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The Mini-Velo Reference Thread: discussion about 20" wheeled road bikes

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

The Mini-Velo Reference Thread: discussion about 20" wheeled road bikes

Old 08-31-12, 06:41 AM
  #26  
chaadster
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Lots of good points, TTakata. As people learn about this category, its popularity will surely grow, particularly in the context of urban living and riding.
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Old 08-31-12, 10:50 AM
  #27  
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Cannondale makes their Hooligan, sort of like a mini-velo Bad Boy:
http://www.cannondale.com/gbr/2012/b...oligan-1-20415
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Old 08-31-12, 11:33 AM
  #28  
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I saw some clown riding a bike like that...but it was at the circus.

How's the ride?
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Old 08-31-12, 11:42 AM
  #29  
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How would this option be for a clyde? Smaller wheels (potentially) stronger?
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Old 08-31-12, 12:09 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
How would this option be for a clyde? Smaller wheels (potentially) stronger?
I'm 6' and 230 (want to be 210, though!) and I don't have any troubles.
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Old 08-31-12, 12:25 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
How would this option be for a clyde? Smaller wheels (potentially) stronger?
Maybe stronger wheels (although 32-36 spokes on big wheels is usually plenty, too), but I'd think that the longer frame tubes, especially the head tube, would be a bit more noodly.

I have ZERO testing data to back this up.

I wasn't having durability problems when I was at 230 on a regular CAAD8 with a wheelset that used an 18-spoke front.
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Old 08-31-12, 12:45 PM
  #32  
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from a functional standpoint the OP's original pic shows a bike that would put a lot of weight on the rear wheel compared to a 700c or even my 650c bike, slthough i don't see any reason that should have to. i guess the small wheels can accommodate shorter chainstays and the designer of that bike wanted to take advantage of it...

from my experience i prefer larger wheels like a 630mm (the olde 27" wheels) over my 650c (571mm) or my MTB (559mm) wheels. as someone has mentioned, it seems a bit easier to hold speed with them.
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Old 08-31-12, 01:59 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
i guess the small wheels can accommodate shorter chainstays and the designer of that bike wanted to take advantage of it...
a.k.a maniacal wheelie machine!
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Old 08-31-12, 03:03 PM
  #34  
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By nachomanh at 2009-06-30
I've got 20 inch wheels on my Bike Friday folder.
It rides great and fits me well. The only thing I miss is the added stability of the top tube.
__________________
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Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
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Old 08-31-12, 07:38 PM
  #35  
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Here's my current setup. I should flip and slam it huh?





Riding it:

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Old 08-31-12, 08:46 PM
  #36  
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Good looking bike, and cool vid, Omiak! Thanks for posting!

I take it your Cello doesn't have seat tube water bottle bosses? The pump holder is a bit distracting, visually, but I get the necessity.

I decided not to carry a pump on my Nano because my 406 rims are so difficult to dismount with the current wire bead tires that I figured I could walk home from anywhere in town in by the time I wrestled the flat tire free!

Seriously, though, I will need to address the pump issue soon, and I don't have seat tube bosses either.

Last edited by chaadster; 08-31-12 at 09:34 PM. Reason: Sp
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Old 08-31-12, 09:00 PM
  #37  
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Yeah they're aren't any bosses and I forgot the pump mount back in America so it's kind of improvised at the moment but seeing as it's bailed me out after getting a flat at 3AM when I was probably an hours walk away from my apartment I think I'm going to keep it.

The Cello has 451 rims and I've never had any problems getting the tire on or off. Kinda wish it had 406 for the tire choices though. I also wish that the frame had more clearance so that I could run fenders.
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Old 08-31-12, 09:39 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Omiak View Post

The Cello has 451 rims and I've never had any problems getting the tire on or off. Kinda wish it had 406 for the tire choices though. I also wish that the frame had more clearance so that I could run fenders.
I hear you. I'd considered a 451 conversion on the Nano, but when I saw tire choices amounted to basically 2 different Schwalbes, I said forget it!
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Old 09-02-12, 05:31 AM
  #39  
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[tangent]
Omiak, what's the riding like there? Courteous or rude drivers, etc?

We went to visit my wife's family in Gimpo over Christmas, also spending time in Seoul and making a weekend trip to Jeju. The wall of high-rise buildings in your video at 1:45-1:50 looked familiar even though it was a completely different part of the country.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:03 AM
  #40  
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Yeah, pretty much any decently sized South Korean city has huge clusters of high rises like that.

South Korean roads are chaotic. Red lights are like a vague suggestion. I took a taxi back from downtown once late at night (about a 20min ride) and counted 14 red lights that the driver ran. It's not uncommon to see people drive on the left side of the road to try and make some shortcut, motorcycles often on the sidewalk, people driving down pedestrian only roads, etc. I've been doored once by a guy who just decided to get out of a taxi while it was in the left lane in the middle of the road.

On the other hand though I've never really experienced any aggression towards cyclists like you get in the US. So probably you're more likely to get hit here, but way less likely to endure road rage or harassment from motorists.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:59 PM
  #41  
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I like mine ...
Attached Images
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Old 09-02-12, 10:21 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Omiak View Post
Here's my current setup.
Interesting. What are those shifters?
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Old 09-02-12, 10:50 PM
  #43  
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They're Retroshifts with Rivendell silver downtube shifters mounted. Overpriced for what basically just amounts to a downtube/bar end shifter mount on a tektro brake lever but I prefer friction shifting. I like the tactile feedback and the almost non-existant maintenance. It's nice to be able to shift through the entire cassette in one motion too.

http://retroshift.com/

http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/sh11.htm
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Old 09-03-12, 09:34 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
Maybe stronger wheels (although 32-36 spokes on big wheels is usually plenty, too), but I'd think that the longer frame tubes, especially the head tube, would be a bit more noodly.
IGH or SS mini-velo would have zero dish rear wheel, definitely stronger. Does wheel strength also increase as spoke length decreases in general?
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Old 09-03-12, 05:12 PM
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Yep.
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Old 09-04-12, 09:14 PM
  #46  
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Mini velos are a great idea for those of us who live in walk-up urban apartments and I think an IGH would be ideal in this application. Mind you, some mad genius may yet put a full DuraAce group onto one of these bikes and win a bunch of races with it.

If I remember correctly, an English team once used bikes with 20-inch wheels on the track, in a team pursuit race, to good effect. I think they rode Raleigh Twentys.

EDIT: Just looked it up. The team rode Moultons.

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Old 09-04-12, 09:19 PM
  #47  
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I found the mercier nano on BD with a google search, but what category is it officially listed under? Really thinking about one of these in the future
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Old 09-04-12, 09:21 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Yeah, my Nano is pretty comfy, too, although the smaller wheel does give up some comfort to a 700c rog over the rough stuff.

It would be interesting to compare the ride quality differences between Shetland and Nano; I'm guessing the geometry is the same, and that only the frame material ( steel vs. alu) differs. You've probably got the only one in the world, though, eh?
I had one of the preproduction Mercier Nanos as well and I couldn't tell a difference in ride quality compared to my Windsor Shetland. I have the only Shetland in this size there is another forum member than has the bigger size in yellow. It did occur to me the other day when I was talking to my wife that I had a very rare bike. It was kinda fun to think about it that way.

The geometries are similar, but they are not exactly alike. The Windsor Shetlands are shorter overall wheelbase and the preproduction models have 451 sized wheels. The Shetland rides great I never have felt it to be harsh at all. Thats different than some of the other BD stuff made out of AL I have had in my possession. I also think these bikes were put together much better than the Nano's that came out afterwards that looked pretty sloppy and had fork issues. The welds are pretty nice on mine. I believe mine has a low bottom bracket which seems to give it more stability when you might encounter something that isn't smooth pavement. I I think I woudl take it on rougher roads than a full sized road bike with similar width tires and feel much better about it.


I'll add that the geometry is different than a typical bike in that the seattube angle is more relaxed which I find fantastic. It might not be for everyone, but now I want that in every bike I own. Thats probably why most of my bikes are vintage or have a set back seatpost.

A Ti mini velo would be awesome!!! I'll probably stick with the little Shetland pony. =) I also would like a wide tire mini velo. A mini monstercross would be exactly what I would like. =)
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Old 09-04-12, 10:06 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by rudypyatt View Post
Mini velos are a great idea for those of us who live in walk-up urban apartments....
Unfortunately, not so much. They are still in the 25-pound range, and don't save a lot of space. If space is at a premium and you're thinking about 20" wheels, you might as well get a folder.


Originally Posted by rudypyatt
and I think an IGH would be ideal in this application. Mind you, some mad genius may yet put a full DuraAce group onto one of these bikes and win a bunch of races with it.
Well, they won't win a race that follows UCI rules.

In terms of performance it's usually a wash. The smaller wheels are more aerodynamic, so they offer a slight advantage on an indoor track. However, the smaller wheels are harsher, which necessitates wider and lower PSI tires when on tarmac, which increase rolling resistance. (Note that I haven't seen any objective tests comparing mini-velos to 700c, I doubt anyone has done them.)

Handling is also highly responsive compared to 700c. Nothing you can't get used to, but they're harder to use in a group ride than a crit/racing 700c bike.
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Old 09-05-12, 06:55 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Handling is also highly responsive.
Read : Twitchy as he11 .
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