First published 3 September 2008
Frame, major fittings and components
5. Wheels and tyres
Folding and unfolding
On the road
10. Compared to ...
14. Right of reply - from ATB
The Mezzo d9 at The Black Country Living Museum - and yes, it does have a puncture in the rear ryre in this picture, collected just after entering the car park, and caused by a very large piece of a rivet which went through the tread and out of the sidewall! The picture was taken at the end of the test, with non-standard tyres, saddle and bar ends.
We first saw the Mezzo at the Bike Show in London towards the end of 2004, when a number of production prototypes were on display. The bike created immediate interest, as it was a completely new design for a compact folder, owing little to the design of any other folder, and in its folded form it was very compact. At that time there were two models planned, the i4, with a 4-speed Shimano hub gear, and the d9, with a 9-speed derailleur system. It took a few months for the first full production models to reach the market, and initially only the i4 was available, to be followed later in 2005 by the d9. ATB Sales, who distribute the bike, kindly lent us an early example of the d9 in the second half of 2005, and we published our report on that bike in September 2005 (still available HERE). Since then the Mezzo has established itself in the folder market, and although the basic design remains apparently unchanged, there have been many detailed improvements, so we were delighted when in mid-2008 ATB Sales offered us a chance to try one of the latest versions of the d9. At that time the i4 and d9 remained the only models in the range, but within a few weeks the d10 model was announced, supplementing the existing models. We had a chance to see the d10 (a production prototype) at the time the d9 was delivered for testing.
The d10 uses a more curvaceous frame than the existing models
'monocoque' design - ie a left and right half welded together along
the frame centre-line - a practice which has become more common in
recent years, and has already been adopted by the Birdy (for example).
The new frame is reportedly slightly lighter than the existing one,
which suits the d10, an up-market
lightweight model (it also has a 10-speed derailleur, a v-brake at the
rear and higher
quality, lighter-weight components), but it is also more expensive to
manufacture than the original frame, so there are reported to be no
plans to replace the existing frame with this new one on the other
We received the test bike just after the July 2008 Origami
ATB Sales kindly let us keep it until after the August Ride, which
meant that more people were able to try the bike and provide input to
this report. In all some 6 or 7 people have used the bike during the 6
weeks plus that it was on test - most just for a brief trial on the
Origami Ride, but one also used it for just over a week, and the rest
of the time I was using it myself. Regrettably summer 2008 has been
very wet, and this rather reduced the amount of testing. The bike was
used for train-assisted commuting, shopping, visits to the post box,
local delivery of renewed membership cards for Friends of Dudley
Castle, visits to local places (such as the Black Country Living
with camera gear and a laptop computer), and three rides of 30 - 40Km.
Normally on a test we would aim to include a ride of over 50Km - the
only reason we did not do so was the weather. The terrain included good
and bad road surfaces, and also some canal towpath - nothing terribly
hilly, though enough to necessitate engaging bottom gear quite often.
As this test was carried out over a longer period than is
possible with test bikes (about 6 weeks), I did experiment with
tailoring the bike to my personal requirements (see the photograph at
the top of this page) rather more than is
usually the case, so this report might be considered as being closer a
owner's view over a period of a few weeks rather than as a short test
report for a publication.
At the time of the test the list price for the Mezzo d9 was
The Mezzo comes in a single frame size, but the saddle height
enormous range of height adjustment - it is clearly marked at 1cm
intervals (which helps to get it right when unfolding) ranging from11
to 30 (small number is with the saddle at its highest position) - I
used it at 26, which means that it could have been raised 15 cm. Even
allowing for the fact that I am rather short, this should accommodate
most riders. The handlebar stem can also be raised - at it lowest
position the handlebars were a bit higher than I would like, though
changing from the rising bars fitted to some flat bars would solve that
for me. At maximum height the bars should suit most taller riders,
though VERY tall people who favour a very upright riding position, or
those with back or neck problems, might wish for a bit more. Fore and
aft adjustment of the saddle to handlebar distance is achieved by
sliding the saddle on its rails, with the option of mounting the
seatpost with the (micro-adjust) bracket forward or backward. It should
be possible for the vast majority of riders to adjust the machine to
suit their dimensions and riding style.
The frame is currently available in 6 colours (charcoal, sand,
green, blue, red, black) - the test bike came in green, which would
probably not be my first choice. The finish of the frame is superb -
anodised aluminium provides a satin sheen, and should resist chips,
scratches etc better than any alternatives (apart from titanium). As it
is an aluminium frame (and almost everything else is aluminium)
corrosion should not be an issue. After 6 weeks of testing in very wet
waether the only
signs of corrosion were a coupleof grubscrews bolts which are used to
plastic bracket which holds the front wheel assembly when folded.
Overall this bike really looks of exceptionally high quality,
no signs of skimping in order to save money at the expense of quality,
and personally I would rate it as second to none in appearance.
All the components also seem to be well chosen in terms of
quality and performance, and while they do not match the top component
groupsets from Shimano and Campagnolo (these component groupsets are
considerably more expensive than the entire Mezzo), there is no sign of
any inferior components being used for cost reasons.
The quality of assembly of the test bike was also beyond
It was apparently a major objective of the Mezzo design to
single-piece main frame, with no hinge, to ensure there is no frame
flex; as an elderly, weak, rider, I have to say I have not noticed
frame flex in most folders (Bickerton, Airframe and A-Bike excepted, of
course), and certainly the Mezzo seems excellent in this respect.
On a compact folder it is not surprising that there are no
bosses or provision for mounting a pump, though I must say I would
welcome them on almost any bike - Dahon's Curve does manage a set of
bottle bosses, though on the other hand the more expensive Birdy, which
certainly has aspirations for longer and more arduous rides, does not
provide any either.
Saddles are a very personal component - the one supplied with
Mezzo was entirely satisfactory, though at the end of the test I
substituted an old Brooks B17 leather saddle, to see whether this
improved the rather harsh ride, and this is the saddle shown in most of
The folding pedals - they performed well, except that they are very slippery when wet.
The d9, which is the model we tested,
is equipped with a 9-speed derailleur (11-26 sprockets) and a single
chain ring (54 teeth). This equates to a range of 33.4 - 78.9
the common method of describing bicycle gearing. Although the range on
this latest d9 is wider than on the earlier one we tested 3 years ago,
it is still narrower than that chosen by some other manufacturers of
derailleur-geared bikes of this kind.
The gears are changed via a Shimano Tiagra rear mechanism and
SRAM trigger system on the bars, with a means of adjusting the cable
both on the rear mech and on the front trigger. Overall the system
worked well and changed smoothly, though sometimes immediately after a
fold/unfold it would take a few changes before the cables settled into
their normal run positions on the frame, resulting in slightly awkward
changes (a common problem with derailleur-geared folders).
The Shimano Tiagra rear mech and 9-speed gear cluster - note that this
picture was taken with a non-standard 11-32 cluster fitted, not the
standard 11-26, and as in most of the pictures here the tyres are the
Primo Comets, not the standard Mezzo ones. Right: SRAM changer - push
the upper lever to change
up, and the lower lever to change down.
The i4 model, which we have never tested, has a 4-speed
Nexus hub gear, giving a narrower range, with slightly larger steps
between the gears. While some buyers may prefer the hub gear for the
potentially lower maintenance and less susceptibility for damage, we
think most people will probably opt for the derailleur versions. The
new d10 model has a 10-speed derailleur (11-28 sprockets) and a single
chainring (56 teeth), equivalent to 32.1 - 81.8. While the gear range
is therefore slightly
wider, there is no real reason why a similar range could not be
achieved on a d9 by fitting a different cassette, and although some
gaps between the gears would be a little greater than on the d10, they
would still be quite acceptable for most riders.
On the test bike we carried out a number of modifications, as
mentioned earlier, and this included fitting an old 11-32 cassette
which was available. Such things are very much down to personal choice,
but for me the significantly wider range compared with the standard d9
(or even a d10) was very welcome (27.5 - 79.8 in), especially in
providing the gears to
make climbing the local hills much easier. While for many (perhaps
the standard gearing will probably be fine, we think it would be nice
if an option of an 11-32 low/wide range were available.
Our test team as a whole had differing views about the gearing
most did not have any comments, but one young rider who likes to use a
low cadence (pedal slowly in a high gear, rather than 'twiddling' the
pedals) definitely wanted some higher gears, while another wanted more
at the high end and definitely more at the low end, and a third
(myself) would easily live with the top gear, but would definitely like
one or two more lower gears (hence the fitting of the 11-32 cassette,
which for myself resulted in a near ideal gear range for this machine).
Caliper brakes - the front one is very effective, but the rear one is
rather lacking in bite. The brake levers are well-made and work well,
with no excess free play in the bearings.
The Mezzo uses the popular 349 version of the 16 inch wheel,
by Brompton and the Bike Friday Tikit, but substantially larger than
the 309 16 inch used by the Dahon Curve and Strida. Wheel size
nomenclature is strange, and, for example, the so-called 18-inch wheel
of the Birdy is only a shade larger in diameter.The wheels
are anodised black, with polished stainless spokes, and look
attractive. The rear hub has a standard quick-release, which makes
wheel removal easy (as I discovered when I picked up a very large nail
within 1Km on my first ride - I changed the tube and still got to
the station in time to catch the train; another puncture at the end of
the test proved equally easy to fix). At the front, the wheel fixing
is combined with the folding system. We will describe how this works
later, but the result is that although there is what looks like a
quick release at the front, wheel removal is not at all
straightforward, and you need an 8mm socket (not a spanner) and pliers
to be able to remove the front wheel for tube replacement in the event
of a puncture - please make sure you adapt the tools you carry on the
bike accordingly, and do make sure that you don't misplace the small
8mm nut when you have taken it off. As we'll describe later, the way
the front wheel is located for folding is much improved on this d9
compared with the one we tested in 2005, and although the system is
different now, front wheel removal was just as awkward (if different)
on the earlier version.
The wheels are drilled for Schrader vales, and these are
Personally I prefer Presta valves, as these seem to make it easier to
inflate the tyre, and also seem to hold pressure better. The tyres are
marked as being produced by Cheng Shin, and the moulded information on
the side wall quotes a pressure of 55psi maximum. However, an
additional sticker on the side quotes a maximum of 85 psi, and this
higher figure is apparently correct (changing the moulds to show the
higher pressure is presumably not done for cost reasons). The tyres
a Kevlar strip to reduce the likelihood of punctures - apart from the
enormous nail we picked up on the first ride, we didn't experience any
punctures with these tyres, even on the Augsst 2008 Origami Ride, when
a group of 14 riders suffered no less than 4 punctures. The side walls
have a reflective stripe. We'll comment on the performance of these
tyres in the 'on the road' section later. Please note that the
photographs in this report were taken after fitting another make of
tyre - certainly less visually attractive in my eyes than the standard
ones, but which I though performed better on the road!
A rack and mudguards are not only standard on the Mezzo, but
are integral to the design, and so cannot be removed. There is no
propstand, but providing there is no luggage on the rear rack, or you
remove it first, you can perform a quick first fold to stand the bike
on the rear carrier - it is moderately stable when this is done - more
so than a Brompton, but not sufficiently so to enable parking in this
way when off road. No pump or tools are supplied. A user manual is
supplied with the bike - you can also download this from the Mezzo web site.
A video showing how to fold and unfold the bike is also supplied on DVD
- also available from the web site.
The rear rack is slotted so that purpose-designed bags can be
on and released quickly, though these bags do require an additional
Velcro strap to prevent fore and aft movement. The rack itself is very
robust, and is used to support the back section of the rear mudguard -
the sockets of the allen bolts used to fix it have been filled with
epoxy to prevent removal of the rack.
Left: The rear rack - note the slottied design for quick fitting of the luggage, and the jockey wheels at the back, which allow the bike to bu pushed along reasonably even surfaces when folded. Centre: the Mezzo with the smaller bag fitted. Right: The Mezzo with the larger bag fitted.
There are two options of luggage designed specifically
for the Mezzo, and we were supplied with
both for the test. Both are attractely finished in black, with a hard
plastic base designed to slot quickly on and off the Mezzo rear
carrier. Partly because of this base, neither is ultra-light, but
nevertheless the weight is no more than most luggage systems for
(and non-folders) - the smaller bag weighs less than the complete
Carradice SQR system, though perhaps does not have quite the capacity.
are extemely well designed in terms of
pockets, zips etc. The smaller one would be more than adequate for a
ride, complete with tools, some food, waterproofs, maps, and space to
store an extra layer of clothes. The main compartment can also be
expanded upwards by undoing a zip to give some extra space. The main
compartment is closed with
a zip, and there are two external zipped side pockets providing ample
space for tools, spare tubes, pump and other odds and ends. The top has
elastic strapping on the outside, which could be used to secure
additional small items, such as a waterproof, and on the inside of the
top there is a pocket where paperwork etc could be stored. The main
compartment is very well padded. There is a small strap on the back of
the bag which could be used to carry it, but there are also loops for
attaching a shoulder strap, and this strap is included with the bag.
Also on the back is a small strap onto which a rear lamp can
fitted - as the bag is quite rigid, the lamp would remain in the
vertical position. The larger bag is clearly designed for the commuter,
and is amply big enough to take a 15 inch laptop (possibly bigger) and
plenty of A4 paperwork. In fact it has an internal divider evidently
specifically intended to allow a laptop to be carried with the minimum
of risk - the whole bag is quite rigid and stiff in its normal form,
with plenty of padding.
There are additional compartments inside the bag for paperwork,
pens etc. The bag comes with a shoulder strap, which can be mounted on
two strong loops, and as an alternative there is a handle if you
prefer to carry the bag this way - it makes a very effective briefcase
for the commuter when removed from the bike. On the outside are two
quite large pockets for some additional paperwork, though
are not large enough for A4, and the design means they are not
particularly convenient for bulkier items such as tools, spare tube
etc. The top is secured by a zip (two zippers, unlike the smaller bag,
which only has one) and on the top is another narrow zipped
compartement where small items could be stored. On the back is a mesh
pocket in which is stored a yellow protective (water-resistant?) cover,
and there is a small loop for attaching a rear lamp. So far what we
have described is an ideal bag for the commuter, but all these
compartments and dividers might sound less suited to shoppers and those
who tour. But in fact the design takes these users into account as well
- though the laptop partition is not removable, it can easily be
sqaushed flat against the side of the bag, leaving a larger central
space. And if all the side padding and stiffening of the bag seems
unnecessary, there are zipped compartments insde the bag in which this
padding is contained - undo the zips, and the padding can be removed,
reducing the weight, making a bit more space, and giving another two
I have gone on at some length about the luggage because it
excellently thought out, and deserves the highest praise. The only
things to be
said against it are that the designs are fairly narrow (partly one
imagines to ensure that there are no possible problems of heels fouling
the luggage when riding), the front Velco fixings are slightly awkward
to use, and while the larger bag was quite a tight fit on the rear
rack, the smaller one was a bit loose, and tended to rattle with
lighter loads.Although the weather has been bad, the result has been
that we haven't ridden the bike much in these conditions, so we can't
comment on the important issue of how weather-resistant these bags are.
There is no provision for mounting any luggage at the front -
steerer/stem design prohibits the very effective front luggage system
which Brompton use, and which has now been adopted on at least some
Dahon models. I suppose a small bar bag would be feasible, but I've
never been keen on these because of their effect on the steering and
stability of bikes, and the long stem arrangement of the Mezzo seems
likely to make this even more of an issue than on entirely conventional
non-folders. Front panniers would not be feasible either - the way the
front wheel folds under is a reason no doubt why no mountings are
So is there any provision for the more serious tourist,
requiring to carry more than will fit in the larger bag? The rear rack
is very robust, and so it would be possible to mount
small/universal/front panniers on it. The only qualifications which we
should mention are:
So you may be able to fit some small rear panniers, but it
difficult to combine these with the Mezzo rack-top luggage (due to
interference between the mounting systems). However, worth considering
is the option of using panniers and a Carradice SQR system, and you
could still put some stuff on top of the rack (though this is going to
make the bike very tail-heavy). The SQR system also has the major merit
(over the Mezzo luggare) that you can perform a first/parking fold
without removing luggage first - sadly, there is a drawback, namely
that the very substantial Carradice mount on the seat tube means that
you cannot fully lower the seat post when folded, increasing the folded
height. There are some alternative seat post luggage systems (Rixen and
Kaul) which have minimal impact on the folded height, but these are
rather underdesigned, and would only support a very small bag safely.
Carradice SQR mount can be fitted to the seat post, allowing any of the
range of SQR bags to be fitted, or a conventional saddlebag, using the
appropriate Carradice accessory. Using this system the first 'parking'
fold can be achieved before the luggage is removed. However, this will
prevent the seat post from being fully lowered when the bike is folded.
As in most of the pictures, the saddle shown here is my own Brooks
B17, not the one that comes with the Mezzo.
Folders come in many forms, some of which are first and
compact machines for train/bus-assisted commuting, and others which are
high performance road bikes which can be folded if really necessary.
The ability to fold into a small package for commuting certainly seems
to have been a priority in the design of the Mezzo, though like
many other good-quality compact folders, that is not to say that it
cannot be used for longer and more challenging rides too. However, as a
compact folder for commuting, the ease and speed with which it can be
folded, and transported when folded, is very important.
There are those who seem to think that the weight of a bicycle
not important when you are ridning it (I do NOT subscribe to that
view), but even such people must agree that the weight of a folder is
important when you carry it! The Mezzo uses an aluminium alloy frame,
which helps with weight (though it is important to note that the weight
of any frame in aluminium is not all that much less than a good steel
frame due to the fact that though aluminium is lighter for the same
volume, you need a greater volume of it to achieve the same strength as
a steel frame). The Mezzo is also very well built and feels very robust
- no signs of flexing or under-design anywhere in the frame.
Consequently it is not especially light at somewhere around 26 pounds,
though it is certainly not especially heavy either. However, when
folded and carried, the bike feels very well balanced, and I found it
easier to carry than most other folders as a result (with most folders
I have to stop to rest my arm when changing platforms at a station,
whereas with the Mezzo no break was needed). In the folded state it is
also fairly easy to push it along on the two small jockey wheels on the
rear of the carrier - the wheels and the spacing are a bit small for a
rougher station platform, but I found it easier nevertheless than with
But back to how you fold the Mezzo. The process does require a
of practice, and you certainly need to do things in the right order,
but once you are familiar with the process it is not difficult. The
With practice, this is much more easily done than said/written; at least to start with, the most awkward part is releasing the front wheel, folding it under and latching it in place.
and centre: The handlebar catch - self engaging when the bike is
unfolded. small grub screws allow for adjustment if it should become
looser with use. Right: The similar catch used to secure the rear
'quick release' system used to secure the front wheel, which is
disengaged to fold the front wheel under when the bike is folded.
Unfortunately, although the design works well for this purpose, and is
a great improvement over that used on early Mezzos, it still makes
front wheel removal difficult when repairing punctures.
A number of times after unfolding I found that the front brake had become slightly displaced, so that was rubbing on one side - irritating, but easily fixed by turning it slightly on its pivot. After this had happened a couple of times I made a habit of spinning the front wheel after unfolding to see if any action would be required.
Unfolding is basically the reverse of the process - note that
catches for the handlebar stem and rear forks are designed so that you
just push them (forks and stem) into place and the catches engage
automatically - no manual intervension required to push the catches
into place, or do up screw fasteneings; in the case of the rear forks,
it also means the bike can be lifted easily as a whole, without the
rear forks flopping around loose, which until recently was a
significant irritation for many Brompton owners). If you just want to
park the bike, remove rear luggage from the rack, release the catch on
the rear forks, and fold the rear forks under - the bike will then
stand reasonably well on the rear rack (at least on a tolerably even
When folded the Mezzo is quite compact, the chain is inside
folded package (so minimal risk of getting oil on your clothes or
anything else), and it can be picked up easily without any risk of
anything unfolding unexpectedly. The Mezzo is well equipped to control
the chain as the bike is folded and unfolded - often a problem with
In terms of folded size, the Mezzo is a little larger than the
Brompton, but smaller than most other comparable machines, and, like
the Brompton, the package is quite neat, with no protruding parts, and
no tendency for it to want to unfold itself. As mentioned before, I
found it particularly easy to carry when folded - actually better than
the Brompton in this respect, despite being a little larger. Personally
I'd rate ease of folding as not quite as good as the Brompton and those
folders (eg Dahon) which basically just fold in the middle of the
frame), but easier than a Birdy and the non-compact folders. If folded
size is of paramount importance, the Brompton leads in this respect,
but overall there is little to choose between it and the Mezzo, and
personally I find the Mezzo easier to carry ('your mileage may vary'!).
to right: Birdy, Brompton, Mezzo and Dahon Curve
The chain is well controlled when the bike is folded, with no risk of
it coming adrift, as can happen with some derailleur-geared folders.
Like the Brompton, the folded Mezzo is a sufficiently tidy
that you would probably not be asked to bag it when travelling by train
in the UK (depends on the train, time, staff etc). If you do need to
bag it Mezzo offer a lightweight cover and carry bag (we have not seen
them, so please visit the Mezzo website for
A video showing the folding/unfolding of the Mezzo is
the download section of the Mezzo web site.
folded the Mezzo fits comfortably inside a Smart for Two.
When I tested the Mezzo 3 years ago, I was immensely impressed
its stability - smaller wheeled bikes to tend to have faster response,
or, if you want to be less polite, you could describe them as being
'twitchy'. The Mezzo is exceptionally stable - more so than almost any
other 16 inch wheeled machine, and indeed some folders with 18 inch and
even 20 inch wheels. This is not just my opinion - just about everyone
who tried the bike commented on this immediately (without being asked).
Mezzo make quite a point of the fact that the design, with no
in the main frame, reduces frame flex compared with folders which do
have such a hinge. Certainly the frame feels very rigid, though to be
honest I've never noticed frame flex in folders with a central hinge
either! Just as impressive is the stiffness in other areas - the long
handlebar stem system might look as though it is a candidate for flex,
but in fact it was only by deliberately pulling back hard on the bars
that I could detect any at all, and in normal use it was stiffer in
this respect than my (elderly, older specification) Brompton, most
Dahons I have ridden, and many other folders (the Birdy, Bike Fridays
and Airnimals are good in this respect too).
The gears changed nicely (after a minor adjustment), though I
find that after folding and unfolding it usually required a couple of
gear changes for the cables to settle into their natural position.
Views on the gear ratios varied - I could live with the top gear, but I
would definitely welcome one or two more low gears; the spacing was if
anything a little close for my taste, though I certainly don't like
very wide spacing, and for this reason I find machines with 3-speed
hubs are not acceptable.Those who are strong riders, and/or favour a
low cadence (ie pushing a high gear and pedalling slowly) might want
higher overall gearing (as did one person who tested it), while others
might have different requirements. As I've already mmentioned, my
preferred choice would be to
subsititute a wider-range cassette, with 11-32 range, something which
is used by a number of other folders. Without any other changes, this
would give me the extra lower gears, without compromising the top gear,
and for me, and many riders, the gaps between the gears on this
standard cassette are still very acceptable. In fact, to prove the
point, I subsequently fitted an 11-32 cassette which I happened to have
available. No other modifications were needed, and for me it greatly
improved the enjoyment of riding the Mezzo, and made it much more
Braking performance was rated by all who tried the bike as
rather disappointing - adequate, but no more. The problem is that the
rear brake in particular does not provide much stopping power - you can
slow down with it, but no more. I've come across much worse ones (the
Big Dog used on early Bike Friday New World Toursists, for example),
but it is disappointing - the new d10 model has a v-brake on the rear,
and it would be desirable if this were to come to the d4 and d9 as
well, although of course it would not be possible to retrofit it to
existing bikes. The front brake performed quite satisfactorily, and the
brake levers are nicely made, give good feel, and do not flex or wobble
on their mountings (unlike those of some competitors!).
There are those who want a review to come up with a 'best
sorry but I'm not into this (different owners have different
priorities, and the few (cycling and non-cycling) Which? (Consumers
Association) 'Best Buys' which I stupidly bought in the distant past
were rubbish, and if you read how they tested folding bikes, you would
not be surprised.
That said, I will make a few comments which may help readers
assess the Mezzo and some of its possible competitors. I think the
Mezzo should be judged primarily as a high-quality commuter (train etc
assisted) machine. So, I'm not going to compare it with
and 'cheerful' machines (usually not very compact when folded, not to
quality). The obvious competitors are the Brompton, some Dahons, and
perhaps a Birdy, Airnimal Joey and Bike Friday Tikit.
It's your choice - and it really is down to you, your
cycling requirements, budget etc. These (and some others I haven't
mentioned here) are all great folders - we are so lucky today that
there are so many good machines to choose from.
Choice of a folder is always a case of horses for courses and riders. The Mezzo sets out to meet the needs of commuters who also use the train and perhaps the bus, and in this respect it works very well - the fold is reasonably easy and quick once you are used to it, and the folded bike is very compact and quite easy to carry, even though it is not especially light. The optional luggage is exceptionally well designed to meet the needs of such users, though the need to take off the luggage at the start of the folding or parking process is rather a drawback. But the Mezzo is certainly not limited to this type of use - if the need arose, I would have no qualms about riding 40 or 50Km on the Mezzo, and indeed with a few modifications I would be willing to use it regularly for such rides, and longer ones. Choice of gearing is a personal matter which depends in part on the rider age, strength, riding style and the terrain: the standard gearing may be ideal for many, but personally I would have preferred to see some additional lower gears - with a total of 9 gears, this could be achieved simply by using the popular 11-32 gear cassette in place of the standard 11-26 fitted to the Mezzo - I made the change on the test bike, and I certainly preferred it set up that way. The brakes, more particularly the rear barke, were rather disappointing - adequate, but not as good as we have come to expect on most high quality bikes nowadays. On the subject of quality, we rated the Mezzo as excellent in terms of finish, the standard of the components etc.
While there are no outstanding differences between the 2008 Mezzo and the early one we tested in 2005, the many detail changes make this a much improved bike, and we really enjoyed using it. Choice of a folder will in the end come down to personal requirements and preferences; like every other folder (and indeed all products) there are a few areas in which the Mezzo could be improved, but anyone considering pruchasing a folder in this sector of the market should include the Mezzo in their evaluation.
Mezzo recently announced a new d10 model, which we have not
this is a shade lighter than the
d9, with a fractionally lighter frame, and higher quality, and hence
lighter, components. The extra gear is used to slightly increase the
overall gear range compared with the d10, and notably the d10 also
a v-brake at the back. For most users the d9 is probably better value,
but for those who do not mind the higher price, the d10 does off some
advantages- personally we would go for the d9. .
We would like to thank ATB Sales Ltd for the loan of the test bike and the bags..
ATB Sales Ltd,
Whitworth Road, St
Leonards on Sea, East Sussex TN37 7PZ
As usual, we offered the supplier a right of reply, but to quote" ..(we) felt that your report was very fair with no inaccuracies; we are more than happy for you to go live with it".
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