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Old 08-26-08, 06:57 PM   #1
the watcher
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A top spec'd Brompton VS a top spec'd Birdy

I was just wondering, out of interest, how would this Brompton compare to a top spec'd Birdy:

Brompton M-Type
6 speed 8% higher gearing
Raw Laquer titanium frame
rack and guards
Standard Titanium seat pillar
Brooks saddle
Marathon Reflex tyres

Assume the Birdy is say the Rohloff model with the same tyres. The Brompton obviously wins in terms of folding size and weight. However, which performs better in a race over a flat? What about in a standard city with the usual inclines one expects?

Why can't Birdy do a reasonably priced Titanium frame outside Japan

Birdy Rohloff:
Frame Aluminium 7005 T6, WIG Welded
Fork Aluminium, Leading Link Design
Rear Suspension Birdy-Elastomer
Headset A-Headset, DiaCompe Al2, black
Bottom Bracket TH BB-7418AL, 113 mm
Seatpost Aluminium 7075, 34.9 x 570 mm, black
Seatclamp Kalloy, r-m-Design
Tyres Schwalbe Marathon 40-355, Reflex
Tubes Schwalbe 5 SV-28/37-355, presta valve
Rims Alex DV15, 18", Front 24h, Rear 32h, silver, walls CNC machined
Spokes 2.0 mm (14G), Stainless steel
Front hub Birdy, 24 hole, silver
Rearhub Rohloff Speedhub 8015z, 14 Speed
Crankset Sugino RD-1, 56 teeth, 170 mm, Trouserguard
Chain Shimano Deore LX (CN-HG72), 114 links
Sprocket Rohloff, 13 teeth
Rear derailleur Rohloff, CNC machined
Shifter Rohloff, Twistgrip
Saddle fi’zi:k Vitesse
Pedals MTB, Aluminium, VP-196
Handlebars Aluminium 2014 MTB, 520 mm
Stem Birdy Allround or comfort, height adjustable
Brakes Avid Single Digit 5, V-Brakes
Brake levers Avid FR-5
Mudguards SKS
Luggage carrier Expedition
Kickstand Optional: Aluminium, black
Gear ratios 1.67m to 8.80m (development) 14 speed
Weight 11.3 kg (ADD on about 1.5-2kg for rack and mudguards)


One more little "what if". What if the Brompton was modded to fit a Rohloff speed hub on it (involving extensive work on the rear triangle I know) to make the two a bit more equal.

Last edited by the watcher; 08-26-08 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 08-26-08, 11:10 PM   #2
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Hi,

thinking of giving Birdy away and chainging it for a brommi? Went for the refund?

Why do you want a ti-Birdy? Just like the material? If comparing Birdy to Brommi they are two different animals altogether. I am not convinced that the brommi "wins" in respect of weight to the Birdy (with nearly similar specs) - it surely wins in respect of "handling" when carrying or lugging it around. You are aware that in a ti-brommi only fork, rear triangle and seatpost are titanium? The main frame and the steering stem are steel. And if you want to put a Rohloff-hub to the brommi, I doubt with a ti-triangle that would possible with cold bending - you would then have to have a new rear and "go the Len Rubin way" - you can find a link to his offererings/contact here in the "for trade" Sticky.
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Old 08-27-08, 12:02 AM   #3
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I'm pretty sure the Birdy would be a considerably better rider. If folded size was not a consideration, that's the one I'd go for.
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Old 08-27-08, 01:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by somnatash View Post
Hi,

thinking of giving Birdy away and chainging it for a brommi? Went for the refund?

Why do you want a ti-Birdy? Just like the material? If comparing Birdy to Brommi they are two different animals altogether. I am not convinced that the brommi "wins" in respect of weight to the Birdy (with nearly similar specs) - it surely wins in respect of "handling" when carrying or lugging it around. You are aware that in a ti-brommi only fork, rear triangle and seatpost are titanium? The main frame and the steering stem are steel. And if you want to put a Rohloff-hub to the brommi, I doubt with a ti-triangle that would possible with cold bending - you would then have to have a new rear and "go the Len Rubin way" - you can find a link to his offererings/contact here in the "for trade" Sticky.
Thanks for the intelligent replies from both of you. Actually, I did ask for the refund while I wait for them to get the Rohloff in stock in black. However, I was thinking that if I did go for the Rohloff, perhaps rather than getting the refund, I could ask them to order some pitlock skewers in the meantime while R&M ship it to my dealer and fit it for me when it arrives. Another reason I had been annoyed was how I would have to go so far for my initial (free) service. Still, if they still honour the original price they gave me, I can deal with the 40 in petrol it will cost to drive there. I was also going to see if I can get a deal on the Abus city 1060 chain, a birdy frame bag to carry it in etc.

Now, the reason I was asking about the two in a race off is that I would like to get a bike in steel just because it's rather attractive to me. The titanium parts for me are just a bonus and I know it be the entire frame. I like steel for how long it lasts and for the smoother ride. I know bike friday do steel frames, but I don't want one of those. It's hard for me to pin down the attraction to steel.

I was also asking since someone on the foldsoc pages has said he rode a couple of folders both with rohloff (including a Birdy grey) and was still dissatisfied so he decided to mod his Brompton to be a rohloff model and thus be "the ultimate ride". I'm guessing he was exagerating, unless as Sammyboy points out, his ultimate ride was largely determined by the folding size.
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Old 08-27-08, 01:53 AM   #5
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I think both bikes complement each other. I'd gldly have both for different purposes mostly.
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Old 08-27-08, 04:20 AM   #6
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watcher: How much riding have you done up to now? I'm curious about the degree of experience you have.
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Old 08-27-08, 06:13 AM   #7
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First, IMHO, a monocoque aluminum frame is stiffer, lighter, and more durable than a titanium tubular frame, but both would last a few lifetimes.

Second, I would have to agree with Jur. You are really going far up the bike price scale. Do you need a Mercedes when a Honda will do just fine? My used $700 2005 Birdy has thousands and thousands of miles. Sure I've worn through a drive train that I wouldn't have if I had a fancy internal but I could replace that 3 times for the price of your bike. If mine was stolen, I would be disappointed but not devastated.

Third, the idea of having two bikes strikes me as silly. It seems a waste unless absolutely necessary. My bike is fine for cross country tours, fast rides, and commuting. I do have a separate set of wheels for touring (so that I don't have to constantly change out fast tires for durable ones) but that's it. If a smaller fold was necessary, I would probably try to figure out how to make a Brompton more comfortable to ride. (If you cannot tell the difference immediately between a Brompton and a Birdy in terms of ride, there is no debate. Get the Brompton. If the difference seems small, also get the Brompton, as you will become acclimated to the difference over a short period.)

One final point (hope I'm not too annoying) is that a rear rack on a Birdy is only needed if you plan on loaded touring or plan to roll the bike when folded. Otherwise, a low rider on the front can hold over 10Kg...more than enough for a laptop, supplies, change of clothing.
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Old 08-27-08, 06:18 AM   #8
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Wait! I do have one more annoying point to make. That is that your current bike store is so ridiculously good that I wouldn't even think of changing. The only bike store I've dealt with that has been on the level you describe (in my 28 years of biking) is Black Dog in Seattle. I can't imagine any of the others would have tolerated a returned bike for frame color. So, buy your next bike from them.
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Old 08-27-08, 09:28 AM   #9
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I'm not gonna bag on you. I think that if you're spending that much money, the bike should be perfect. I don't know that you really need to spend that much, but if you have the money, why not?

As for Birdy vs. Brompton... it really depends on what you're planning to do with the bike. If you want the best possible ride... I think most would agree that Birdy offers that. If you want the smallest possible fold, again, most would agree that Brompton offers that (makeinu... yes we know the CarryMe folds smaller... LOL).

My advice to you is... get the best bike you can afford. If you still find that you have some money burning a whole in your pocket... contribute to the "Help Lalato Get a Better Bike Fund".

--sam
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Old 08-27-08, 01:50 PM   #10
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Mr Watcher, you don't seem to know what you reaaly want, which I can sympathise with that considering the goodies that are available to the folding bike enthusiast. You seem to live within easy reach of London, so why not come up one saturday and try the Bromton and the Birdy back to back ? I doubt you'll find a dealer with the rohloff in stock, but a comparison of the basic models should give you a good idea which seems right for you. I'd recommend Velorution, near Oxford St, they are very friendly and have an excelelnt selection of folders on the floor, just waiting for test riders to walk in the door.
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Old 08-28-08, 12:09 AM   #11
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A top spec'd brompton is still a brompton. Birdy Rohloff is still a birdy with heavy internal geared hub.
You'll be disappointed if you expect (and invest) too much.
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Old 08-28-08, 02:20 AM   #12
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Mr Watcher, you don't seem to know what you reaaly want, which I can sympathise with that considering the goodies that are available to the folding bike enthusiast. You seem to live within easy reach of London, so why not come up one saturday and try the Bromton and the Birdy back to back ? I doubt you'll find a dealer with the rohloff in stock, but a comparison of the basic models should give you a good idea which seems right for you. I'd recommend Velorution, near Oxford St, they are very friendly and have an excelelnt selection of folders on the floor, just waiting for test riders to walk in the door.
I actually live in Zone 5/6 in London. Only wanted a bike to take me from zone 4 to 2.
I've test ridden 2 birdies, one Rohloff at AVC in Bath when I went to return the one I ordered, another the Touring model at bikefix in London. I do like the bike, but am put off by the fact that everyone in my house is REALLY vilifying me saying there is no way I could ever get a folding bike on the tube, whether it's a Brompton or Birdy or whatever.

Hiring a bike from Velorution is pretty expensive, I think it's 20/day regardless of model.

I think folders just don't work in London unless one works say 10-6 or something. But with a regular 9-5 in central London, I'm guessing it's not practical.

There's little point in purchasing a folder and then finding I can't get it on the public transport and have to lock it somewhere (assuming I happened to be carry my locks).
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Old 08-28-08, 03:44 AM   #13
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Sorry Watcher, I think I've run out of suggestions, good luck, anyway.
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Old 08-28-08, 05:44 AM   #14
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The final suggestion might be to buy a good 2nd hand folding bike and not burden yourself with debt.
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Old 08-28-08, 06:39 AM   #15
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I actually live in Zone 5/6 in London. Only wanted a bike to take me from zone 4 to 2.
I've test ridden 2 birdies, one Rohloff at AVC in Bath when I went to return the one I ordered, another the Touring model at bikefix in London. I do like the bike, but am put off by the fact that everyone in my house is REALLY vilifying me saying there is no way I could ever get a folding bike on the tube, whether it's a Brompton or Birdy or whatever.

Hiring a bike from Velorution is pretty expensive, I think it's 20/day regardless of model.

I think folders just don't work in London unless one works say 10-6 or something. But with a regular 9-5 in central London, I'm guessing it's not practical.

There's little point in purchasing a folder and then finding I can't get it on the public transport and have to lock it somewhere (assuming I happened to be carry my locks).
At the absolute rush hour, you'd struggle to get even a Brommie on the tube.....however, if you have a bike, why would you even consider setting foot in the tube? Just ride it all the way, fold it up, and take it into your office! I ride my Mini all over London, and being an itinerant consultant, I don't even have an office! I just cheekily ask for somewhere to put it.
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Old 08-28-08, 01:17 PM   #16
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The final suggestion might be to buy a good 2nd hand folding bike and not burden yourself with debt.
+1

I think that you will learn more about what you like and dislike in folders which would allow you to discern your personal optimal bike when you do decide to plop down a load of change.
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Old 08-28-08, 03:26 PM   #17
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+1

I think that you will learn more about what you like and dislike in folders which would allow you to discern your personal optimal bike when you do decide to plop down a load of change.
+1
(from someone with two second-hand folders).
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