Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fun bikes at the shop!

Last Saturday we had a couple of folks bring bikes by the shop that I thought were both fun, in different ways.  One was the Soma Mini Velo, a small wheel, non-folding, "compact" bike of a style I hear is very popular in Japan and elsewhere. If you do a Google search for "mini velo" you'll find a number of variations on the theme. It's similar in concept to the Dahon Smooth Hound, but the Smooth Hound folds in half. The general idea behind the "mini" craze is that it's smaller and more compact than a conventional bike, and are easier to store and easier to transport or bring on trains and such, yet it rides very much like a "normal" bike. For me, I'd want to go the extra step and have it fold, but I guess some folks aren't sold on folders yet.  It's caused me to think seriously about getting in a Smooth Hound though.  Any thoughts?


greatpumpkin said...

As you know, I've been considering a Smooth Hound for some time. It seemed to have a lot of the characteristics of a full-capability bike that folds. I have yet to actually see one in person.

Invisible Hand said...

I believe that the Soma comes in multiple sizes whereas the Dahon is a one-size fits all frame. For the Dahon, it would be a kiss of death, IMO, for anyone too far from the "average" person.

From the SOMA blog, I couldn't tell whether it used 406 or 451 tires. It specified something with a fraction (451) but some narrow 406 tires also use a fraction; e.g., 20 x 1 1/8. If true, it makes the bike less practical in my experience.

Tim said...

The Soma comes in three sizes, the Dahon comes in two sizes. The Soma uses 451 tires, the Dahon uses 406. And you're right, there's a greater selection of tires in 406.

We might just have to get a Smooth Hound in to check it out and for others (Don!) to try. Not sure about the Soma, though it's worth thinking about.

Invisible Hand said...

That is pretty cool. That makes a big difference.

I also noticed that the "silvertip" and "bullhead" seem to have a special attachment on the headset. Is it another way to attach bags ala Brompton?

I see braze-ons for lots of stuff too. If their price is competitive -- they typically are, IMO -- it probably is a great deal for a lot of people.

Tim said...

Geof -

If you mean the raised rectangular "bump" on the head tube with the three holes, yes, it's there to accept an attachment that works with a bag and basket that Dahon offers, as well as Klickfix bags. It doesn't look like the Smooth Hound has it in the photos on Dahon's site, which is a shame if it's true.