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Old 03-21-06, 04:29 PM   #1
Crankypants
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Birdy Questions

I have been reading through this forum and I haven't uncovered too much info about the Birdy. I did read how there was a time when the manufacturer didn't want to do business with the U.S., but at this point I see that there are several dealers in the states. I read how some of you have stated that they thought that they were overpriced and probably not worth a different folder in the same price range. However, there entry level folder is a grand, and seems to be equipped with some descent components. The bike also seems to fold very well (apart from the self frame scratching), and is very light. Looks like a good touring rig for people who jump on a lot of trains (Europe) or rely on catching some other kind of transport en route. If anybody has one, can you please write about your likes/dislikes and/or the modifications that you have done? Thanks!
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Old 03-21-06, 05:47 PM   #2
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To my recollection Birdy is a German design and made 'overseas somewhere' (China?).
The only big distributor, until about 5 years ago, was the Burley Bicycle Co-Op in Eugene, OR.
Better than average quality.
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Old 03-21-06, 06:15 PM   #3
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Bear in mind, my ex was a 1999 Birdy silver, Sachs 3x7 (21 speed)

Likes:
- Beautiful design
- Plush suspension works well
- Folds well (but nothing to hold it together, i.e. kind of floppy)
- Fairly light for the package (compared to Bike Friday, Dahon, or Brompton)

Dislikes:
- First folding bike - found out I'm not a fan of aluminum
- Springs are creaky - made a lot of noise esp. when cranking hard
- Paucity of 18" rims, tires, and tubes
- Hinge was prone to getting loose - suggestion was to bang the rod back in, and use locktight around screws so it wouldn't come out
- Brake pads would wear into the rims
- Sizing didn't fit that well for me (now I hear the sizing adjustments are a lot better)
- Hard to get accessories (rear rack, fenders, elastomer, etc.)
- Pedal and gears had to be in a certain position before folding, otherwise the chain derailed easily (however, this was not a huge problem).
- That big sticker which reads "BIRDY".

The new monocoques look nice, but they don't seem to be in the U.S. They also seem to be a favorite of the BionX system. If you know anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area, someone on craigslist is trying to sell a Birdy Green (now Birdy red) for $400.

Last edited by spambait11; 04-01-06 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 03-21-06, 06:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
To my recollection Birdy is a German design and made 'overseas somewhere' (China?).
The only big distributor, until about 5 years ago, was the Burley Bicycle Co-Op in Eugene, OR.
Better than average quality.
Pacific Bicycles in Taiwan (ok Republic of China).

I purchased mine at REI Berkeley; Burley had just dropped the line.
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Old 03-21-06, 08:01 PM   #5
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I definitely like the new design more than the old. Again the 18" wheels are a major PITA for tire choices. Of course there was that ltd. edition Birdy for a lot of $$$ that had 20's on it.
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Old 03-21-06, 11:36 PM   #6
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Crankypants, I really enjoy my siver birdy. It is light, folds small and is comfortable to ride. It seems to be expensive but it has full suspension and has easy height adjustment of handle bars and seat. Its components are of good quality so it probably is a case of getting what you pay for.

In Australia the distributor is very helpful and has a full range of parts and accessories.

As for tyre choice he has four types of tyres available:
Off road
Maxis kevlar 90 psi
Schwalbe Marathon Racer
Schwalbe Stelvio 120 psi

I have read recently on the birdybike forum that a Schwalbe Big Apple will be available soon, although it might not work with all models (fouling the derailier I believe). With the full suspension I think you can use high pressure narrow tyres.

As for noises apparrently this varies between models and components and there have been posts to deal with these, although it may just be part of this bikes design and magnified by the aluminium main tube resonating.

I have been careful maintaining brake pads as I have found metal embedded in the rubber scouring the rim.

The Australian birdy has a trigger rapid fire type of gear changer which I like and apart from this I have just added moulded bar ends. I have no experience with mudguards or carriers.
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Old 03-22-06, 12:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edd
As for noises apparrently this varies between models and components and there have been posts to deal with these, although it may just be part of this bikes design and magnified by the aluminium main tube resonating.
Honestly, I don't know why this is. I've also heard some have the squeak, and some don't.

I sold my Birdy in January after about 5 years of storage. The last time I rode it, it squeaked. When I went to clean it up and check it out before I sold it, I rode it around for a few miles, and to my surprise, it didn't squeak anymore, despite my jumping up and down on it and cranking it hard. I almost ended up not selling it, but I still had the fit problems (reach was too long), so I bit the bullet and shipped it.

I guess they're like wine, getting better with age.

(BTW, the original tires were horrendous so I put on some 18" Schwalbe Marathons before I sent it.)

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Old 03-22-06, 01:27 PM   #8
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I testrode a Birdy Red, October 05. Great ride, felt like a very quick and responsive bike. I wasn't convinced by the tire-quality and 18"wheels and the price (1200 Euro) really scared me off ! When I discovered my Dahon Jetstream a few weeks later, for 700 Euro, the decision was quickly made. I still think Birdy's are the coolest designed folding bikes, but I will probably never own one as it is too expensive IMO. Lots more choice with Dahon & BF.
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Old 03-22-06, 07:22 PM   #9
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In Australia the Jetstream cost $2300 (may be more in 2006 price list), about 1150 euro, so thats a great purchase.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:17 PM   #10
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Well if you really want to talk prices...

R&M - that is, Pacific Bicycles - made a Ti Birdy for the Japanese market a couple years ago: the BD-1 Ti. When I finally tracked one down, it was something like $3600. I stopped thinking about it.
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Old 03-23-06, 02:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spambait11
Well if you really want to talk prices...

R&M - that is, Pacific Bicycles - made a Ti Birdy for the Japanese market a couple years ago: the BD-1 Ti. When I finally tracked one down, it was something like $3600. I stopped thinking about it.
I would never consider buying a bike for 1000 USD or more. 900 USD (or Euro) is the maximum. The only exception I'd consider is a BikeFriday NWT, cause it's custom-built.
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Old 03-23-06, 04:41 PM   #12
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I think that any bike made out of titanium will cost at least 2500 new. Birdy has an entry level bike that is just under a grand, cheaper than the entry level (albeit custom built) BF.
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Old 03-24-06, 02:54 AM   #13
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Remember that a Bike Friday is not as fast and easy when it come to folding and unfolding it. I could fold my Birdy quicker than I can fold my Brompton
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Old 03-31-06, 10:21 PM   #14
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Word is the new monocoque Birdies may finally be hitting U.S. shores this April. Can't wait to see the prices.

Birdy reds will be discontinued soon too.

Last edited by spambait11; 03-31-06 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 04-01-06, 02:20 AM   #15
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Hi Cranky, Spambait,

Just to give you an idea on pricing of the new Birdy here in Belgium:


http://deligfiets.be/index.php?selec...mmavouwfietsen

(Scroll down for Birdy-range)

In USD that will be a little more
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Old 04-01-06, 02:28 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomaso
Just to give you an idea on pricing of the new Birdy here in Belgium...
Thanks Tomaso, but... ugh. I shouldn't have looked.
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Old 04-01-06, 04:22 AM   #17
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I know, these bikes cost a fortune. You could own a BF NWT for that kind of money, with some extras. And a BF is build to your preferences ! Also lots of top-of-the-range Dahons costing less than the cheapest Birdy.
No matter how much I like the design, its light-weight and the riding, there are too many(better) alternatives to a Birdy.
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Old 04-01-06, 04:37 AM   #18
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For those who might be interested the Big Apples look like they available for the Birdy wheel size, think there are issues of fitting them on (fouling the derailer in low gears). If anyone trys them I would be keen to hear their experiences.

http://www.schwalbe.com/index.pl?ber...50&produkt=115
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Old 04-01-06, 11:42 AM   #19
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For all the folders out there that are great rides (BF, Swift), the birdy still folds down much faster, smaller, and with less fuss.
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Old 04-01-06, 01:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomaso
No matter how much I like the design, its light-weight and the riding, there are too many(better) alternatives to a Birdy.
Oh, you must be talking about a DT, right?

But I agree: for that kind of $$, I'd rather get a Jetstream... All you Al people are really making me reconsider aluminum frames...

BTW, any issues with your Jetstream: creaks, squeaks, cracks around seat tube area, etc.?
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Old 04-02-06, 02:04 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spambait11
Oh, you must be talking about a DT, right?

But I agree: for that kind of $$, I'd rather get a Jetstream... All you Al people are really making me reconsider aluminum frames...

BTW, any issues with your Jetstream: creaks, squeaks, cracks around seat tube area, etc.?
I own the 2003-model. It's a great bike, in the beginning the rear-suspension squeaked a bit, but lately that hasn't occured anymore. So far, I've had no issues, really and I hope to keep it that way. The only thing I'd consider to change are the V-brakes for the Magura-brakes.
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Old 04-03-06, 02:13 AM   #22
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For those who might be interested the Big Apples look like they available for the Birdy wheel size, think there are issues of fitting them on (fouling the derailer in low gears). If anyone trys them I would be keen to hear their experiences.
I contacted Schwalbe about these tyres (355/50) a few weeks back, and they never got back to me. I will try again, as they are not readily available in the UK. Not sure about clearances on the Birdy, but it may well be tight.

Personally, I would not fit them to my Birdy as their bump-absorbing properties are not as crucial on a fully-suspended folding bike. They are also heavy. However, some people swear by them.
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Old 10-03-06, 09:40 PM   #23
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I'm still debating about the Birdy. I have a Mu SL, which is 4 pounds (1.8Kg) lighter, but is very squeeky and rides hard, even for a road bike. If I bear down on a pothole, I'm afraid to jump it and afraid to hit it, so I just go slowly when I'm not on the bike path or a long smooth road, which somewhat defeats the purpose. (Big problem with a damaged fork.) Still, it's a great bike and I'm not sure I want something closer to a MTN bike. Cranky, the recent pics of you two touring on the DT are very impressive. My g-friend bought one, but it's heavy. Working on lightening it up without breaking the bank.

I haven't test ridden anything as smooth and simultaneously light as a Birdy. Haven't riddent the Jetstream XP either, but the Red is cheaper than the Jetsteam XP in the same weight category.

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Old 10-04-06, 03:19 AM   #24
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Well, the Birdy can also a produce a symphony of squeaks and rattles. Some of these irritations can be quickly diagnosed and rectified; others prove to be more elusive, and some are just downright recalcitrant…

You can tune the suspension by switching both the front spring and rear elastomers. In addition, you can use different width tyres to adjust the feel of the ride. That said, pot-holes and small-wheels (particularly on even smaller wheels than you are used to on the Mu SL) are always a bad combination.

The Birdy will provide a softer ride than a Mu SL, and as the roads you are cycling on sound unforgiving, it might be worth considering a fully-suspended folder.

The R&M Birdy will also fold smaller than a Jetstream XP, but not significantly so. If you went for the XP (and the 2007 model sounds like a good all-rounder) you would also get more tyre choices in the ERTO 406 size.
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Old 10-04-06, 04:46 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling
The R&M Birdy will also fold smaller than a Jetstream XP, but not significantly so. If you went for the XP (and the 2007 model sounds like a good all-rounder) you would also get more tyre choices in the ERTO 406 size.
Thanks Fear&Trembling! The smaller folding size is attractive, and it seems that Schwalbe now makes 18" Marathon Racers (and even Stelvios) for the bike, but I'll check out the 2007 Jetstream. Do you know when they will be in stores? The Birdy seems a bit smaller and more eloquently designed, but the $950 Red is Deore, which isn't quite up to the SRAM X7 set up on the Jetstream.

The main reason I have to switch is not so much going slower in the city itself, but that the bike was delivered with some fork and frame damage, and may not be 100% safe. If the occasional pot hole snuck up on me, the right fork is more likely to go than the thin, small rims. Hoping for a reimbursement that will allow the next purchase, and thinking that suspension would be nice.

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