Mini-Velo bikes haven't exactly caught on here in America, but if you look hard enough, you'll find a few, such as this 2013 Cannondale Hooligan 1. The Hooligan is rare, with its compact frame, Nexus 3-speed hub, and 20" wheels; the combination makes for a capable and nimble handling urban bike. Factor in the small footprint as well, and these bikes become all that much more desirable - especially in increasingly dense cities, such as those in Asia, where these types of bikes are already a huge success. The shorter overall wheelbase of these types of bikes make them easier to store, carry up stairs, and give them livelier handling - better to navigate potholes and other urban obstacles.
The Hooligan is built around a beefy Delta V frame and eccentric bottom bracket. Cannondale has included a decent list of components, the bike is spec'd with a Nexus 3 speed internal geared rear hub, FSA Vera Crank, and Shimano M375 mechanical disk brakes front and rear. The most striking feature of the bike though, might not be the 20" wheels, but rather the Lefty fork up front. Popular on Cannondale's high-end mountain bikes, the Lefty looks at home on this bike, even if it doesn't include all the features of it's mountain bike sibling.
The seat post on the Hooligan is one of the longest we've seen, but it needs to be, this bike is only offered in one size. The post accommodates a fairly wide spectrum of riders; we've read that it accommodates riders as short as 5'2" up to 6'2". The stealthy matte black color scheme this year should also appeal to a wider audience whereas previous years have seen this bike in brighter polarizing colors. This bike definitely lives up to its Hooligan name, with it's black paint scheme, bulky Lefty fork, and disc brakes - it may be the most aggressive looking Mini-Velo bike we've ever seen.
If you've never ridden a 20" wheeled bike, let us be the first to tell you, you're in for a surprise. The smaller wheels may seem a little surreal at first, but they'll soon win you over as you realize how responsive the bike feels. It's a fun to ride bike that navigates the urban landscape quite well, and with its three gears makes it a capable get around town bike. The fun and compact size doesn't come cheap though, it MSRP's for $1100. That may seem shocking at first, but when you realize how hard these are to find, Cannondale is having no problem moving them.
Check back soon as we'll have a more in-depth and longer term review on the Cannondale Hooligan. In the meantime, if you want more information, check out Cannondale's website here.