Well, been talking about it for months and months now, but the first production samples of the new Mini-Velo series of bikes is finally here. We're still not sure what kind of release date these bikes might see- if any- but we're certainly looking to see why these bikes are so "huge in Japan".
The Mini-Velo is a very popular category of bike in Asia, and not just because the population is often times less tall than in North America and some other regions. The Mini-Velo is a popular option to folding bikes in tight urban environments. The smaller wheels create a smaller bike, but without compromising ride quality. The bikes are easier to get on and off of trains and subways, or in and out of small apartments, offices, elevators or up and down stairwells. They aren't as compact as a folding bike, but the ride quality is more like a rigid framed bike.
Here in the US and other densely populated areas, the Mini-Velos are beginning to catch on in markets not previously used to them. Many parts of Europe are now seeing a growing interest in the bikes as well. Does this mean that your local Masi retailer will soon have a fleet of Masi Mini-Velo bikes? Well, not yet... but possibly in the near future. If you're desperate for one now, all you need to do is fly to Japan, Korea or Taiwan where the bikes are already being sold. It's a little expensive, sure, but then you can be ahead of all the other cool kids in class!
My own new test rig- it's gonna be far from "stock" soon enough! I'm gonna give it a shot as a polo bike- seems there is a growing interest in the Mini-Velo bikes for polo. The very quick handling, short turning radius and lower center of gravity appeal to many players. So I'm gonna give it a whack and see what happens.
Big wheels are good, but sometimes small wheels are just as good!
Stay tuned for more...