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Helix Update?

Old 04-01-24, 09:19 AM
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A Riese & Müller Birdy 3 Touring with 10s derailleur will be faster than the T-line and as fast than Helix but much more comfortable due to its 50mm wide tires and full suspension (it rides also pretty well on unpaved trails, its special front suspension that doesn't dive when braking is excellent).

It folds almost as small than the Brompton (much smaller than a Tern X11), there are multiple possibilities to carry bags on it (full size rear pannier, front low rider, Brompton front bag).
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Old 04-01-24, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
I thought I was being complimentary. The Helix is an amazing bike. I don't recall the exact difference in folded size with a Brompton, but recall looking at that when it first was announced, and I was quite impressed. Innovative design, super compact with almost full size tires, quality, plus titanium, and initially was an amazing price for all that. I just don't know if it will fit standard checked bag size. I had also wondered about rear rack ability but have since seen videos of people pannier touring with one.
Oh, you did nothing wrong. It's just that so much has been discussed in this thread that without reading through it you'll miss all the information and pictures showing size comparisons. I'm not as technical as some of you here, but I do enjoy all the information you guys provide. There's so much to learn here...
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Old 04-01-24, 10:11 PM
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David, what is your motivation(s) for wanting a folder? Don't get me wrong, I'm a folder convert, don't need to fold it often but when I do it's a gamechanger. You've mentioned the poor roads in NYC. There are TONs of bikes that will absorb road shocks and ride better than either the Brompton or Helix. I was just wondering the importance of that, versus folding. Do tell, thanks.
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Old 04-01-24, 10:19 PM
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Duragrouch, I live in a small apartment so the bike has to be stored in the closet when not in use, hence a folder. I would like it to be very lightweight, very fast, easy to fold, compact, comfortable for long journeys (20 miles or so at a time), and used for errands, like grocery shopping. I know, I'm looking for the impossible. I like the idea of having a single tooth 58T chainring in the front. I don't need more than 6 speeds and disc brakes seem overkill on a folding bike. I don't know. Like I said, I only took the Brompton T-Line for a test ride. I'd hate to buy it only to learn down the road that I should've bought a Helix or a Tern Verge X11 or something else.
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Old 04-01-24, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tds101
Oh, you did nothing wrong. It's just that so much has been discussed in this thread that without reading through it you'll miss all the information and pictures showing size comparisons. I'm not as technical as some of you here, but I do enjoy all the information you guys provide. There's so much to learn here...
I agree. Regarding very recent posts, it changes my perception; I had thought the Helix would ride much better than the Brompton, both due to much larger diameter tires, but also thinking the Brompton would be limited in tire width more than the Helix. I don't know about frame clearance on the Brompton for wide tires, but it seems that the selection of 24" tires for the Helix is quite limited. Understandable, given that it's not used for mountain bikes or any racing, given that 507 has been used mostly for juvenile bikes (and I was not aware it was 507, I thought one of the other standards).
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Old 04-01-24, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by davidhunternyc
Duragrouch, I live in a small apartment so the bike has to be stored in the closet when not in use, hence a folder. I would like it to be very lightweight, very fast, easy to fold, compact, comfortable for long journeys (20 miles or so at a time), and used for errands, like grocery shopping. I know, I'm looking for the impossible. I like the idea of having a single tooth 58T chainring in the front. I don't need more than 6 speeds and disc brakes seem overkill on a folding bike. I don't know. Like I said, I only took the Brompton T-Line for a test ride. I'd hate to buy it only to learn down the road that I should've bought a Helix or a Tern Verge X11 or something else.
For this big an investment, it does pay to shop carefully. I didn't do any comparison when I bought my first good new bike, I should have.

If road surfaces are rough and unavoidable, you might want a folder with full suspension.

OK, I understand about tight space. I have a folder, but seldom fold it as it requires removing the panniers. But space is tight, I'm sure tighter than you. I have a 5'x18" table against the wall, I store the bike upright on it to keep it out of the walkway, and it is also my repair table with the bike inverted. Since you would be what I categorize as a "frequent folder", you need a bike conducive to that. My bifold Dahon doesn't really take longer to fold than a Brompton or Helix, it's just a lot more bulky when folded and difficult to carry. I wheel it fully open unfolded through stores, they are understanding of that due to rampant bike theft here now. At grocery store I just carry their hand basket, but at goodwill, they know me, I just put the goods in the panniers and pull out at checkout, then repack. I have front and rear panniers so I can really lug a lot of groceries, plus room to strap down a 6-pack on top of the front rack, and even hang bags over the handlebars if needed. So based on the above:

- Check your closet space versus Brompton and Helix, especially the orientation you want it to fit. You should be able to find exact folded sizes online. But at the same time, if you don't need to carry the folded bike far, you may also want to look at a bifold 20" wheel folder, available for $500 new for decent quality, to begin with. But if you need to carry or wheel the bike folded some distance, sounds like Brompton would win, it does both well. I don't think the Helix wheels well with the tires up against the frame tubes, not certain, and I think it might be heavier, check the specs. And a bifold like my old Dahon Speed 7 doesn't wheel well folded, though I've done it short distances on the ferry, but it requires removing the panniers; I instead pay $1 more and put it unfolded on the car deck.

- Decide your cargo requirements; The Brompton has a low rear rack, I have seen some put panniers on it, but not full-size ones without a tall rack, which destroys the folding design. Most people touring with a Brompton have the extra-large handlebar bag, plus a medium sized (2000-3000 cubic inch) backpack sitting upright on the rear rack and strapped to the seatpost. Helix, there are videos of people touring with them with a folding rear rack, but that needs to be attached and detached with screws, OK for long travel but unusable to do daily, or leave attached without destroying the folding ability, just like a Brompton (both have "swinging" rear triangles). That is one of the few upsides of my Dahon Speed, because it bifolds, the rack stays on top and I can fold the bike with it in place, even with my tall (large wheel) rack to hold full-size panniers. Dahon no longer makes the Speed model, the Mariner is same size folded but is a *terrible* deal now, the price doubled, but there are other comparable bifold 20" wheel bikes at half that price now. But for folded size comparison, you can use Dahon Mariner dimensions. I think I'll include some pics of my folder so you have an idea.

In use (notice the additional shopping bag hung from the aero bars, and rear rack and panniers well aft for heel clearance, and double crank which I added (not standard)), and folded on the train; I can easily do 20 miles on the bike and longer, key is that I have the size issues really dialed in, multiple hand positions plus aero bars, etc. Ride quality is not ideal, I need to put larger 2" section tires on it to improve that.



Last edited by Duragrouch; 04-01-24 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 04-01-24, 11:50 PM
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About the rear rack:
- On the Brompton, the rear rack use is very limited because anything wider than the rack will be hit with the heels while pedaling, so its not compatible with rear pannier. The rear rack slightly increases the folded height. But the front block is a great solution to carry things, it allow to carry a 30l/10kg max bag without influence on the steering.
- On the Helix we don't know yet. There are video showing Helix with two very different rear rack, we don't know what will the commercialized rear rack be, we don't know if it must be removed to fold the bike, we don't know if it will increase the folded size?
- On the Birdy: its the best available rear rack on a folding bike because it is fully compatible with full size rear pannier (for instance from Vaude and Ortlieb) without risk to hit them with the heels while pedaling and the rear rack automatically folds when folding the rear swing arm without increasing the folded size and its specified for 20kg.
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Old 04-02-24, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
About the rear rack:
- On the Brompton, the rear rack use is very limited because anything wider than the rack will be hit with the heels while pedaling, so its not compatible with rear pannier. The rear rack slightly increases the folded height. But the front block is a great solution to carry things, it allow to carry a 30l/10kg max bag without influence on the steering.
- On the Helix we don't know yet. There are video showing Helix with two very different rear rack, we don't know what will the commercialized rear rack be, we don't know if it must be removed to fold the bike, we don't know if it will increase the folded size?
- On the Birdy: its the best available rear rack on a folding bike because it is fully compatible with full size rear pannier (for instance from Vaude and Ortlieb) without risk to hit them with the heels while pedaling and the rear rack automatically folds when folding the rear swing arm without increasing the folded size and its specified for 20kg.
I thought about you and the Birdy when I wrote the above, both the automatically folding rack, and suspension. It doesn't fold as small as a Brompton, but quite a bit smaller than my bifold 20". I'm not a fan of the b@stard-size 355 wheels versus 6mm-smaller 349 (Really guys? The 3mm radius matters?), but according to Sheldon Brown, it has wider tire options available, if they'll fit on a Birdy. I'd like to ride one if given the opportunity (I haven't even ridden a Brompton, and they are commonly available in my city).
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Old 04-02-24, 12:46 AM
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I agree with you, these two very close wheel sizes is a stupidity.

But its like that and the problem is that ETRTO349 was a Brompton size still mainly used on the Brompton which is limited to about 37mm tire width (it seems that 40mm would fit on the T-line?), so with the exception of the 40x349 Greenspeed Scorcher (and Tru Blu), there are no tires wider than 37mm in ETRTO349.

In ETRTO355, there are wide tires (ETRTO355 is also a BMX wheel size), and the Birdy is factory equipped with 50x355 tires that fits with mudguards installed (the Birdy Rohloff is factory equipped with mudguards and Big Apple 50x355).

There is another folding bike with a folding rack for full size rear pannier + Brompton compatible front block: the Vellobike but the rack must be manually folded (which easily done without any tools). But its folds bigger than the Birdy.
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Old 04-02-24, 01:18 AM
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(above) Yes, that's what I was trying to imply; From sheldon brown chart, no wide options in 349, several for 355, including 2.125.
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Old 04-02-24, 04:00 AM
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Also wider MTB tires like the Vee Tire Co Crown Gem 57x355.

Several BMX tires in 55x355 (the problem as always with BMX tires is the level of puncture protection).
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Old 04-02-24, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
About the rear rack:
- On the Brompton, the rear rack use is very limited because anything wider than the rack will be hit with the heels while pedaling, so its not compatible with rear pannier. The rear rack slightly increases the folded height. But the front block is a great solution to carry things, it allow to carry a 30l/10kg max bag without influence on the steering..
I am glad not to be a newbie here to gain information. First of anything on the rack that is wider should be fastened back where the straps attach. That way, you're less likely to have heel strike. The importance of the rack for the Brompton is a platform to roll it on. The wheels that it rolls on are small and this makes it very maneuverable. Yes, you could roll it on the two micro wheels it comes with that attach to the frame, but it does not roll nearly as well as with a rack. You can put a cover over it and take the seat off, and it appears to world like normal luggage, using the seat tube to roll it around. I modified my rear rack and the whole thing becomes a foldable shopping cart. I plan to modify the bike in my old age so I can use it as a walker.
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Old 04-02-24, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
I am glad not to be a newbie here to gain information. First of anything on the rack that is wider should be fastened back where the straps attach. That way, you're less likely to have heel strike. The importance of the rack for the Brompton is a platform to roll it on. The wheels that it rolls on are small and this makes it very maneuverable. Yes, you could roll it on the two micro wheels it comes with that attach to the frame, but it does not roll nearly as well as with a rack. You can put a cover over it and take the seat off, and it appears to world like normal luggage, using the seat tube to roll it around. I modified my rear rack and the whole thing becomes a foldable shopping cart. I plan to modify the bike in my old age so I can use it as a walker.
Agreed. I carry my work's stuff on B's rear rack year round. The rear bag I use became so dominant that I continue to use it when riding another bike. My B's rear rack is modified to give the folded state even one more direction of maneuverability, like a suitcase, which is particularly useful around travel facilities.
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Old 04-02-24, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
I think I asked already but:
That is the load you carry front and back?
(in KG or lb)
Front bag: 10kg but its possible to put more.

Rear, I don't know, never loaded the rear heavily.
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Old 04-02-24, 03:38 PM
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I have a Tern Verge X11 and a Helix Ultralight. I also tried the T-Line.
T-Line: I did not enjoy my ride. The shifting gears seemed cheap and I don't like the proprietary parts. However, it's the most compact folder. A must if you have to take the bus (but why would you if you have a bike?).
Verge X11: The best ride, the best performance. It folds quickly, but in a V shape (I found it too wide sometimes on a packed train). Moreover, it does not roll folded. Sure, there's a magnet but it's not strong enough and the wheels come quickly apart. There are a lot of accessories (Klickfix). The wheels are very thin (28-451) so not a good thing when it rains. I installed the mudguards for these wheels. I think I can use wider wheels but I would have to remove the mudguards. I want to keep the original wheels as they are part of the performance.
Helix Ultralight: A great compromise but with some disadvantages. It rides great, its fold is amazing (very compact), it rolls folded, it's light. The choice of wheels is indeed limited. It would have been great if you could use 1.75" tires. The other problem is the lack of accessories. If they manage to release mudguards and other accessories this year, this will be a big step forward for this small company. I use removable (rollable) mudguards, they do the job but Helix mudguards will be far better. It's a great bike.
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Old 04-03-24, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
I think I asked already but:
That is the load you carry front and back?
(in KG or lb)
Gosh I don't even remember saying the quote that you quoted, and can't even find it on this thread.

I don't know the specific load front and back. The new bike with original steel low rear rack and fenders was I think 28 lbs. Currently in daily configuration, with front and rear racks and panniers empty but for couple pounds of backup warm clothes in rear, trunk bag full of tools/lights/spares, spare bottle of water, aero bars, bar-ends, heavy brake levers (solid and not U-section because L-shaped to reach on bar-ends, so need torsional stiffness), 2X crank and FD, the bike is 55 lbs. And again, that's mostly empty. Heavier with full load of groceries or clothes on a trip.
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Old 04-03-24, 12:48 AM
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Hrodwolf, Helix rolls folded? A surprise but great. I thought with the tires on each side of the frame tubes, they might rub there.
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Old 04-03-24, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Hrodwolf, Helix rolls folded? A surprise but great. I thought with the tires on each side of the frame tubes, they might rub there.
Yes, you have to tilt the bike and roll on the left wheel. It works fine, you can roll it easily between several close shops or on a "long" distance.
They released recently new rolling wheels and someone said that the Helix rolls now like a Brompton (without the need to tilt it).
​​The new rolling wheels are standard now.
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Old 04-03-24, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Hrodwolf
Yes, you have to tilt the bike and roll on the left wheel. It works fine, you can roll it easily between several close shops or on a "long" distance.
They released recently new rolling wheels and someone said that the Helix rolls now like a Brompton (without the need to tilt it).
​​The new rolling wheels are standard now.
Thanks. Well that makes sense, given they are both swinging rear triangles.

Darned shame that tire selection is limited in 24"/507, I would not have guessed, that size being around many decades.
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Old 04-03-24, 03:54 AM
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ETRTO507 (there are several other 24" sizes, ETRTO520, ETRTO540) was a BMX wheel size. There are plenty of tires but most of them are wide tires 50mm or wider.

Helix made a wrong decision when they decided to design a frame for ETRTO507 wheels with a max width of about 40mm.

Availability of high performances tires (not only low rolling resistance but this together with good grip, good puncture resistance, long lasting) is a key factor for any bicycle, there are none for Helix, only low end tires.

Helix is struggling with tires choice since almost the beginning of the project, well before any Helix bike was delivered.

The project was supposed to deliver a lighter (because of the titanium frame), smaller, safer, cheaper bike than any existing folding bike. The project failed in all of these 4 aspects:
- The helix frame is heavy because if its complex folding mechanism. Titanium didn't help. As consequence, even with lightweight components, the complete bike is not really lightweight.
- Its not smaller than a Brompton or Dahon Curl.
- Its not safer, no difference in safety compared to other folding bikes.
- Its not cheap, Helix could never reach its target manufacturing price. It costs more than twice its target price.
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Old 04-03-24, 01:14 PM
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I wouldn't be so harsh.
- The helix frame is heavy because if its complex folding mechanism. Titanium didn't help. As consequence, even with lightweight components, the complete bike is not really lightweight..
It's not heavy. It's a 24" bike, 1 kg heavier than a 16" T-line, 1 kg lighter than a 20" X11.
From a practical point of view, it's light. I can easily carry my Helix up and down stairs (at the station). Some people with ebikes take the lift.
- Its not smaller than a Brompton or Dahon Curl.
It's because of the size of the wheels. I would have chosen 20" tyres. It would have made more sense, although maybe the ride would have been less comfortable.
- Its not cheap, Helix could never reach its target manufacturing price. It costs more than twice its target price.
I don't know Helix's history or business plan but the Ultralight is still 1-1,5K€ cheaper than a T-line. Titanium is expensive and requires more expertise than steel/aluminum. I don't see how you can plan to market a cheap bike with titanium.

The good news is that they're still in business, which wasn't a given.
Sure, it would be great if they redesigned or released new models (20" with 1.75+ tires) but it's kind of a boutique. They do redesign (rolling wheels, seatpost) but at a slow pace.
If I was a billionaire, I would invest in the company. They offer an alternative and that alternative is amazing. They can build on that success.

With e-bikes being all the rage and where the money is being made, there's not a lot of choice for commuting mechanical folding bikes: Brompton, Birdy (for touring and if you search well), Btwin Fold Light 1s (much cheaper, well designed but cheaply assembled and ridden with QA problems; I almost bought one but the reviews from buyers put me off), Tern, Dahon. And Helix of course.
As always, you have to make compromises by considering what the main purpose of the bike is and carefully listing your requirements.
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Old 04-03-24, 01:51 PM
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I would like to compare the differences, advantages, and weaknesses of the Tern Verge X11 vs. the Helix Ultralight. If you own either one of these bikes or have had experience riding them, your insights are invaluable.

I'm on the fence between getting a Brompton T-Line, X11, or Helix. I test rode the T-Line and I want to leave it out of the conversation here. In terms of speed and comfort, the X11 and Helix have more in common with each other than the T-Line.

Between the X11 and Helix, which bike do you think is better and why? The X11 has been around for a while and servicing and repairability won't be an issue. The Helix is newer, is all titanium, and perhaps has better, more advanced engineering.

The Tern seems unwieldy to fold, with weak magnets that easily separate and a small awkward strap to hold it together. Is the fold on the Helix better?

Aesthetically, I hate the cheesy graphics on the X11. The Helix is stealthy and ergonomic. No paint to chip. Without a doubt, I prefer the looks of the Helix but I can't confuse looks for efficiency, repairability, speed, comfort, and ergonomic superiority. Perhaps the X11 is better in these other areas?

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Old 04-03-24, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Hrodwolf
I wouldn't be so harsh.

It's not heavy. It's a 24" bike, 1 kg heavier than a 16" T-line, 1 kg lighter than a 20" X11.
From a practical point of view, it's light. I can easily carry my Helix up and down stairs (at the station). Some people with ebikes take the lift.

It's because of the size of the wheels. I would have chosen 20" tyres. It would have made more sense, although maybe the ride would have been less comfortable.

I don't know Helix's history or business plan but the Ultralight is still 1-1,5K€ cheaper than a T-line. Titanium is expensive and requires more expertise than steel/aluminum. I don't see how you can plan to market a cheap bike with titanium.

The good news is that they're still in business, which wasn't a given.
Sure, it would be great if they redesigned or released new models (20" with 1.75+ tires) but it's kind of a boutique. They do redesign (rolling wheels, seatpost) but at a slow pace.
If I was a billionaire, I would invest in the company. They offer an alternative and that alternative is amazing. They can build on that success.

With e-bikes being all the rage and where the money is being made, there's not a lot of choice for commuting mechanical folding bikes: Brompton, Birdy (for touring and if you search well), Btwin Fold Light 1s (much cheaper, well designed but cheaply assembled and ridden with QA problems; I almost bought one but the reviews from buyers put me off), Tern, Dahon. And Helix of course.
As always, you have to make compromises by considering what the main purpose of the bike is and carefully listing your requirements.
I just got an email from Brompton re. the new T-Line 12-sp. It's listed at US$5,850, min. weight 17.64 pounds. Helix Ultralite 11-sp is US$4,490 and 20.3 pounds (NB presuming it ever ships).

So, ballparkish on both numbers and obviously very different approaches to folding mechanics. I would reflexively go with the larger wheels but I'm in Helix limbo like other "investors" and remain very grumpy about my virtual bike.
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Old 04-03-24, 03:36 PM
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The use of a BWR IGH (heavy, low efficiency, slow gear changes, inertia...) on the T-line is a nonsense!

This bike should have a real 11s cassette + real derailleur just like Helix.

For the frame of Helix, 1kg more is a lot, the bigger wheel size has an influence on the folded size and on the wheel weight but has no influence on the frame weight because the wheelbase and frame sizes are similar whatever the wheel size.

For the price, Helix is sold online only by its manufacturer, there are no resellers, no after sale support other than the factory located in Canada. Its not comparable with Brompton that has a worldwide network of resellers providing after sale support, warranty, maintenance, spare parts...

Depending were you live, there are taxes to add to the price of Helix.

Last edited by Jipe; 04-03-24 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 04-03-24, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick_D
...but I'm in Helix limbo like other "investors" and remain very grumpy about my virtual bike.
What? Were you an early kickstarter investor who didn't get a bike yet? What do you mean by virtual bike?

Originally Posted by Jipe
For the price, Helix is sold online only by its manufacturer, there are no resellers, no after sale support other than the factory located in Canada. Its not comparable with Brompton that has a worldwide network of resellers providing after sale support, warranty, maintenance, spare parts...
This is a real negative for the Helix but it's the same for e-bikes too. Who will service and fix them when the break? I live in a tiny apartment. I wouldn't have the tools nor knowhow to fix a Helix. With a Brompton or a Tern, there are bike shops that will service them. Still, I love the Helix.
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