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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    Er...Brompton wheels are 16"
    They are called "16 inches", but they're really closer to 17 inches.

    The bead seat is 349mm, whereas the bead seat on the "16 inch" Dahon and Strida wheels are 305mm. About 1.75 inches difference between the two.

    FYI, the Brompton wheel size is much closer to the "18 inch" Birdy wheels than it is to the other popular "16 inch" wheel size. There is less than a quarter of an inch difference between the 349mm Brompton wheels and the 355mm Birdy wheels.
    Last edited by makeinu; 07-23-07 at 12:08 PM.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post

    If that's your honest opinion, my advice is to stick with your XX. The reasons?
    • It's a sweet riding bike.
    • It's light.
    • It's as narrow as your top contender to replace it.
    • You already own it.

    If you think a Brompton won't meet your expectations for the bulk of your riding, I'd say anything that folds smaller than your XX won't either.
    I'm with the Capt' here... if the XX is stock, it's under 17lbs... that is really light for a 9 speed folder.. it has the inside handlepost fold and is a tidy folded package.. it has a terrific SRAM X.O drivetrain and is fast as stink.... you will absolutely scratch up the beautiful carbon seatpost, so you may want to change out to an aluminium one...beyond that, I haven't seen an exaggerated market for the XX's... it may become collectable at some point (and the Helios SL is practically the same bike), but it seems like from the requirements already posted, the XX could be a good choice... here's my #96


  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    In my opinion, the Birdy is more durable. It also doesn't swing open as the Dahons do, and there is no magnetic latch to break. The ride is far superior; it takes up road vibration very well, and is comfortable on 100 mile rides. However, this is an even fancier bike than the Dahon, and as the Captain points out, you might be even more afraid to use it.

    When I say fancier, I mean that the frame is hand crafted by seasoned frame builders and the wheels are hand built. However, I find the Capreo group-o used on the Birdy to be inferior to the SRAM X9/American Classic used on the Dahon. This difference in componentry accounts for the difference in weight. The Japanese Dura Ace-equipped Birdies are probably lighter than the Dahon! Also, some on the Birdy forum (groups.yahoo.com) have them down to sub-8Kg, but those are the 1990s era Birdy frames that hadn't been lugged for luggage.

    With respect to carrying capacity, it rocks. Provided you are willing to spend cash on Orlieb panniers, it's truely a great touring bike. Check out the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birdy_%28bicycle%29
    It's not so much that it's 'fancy' as that it's truly unique. If it was already on it's way to beaterdom i'd have no qualms.

    Before going digital, I mostly used Leica M-Series cameras and optics. Rain, snow, dust storm, backpacking, boating, if I was there, I was taking photos. Not exactly cheap gear, but beautifully crafted and the best for the job. I also had a very rare 30's black Model F complete outfit. When I showed it to my Leica guru with film in it, expressing a desire to use it, he practically slapped me silly for being an idiot. It's now part of a large collection belonging to someone else.

    I know the XX is not exactly in the same caliber, but there is something about respecting the care and art in producing a special limited edition work.

    Thinking back on the Leicas, maybe there's something subliminal going on as well in regards to the Birdy.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    They are called "16 inches", but they're really closer to 17 inches.

    The bead seat is 349mm, whereas the bead seat on the "16 inch" Dahon and Strida wheels are 305mm. About 1.75 inches difference between the two.

    FYI, the Brompton wheel size is much closer to the "18 inch" Birdy wheels than it is to the other popular "16 inch" wheel size. There is less than a quarter of an inch difference between the 349mm Brompton wheels and the 355mm Birdy wheels.
    Jeez - Shoulda knowed 16" aint 16" Wish everyone would convert to metric already.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceMetras View Post
    I'm with the Capt' here... if the XX is stock, it's under 17lbs... that is really light for a 9 speed folder.. it has the inside handlepost fold and is a tidy folded package.. it has a terrific SRAM X.O drivetrain and is fast as stink.... you will absolutely scratch up the beautiful carbon seatpost, so you may want to change out to an aluminium one...beyond that, I haven't seen an exaggerated market for the XX's... it may become collectable at some point (and the Helios SL is practically the same bike), but it seems like from the requirements already posted, the XX could be a good choice... here's my #96

    Hi Bruce -

    Slumming?

    Have you spent much time on Bart or the Metro with yours?

    I must admit that the XX is an excellent bike and I have no complaints in regards to performance. The thing is a work of art.

    Not so much worried about the seat post as the paint. Maybe mine didn't get primed properly, as it chips with little or no provocation. It's been babied thus far, so it's still in excellent shape, but I dread thinking about what day to day use would do to it.

    I should recoup my investment if I sold it, but not expecting to make some sort of killing or anything. If I decided to stay with a Helios I would pick up a later SL, which is very close in weight, and flail my way through the system with complete abandonment. (just kidding, my punker days is long gone...sorta)

    Cheers

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    ... it chips with little or no provocation.
    There is a solution for that.
    <drumroll>
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #32
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    I was in Tokyo riding around last week. Pretty amazing city for bikes in general. My only observation would be that as so much time is spent going up and down curbs and trying to avoid being hit by cars that extremely good brakes, fork suspension and a fairly forgiving tyre size are important. In fact i've never spent so much time riding on the pavement!!! Bikes are left at the stations, 20" wheels are the perfect size for that city, and there are some amazing bike shops. And after the sensory assault that is the daytime, getting on the bike at about 2am after a couple of beers and going for a fast deserted ride was incredible. Which leads me to ask does anyone know are there any organised night rides? (going back in 2 months)

  8. #33
    Seņor Mambo
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    If you're near Palo Alto, foldabikes.com sells Bromptons and Birdies. Of course, I don't know about how many Birdies he sells.

    My one year experience with a 1999 Burley Birdy silver 3x7 on BART:

    - Fussy to fold: for best positioning, you should always put your gears into highest gear before folding so the cables are slack. If you don't, a couple things happen: your cables can become stretched, and your chain easily falls off because of the angle of the fold. You can get used to this, but the ideal for folders is fold and go, whatever gear you happen to be in.

    - Folds small, but not convenient: The Birdy has a pretty compact fold, but the handlebar and front tire produce a wide angle. Nothing holds them together (so I always carried a velcro strap), but the biggest problem is if you have to walk up and down the aisles. While Birdies may be lighter, they are awkward to carry because, for BART, you have to carry it in front of you - not at your side - while making sure the handlebar and front tire don't snag anything, esp. other passengers; rubber grips and wheels tend to snag anything easily. In this respect, having to carry the bike in front of you negates the weight saving advantages esp. since it's harder to carry it this way.

    - floor space: Sitting on the ground between your legs, the Birdy's package feels really wide, like you're straddling a horse. You kind of want to do this so that passengers walking in will not think they have more walking space than they actually have and mistakenly kick/trip over your bike.

    - lousy luggage capacity: This bike was not designed for the commuter in mind; I don't care what anyone else says. It's best to use a backpack with this bike to carry your load, if your back can take it.

    - hard to find parts and add-ons: They're expensive and much of the stuff wasn't available to me at the time. I know there are more Birdy dealers in the U.S. (and Japan for that matter), but you still have to buy their exclusive stuff, or resort to making things on your own.

    - rides well: No San Francisco hill was too tough for this Bird, but the bike had a tendency to squeak - or squawk - when pushing hard. Actually, this is one of the reasons why I sold it. The sound was really annoying.

    Brompton's are easier in almost every regard except their grips can also easily catch on things, pulling the handlebar out of its catch. But it is a thinner fold up front. Also, while Brompton's luggage capacity is better, you still end up having to carry the luggage in one hand and the bike in the other. When walking up and down train aisles, I had to carry the bike in front of me, and the luggage behind me. Both can be very heavy and awkward.

    Bromptons tend to ride better than most people give them credit for; make sure these critics have actually ridden one for more than a few minutes/miles. They do, however, have fixed cockpit spaces, so you gotta try it out to see if you like the fit.

    Lastly, when your eyes glaze over because you're reading all the data, and trying to sort out mentally which is relevant and which is superfluous, it means you're ready for a test ride.
    Last edited by spambait11; 07-24-07 at 12:10 PM.

  9. #34
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Most of those problems have been solved over the past 10 years. The Birdy stays together very firmly now, and the fold is tighter. The Japanese Birdy is tighter still as it uses the narrow flange Birdy hub. This sealed hub is superior to the Shimano hubs used on American Birdies, which use cone and bearing systems. It also prevents extra stress on the spokes and allows the wheel to be tucked in more. Otherwise, the fold is still fussy. You have to put it in high gear, which takes some getting used to. I'm rarely faster than 10 seconds.

    The luggage carrying capacity is now probably the best or at least equal to the best folders. It can take 10Kg on the front forks and 25Kg on the back rack. In addition, it can hold a frame bag, and you can pile a rack bag on top of the two rear panniers. Unless you weigh over 100Kg (220 pounds), you should be able to move apartments on the Birdy.

    IMHO, there is no comparison between the high end Dahons and the Birdy with respect to the ride. The Mu SL was very harsh, and thus much slower. I can barrel over potholes or bunny hop them on the Birdy. I had to slow dramatically on the Mu. But I don't like to feel the road or worry about the bike. My to work commute this morning was 10 miles over 40 minutes, including a few traffic stops. Prior to this, it took about 50 minutes. As the regulars know, I really like the bike, so it's worth giving it a try.

    Do not buy one in the US unless you want to waste your money. It's also difficult to find the sport stem in the US, which puts you forward on the bike.

    I agree that you should test ride. But remember that all bikes are cheaper in Japan, at least as long as the carry trade holds. (This is a phenominon in which investors borrow in Yen at very low interest rates and then make high yield investments at home or abroad. It could unwind at any moment.) I'm going soon, but with my luck the Yen will be at 100 to the dollar by then.

  10. #35
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    It can take 10Kg on the front forks and 25Kg on the back rack. In addition, it can hold a frame bag, and you can pile a rack bag on top of the two rear panniers.
    But this is negated by the fact that if you fold the bike, you have to remove all the bags, right? Brompton suffers the same problem, except anything that goes on the front carrier block is easily removed; not a huge solace, I know.

    In any case, I agree that all in all the Birdy is a fantastic ride; I'm just not a fan of using it for rush-hour train commuting. But all the new modifications you mentioned above just prove, once again, you'll have to see it in person to believe it.

  11. #36
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    Some opinions, based on years of riding in Japan and in Tokyo in particular:

    1) Unless you absolutely must commute during rush hours, or must use Chuo Sen, Yamanote Sen, Keihin Sen, or Yokosuka Sen, as your main link, you don't need absolute smallest folded volume. All lines are a nightmare during rush hours, but crowding on the other lines falls off abruptly about 9:30 a.m. That's when the baby strollers/trolleys appear... and if Mom can manage a stroller, you can manage a 406 folder. I manage the M.K'denza, a 700c folder, just fine .... but never intentionally at rush hour. Even when inadvertently caught in rush hour, e.g., returning in the evening from a day ride later than planned, I've managed, unpleasant, yes, but it's been manageable (definitely wouldn't want it twice daily).

    2) To take advantage of cycletouring outside Tokyo, 406 or larger is a big plus. The 100 yen stores sell 100 yen maps (the name brand maps are 800 yen). Grab a map, head for Chichibu (Red Arrow Express out of Ikebukuro), and do the temple tour on your bike. BTW,the "free maps" published by tourism boards, etc., in Japan are NEVER accurate. In fact, most are fantasticly distorted by elastic scaling and compass points. Do not rely on them for navigation.

    3) Are you over 6'/188cm? If so, you'll have a hard time fitting a touring cockpit on bikes smaller than 406.

    4) If you cannot avoid a rush hour commute, IMO, get a Flamingo (Merc in the UK), which are available in Japan, or other 349/355 that has rack wheels for rolling. Some of the train connections (norikai) in Tokyo are more than 500 meters.
    Last edited by maunakea; 07-24-07 at 01:31 PM.

  12. #37
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    But this is negated by the fact that if you fold the bike, you have to remove all the bags, right? Brompton suffers the same problem, except anything that goes on the front carrier block is easily removed; not a huge solace, I know.

    In any case, I agree that all in all the Birdy is a fantastic ride; I'm just not a fan of using it for rush-hour train commuting. But all the new modifications you mentioned above just prove, once again, you'll have to see it in person to believe it.
    Yup, you definitely have to remove the back bags, and leaving the front ones on would be awkward. Also, unless you get the newest one, it doesn't roll when folded like the Brompton does. I use Ortlieb quick release bags, which adds another 10s to the fold if I'm loaded.

  13. #38
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maunakea View Post
    Some opinions, based on years of riding in Japan and in Tokyo in particular:

    3) Are you over 6'/188cm? If so, you'll have a hard time fitting a touring cockpit on bikes smaller than 406.
    Why? The cockpit of the forward stem is designed for tall folks. Plus, the cockpit is quite adjustable with an ahead stem, etc. I would say > 6'5" would be a problem, but that's a pretty tall person requiring a custom bike.

  14. #39
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    No rush hour, and if having to deal with luggage just get to the station with plenty of time.

    5'8"/145#, so well within most limits. Rather long reach as well. I think the term is gangly. My riding style is relaxed.

    Would prefer to stand with bike near the doors anyway, so no threading through cars. My wife's a musician and I've done many train trips over there with her and her band mates and all manner of equipment, so I'm used to the stares, glares, and whispering. Sardine time was a pain, but doable. Longer trips would be on the bullet, which has dedicated luggage bays and some cargo spaces at the end of the car.

  15. #40
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    No rush hour, and if having to deal with luggage just get to the station with plenty of time.

    5'8"/145#, so well within most limits. Rather long reach as well. I think the term is gangly. My riding style is relaxed.

    Would prefer to stand with bike near the doors anyway, so no threading through cars. My wife's a musician and I've done many train trips over there with her and her band mates and all manner of equipment, so I'm used to the stares, glares, and whispering. Sardine time was a pain, but doable. Longer trips would be on the bullet, which has dedicated luggage bays and some cargo spaces at the end of the car.
    Damn. You're good to go with anything.

  16. #41
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    Agreed. Speed of folding isn't even an issue. Swift time, IMO.

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    Well...been poking about on different forums and think I'll try and pick up a deal on a Birdy.

    The Swift looks like a nice ride, but all things considered a smaller fold may be an advantage in the long run. And not being a pedal hammerer, absolute performance is not a main criteria.

    I had started this hoping for more positive feedback on the Gobike. There's just something about it. Guess it stems from my motorbiking days when Elf were campaigning the single sided trailing link front end. The eighties saw some really wild motorcycle concepts being tried.

    Birdy owners rave about their machines and the engineering seems to be quite solid. About the only negatives seemed to be that they can be a bit rattly, which should be easy to take care of as I do my own wrenching. They seem to be quite versatile and the best compromise overall.

    I just picked up an '05 Helios P8 for my wife(5' 100#) to torture test. If it can withstand her it should hold up to anything. With that and a Birdy, I can directly compare the two in day to day use.

    I've also been checking out the Japanese sites and am amazed at what is offered over there. So will probably pick up something second hand for now and see what the situation is on the next trip over.

    Thanks again for everyones advice.

  18. #43
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    cb, you and wife should try the Tama-gawa bikepath. Starts near Haneda airport and goes upstream along the NE bank of the Tama river (divides Tokyo-to from Kanagawa-ken). Weekends can be crowded.

    Another great folder-enabled excursion is to take JR or Tobu express to Nikko. A pleasant overnight is to tour Nikko, then head for the Kinugawa valley, overnight in either Nikko or Kinugawa valley. If you like climbing, the climbs out of Kinugawa valley are memorable.... over 10% grade for the initial slopes. Return to the Sprawl via JR line from Tokyo to Kinugawa (and on into Toguchi-ken).
    Last edited by maunakea; 08-05-07 at 01:30 PM.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by maunakea View Post
    cb, you and wife should try the Tama-gawa bikepath. Starts near Haneda airport and goes upstream along the NE bank of the Tama river (divides Tokyo-to from Kanagawa-ken). Weekends can be crowded.

    Another great folder-enabled excursion is to take JR or Tobu express to Nikko. A pleasant overnight is to tour Nikko, then head for the Kinugawa valley, overnight in either Nikko or Kinugawa valley. If you like climbing, the climbs out of Kinugawa valley are memorable.... over 10% grade for the initial slopes. Return to the Sprawl via JR line from Tokyo to Kinugawa (and on into Toguchi-ken).
    Thanks for the tips. Looking forward to being able to try some longer bike excursions over there. We've backpacked a couple of times and really enjoyed it.

    BTW, not meaning to pry, but I was curious as to your vocation. Looking at your posts, it seems that you've nicely blended international travel and academics.

    Cheers

    CB

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    I tinker with words in several languages.

  21. #46
    jur
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    Not to mention tinker with bikes in several countries.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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    I gleefully concede the point. Soon to install a Flamingo in Taiwan.

    For those interested in the one-man global corporation on a bicycle concept, take a look at this:

    http://www.wimaxforum.org/technology...Taiwan_Program.

    First, Korea fibers every village and school in the country. Now, Taiwan pipes 54 Mbps to every rice paddy. Skype while you pedal has arrived. The U.S. has the most expensive residential broadband of any industrialized country, IIRC.

    To be less, oblique, cb, my job involves technology transfer agreements, "open business model" seminars, stuff like that, in several countries. Riding one bike at a time, "three pairs of straw sandals" (if your know the Japanese idiom, "san shoku no waraji"), part-time faculty, full-time wordsmith. I like paragraphs that work like machines.
    Last edited by maunakea; 08-10-07 at 01:15 AM.

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    Looked a bit late into this thread, just one experience I made with my birdy while comuting: If you leave the front wheel unfold, you can easily roll the birdy in front of yourself or pull it behind. There is no need to carry it 500m.

    Furthermore I can not confirm that my bridy is rattly. After thousands of miles in trains, plains, cars and on its own wheels the bike is still performing without any problems. It is my experience that people using foldables are very careful concerning maintenance just to prevent getting dirty when folding and transporting. Take a light color, it's easier to keep clean than my black one.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by maunakea View Post
    I gleefully concede the point. Soon to install a Flamingo in Taiwan.

    For those interested in the one-man global corporation on a bicycle concept, take a look at this:

    http://www.wimaxforum.org/technology...Taiwan_Program.

    First, Korea fibers every village and school in the country. Now, Taiwan pipes 54 Mbps to every rice paddy. Skype while you pedal has arrived. The U.S. has the most expensive residential broadband of any industrialized country, IIRC.

    To be less, oblique, cb, my job involves technology transfer agreements, "open business model" seminars, stuff like that, in several countries. Riding one bike at a time, "three pairs of straw sandals" (if your know the Japanese idiom, "san shoku no waraji"), part-time faculty, full-time wordsmith. I like paragraphs that work like machines.
    M-

    Global tech legal savy and fluency in English, Japanese, and I would guess Mandarin.

    The world is your oyster.

    It's sad how we just can't seem to get it together in this country. Even when a town who hasn't been able lure the telecons into installing fiber or wifi tries to do it on their own, they get hit with lawsuits to prevent them from doing so. I seem to remember a lot of hot air being expended in regards to the nation going fiber optic. The telecons got huge tax breaks and subsidies and then it quietly went away.

    Won't even bother to talk about public transportation.

    Cheers

    CB

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    Well...just picked up a Silver Birdy, and must say that in the short time I've had to check it out it is light years ahead of the Helios in engineering and construction. I also noticed it seems much easier to lug around as well due to the folding style and ability to grab it by the main tube. The ride is nice and it just feels very solid for it's weight.

    Not sure just what I've got here though. Every site with the Silver shows it as having Deore components. This one has the SRAM X-7 derailler and trigger shifter, as well as Avid Single Digit 5 brakes. Both hubs are Birdy sealed cartridge. It's quite clean and looks barely used.

    Will post some photos and more details when I get a chance.

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