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  1. #1
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    Finally joined the fold

    I've delayed getting a Swift until next year, so this morning I collected and rode into work on my.....


    Birdy Touring. 5 minutes on it isn't long enough to justify a mini review, but it's sunny and I know what I'll be doing at lunchtime!

  2. #2
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    With the exception of the mystery of how to put the chain back on..... it's absolutely great!

  3. #3
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    One of the main hassles with the Birdy is that you have to make sure that the chain tensioner (the thing hanging off of the derailleur) grabs the chain when the bike is folded. That (along with keeping it in the high gear) will keep the chain from falling off. It is a hassle at first, but after 20 folds, it will be second nature and you'll get the time down. Check this out: http://www.kinetics.org.uk/assets/mu.../birdfold.mpeg

  4. #4
    jur
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    Congrats! I was wondering about your folder... all that initial impatience then nothing for a long while.

  5. #5
    Life in Mono
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    Well Done !!! ... NV !!! ... glad all that initial research/angst finally paid off.
    Njoy !!

  6. #6
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    Ah yes.... I was considering a job elsewhere, so I decided to wait after all.

    I am having an absolute blast on it and don't regret the choice for a moment. You were right Jur about it probably being the best option and I find myself looking for an excuse to get out on it. Such fun, way more than I anticipated. If you're still considering one I can't recommend it enough.

  7. #7
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWantToGoFaster View Post
    Ah yes.... I was considering a job elsewhere, so I decided to wait after all.

    I am having an absolute blast on it and don't regret the choice for a moment. You were right Jur about it probably being the best option and I find myself looking for an excuse to get out on it. Such fun, way more than I anticipated. If you're still considering one I can't recommend it enough.
    Excellent. At some point, continued search really fails to result in much more information. I seriously considered the Birdy touring with its wide gear range. Now you need to get the racks and bags for a decent trip!

    -G

  8. #8
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    I'm treating it to a day out in London tomorrow. Forecast is looking good. Should be fun

  9. #9
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    The Birdy Touring looks very nice and the gear range is good.

    Remember you can adjust the front and rear suspension to dial in a plusher/harsher ride. Stelvios were the fastest tyre I used to run.

    I miss my Birdy - I have to content myself with an old photo:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/16114972@N00/100426345/
    Last edited by Fear&Trembling; 11-15-07 at 04:21 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    Half way into my day around London and the weather is absolutely perfect. Not a cloud in the sky and a crisp temperature.

    Hyde Park, the Embankment, the City, the Mall - what a huge amount of fun and the bike is fantastic. And of course turning up for meeting on it is a real talking point

  11. #11
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    So how did the rest of the ride go? Or are you still out there in a giddy frenzy?

    Must say, out of the three folders I've had, the Birdy has been the most fun. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it just feels solid and the suspension works so well. The fold is fiddly, but not bad once gotten used to.

    Just wish it was supported better in the US. I've emailed Kinetics and Avon over on your side of the pond regarding the mudguards, but no reply thus far. Looks like I'll have to phone, as they are not available here.

    Thanks again for the photos.

  12. #12
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    So how did the rest of the ride go? Or are you still out there in a giddy frenzy?

    Must say, out of the three folders I've had, the Birdy has been the most fun. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it just feels solid and the suspension works so well. The fold is fiddly, but not bad once gotten used to.

    Just wish it was supported better in the US. I've emailed Kinetics and Avon over on your side of the pond regarding the mudguards, but no reply thus far. Looks like I'll have to phone, as they are not available here.

    Thanks again for the photos.
    Yes, the support is terrible in the US, which is too bad because it's such a great bike. It looks like Yeah is selling them now on eBay, but also with no support. Did you try http://blackdogbicycles.com/birdyfol...avelbike.html? Don rocks, and has most everything you would need. I still wouldn't trade my Birdy for anything (save maybe a Moulton and a bigger apartment).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    Yes, the support is terrible in the US, which is too bad because it's such a great bike. It looks like Yeah is selling them now on eBay, but also with no support. Did you try http://blackdogbicycles.com/birdyfol...avelbike.html? Don rocks, and has most everything you would need. I still wouldn't trade my Birdy for anything (save maybe a Moulton and a bigger apartment).
    Yep, and also contacted Rad-Innovations. The braced fenders are not available in the US. I even emailed Pacific Cycles, and they refer folks in Asia to Tokyo. It looks like the Japanese dealers get their accessories via Germany as well as producing their own stuff. The way it was explained to me is that Pacific is a co-owner of Birdy with R&M. and they both operate sort of independently. Hence the disparity in what's available as R&M has accessories produced for the EU market that are not made by Pacific. So Birdy's are actually fractured into three distinct markets - EU, Japan/Asia, and the US who gets the dregs as usual.

    So here I sit, money in hand, wanting to purchase something I know exists, and being more or less told to go peddle my papers.

    This is not unique to the bike biz. Canon ships printers to the rest of the world that are capable of printing on CD's, but this feature is disabled in the US products and the CD tray is not included.
    Last edited by Clownbike; 11-18-07 at 10:25 AM. Reason: spelling

  14. #14
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    I'll post more about the smile factor after a meeting, but you could try this Birdy dealer, who is generally very highly rated:

    sales@spoke.co.uk

    They're Walton Street Cycles in Oxford and are also one of only two UK Gazelle dealers. They've got a good reputation and a number of colleagues use them.

    Ask for John, the boss.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the tip on John. He got back to me within two days and is in touch with R&M regarding the mudguards. In the meantime I finally heard from Avon Valley, but too little too late.

    Hopefully I can get some fenders on the bike soon. The wet season is catching up.

  16. #16
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    The rest of the ride was absolutely great and I took it in again last week and it was just as much fun. The one thing I've got to do is find out how to attach the very large battery as I haven't got a bottle cage.

    I've no regrets whatsoever about the buy and I'm very relieved I didn't go for the "easy option" of a Brompton. I borrowed a Red while a puncture was being repaired - glass on the cyclepath - and it eally was an inferior ride compared with the Touring. I'd only ridden the Red before I placed the order for the Touring, so obviously I thought that was a pretty superb ride. But it's nothing compared to the Touring.

    A little boy walked by and said "Dad, that's a cool bike". "Aye" he replied, "that's a very cool bike".

    These definitely can't be put in the "pipe and slippers" category. I'm still young-ish and by Christ it can give some of the local students and commuters a shock as it zings by. And I'm in work gear and not pushing it.

    So for the sake of repetition I'll simply add: it's way more fun than I'd anticipated. Anyone thinking of a folder should try on. as it could be the perfect balance of practicality and fun. You might just find yourself fitting your life around opportunities to ride it!

  17. #17
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    Do you really need that much juice?

    I've got one of these, and it lights things up very well. Very bright and runs a long time on four AA rechargeable batteries. http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/345 Maybe not mountain bike material, but fine for most city and rural use. Quick releases from mount so also usable as a flashlight.

    If rear visibility is a concern, this thing is unbeatable. http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/280
    Mounts on rack or bike and works well with racks as the switch is on the side.

    If you do need to carry the behemoth, try these folks. http://www.twofish.biz/bike.html I've used one of their older units on the handlepost of my Birdy with no interference with the fold.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWantToGoFaster View Post
    The one thing I've got to do is find out how to attach the very large battery as I haven't got a bottle cage.

    I'd only ridden the Red before I placed the order for the Touring, so obviously I thought that was a pretty superb ride. But it's nothing compared to the Touring.
    I'm glad that you got the Birdy and that you are enjoying it. It sounded like the right choice for you.

    I've just moved the water bottle holder on my Red to the stem riser. Its a light black plastic holder secured with black Zip ties. The alignment seems to work best for both cable clearance and fold with the holder angled to the right front. This location seems better than on top of the main horizontal tube because it gets rid of sloshing when the bottle is half empty, it's more secure and it frees up the top tube to serve as a seat when I stop to watch the view.

    What was better about the ride on your bike vrs the Red? I think that the geometry is the same. Could tires have made the difference? I felt a big difference in speed and ride quality when I changed my old style Birdy tires to Schwalbe Marathon Racers.

    David

  19. #19
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    Clownbike - thanks for the link, some excellent stuff there. I like that much juice as it does get me noticed and cars think I've a scooter or m/bike and so give me more room, which is always welcome.

    energyandair - I think what I liked was a) the vastly superior gear range and gear quality and b) the quality of the ride - the frame just felt different. Tighter, more responsive, more refined and simply better. Sometimes these feelings can't be expressed clearly, but I really felt surprised by what seemed in comparison to be basic and almost agricultural. Before the Touring it was the height of sophistication and smoothness!

    Just goes to show that there's always something better. No more test rides for me, just in case

  20. #20
    Senior Member IWantToGoFaster's Avatar
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    I cheated and bought a Cateye Powershot Plus. The battery is inbuilt and it charges from a mains adapter. Much smaller and lighter and no additional battery pack to lug around.

    http://www.cateye.com/en/product_detail/462

    Most importantly, at 15000 candelpower, it's pretty bright for something so small and light!

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