Help Buying a mini-velo from UK.

zippy

Warming-Up
Feb 5, 2014
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#1
Hi guys,

I am trying to get a little fitter, and going back into cycling.

I want a mini-velo, as it fits urban / country road use. Problem I'm having is trying to get an response from the Japanese companys / dealers. Really would love to get one shipped with frame / forks only.

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A really nice example this from Doppelgänger Japan.

Any advice would be fab, thanks,

Damien
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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#2
Damien, can you contact the dealer directly in Japanese? Most mini-velos (Doppelgänger included) are sold complete as they are a lower end consumer purchase typically, enthusiasts will buy piece meal at a much higher cost, the auctions here have a few framesets for sale. Why not get a Moulton or similar? Fly the UK flag.
 
Likes: Forsbrook
May 22, 2007
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#3
In helping out a friend, I recently learned that the Doppelgänger bikes are hard to upgrade and/or find replacement parts for. Everything is built cheaply, to sell lots of units. They also come to look shabby pretty quickly with use; thin paint, rusty bolts, crappy grips.

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy one. Just be aware that they are not as fancy as they might appear on a web site.
 
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zippy

Warming-Up
Feb 5, 2014
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#5
Thanks guys,

I know the example above are cheap all the way to Tyrell PK1 Ti frames. I'd rather get a frame and source good or temp cheaper parts for it, locally, depending how it ends up burning my pocket. And upgrade them as I go.

I was hoping the frame would be reasonable quality and cheap by derailer setup etc...

Ideally, love to go disc brake, over a calliper brake. I've seen a Louis Garneau,

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I don't mind going caliper, and that is exactly the advice I need to make an informed choice. Then I can push to get a frame. If you know a lot about other brands, you would be a great help, in me picking one.

You have the world's best folding bike company, in Brompton, in the UK?
Joe will probably be on the site later to point you in the direction of Bike Friday too
Unfortunately I have already thought about the folding bikes, and brompton are proprietary and overpriced. The frames / stems flex too much, and grit paths will pretty much fatigue them.

You make some big compromises for a fold.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#6
The best mini-velo I have seen that ticks all the boxes (my personal boxes and I am no way imply that it might even remotely be of interest to you or that you are even reading what I wrote) is the Canondale Hooligan and the few people I know who have them are VERY happy. The frame and fork are the core of the bike so very easy to upgrade - I've seen them kitted out with XTR and off road tires with front suspension for dirt and then Dura Ace and drops for road...... they are very versatile and you don't need to worry about the legacy.

They also look good. (This again is my own personal opinion based on looking at other similar bikes and out of all of them its the only one I'd actually look at, if you would actually like to solicit my advice then I would be more than happy to agree with everything you say, wrap my words in cotton wool and possibly lie to you in the vague hope it makes you feel happy)
 
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joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#7
Why not get a Moulton or similar? Fly the UK flag.
Well, Doppelgänger and Moulton would be in very different price brackets, attracting different consumers. That Doppelgänger is about 30,000 yen (+VAT) vs. UKL 1300 (JPY 210,000) for a Moulton TSR 8.

Doppelgänger, Louis Garneau, Bruno and other entry level brands offering mini velos attract people who would never think about paying 100,000 yen or more for a bike. I suspect they probably also wouldn't think about riding 50 km or more in a day.

Personally I wouldn't buy a bike that I can't test ride first. Pictures on websites only tell you what a bike looks like, not how it rides, which to me is more important.
 
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zippy

Warming-Up
Feb 5, 2014
8
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36
#8
You don't tend to get any Japanease makes on google search, as it ignores the none english stuff.

Any other brands where the frame will be good, as I can spec it out then end of the pond.

Personally I wouldn't buy a bike that I can't test ride first. Pictures on websites only tell you what a bike looks like, not how it rides, which to me is more important.
Mini velo tend to suit a larger range size of person, compared to a road bike. Surely a quality frame will be find.

They all around the same lengths, and can be adjusted in the saddle and stem?
 

Cactaur

Speeding Up
Feb 3, 2014
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#9
Could look into java bikes as well. Italian design, china manufacture. Even have quite affordable carbon frames. Although mini velo might not be the best choice for grit paths?
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#10
Have you tried searching for the katakana word ミニベロ (minibero = minivelo)?

Yes, the handle bar height and seat height will be adjustable, but other than that there is often only a single frame size per model. So regardless of how long your arms are, the handle bar will be the same distance from the seat.

There won't be many that will be sold as frames, because they are primarily sold to non-technical buyers. For many buyers looks and price will be the primary criteria for picking one over the other. They don't mind V-brakes, a heavy frame or relatively wide tyres, as long as the bike comes in the right colour ;)
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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#11
There are a good range of mini-v bikes in the bike "supermarkets". They are built up, and no, not available as frame/fork. I've wondered about trying one, and then upgrading parts, probably the stock derailleurs would be the first to go. V-brakes are perfectly fine for me, tho those might also be on the upgrade list.

From what I've seen, they seem to always have road tires. I don't think I've seen even one with something like a 32 or 35 on it. (Hmm, the bromptons do seem to have fatter tires.)

This is old, but not a bad list: http://gear11.blogspot.jp/2010/11/japan-mini-velo-trend-for-2011.html
Start with one of those, and start upgrading.

There's also stuff like this: http://www.cyclife.com.tw/product_i...d=154&osCsid=6d25a0b045149a7f3acc5b61a5bb90e8

...but beware, the price may be inflated after you hear from them (or was it on ali baba that that happened--sorry it's been a few years). I think if you had the time in Taipei to browse some shops that had something like that on the floor, you might do okay. (Click 'Performer' on the left to see their other models.)

Frame kit here: http://www.bscycle.co.jp/bs_moulton/bsm_product_index.html
 
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