From Japan (Part 4): Mini mini in Roppongi

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by Mark V on Jun 07, 2007 at 3:33 PM

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This is a”mini velo” type bike I saw in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo. In Japan, Mini velo bikes include anything with small wheels, including Moultons, Bike Fridays, and a whole host of Japan only bikes, but not exclusively folding bikes.

Just a few more days till my homeboy and me jump a bullet train for Kyoto and attempt to ride back through the mountains of central Japan. Currently enjoying not working in a bike shop.

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Comments: 7

Crazy! I am trying to get Masi into the Japanese market and these types of bikes are very popular- I might have to create a series of Masi Mini Velos just for Japan.

Bianchi, Gios, and Louis Garneau already have models on the market, plus some domestic brands.

You gotta bring one of those home!

“Masi Mini Velos” HAHAHAH I love it!

I see a few of these in the SF Bay Area—inexpensive, seem to have been brought over from Asia as personal luggage. Most people seem to use these to get from the parking lot into the train station.

I learned that in Spain, where it was [Magnificent Streets, Folding Bikes, and Roundabouts](http://bikehugger.com/2006/10/magnificent_streets_folding_bi.htm). Also see our [Folding Bikes](http://bikehugger.com/tag/foldingbikes) tag.

to be clear, the “mini velo” category covers anything with wheels smaller than 650C or 24”.  some are folders, some aren’t.  and within the non-folders, a recent development involves mini velo bikes that look like regular road bikes (dropbars) but have small wheels (typically 20” (406) size). those bikes might have carbon forks with short reach calipers. i ‘ve seen some bikes from the “cycleworld” brand kitted with dura ace even; those are not cheap at all, maybe $2000-2100. the bianchi “mini velo 9” retails for about $700, i think. there is a “mini velo 8” with 8sp drivetrain for less.

among the folders, i’ve seen bikes with wheels even smaller than those pictured here.  i think they have a two-stage chain transmission to multiply the final drive ratio without resorting to a jumbo pizza sized chainring.  it should go without saying that these folders are not performance bikes.

I am an older cyclist who often rides to work- about 30mins each way.  I have altered a MTB (cslicks and mudguards/carrier/stem adn handlebars changed).. I need to be cycling upright and have just returned from the 3 local cycle shops. Only one seemed aware that the frame geometry affected the riding position (comfortable riding position)... came up with ‘hybrid’ alternaitve which looks not too bad.

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