legit. He is also willing to throw in the front fork, seatpost & stem at a discount.
The frame has disc brake mounts and attachment points for a pannier rack and a bottle cage etc.

Originally Posted by Trocadile View Post
Well, I love my Ti mini velo so would tend to favor the TiSport frame. In my experience, there's a comfort edge with Ti frames over steel or aluminum, although carbon is right up there for damping. However, there's not much info on the ebay page. Have you been in touch with the seller to get dimensions, etc.? I wonder if the frames are made to order so you can specify brake type, internal/external cables, etc. If you can get it set up for disc brakes then you can go with either 406 or 451 wheels. As others have stated, 406 is the better choice if you want lots of choices in wide tires (I use 451s on my mini velo and 406 on my folder).

I find small-wheeled bikes great for commuting, if, by commuting, you mean riding in traffic. Along with the nimble handling and ability to fit into limited spaces, smaller wheels allow you to go with a narrower handlebar without sacrificing control of the front end.
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Old 07-13-20, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by zbdiy View Post
Trocadile any possibility of seeing some photos of your Ti mini velo? Where did you get it?.

You've probably seen the frame if you've checked out AliExpress. Anyway, I introduced it to the forum in this thread: My Ti mini velo project
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Old 07-13-20, 02:25 PM
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Trocadile wow, that's a gorgeous bike!! The geometry seems very similar to a Moulton.

How do you think this would compare with the one I have my eyes on? Your bike has more weld points, and I imagine the pair of down tubes that cross the head tube would add a lot of strength against twisting forces, no?

Yours is absolutely gorgeous, but I do like the more classical look of the simpler frame, and I want some disc brakes.
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Old 07-13-20, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by zbdiy View Post
Trocadile wow, that's a gorgeous bike!! The geometry seems very similar to a Moulton.

How do you think this would compare with the one I have my eyes on? Your bike has more weld points, and I imagine the pair of down tubes that cross the head tube would add a lot of strength against twisting forces, no?

Yours is absolutely gorgeous, but I do like the more classical look of the simpler frame, and I want some disc brakes.
Yeah, the extra head tube stays are a bit of an acquired taste, and I can certainly understand preferring the classic triangle. I like them because they allow for a longer head tube, reducing the amount of steerer that sticks out, which helps keep the bike stable when out of the saddle, while keeping the low step-over of the top tube.

I don't know the dimensions on the TiSport frame. One of the reasons I got this one from Titan is that top tube and wheelbase were a little longer than the other available mini velo frames out of Asia, whether Ti or something else. I don't know how much cockpit you need, but that was a big factor for me. Of course, you'd be adding some length with drop bars compared to my flats.

I did end up spending about $2000 for the bike, but the TiSport is more affordable so makes sense to go with it if you prefer the aesthetics. Titan makes the frames to order (I could have got disc brakes but went with V because I already had them in my kit box) so that would also add to the delivery time.

Anyway, have fun with whatever you decide and good luck!
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Old 07-13-20, 08:35 PM
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Another 2 to recommend.

These are from Waltly Titanium (China) who I just engaged to do up a custom Ti all road bike and have been very satisfied with the results.
This one is based on the Tyrell Pk1


they also make a more traditional looking frame


AFAIK, a custom 700c road bike from them is USD800. So you can use that as a gauge if you want to get a quote from them.
Waltly - Makers of custom high-end titanium bicycle frames, forks and small parts


The other maker will be Titan (mentioned by Trocadile )


They are both on AliExpress IIRC.
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Old 07-14-20, 01:26 PM
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Thanks all. Another question if I may:

What are peoples' thoughts on the difference between the geometries of Trocadile Tyrell-esque mini with drop-bars, and the more classical Raleigh or Ascent Bolt with drop-bars?

I haven't ridden either, but I notice that The Waltly "Tyrell" has more oblique head tube and seat tube, and has very similar angles to a Moulton or a Reach by Pacific Cycles. Is this what you'd call a "relaxed" geometry?

I'm hoping the "Tyrelle" would feel closer to a gravel/mountain bike than the others.

If you think this is a safe assumption, I'll go with the "Tyrell". I still intend to put drop-bars on it and use it as a commuter, but as I previously said, I want something more "sure footed" and less twitchy.

Again, thanks for all your help.
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Old 07-14-20, 01:45 PM
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Aah 10 posts. I can finally post some pictures to compare geometries:



Tyrell

Moulton AM

Pacific Cycles Reach

Java CX Aero Carbon

Raleigh Special

Soma (don't know model name)

Ti Sport from ebay I was originally considering
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Old 07-15-20, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by zbdiy View Post
I want something more "sure footed" and less twitchy.
Well, a slacker head angle will lead to more trail which should lead to less twitchy handling. Wheel/tire size and fork offset also impact trail. If you have schematics on the bikes, you can compare what the trail would be - there are several bicycle trail calculators on the web. Failing that, yes, you can eyeball them and figure, all other things being equal, the slacker head angle will lead to more stable steering.
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Old 07-15-20, 06:15 PM
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Mass over the front wheel works well .. only Moulton of your found collection offers a front rack, to put a bag on to carry stuff..

I have a Brompton & 2 bike Fridays



Actually head angle is only one factor as determiner of trail, fork bend and wheel size are others..






..

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Old 07-16-20, 06:29 PM
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Damn that Raleigh Special is sweet! But for 290$ you can get a Mercier mini velo and upgrade it to your taste. This is mine.

BTW, Soma does not make a MV anymore.


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Old 07-16-20, 06:34 PM
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BTW, I live in an upstairs loft apt and regularly carry it up and down stairs. No big deal. Also, very easy to store it in its garage closet.
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Old 07-16-20, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by zbdiy View Post
Thanks all. Another question if I may:

What are peoples' thoughts on the difference between the geometries of Trocadile Tyrell-esque mini with drop-bars, and the more classical Raleigh or Ascent Bolt with drop-bars?

I haven't ridden either, but I notice that The Waltly "Tyrell" has more oblique head tube and seat tube, and has very similar angles to a Moulton or a Reach by Pacific Cycles. Is this what you'd call a "relaxed" geometry?

I'm hoping the "Tyrelle" would feel closer to a gravel/mountain bike than the others.

If you think this is a safe assumption, I'll go with the "Tyrell". I still intend to put drop-bars on it and use it as a commuter, but as I previously said, I want something more "sure footed" and less twitchy.

Again, thanks for all your help.

MHO is not to over think on the nuances of the geometry.
They should all ride fine.
If you want a more stable ride, the usual parameters will be a longer wheelbase and longer trail, stem length, so its better to refer to each bike's geometry chart to get a better idea of them.

Having placed road bars on quite a few mini velo and folders (Bike Friday, Raleigh MV, Moulton TSR), they all ride well and has the multiple hand positions a road bar provides. Do note though that as many of these bikes are designed with a flat bar in mind, the road bar can push the hand position more forward and may need a shorter and/or more angled stem.

The Reach may not actually be more slack in the actual trail of the fork as its using a trailing link front suspension and the wheel contact to the ground may end up to to be in the same position as any of the other options.
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Old 07-17-20, 10:25 AM
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Add one of the Quick release Easy turn stems to turn the bars sideways &MKS Ezy QR pedals & it can store the bike flat against the wall
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