Friday, October 19, 2007

Small wheels in Germany and Finland.

We all know that knowing what you're talking about is not required for writing one of these things; Just look at pretty much any political blog if you're inclined to doubt me. At least I can console myself that my ill-informed drivel is pretty harmless, and produced by ignorance rather than anger and bigotry, but it seems that at least part of my last posting was a load of foetid dingo's kidneys. I've just blundered across two non-folding small-wheeled bike designs from Europe.

While wandering round the internet this morning, I visited the web-site of the German bike manufacturer Schauff (Warning - cheesy Flash and elevator music). In their "City" bike section, I found this "La Luna" small-wheeled bike. The design doesn't look very sanitary from a structural point of view with its curved stays and long unbraced step-through frame tube, which probably helps explain its hefty 16kg mass.

I don't think this advances the state of the art much, though I'm sure it delivers smaller overall dimensions than a traditional town-bike and a unisex one-size-fits-most frame, two traditional advantages of small wheels.

Rather more interesting is this Tunturi "Chat", which is rather cute in an Ikea-ish sort of way. Unfortunately the manufacturer's web-site is in Swedish only (Though I believe Tunturi is a Finnish company). I can't read the language, and it is not one of those offered on Babelfish either, so I can't say too much about it other than it seems to be a simple steel single-speed bike with a rear coaster-brake. The Finnish steel industry has a high reputation, but I suspect this bike is made from something like gas-pipe since the bike's mass is quoted as over 17.4kg.

The frame looks better triangulated than the La Luna and ought to be stiffer, but the whole design looks compromised by the inclusion of the integral front and rear grenade launchers. I thought commuting in Sydney was bad, but I've always found a sawn-off shotgun quite sufficient. Helsinki is obviously a tough town.


Wes said...


Nice going Bob. Are you sure there're no lights concealed in that thing?

It would be possible to tailor it to the Australian market - larger bore top tube, slot in a few VBs.

Renders Fenders Moot said...