New tires for Gios Mini Velo

Well, let the upgrades begin. My Gios Feluca came stock with some crappy components. I’m still trying to get some SRAM Rival components, but these the Kenda Kwest tires need to go now. But “mini velo” means small wheels, so there’s not a lot of choices when you have 20×1-1/8” (451) rims.

Priomo tires.jpg

There seems to be a lack of consensus among mini velo manufacturers as to which 20” standard to use (ISO 406mm or 451mm). Flatbar mini bikes more often have the 406 and the higher performance tend to use 451. Personally, I would have preferred 406 since there is slightly more variety in that size, but that wasn’t an option on the Gios.

After digging through distributor catalogs, I settled on some Primo Comet 20×1-3/8” tires, more commonly associated with performance recumbents. Compared to the Kenda tires (1-1/8” nominal width), the Primo are a little fatter, have a more supple casing and a smooth round transition over the tread. They are a little bit lighter than the Kenda too, but both are wire-bead.

The ride quality seems improved, but I have yet to try pushing these in fast turns. Since the bike is built around short reach brakes, this Primo tire eats up ever bit of clearance under the rear brake bridge and fork crown. I wish that the rims were wider. Lately my experience with my Bianchi dropbar mtb and my Hed-rimmed road wheels leads me to believe in using wider rims to improve tire performance, but for my Gios there is another advantage. The tires extend out so far beyond the rim’s brake surface that the brake caliper quick-release won’t open enough without slackening the barrel adjuster too. If the rim was wider, the quick-release alone would probably be sufficient.

On an unsuspended mini velo, the tiny wheels definitely do ride harsher than 700C for the same width tire, hence my desire for the fattest tire that the frameset could accept. However, some people do loaded touring in Japan with mini velo touring bikes.

Gios vs Bianchi.jpg