The new ride

An ill-starred taxi ride recently left me without a commuter bike. Lesson learned: When taking a taxi, always get a receipt. Without one, the Bashi Taxi Company proved unable to recover my beloved Dahon Boardwalk, folded and placed in the trunk. It had recently been converted into what I dare say was China’s only fixed-gear folding bike.

Wu Xiaohai, the manager of Devil Bikes on Jiangning Lu, had been the man behind that fixed conversion, and his condolences on the loss were sincere. Then he showed me this (click to enlarge):

The bike is made by TNT, a Taiwanese company with no apparent web presence. They specialize in what are known as “minivelos”: rigid road and mountain bike frames built for 20″ wheels (BMX size). TNT’s frames are all-aluminum, and include such nifty features as generous clearance for fat tires and fenders, and disc brake mounts. The frameset, including fork, sells at Devil Bikes for RMB780 (US$114).

The Brooks saddle, lifted from my ernai Jamis (now suffering from pangs of jealousy), was my own addition. The rest was built up as Wu saw fit.

I had not been aware of minivelos, which I understand are enjoying some popularity in Japan. They combine the quick steering and all-around fun of a small-wheeled bike with the solidity of a rigid frame. Plus, they’re small enough to fit in the back of a taxi with an easily removed wheel. Just don’t forget your receipt.