If any bike screams N+1, it’s this disc brake 20″ wheeled steel mini-velo from Velo Orange. The new Neutrino is meant to be compact – easy to store & easy to travel with – but offering a solid, fun ride whether around town or out on tour. It has been a passion project of classic bike, component & accessory maker Velo Orange for quite some time, and now the bike (or frameset) is available for pre-order.
Velo Orange Neutrino 20″ steel mini-velo
We actually got an early look at the Neutrino as a prototype back at the Philly Bike Expo last November. Billed as a city commuter to packable travel bike, Velo Orange is all about mobility with this little guy. But it doesn’t really sacrifice much in order to get small.
VO essentially modified what amounts to a standard full size geometry to get a normal ride feel on top of the compact wheels. That means it gets a relatively normal bottom bracket height, pretty standard (yet still short) wheelbase, and a normal stack & reach at the top of the tall headtube.
There are no crazy long stems or even a monster seatpost on this like you find on a small-wheeled folding bike. Instead, you get a full-size bike feel on top of 20″ BMX wheels (406mm bead seat diameter).
The choice of BMX wheels turns out to be important beyond quick acceleration, as there really are tons of options for good light & durable rims, and an almost limitless number of tire options. If you want something fast rolling, it’ll be easy to get so good slicks. Plus the Neutrino mini-velo has room for up to 2.3″ tires (with fenders!), so you can actually stick some pretty aggressive knobbies in there and take this little bike shredding too!
That will also go a long way to smoothing out the ride, as some mini-velos with too skinny tires can feel harsh since the smaller wheels don’t rollover bumps in the road quite as well.
The double-butted 4130 chromoly Neutrino is first and foremost a versatile bike to take out and ride with no limits, and it gets enough braze-ons to bolt up anything you could imagine for commuting, bikepacking, or classic touring. That straight 1.125″ steerer, unicrown fork may only be for a 20″ wheel, but it gets mounts for full fenders, traditional or porteur/randonneur racks, plus anything cage mounts too.
Out back the Neutrino gets all that same versatility thanks to slider dropouts & more braze-ons on the seatstays – run it geared, single speed, or with an internally geared hub. Dropouts for frame & fork stick with quick releases for simplicity & backwards compatibility.
Overall the frame offers three more bottle cage mounts on the main triangle, with a 2-position mount on top of the downtube. All cable routing is external to keep things simple (and easy to pack) with downtube cable clamps. And it uses disc brakes. The bottom bracket is standard threaded, and it uses a 31.6mm seatpost for stiffness with all that extension (but also making it compatible with a dropper seatpost – external routing only, though.)
Velo Orange says the small frame is able to pack down in the box they ship the frame to airline acceptable sizing, making it cheap to travel with. It is also said to fit in a Rinko bag (a Japanese style bag for taking your bike on the train by removing the wheels). And while VO doesn’t offer a bag yet, rumor has it that one is in the works, maybe ready as soon as this bike is later in 2019?
Pricing & availability
Even though we have the full details on the new Neutrino, it isn’t quite available yet. VO is offering it now for pre-order at a discount, for deliveries in October 2019.
The bike is available on its own as a frameset now for $675 (down from regular price of $750 when it comes in stock in the fall) for anyone who wants to build it up to their choosing.
Or VO offers a complete Neutrino that includes a unique 1×10 build for $2500 now ($2700 come fall). The Neutrino Complete gets a pretty burly setup with a mix of VO’s own house finishing kit and swept back handlebar, some fat 2.3″ semi-slicks, and a shirt cage Zee downhill derailleur that gives a good 11-28T gearing spread, a clutch for chain retention, and proper off-road ready durability.
The Velo Orange Neutrino mini-velo is available in two frames sizes to fit riders from around 5′ to 5’6″ (small) or from 5’6″ to 6′ (large). It comes in one color called Cool Gray, but up close you can see it gets a bit more highlight in Galactic Glitter!
If you are looking to add another multi-purpose bike into Neutrino into your quiver, the mini-velo Neutrino should be a blast for extending your bike commute, hitting the local hardpack trails, or hopping on a train to search out a weekend adventure.