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Helix Update?

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Old 08-13-18, 05:17 AM
  #1201  
Lalato
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I don't know if there is a large or even medium pent up market for Helix bikes. I can only speak for myself in this regard. If he somehow pulls off making a full-sized titanium folding bike in Canada with quality components at a market beating price, well, I would definitely be willing to give it a test ride. If that bike rides better than my Bike Friday, I would be more than happy to part with my hard earned money for it.
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Old 08-13-18, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
No need to be so aggressive. I think you probably already know the answers to your questions, so I'm not going to bother other than to say I'm assuming they'll want to be selling into the US market.
Avole, don't mean to seem aggressive. Having re-read i can see how my post came across so. "Do you know something about the final pricing that the rest of us don't?" was definitely snarky. I apologise.

I am genuinely interested in where people see Helix competing in a market of niches and I really have little concept of the players in the US.

On tariffs, I don't think anything right now is driving costs up? Stand to be corrected. Agree there is a general risk that a trade war/canning of NAFTA could introduce additional tariffs that increase the price to market of Helix in the US if not cost of production.

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Old 08-13-18, 01:00 PM
  #1203  
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Posted on a Facebook page for Brompton owners:

A: "Why do you want a new B?"
T: "Well I wanted 2 folding bikes (his and her). Iíve been waiting 3 years for the 2x Helix titanium
bikes which I donít believe Iíll ever receive. so life goes on and i will be buying another brompton"
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Old 08-13-18, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
As you say, the real dynamic of the bike market growth is Ebike, not folders or any other type of bike.

There is a big demand and no fully valid offer for a folding Ebike not for a premium folding bike and actually until a test ride proves it, Helix has no proven advantage compared to a Brompton. The bigger wheel size is not sufficient to provide better performances but will surely increase the weight and as we know from other kickstarter project the announced weight may be wrong.

Imagine you are a multimodall commuter, what would Helix bring compared to a Brompton ? Brompton is smaller folded, ride very well and has a lot of practical advantages (it is fully equipped with mudguards, hub dynamo lights and a full range of bags and other accessories). Those people do not care about having a titanium frame, this is something for high end bike geeks, not for dally commuters.
And so, even if Helix is a very good bike, it will remain a niche market for beautiful high end bike lovers.

About the growth of the folding bike market, note that Brompton CEO promises for growth (when Brompton moved to its new, much bigger, factory) didn't happen and Brompton has a real brand name and is cheaper than what can be expected from Helix.
Interested in data from those who really know the market but based on a bit of reading (light googling, i stopped well short of paying for research reports like https://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/pressrelease/folding-bikes-market.htm) there should be solid growth over the next 5 to 10 years in the premium folder market.

Ti aside, considered purely on spec, I think it is a relatively attractive proposition for affluent urban comuters, offering a new sweet spot in the standard folder trade-offs of weight, folded size, ease of fold and maneuver whilst folded (all of which compare well with a Brompton give or take), 'speed' and normal ride feel (i think 24" vs 16" wheels makes a big diference on both, and opens up the appeal of Helix to those who might currently go for a non-folding hybrid).

On spec - As you say, this remains to be proven in practice. The production sample certainly looks promising.

I think people get hung up on Helix being uber high end on account of the titanium. I see the material not as a feature in itself, nice though it is, but a means of realising the design at a lower weight than otherwise acheivable thereby maximising that sweet spot. In theory extensive automation and innovative techniques will mitigate many of the factors driving the traditionally high cost of titanium frames. Again, how much, remains to be seen.

If the Helix ends up being a top-end enthusiast's option I think it will be on account of pricing rather than the balance of features. Based on KS and pre-order pricing we can probably guess where they were aiming pricewise, putting it perhaps in the ballpark of fully laden, top end Bromptons, Birdy, some Tern Verges, some higher end Airnimals etc. Whether they can hit that target given actual manufacturing and operating costs remains to be seen. Many have speculated that the KS pricing was grossly under-egged. We will find out soon enough.

With regards to practicalities, these are all options Helix can offer similar for and nothing stops Brompton luggage being used with appropriate mounts if that is your bag (lame gag, i know, but couldn't resist). It is of course a cost factor in like for like comparison.

I am a multimodal comuter and have comuted using road bikes, docked and dockless bike shares and roller blades.

I continue to use bike share schemes but i generally prefer to comute on my own bike. It is always on hand, door to door, set up for me, light, quick, aesthetically pleasing, sports clipless pedals and even forms part of my sense of identity.

I do chafe at the downsides of a bike for this use case of course. Space, theives, train restrictions, can't take it on buses and in taxis so if if i cycle there, i have to cycle back come rain, beer, aging knees or social plans.

Folders of course mitigate many of these issues and i looked at many of the options there. The compromise on light and quick with the addition of, to me, a squirrely ride has always put me off the Brommie. Options which mitigate these considerations are compromised in speed of fold, partial dismantling requirements and/or folded size.

I hope Helix will hit a sweet spot for me and have been happy to take a flyer on it. Among backers, i'm not alone. I hope, for Helix's sake, that among commuters in general, we are not alone .

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Old 08-13-18, 03:08 PM
  #1205  
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
Posted on a Facebook page for Brompton owners:

A: "Why do you want a new B?"
T: "Well I wanted 2 folding bikes (his and her). Iíve been waiting 3 years for the 2x Helix titanium
bikes which I donít believe Iíll ever receive. so life goes on and i will be buying another brompton"
Amongst backers, this person is not alone either
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Old 08-13-18, 03:38 PM
  #1206  
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Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
i think 24" vs 16" wheels makes a big diference on both, and opens up the appeal of Helix to those who might currently go for a non-folding hybrid).
Having owned and used bikes with several wheel size, as long as you ride on roads, no off road, I am not convinced of that at all, what makes the difference is tires.

It is the problem of the Brompton, no high end high performances road tires in ETRTO 349 and the same is valid for ETRTO 507. While there are high performances tires in ETRTO 406.

Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
I think people get hung up on Helix being uber high end on account of the titanium. I see the material not as a feature in itself, nice though it is, but a means of realising the design at a lower weight than otherwise acheivable thereby maximising that sweet spot. In theory extensive automation and innovative techniques will mitigate many of the factors driving the traditionally high cost of titanium frames. Again, how much, remains to be seen.
This was true some years ago, but nowadays, stainless steel provides better lightweight bike frames than titanium without the manufacturing complexity and risk of failure due to corrosion if the welding wasn't done in a fully inert atmosphere..
But, it is also an expensive material, actually more expensive than titanium because there is no possibility ton find cheap high end stainless steel while it is possible to find cheap titanium.

Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
With regards to practicalities, these are all options Helix can offer similar for and nothing stops Brompton luggage being used with appropriate mounts
The front bag on the frame steering tube is what makes the Brompton so easy to use and the type of fork of the Helix doesn't allow to mount a bag on the steering tube.

Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
I am a multimodal comuter and have comuted using road bikes, docked and dockless bike shares and roller blades.

I continue to use bike share schemes but i generally prefer to comute on my own bike. It is always on hand, door to door, set up for me, light, quick, aesthetically pleasing, sports clipless pedals and even forms part of my sense of identity.

I do chafe at the downsides of a bike for this use case of course. Space, theives, train restrictions, can't take it on buses and in taxis so if if i cycle there, i have to cycle back come rain, beer, aging knees or social plans.

Folders of course mitigate many of these issues and i looked at many of the options there. The compromise on light and quick with the addition of, to me, a squirrely ride has always put me off the Brommie
Actually, the Brompton is perfectly stable.

What you call "squirrely ride" is due to small wheels but doesn't impact the stability of the bike and make the bike much more pleasant to use than a big wheel; bike once you are used to (I had the same feeling the first time I rode a Brompton). The Moulton that has a similar behavior, is also perfectly stable and is very fast. It would be the perfect commuter if it was a folding bike.
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Old 08-13-18, 04:34 PM
  #1207  
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Thanks Jipe. Interesting points. Maybe i should give a Brompton more time. I don't have much experience of riding smaller wheeled bikes so your insight is appreciated. I guess with lower weight and radius smaller wheels are easier to accelerate, an advantage in stop start riding. Larger wheels take more to get going but maintain more momentum and provide more stability (relatively) at speed?

The relative lack of top notch tire choice in ETRTO 507 is a downer.

Are SS frames not still heavier than Ti equivalents?

Helix does have mounting points on the steering tube and we've seen a design for a universal mount that appears to allow full steerage inspite of the fork design. Clever fender and rack designs too which work with the fold. Designs only so far.
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Old 08-14-18, 02:40 PM
  #1208  
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Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
Thanks Jipe. Interesting points. Maybe i should give a Brompton more time. I don't have much experience of riding smaller wheeled bikes so your insight is appreciated. I guess with lower weight and radius smaller wheels are easier to accelerate, an advantage in stop start riding. Larger wheels take more to get going but maintain more momentum and provide more stability (relatively) at speed?
Yes, the small wheel have less momentum and accelerate quicker what make small wheeled bile pleasant and fun to ride once you are used tto ride them. If the frame design is good, the bike is stable. Big wheels is not a warranty for a stable frame, there are full size wheels race bike that aren't very stable too,
The limitations of the Brompton is its obsolete transmission and several poor/low end components but this can be solved wit some $$$.

Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
The relative lack of top notch tire choice in ETRTO 507 is a downer.
Its the road tires that are missing in ETRTO 507. There are actually several 24" sizes. The road bike 24" size is ETRTO 520 but there are few tires available in that size

Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
Are SS frames not still heavier than Ti equivalents?
Frames in Ti and frames in Columbus Xcr or Reynolds 953 have more or less the same weight. The actual weight depends of the frame behavior, Ti soft, flexible frames can weight a little less, stiffer Ti frames weight slightly more and/or need grade 4 titanium which is more expensive and even more difficult to manufacture.

Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
Helix does have mounting points on the steering tube and we've seen a design for a universal mount that appears to allow full steerage inspite of the fork design. Clever fender and rack designs too which work with the fold. Designs only so far.
The Helix has a kind of Lefty fork, the single tube will hit the front bag mounting block if it is mounted on the frame like on the Brompton (and some Bike Friday and some Tyrell). The only possibility seems to me to mount a front bag on the handlebar (like several KlickFix bags) but with such a solution the bag influence the steering and the weight of the bag must remain very low. But if you can show pictures of the solution proposed by Helix, I would be interested to see them.
Fenders and rear rack are surely possible but they must be specifically designed for Helix.
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Old 08-14-18, 03:54 PM
  #1209  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The Helix has a kind of Lefty fork, the single tube will hit the front bag mounting block if it is mounted on the frame like on the Brompton (and some Bike Friday and some Tyrell). The only possibility seems to me to mount a front bag on the handlebar (like several KlickFix bags) but with such a solution the bag influence the steering and the weight of the bag must remain very low. But if you can show pictures of the solution proposed by Helix, I would be interested to see them.
Unfortunately, honour bound not to share the photos. I can assure you though that the mount (not a block) attaches to the frame like a Brompton and is designed so as not impede the fork tube. It is a simple and elegant solution.

Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
Fenders and rear rack are surely possible but they must be specifically designed for Helix.
The designs are Helix specific with dedicated fittings on fork and frame. Fenders look good in photo. I wonder about safety release mechanism in the event of something jamming between the front wheel and fender. Also is a very close fit and i wonder how well clearance will be maintained over time.

Only seen the rack as a rendering. Folds very neatly with the bike. Don't know how robust it will be.

Will defo get the fenders when available, assuming a more detailed view is presented and passes muster. Probably the rack too.
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Old 08-15-18, 04:01 AM
  #1210  
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Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
Unfortunately, honour bound not to share the photos. I can assure you though that the mount (not a block) attaches to the frame like a Brompton and is designed so as not impede the fork tube. It is a simple and elegant solution.
OK, let see it when/if it become available.

Is it made for proprietary Helis bags or will it use Brompton bags ?

Is the maximum allowed weight specified ?
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Old 08-15-18, 01:21 PM
  #1211  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
Is it made for proprietary Helis bags or will it use Brompton bags ?

Is the maximum allowed weight specified ?
Helix haven't shared specs on accessories yet. From the photos, the mount is not designed for Brompton bags. It is billed as the Universal Mount and looks like it will lend itself to an adapter easily enough though if someone cares bring one to market.
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Old 08-20-18, 11:07 PM
  #1212  
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Sorry did I miss any update from this weekend? Lots of Bromtpon talk lol...
I saw a pair of new bromptons this weekend what is a rare sight in western Canada!
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Old 08-21-18, 07:33 AM
  #1213  
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Originally Posted by unclejemima View Post
Sorry did I miss any update from this weekend? Lots of Bromtpon talk lol...
I saw a pair of new bromptons this weekend what is a rare sight in western Canada!
I feel I should jump in here and give you that update right now, as a public service:
Everything is going according to plan, and bikes will be delivered soon. There is just a slight delay, which is the fault of subcontractors. Stay tuned for the next update!
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Old 08-21-18, 10:38 AM
  #1214  
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I'll add that Helix has a couple new pieces of equipment to speed production.
Interestingly, one is an automatic screw machine. They're an old mechanical
technology. (I have one that's over 100 years old.) But they're still very efficient
for simple turned parts....more cost effective than CNC.
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Old 08-21-18, 10:58 AM
  #1215  
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Am I smooth, or what?
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Old 08-21-18, 12:55 PM
  #1216  
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Small wheels require an adjustment in terms of time. When I switched from 700c to 20", I thought the bike was squirrely at first. Then, when I switched from 20" to 16", I had the same experience (although I did adapt faster). What starts out as squirrely becomes "nimble" and "responsive" once you are used to it. I wouldn't go back to larger wheels - they now feel cumbersome and heavy. Btw, I think my BF Pakit with titanium seatmast and stem mast and steel frame is the perfect combo of rigid and flex. No need for thudbusters even with the 16" wheels. I will be curious to see if a fully titanium bike feels too flexy...


Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
Thanks Jipe. Interesting points. Maybe i should give a Brompton more time. I don't have much experience of riding smaller wheeled bikes so your insight is appreciated. I guess with lower weight and radius smaller wheels are easier to accelerate, an advantage in stop start riding. Larger wheels take more to get going but maintain more momentum and provide more stability (relatively) at speed?

The relative lack of top notch tire choice in ETRTO 507 is a downer.

Are SS frames not still heavier than Ti equivalents?

Helix does have mounting points on the steering tube and we've seen a design for a universal mount that appears to allow full steerage inspite of the fork design. Clever fender and rack designs too which work with the fold. Designs only so far.
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Old 08-22-18, 08:21 AM
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When testing bikes, I found the 20" wheels on the Tern Verge X10 (which I bought) were quite reasonable, but the 16" wheels on a Brompton were a touch too small. However, small wheels are quite nice for riding around town, and as linberl says, twitchy really feels responsive in the right setting. Larger wheels are just a lot better for handling rougher terrain, and even just pot holes in the road. I've hit a couple of huge pot holes while riding at night on my Verge, and although I didn't come off, it did not feel good. Having said that I've also tried riding down a mountain on it (following the trail, I'm not totally insane) and it was surprisingly managable since I was able to see what I was doing and was careful. Still, I am really looking forward to riding something with larger wheels again.
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Old 08-22-18, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wesgreen View Post
Am I smooth, or what?
Ahem,...it's "smoove",...LOL!!!
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Old 08-22-18, 06:28 PM
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I stand corrected, thanks.
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Old 08-26-18, 04:33 PM
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I like to use bullhorns for commuting but have been struggling with how to reconcile these with an efficient fold on the Helix.

Perhaps fitting some kind of quick release mechanism to the stem face bolts to allow easy rotation of bull bars down to align with the steerer tube before folding. This would minimally impact the folded size. There doesn't seem to be anything commercially available and any such solution would have to be jerry rigged. The Tern Andros stem might work with a T adaptor for the steerer.

Otherwise, Billibars could be the answer if they become commercially available. Would need to find a way to stow the removed bars on the bike though.

Adjustable angle riser stems are limited (max 60 deg each way) which is probably not sufficient.

Thoughts appreciated if anyone has experience of tidying away bullhorns on a folder.
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Old 08-26-18, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MrFlamey View Post
When testing bikes, I found the 20" wheels on the Tern Verge X10 (which I bought) were quite reasonable, but the 16" wheels on a Brompton were a touch too small. However, small wheels are quite nice for riding around town, and as linberl says, twitchy really feels responsive in the right setting. Larger wheels are just a lot better for handling rougher terrain, and even just pot holes in the road. I've hit a couple of huge pot holes while riding at night on my Verge, and although I didn't come off, it did not feel good. Having said that I've also tried riding down a mountain on it (following the trail, I'm not totally insane) and it was surprisingly managable since I was able to see what I was doing and was careful. Still, I am really looking forward to riding something with larger wheels again.
349 is also high pressure. Compare with 305 and 355, both of which offer bigger volume tires that can be run at lower pressure. As I've argued before, the 'cush' factor is innthe first instance a function of r8m size, carcass volume and pressure.
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Old 08-26-18, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wesgreen View Post
Everything is going according to plan, and bikes will be delivered soon.
The plan was to deliver bicycles to backers in early 2016.
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Old 08-27-18, 11:47 AM
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thoughts

I have been following this forum for such a long time now I thought I would post my thoughts. I had been in touch with Peter during the campaign and question if the bikes would be ready in August Ď15 as I has a trip to Europe planned and wanted the folding bike. After much pondering I opted to buy a Brompton. I have been reading lots of comments here regarding them of late. While the fullsize wheel of the Helix grabbed my attention, I wasnít sure if the completion of it would meet my timeline. Since then my Brompton has travelled to Europe about 6 times and is perfect for the kind of riding I am doing. I am still wanting to hear about the Helix deployments and hope everyone gets them soon.
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Old 08-27-18, 01:53 PM
  #1224  
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My only comment is Helix bikes will not use a full size wheel but an odd size 24 inch wheel. Roger
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Old 08-29-18, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
My only comment is Helix bikes will not use a full size wheel but an odd size 24 inch wheel. Roger
Yeah, I don't mind the size, but the lack of tyre options is a bummer. Just checking now on Amazon for 24x1.5 inch tyres reveals very few results, so getting replacements should be a pain in the butt. 24x1.75 seem to be far more plentiful, but I don't think they fit
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