Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk

Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk

From any angle, 20″ wheels on a full-sized road frame look strangely intriguing — their small size beguiling their power, like the front wheels on a Top Fuel dragster. Belgium’s Noble Cycles show us how to do a minivelo right.

Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk

Nicolas Noblet has been consistently building very refined bikes, including fast road bikes, randonneurs and tourers, so this minivelo was definitely a departure from his usual stijl, and presented a unique challenge.

Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawk was designed for a cyclist who works at Luxembourg airport and commutes both by bike and bus. Normally riding a 700c road bike and dissatisfied with how the current crop of folding bikes rode, he turned to Nicolas for a solution.

Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk

A minivelo works well in theory, the tyres’ contact patches are in the same location as a standard 700c, the challenge is adjusting the rest of the frame to fit, keeping the angles in proportion and bottom bracket height in the same position.

Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk

You won’t find a set of lugs for geometry like this, but combined with the oversized XXL Columbus Zona tubes that Nicolas used to increase rigidity and stability, a fillet brazed construction contributes to an very modern-looking frame.

Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk

The massive sans serif Helvetica Bold headline splashed across the top tube helps, too. In contrast, a Pacenti crown on the forks tilts a hat towards the classic lugged form and reduces flex at the front end.

Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk

To construct the frame, Nicolas had to bring his Bringheli jig out of retirement because his new Sputnik jig wouldn’t accept that massive headtube. Sparrowhawk is a good illustration of how a custom frame can solve a unique problem.

Noble Cycles Website | Facebook

Fly On Little Wing: Noble Cycles Sparrowhawk