The base frame
The foundation of the build was a tiny clown bike manufactured some time in the early 2000s under the name “Mikro-bike”. The marketing website from 2002, archived via WayBack Machine is available here. My particular bike came with a new seatpost and a worn rear wheel (solid rubber!) following years of enjoyment under its previous owner. It also had a coaster brake. The whole package was had for 30 GBP delivered.
Since the bike used all standard sized components (e.g. 1" threaded headset, standard full-suspension pivot sizing, etc.) it was quite easy to ponder the myriad ways it could be modified! I had a long think and quickly sketched out a design that appealed to me!
It had to have
- pneumatic tires (solid rubber was far too heavy and bone-shaking to ride)
- drop handlebars (because why not!)
- semi-foldable element (makes for easy stowage)
- longer wheelbase (the existing geometry was a bit too wheelie-friendly)
N&T Single Speed Chain Tensioner 6.59 GBP
12" wheelset with Velosteel single speed coaster brake hub – ISO 203-19 34.12 GBP (14 teeth rear cog)
12" Schwalbe Black Jack tire x 2 7.38 GBP
20" full-suspension child bike frame 33.99 GBP
Final cost: 147.66 GBP or about 30 pints worth of beer, though I would say this project was more worthwhile than its beer equivalent!
First round of modifications was done when the donor full-suspension frame arrived; it looked quite silly: The bike was fleshed out after the rest of the bits arrived!
The final part came just in time for the build to be completed for the June 2017 Critical Mass! Unsurprisingly it got quite some attention from everyone who had a glimpse. What was more odd was how easy it was to slip under the radar of other cyclists, even at critical mass speed, while riding amongst them; a lower silohouette than they’re used to looking out for?
More glamor shots
With sheer luck, I stumbled upon a 125mm crankset for “baby racers” from Bernardi Cycle Components in Italy. This was an ideal crank length since it still fit the frame but would let the rider stretch out their legs just a tad more without ground-striking the pedals.
More importantly, the crankset allowed me to swap chainrings and I subsequently fitted a 60t dual BCD (130mm and 110mm bolt holes) from a Taiwanese manufacturer.