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Old 11-20-07, 09:19 PM   #1
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What can make a small wheeled bike handle better?

From reading several posts it seems that, in general but not always, the larger the wheels are the better it will handle. I have gathered that by "handling" they do not mean speed or performance but the ability to maneuver and control the direction of the bike. There is also the general consensus that the larger wheeled bikes are more comfortable.

What other characteristics affect the way a bike will handle? If you were going to choose a smaller wheeled bike - for whatever reason - what things about one, say 20" bike, will make it handle better than other bikes with the same wheel size? will make it more comfortable? I am specifically thinking about frame issues (which is why I posted here) but am open to other aspects as well.

Last edited by pengyou; 11-20-07 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 11-20-07, 11:17 PM   #2
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What you basically want to do is increase the trail of the bike. This can be done by increasing the wheel size or slackening (decreasing) the head tube angle. I'm not exactly sure what affect the rake of the fork will have, but it will depend on if you have a highly raked fork vs. a straight (bmx/track) style fork. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-20-07, 11:49 PM   #3
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My slightly modified Phillip's 20 folder is one of the most nimble bikes I own although am not sure if there is one aspect of the Raleigh design or the sum of all the elements that makes these bikes such agile little beasties.

I believe that the rake of the forks and trail of the 20's and their longer wheelbase is what makes them such stable bikes whereas many small wheeled bikes / folders feel very twitchy.

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Old 11-21-07, 03:40 AM   #4
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Trials bikes don't have large wheels in most cases, and they handle fine. Its all a design issue. You can't impose numbers from one style of bike on another, but as long as you work it all out, it should be fine.

In the golden bike there is a slack head tube angle and a lot of offset in the fork. I guess they got it right.
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