Japan is famous for fashion trend setting, for few years now there are a specific Japanese bicycle niche, the so called "mini velo"
Usually they are diamond frames designed and equipped with 20" wheels, featuring drop bars or flat bars or even mtb models getting trendy recently.
Mini-velo are not foldable bikes, if so then it is called "folding bike".
The word "Velo" is french for bicycle, so rather than calling it a Mini bike, japanese have branded it "mini Velo", a good sense of history, culture and chic wording.
If you want to sell bicycle to Japan, whatever the brand, it must includes "Mini Velo" in your catalog.
Most mini velo in Japan are the product designed by the local distributors and wholesalers, which explain why the bikes are not on another market catalogs.
Most of the bikes are small size frames, rarely bigger than 51cm.
However, I think there are some good opportunities for playing with mini velo design.
Carbon frames would be nice visually.
Here a quick look at the Mini Velo currently sold in Japan:
Bianchi, Made in China and Taiwan bikes, cromoly frames.
Bruno is very popular, you can see the bikes every where in japan cities.
Fuji, also have colorful drop bar mini velo which features lugged forks and cromoly frames
The bike retails for about 69,000 yen in Japan
9 speed Shimano Sora, 20" wheels, drop bar, looks like a real bike but in mini version.
Gios, playing with Cromoly 4130 Taiwan made frames, Gios coloring, these are a getting pricey.
Kuwahara, the company that is famous for having being featured in the movie E.T. (the bmx that flies front of the moon).
Louis Garneau, the japan company that use "Lous Garneau" name to sell bicycles, sells also 4 models of mini velo. All are built with Aluminium frames.
Seraph is a brand from a japanese wholesaler, they sale cromoly lugged frame and fork mini velo.
Frame/fork retail for 60,900 yen.
Sugimura, makes some reasonable priced mini velo
Don't forget to check the Masi ones that I already featured few weeks ago here:
Masi Speciale Mini Velo
Masi Speciale Mini Velo Fixed Japan Edition
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