20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

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simonhill
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby simonhill » 27 Dec 2014, 12:10pm

On a recent trip to Japan I saw a lot of 20" wheel bikes. They weren't mickey mouse shoppers or folders, but well specc'd road bikes, with drops or flats. Some did have a folding (handlebar) stem but the frames were solid.

One reason for the smaller size bike maybe that they have to bag to put it on a train and a smaller frame is obviously easier to deal with.

Nonetheless, these seemed to be excellent bikes and more than a few went whizzing past me on the road. They are presumably lighter than larger wheeled bikes and would make good urban, in out of car, up and downstairs, etc bikes.

I was wondering if anyone had seem them appearing in the UK yet?

Any other thoughts about using smaller wheeled bikes?

TonyR
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Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby TonyR » 27 Dec 2014, 12:16pm

The usual driver for bike design in Japan is the very limited space they typically have for storing a bike so that may be the reason.

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fossala
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Joined: 21 May 2013, 8:29am

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby fossala » 27 Dec 2014, 12:17pm

Have you checked out moulton?
http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/

TonyR
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Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby TonyR » 27 Dec 2014, 1:19pm

Also Bike Friday which don't look like they fold but do.

mercalia
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Location: london South

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby mercalia » 27 Dec 2014, 1:27pm

maybe their roads are not as pot holed as ours and better sufaced?

hercule
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Joined: 5 Feb 2011, 5:18pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby hercule » 27 Dec 2014, 1:31pm

The downside to these bikes is that the small wheels are going to take a beating on rough road surfaces - chip seal or worse. I've been riding my Moulton AM14 with 17" wheels for more than 20 years and am completely sold on it as a quick and versatile bike. The suspension makes all the difference. I think it handles as well as my big wheel bikes - in fact better. In recent years I have branched out into recumbents and last year took the plunge to add full suspension to my 20" wheel trike. Whereas rough roads used to slow me right down, now the speed hit is minimal and I'm also a lot less fatigued at the end.

My take is that smaller wheels can work, but you need suspension to make them work properly.

tatanab
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Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby tatanab » 27 Dec 2014, 1:57pm

^^ agreed. I have 2 machines with 20" wheels. One is an original shopper with low pressure type tyres which is fine but is never going to be rapid. The other one I have modified with derailleurs, uprated braking, aluminium components and rims etc. I have 28mm tyres on that one which I run at 100psi, same as on larger diameter tyres. Any poor road surface sees me slowing quickly due to vibration and it quickly becomes tiring to ride. I will have to experiment with lower pressure some time, but I ride it only maybe once a year.

Brian73
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Joined: 11 Aug 2010, 10:32pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby Brian73 » 27 Dec 2014, 3:24pm

I had one of these for a while. JE James were clearing them out at £250 so seemed a bit of a bargain.

Quite nippy, but gears a bit weird. Got bored of it in the end and sold it in favour of a folder

Giant Escape Mini 1

Image

Thermostat9
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Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 5:38pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby Thermostat9 » 28 Dec 2014, 10:29am

mercalia wrote:maybe their roads are not as pot holed as ours and better sufaced?

They quite often aren't. The regular earthquakes mean the surface can be quite bad off major (car) routes.

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simonineaston
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Joined: 9 May 2007, 1:06pm
Location: Bristol - work in... Yate!

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby simonineaston » 28 Dec 2014, 5:08pm

Have a go on a New Series and then go see your "bank manager"... (whatever they are, these days). 8)
http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/models ... nless.html
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

Bikefayre
Posts: 176
Joined: 1 Dec 2014, 3:36pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby Bikefayre » 29 Dec 2014, 3:25pm

Being sensible would say the drop bar Airnimal is probably the best small wheeled road bike in the UK. Are more than willing to accept comments telling me otherwise....

TonyR
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Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby TonyR » 29 Dec 2014, 10:36pm

Bikefayre wrote:Being sensible would say the drop bar Airnimal is probably the best small wheeled road bike in the UK. Are more than willing to accept comments telling me otherwise....


It would be if you weren't left with a front wheel hanging around loose to deal with. I looked at them in some detail but it was that that made me decide to go for a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket (which lots of pro's use when travelling) rather than the Airnimal even though I would have preferred to buy British.

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PaulCumbria
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Location: Kendal

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby PaulCumbria » 4 Jan 2015, 2:49pm

Best 20" wheeled bike in the UK?

This gets my vote:
Image

An oft-overlooked advantage of twenty inch wheels is that, especially on suspension bikes, they can be built very stiff (VERY stiff), which makes them much less liable to go out of true. HP Velotechnik use deep section V rims, which give even stiffer wheels, with no comfort penalty. Bullet-proof.

Bikefayre
Posts: 176
Joined: 1 Dec 2014, 3:36pm

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby Bikefayre » 5 Jan 2015, 2:20pm

Thanks for your comments as it's good to know and aye the Bike Friday is indeed a quality make-good choice! The Airnimal wheels measure according to my bike book 22 1/2 inches so my reason for including it.

Norton
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Joined: 10 Aug 2009, 11:10am

Re: 20 inch Wheel Road Bikes

Postby Norton » 9 Jan 2015, 11:01pm

I 've been using small wheelers by preference for a few years now, both Moulton and Bike Friday (which I prefer) inc a tandem.

Most UK models use small wheels as an intrinsic part of suspended or folding design, but the Japanese Mini Velos you mention tend to be neither (check out Tyrell bikes).

Even though they are not (usually) suspended, I find Bike Fridays in particular very comfortable.