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Bikesdirect Mini Velo upgrade thread

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Bikesdirect Mini Velo upgrade thread

Old 03-17-15, 07:17 AM
  #626  
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mirfi

Hello,

Any body see the "Minute Bike"?

Saw it on the 'folding bikes/bikes we like' thread.

A smart bike for great cities - Minute

Maybe I been in the dark, but a non-folding 59cm bike with 20" wheels seems rare to me.

And more my size.
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Old 03-20-15, 06:28 PM
  #627  
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Originally Posted by mirfi View Post
Hello,

Any body see the "Minute Bike"?

Saw it on the 'folding bikes/bikes we like' thread.

A smart bike for great cities - Minute

Maybe I been in the dark, but a non-folding 59cm bike with 20" wheels seems rare to me.

And more my size.
Looks nice, but being limited to a 2spd max is not interesting to me, and at £700??? Forget it. Yeah, I'd love a larger frame, too, and perhaps if the bike was more critical to me rather than just a novelty, I'd look at it more seriously.
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Old 03-21-15, 08:05 AM
  #628  
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Looks nice, but being limited to a 2spd max is not interesting to me, and at £700??? Forget it. Yeah, I'd love a larger frame, too, and perhaps if the bike was more critical to me rather than just a novelty, I'd look at it more seriously.
I agree with everything you say. It is a novelty, especially with the two speed/coaster brakes. It should be sold at the Walmart for $100, I'd be putting miles on it (after the snow melts). Then putting it in the corner because the lack of gears killed my knees. I have an @40 year old eastern european rusted folder with fenders/racks and single speed coaster brakes. I love puttering around the boardwalks/beach towns or Baltimore's inner harbor. This would be a step up.
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Old 03-23-15, 09:07 AM
  #629  
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Mini Velo... practical or gimmick?

Just curious if someone could explain what the appeal of the Bigshot Polo (and bikes of this ilk - Mini Velos) is besides novelty.... I guess it may be slightly lighter and shorter than a full sized bike(less wheel weight/diameter), which would help when carrying... but it does not fold, so the size is not much different than a "full-size" bike. Also, the smaller wheel is likely more maneuverable (at very slow speeds), but the smaller diameter, narrow wheel makes it less able to handle bumps, potholes, etc., so it's kind of a wash as a city bike. Seems trendy, but not terribly practical -- from a usability standpoint somewhere between a folder and a fixie -- without the benefits of either... (performance of a fixie or size/transportability of a folder).

Is this bike simply about it's "cool" factor... is it a gimmick... or am I missing something?
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Old 03-23-15, 11:48 AM
  #630  
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My answer. I putter around, sometimes do 'casual' 25 mile group rides, trails. But I'm just an old slow fat guy on a bike.

My mini-velo is the most practical bike I've ever owned.

For 30 years I rode a huge 27" 10 speed Schwinn Varsity, with StingRay high rise handlebars, basket on front big enough to hold a 30pack and a rack on the back. It was awkward to transport, awkward to store and a real b*tch to get in/out of our house. What a beast. Loved it. Had a variety of other old big bikes, too.

Schwinn broke. At wife's insistence, dump all my other bikes cluttering our house. Started looking around for a replacement that was easy to transport/store. Ended up with a folder (FS9). It lives in my trunk, when we travel it fits on the rack folded. Anyway I loved the way it handled. And with racks, very practical. But, I live in a very bike un-friendly city. Jumping curbs and doing sidewalks is a necessity. Folding bikes do not like being manhandled like that.

Saw the advert for the Nano ($299) and tried/like it. It is a full foot shorter than a 700c bike. Lot easier to get in/out of the house. It's been on many a bike party. Now, it's my main errand/grocery/hardware store bike. Heck I'll walk it around in the Safeway/Home Depot and when the basket is full, I check out and go.

BTW, since it is only 5 feet long it easily fits in the back seat of my wife's 1991 Camry.

Just me.
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Old 03-23-15, 04:26 PM
  #631  
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They take up less space than a full size bike and don't fold. Folders do require occasional maintenance to their hinges and pivots. Those hinges also add weight and cost,and can cause flex in the frame.
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Old 03-23-15, 07:18 PM
  #632  
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I think novelty is one reason and legitimate. It's fun riding something that's different.

But there are practical reasons. These are most popular in Japan and Taiwan, where people have much smaller homes and the shorter wheelbase means less room required for storage. Even if storage space isn't a critical issue, it's still an issue for most. And like Mirfi noted, one cool thing is being able to dump these into the back of a car, fully assembled. And on some forms of lightrail/subway mass transit trains where bikes are allowed to be on standard passenger cars, the smaller footprint is as big a deal as storage space is in a Tokyo apartment. Oh, and if one happens to need to navigate cramped staircases with these, the shorter wheelbase is also a major convenience.

The drawbacks you mention are not that considerable. It's fine on crummy city streets, unless you happen to steer straight into a really bad pothole. The smaller wheel does fine on anything that isn't dramatically bad. And they're actually thicker, not thinner, than most widths people run with 700c.

Oh, but these are not lighter, necessarily. Maybe it's because the Mercier Nano is cheap, but it's actually quite heavy...pushing toward 30lbs.
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Old 03-24-15, 05:02 PM
  #633  
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Originally Posted by Chester View Post
Oh, but these are not lighter, necessarily. Maybe it's because the Mercier Nano is cheap, but it's actually quite heavy...pushing toward 30lbs.
It's because it's cheap,hi-ten and low-end parts,that it's so heavy. The Soma's were like 23-24lbs,and my Schwinn's a bit under 25.
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Old 03-25-15, 03:51 AM
  #634  
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
It's because it's cheap,hi-ten and low-end parts,that it's so heavy. The Soma's were like 23-24lbs,and my Schwinn's a bit under 25.
Actually the nano is made of 4130 chrome molly similar to the soma but the soma uses double butted tubing that thins in the middle to save some weight and the thicker tires are doing the nano no favors In the weight department either.

My bully which has a much longer 4130 minivelo frame is 27lbs though if i switched from the hookworm tires to kojaks it would be sub 25lbs. I personally think the extra pounds have never negatively effected performance.
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Old 03-25-15, 09:44 AM
  #635  
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If the nano were still available I'd buy one myself. It's a fantastic bike that really only needs a few upgrades.
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Old 03-25-15, 04:36 PM
  #636  
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Originally Posted by thugpipe View Post
Actually the nano is made of 4130 chrome molly
You're right,I could've sworn they were hi-ten the last time I looked at the listing.

Originally Posted by thugpipe View Post
My bully which has a much longer 4130 minivelo frame is 27lbs though if i switched from the hookworm tires to kojaks it would be sub 25lbs. I personally think the extra pounds have never negatively effected performance.
I noticed a world of difference in my Safari after going from Spec Crossroads to Marathon Supremes of the same size. Much easier in stop-and-go traffic,and better climbing. I get using BMX tires for bombing around without worrying about anything,but I could never do it.
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Old 03-26-15, 04:55 AM
  #637  
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
You're right,I could've sworn they were hi-ten the last time I looked at the listing.



I noticed a world of difference in my Safari after going from Spec Crossroads to Marathon Supremes of the same size. Much easier in stop-and-go traffic,and better climbing. I get using BMX tires for bombing around without worrying about anything,but I could never do it.
I noticed a world of difference when I switched to the hookworms from the kojaks on my silvertip and my bully. Its not so much a bombing around thing though both bikes seem to handle cobblestone better. Both bikes feel faster despite the added rotating weight i think mostly because the high pressure across more surface causes less deflection of the tire when faced with significant rider weight (I'm 190lbs. + 20-30lb Of cargo typically). We can argue about the moment of inertia and contact patch size crap but to me the bigger heavier tire feels better and faster all around. Though i also tried animal ASM-R tires to save some weight and they felt like they sapped more energy maybe because to the thinner wall and softer compuond.
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Old 03-26-15, 04:15 PM
  #638  
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Originally Posted by tds101 View Post
If the nano were still available I'd buy one myself. It's a fantastic bike that really only needs a few upgrades.
Wow, that's a surprise and too bad, a truly affordable mini velo. Maybe they will come up with an upgraded one.
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Old 04-02-15, 11:16 PM
  #639  
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Originally Posted by Bikeman58 View Post
Just curious if someone could explain what the appeal of the Bigshot Polo (and bikes of this ilk - Mini Velos) is besides novelty.... I guess it may be slightly lighter and shorter than a full sized bike(less wheel weight/diameter), which would help when carrying... but it does not fold, so the size is not much different than a "full-size" bike. Also, the smaller wheel is likely more maneuverable (at very slow speeds), but the smaller diameter, narrow wheel makes it less able to handle bumps, potholes, etc., so it's kind of a wash as a city bike. Seems trendy, but not terribly practical -- from a usability standpoint somewhere between a folder and a fixie -- without the benefits of either... (performance of a fixie or size/transportability of a folder).

Is this bike simply about it's "cool" factor... is it a gimmick... or am I missing something?
The appeal of a mini velo lies in its being able to zip through urban congestion, smaller wheels roll faster over the ground and it makes taking a bike up and down a multi-story apartment every day a breeze and storage is simpler than for a "normal" bike. That's why its ubiquitous in Japan and other Asian countries where space is at a premium.
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Old 04-03-15, 06:51 AM
  #640  
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I have a folder and a minivelo. I can bring either inside without having my wife raise the roof. I can't do that with any of my full sized bikes. And the bigger ones wouldn't fit anyways.
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Old 04-03-15, 03:48 PM
  #641  
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Agreed. It seems crazy if you just look at the numbers, but the fact that these are smaller than a typical bicycle really makes difference. They are hugely easier to maneuver up and down stairs, especially if you have to go around a corner. Take up less space parked. They are much easier for farmer's markets or other times when you have to get off and walk your bike among a crowd of pedestrians. Easily adjusts to different height riders, so it's a great bike to have around as a loaner.

Here's my old one that I sold a while back:



The rack is a cut-down rear rack made to fit OK. The basket is a letter tray from Office Depot zip-tied on. If you use a front rack like this that's another plus of the mini velo -small front wheel means massive cargo room on top of your rack before the load interferes with the handlebars. Because of the front-rear weight balance and low-trail geometry these bikes do great with front loading, too.

I don't have a great pic of it, but I also had at one point mounted up a Civia Pizzeria porteur platform rack. Here it is carrying a large mess bag and some veggies from roadside stand:



Honestly that rack is a bit large -almost sticks out past the front of the tire and kills some of the small-bike-size advantage.

As I said, I've since sold this orange one, but have also just picked up a nice black one and I'm in the middle of upgrading it. Will have the saddle and stem/bars/levers as above, but have some new fenders and other bits and bobs.
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Old 04-03-15, 06:02 PM
  #642  
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Originally Posted by jimmythefly View Post
Agreed. It seems crazy if you just look at the numbers, but the fact that these are smaller than a typical bicycle really makes difference. They are hugely easier to maneuver up and down stairs, especially if you have to go around a corner. Take up less space parked. They are much easier for farmer's markets or other times when you have to get off and walk your bike among a crowd of pedestrians. Easily adjusts to different height riders, so it's a great bike to have around as a loaner.

Here's my old one that I sold a while back:



The rack is a cut-down rear rack made to fit OK. The basket is a letter tray from Office Depot zip-tied on. If you use a front rack like this that's another plus of the mini velo -small front wheel means massive cargo room on top of your rack before the load interferes with the handlebars. Because of the front-rear weight balance and low-trail geometry these bikes do great with front loading, too.

I don't have a great pic of it, but I also had at one point mounted up a Civia Pizzeria porteur platform rack. Here it is carrying a large mess bag and some veggies from roadside stand:



Honestly that rack is a bit large -almost sticks out past the front of the tire and kills some of the small-bike-size advantage.

As I said, I've since sold this orange one, but have also just picked up a nice black one and I'm in the middle of upgrading it. Will have the saddle and stem/bars/levers as above, but have some new fenders and other bits and bobs.
I like the front rack. If you do it on the next one, I'd like to see how you did it.
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Old 05-18-15, 05:19 AM
  #643  
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I saw this mini velo on ebay but did not have the money to bid and it did not sell. What do you think it might be worth? $900 seems high but I don't know. Thanks.
Soma Mini Velo 53 cm Tange CrMo Steel 20" 451 Shimano Tiagra | eBay
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Old 05-18-15, 04:43 PM
  #644  
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That's a Soma. They were originally like $1.1-1.3k,but after they were discontinued they were selling for like $600 on eBay. That price is high if that bike's used.
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Old 05-31-15, 11:18 AM
  #645  
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Originally Posted by martinus View Post
Yeah, I'll take a shot at it ... you found & posted a pic of the 48cm one... then a few of the 53cm ones.

Its an optical illusion ... look at the head tubes with the shifters on them, also the space between thereat wheel and chainring ...

There are only 2 sizes available. Most people are over 5 ft tall... so, there are more 53cm bikes out there AKA the "very short wheelbase" ones.

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...geo_chart.html

The bigger(taller) is has longer wheelbase.
This is a few months ago, but I can answer this question to clear this up. The first pic is one of the Bikes direct 1 offs that had the 451 size wheels. the first post on this page of the thread has pics of 2 of them. That explains the differing geometry.
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Old 06-03-15, 02:32 PM
  #646  
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I saw a Moulton in the new Paddington Bear movie... and I was looking at the forlorn frame of my Windsor 451 in the shed. I am wondering how big of a deal a few mm's off-center is and thinking about getting it back on the road.
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Old 06-18-15, 12:30 PM
  #647  
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Got it all put together. I still had the bars/stem/levers all taped up from the Orange Nano that I previously owned and sold, so I re-used those parts. Found some sweet old Sugino 144bcd cranks at the co-op, currently running 54/42 with a 12-28 XTR 8 speed cassette.

The fenders are Velo-Orange that I re-rolled, left them long for super-full-coverage and laughs, but have since trimmed to more reasonable length. Pics of fender re-radiusing here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyt...57649163757013

The tires are 20x1.75 and clearances are very, very tight. I will probably need to switch to the 20x1.6 size at some point but we'll see how these too. The fender gaps are correct and get slightly more open at the front so gravel and leaves do get pulled through but it's still pretty close.

The front rack is some weird old Cannondale rack that I cut down and bent the stays to fit, with a "wire letter tray" from Office Depot zip-tied on. It works quite well but is not optimal. Based on LOTS of research and measurements I believe the Racktime Topit front rack will fit well so I might try that at some point. The other option is the Civia Pizzeria rack, but I find the platform to be too big for this small bike.

Not sure how deep I want to go into this thing, but I also picked up a 32 hole dyno hub meant for small-wheeled bikes so maybe at some point I will rebuild the front wheel to dyno power.

Anyhows it's lots of fun to ride and that's what matters for now.



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Old 06-18-15, 12:46 PM
  #648  
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I have been debating fender-fabrication strategies for my 451mm bike, which I did take out yesterday for the first time in a year and a half. But I love that front rack.
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Old 08-30-15, 09:43 AM
  #649  
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Curious. Apparently many of you mode the Mercier significantly to bring the performance up.

How does the frame compare to Respect Cycles? THeir built up single speed MiniVelo is under 20 lbs so the frame looks like it is a lightweight chromoly.... Curious if the Mercier is comparable.

Love to hear comments.

Thanks!
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Old 08-30-15, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmythefly View Post
The fenders are Velo-Orange that I re-rolled, left them long for super-full-coverage and laughs, but have since trimmed to more reasonable length. Pics of fender re-radiusing here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyt...57649163757013
Hah! It's funny how some folks overlap different forums.

This is an awesome job. BTW. And particularly useful given that we have less options in 20".
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