Nope, I’m not messing around with Photoshop again—you’re looking at a real bike with funny proportions and tiny wheels called a “Mini Velo”.
Mini Velos are otherwise full-sized bicycles with 20″ wheels and road-ish components and ergonomics. They look a bit like folders, but they don’t fold. They’re light and responsive with a ride that falls somewhere between a “normal” bike and a folder (think Moulton or Bike Friday, but without the linkage).
Measured outside to outside, a Mini Velo is nearly 15″ shorter than a standard bike. This has made them wildly popular in urban Japan where storage space is at a premium (they’re gaining in popularity in other parts of Asia and Europe too). They’re great for any situation where a standard bike is just too big.
That’s a Soma Mini Velo pictured above. Even though it looks so small, the 53cm frame fits Michael surprisingly well (she’s 5’8″). The illusion is striking. She’s only ridden it a short time, but her initial impression is that it’s fun, comfortable, and quick. She thinks it would be ideal for anyone who lives in a small apartment but isn’t interested in a folding bike.
We’ll have more on the Soma Mini Velo over the next couple of months.
Disclosure: Soma is a sponsor of this website and provided the Mini Velo for evaluation.