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Helix Update?

Old 11-03-19, 11:54 PM
  #2251  
Joe Remi
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
I still look in here from time to time to check out what the news is on Helix.

I sooo hate to admit it, but you were right Joe.
Eh, it's not like it's fun. I remember saying several times I hope I'm wrong, and I was wrong about the bikes ever being built. At least the early adopters got them at the low prices.
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Old 11-04-19, 02:14 AM
  #2252  
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Originally Posted by mlau View Post

1. Will the company be around if stuff breaks?
2. Does the bike fit me?
3. What accessories are available? Grocery/commuting bags?

After having the brompton for a while, I love the freedom of a folding bike. It's a bike that truly disappears when you don't need it, but does everything a utility bike would need.

However, brompton's don't ride that great. On Oakland potholes and cracks, you could seriously get hurt... not to mention some badly maintained streets in SF. As I get older, I want less stuff... just higher quality.
1. Will the company be around if stuff breaks?
I think that's everybody's concerns for both current and potential Helix users.

2. Does the bike fit me?
Most likely. I'm 5'11". There is some latitude. Certainly, it's not any worse than trying to fit my Brompton.

3. What accessories are available? Grocery/commuting bags?
Not really anything to date. For my Helix, I have a handlebar bag that works great for smaller items like tools, etc.; a clip on water bottle holder that works great; and a clip on seat post rear rack. Can't sling a pannier on it; then again, that isn't the best option for a Brompton either.

The one thing the Brompton has going for it is its front mounting block, and I can stuff most (not all) of what I need into my Brompton front bag. Mind you, if it's that fully loaded, the Brompton doesn't ride the best either. So, it's a bit of toss up - the Brompton has an edge over the Helix for practical scenarios, but it's not as great of a difference as you might think.

After having the brompton for a while, I love the freedom of a folding bike. It's a bike that truly disappears when you don't need it, but does everything a utility bike would need. However, brompton's don't ride that great. On Oakland potholes and cracks, you could seriously get hurt... not to mention some badly maintained streets in SF.

There have been a number of criticisms about the Helix, its Ti frame, lack of suspension, etc. It rides fine. Sure, a little more suspension would be nice, but I'm not planning on going on single track trails regularly on this (although it would likely hold up far better than a Brompton and most folders). And as with almost every folder, it's a trade off. The best suspension folders probably aren't the lightest or fold up the smallest. The smallest folders don't have the handling for rough rides. It's about getting the best compromise. The Helix doesn't ride as compliant as, say, my full size Rivendell steel frame, but it handles noticeably better than my Brompton on rough roads so the chance of a spill is I would say far less.

As I get older, I want less stuff... just higher quality
Very true.
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Old 11-04-19, 02:27 AM
  #2253  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
These are indeed the biggest concern about Helix. Helix uses several proprietary parts, if the company disappear there are no replacements for those parts. But this is normal with a KS project product and its not a problem on the short term.

But the two points are really problematic for the current Helix user/buyer.

Helix is a single size bike, only the seat post and saddle position are adjustable, there is only on size of frame, one type of stem and one type of handlebar.
From the bike size information seen on the KS page (are these valid for the production Helix ?), it seems to me that Helix is made for people up to 1m75 maybe 1m80. Taller people will have problem. Changing the handlebar will probably help but will cause problems when folding the bike
Actually, I think that Helix has the same problem as the Tyrell bikes because the size of Helix is similar to the size of most Tyrell models.

The second point is indeed the accessories for Helix: at this point there are no specific accessories at all. Specific accessories (especially bags) is what makes the Brompton so user friendly.

Last point the poor performances if the Brompton on bad roads, even worse on cobbles, potholes... This is indeed the biggest weak point of the Brompton.

Having also two Moulton and a Birdy which is are full suspension bikes that ave no problem on very bad roads and a non suspended 28x622 wheels titanium frame bike that doesn't like bad roads, I can tell that the wheel size is not the problem,
The problem is the lack of front suspension and good rear suspension and the lack of wide low pressure tires.

Helix has no suspension at all, has a single arm very rigid fork and uses relatively narrow and high pressure tires.
So I think that even with bigger wheels than the Brompton the Helix performances and comfort on bad roads won't be great.
Helix is a single size bike, only the seat post and saddle position are adjustable, there is only on size of frame, one type of stem and one type of handlebar.
From the bike size information seen on the KS page (are these valid for the production Helix ?), it seems to me that Helix is made for people up to 1m75 maybe 1m80. Taller people will have problem. Changing the handlebar will probably help but will cause problems when folding the bike
Actually, I think that Helix has the same problem as the Tyrell bikes because the size of Helix is similar to the size of most Tyrell models.

I'm almost 6'. The fit is reasonable, and the seat post is not at full extension either. There is still some latitude in the seat, and yes, you could swap out the handles. Looking at the fold, a different handlebar is unlikely to be an issue because it sits outside of the fold itself. Of course, if you get an outrageously large bar, it would pose an issue, but that would hold for any folding bike.

The second point is indeed the accessories for Helix: at this point there are no specific accessories at all. Specific accessories (especially bags) is what makes the Brompton so user friendly.

True. My current setup is reasonably satisfactory, but some Helix specific accessories would be great.

Last point the poor performances if the Brompton on bad roads, even worse on cobbles, potholes... This is indeed the biggest weak point of the Brompton.

Having also two Moulton and a Birdy which is are full suspension bikes that ave no problem on very bad roads and a non suspended 28x622 wheels titanium frame bike that doesn't like bad roads, I can tell that the wheel size is not the problem,
The problem is the lack of front suspension and good rear suspension and the lack of wide low pressure tires.

Helix has no suspension at all, has a single arm very rigid fork and uses relatively narrow and high pressure tires.
So I think that even with bigger wheels than the Brompton the Helix performances and comfort on bad roads won't be great.

As I said before, some suspension would be nice, but it rides fine. It's rides a bit stiffer than my full size bikes, but hey, I can fold it up and toss in the back without worrying about a rack, etc. It's all about compromise. The larger wheels contribute significantly to better handling on poor condition roads, plus the larger wheels carry you through surface conditions that would challenge smaller wheels (e.g., loose gravel, grass). Personally, if I have to sacrifice something, I'll sacrifice a bit of suspension for a whole lot more handling. And if the road surface is decent, the bike rides smooth.
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Old 11-04-19, 04:14 AM
  #2254  
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To be more accurate, the problem I see for the size of the Helix frame are (if those value are still valid for the production bikes):
- B) Effective top tube length: 590 mm / 23.2 in
- L) Frame reach: 435 mm / 17.1 in


Since he frame size is fixed, the only solution for that is to use another stem (like the sport stem of the Birdy) or another type of handlebar like a a race dropbar or a riser instead of a flatbar. but I think hat this will have a negative impact on the folded size.

For the ride performances, yes, on soft surface, bigger wheels help.

But on bad hard roads like cobbles, they do not really help. With as consequence a lack of comfort and for very bad roads being forced to ride slower.
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Old 11-04-19, 09:06 AM
  #2255  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
Since he frame size is fixed, the only solution for that is to use another stem (like the sport stem of the Birdy) or another type of handlebar like a a race dropbar or a riser instead of a flatbar. but I think hat this will have a negative impact on the folded size.

For the ride performances, yes, on soft surface, bigger wheels help.

But on bad hard roads like cobbles, they do not really help. With as consequence a lack of comfort and for very bad roads being forced to ride slower.
Since he frame size is fixed, the only solution for that is to use another stem (like the sport stem of the Birdy) or another type of handlebar like a a race dropbar or a riser instead of a flatbar. but I think hat this will have a negative impact on the folded size.
The disadvantages you point out apply to most folders, and certainly to my Brompton. Yes with the Brompton you can vary the handle bar between three types, and choose a slightly longer seat tube but these are not perfect solutions, and my criticism is that my Brompton doesn't ride stiff enough. I can't push into the bike because the handle (M type) has a little too much flex.

The Helix stem and handlebar fold to the outside. So unless you get a bar that occupies a lot of volume (drop bar) or is very long, it's unlikely to affect the fold itself. A bar that is slightly larger or longer may not have an appreciable impact on the resulting folded volume. I have no intention of changing my bar at this time: replacing the foam grips with the Ergon grips has made a noticeable improvement in ride handling and comfort, just like it did for my Brompton.

For the ride performances, yes, on soft surface, bigger wheels help.

But on bad hard roads like cobbles, they do not really help. With as consequence a lack of comfort and for very bad roads being forced to ride slower.
Well... yeah... but this reasoning holds pretty much for every bike, folding or non-folding. Even my 54 cm Rivendell Hunqapillar with 55 mm Big Bens at moderate inflation would feel cobble stones. In fact, the only bike that would probably take the cobbles at "full speed" might be my fat bike with 4" wheels running at 5 to 10 psi. If the road is THAT bad, you should probably be riding slower anyways for safety's sake, regardless of what you're riding on.

So I go back to my earlier assessment... would it be preferable if the Helix had some more suspension (either through larger tires or some other means) - sure. Who wouldn't want a more suspended ride? Is the ride so uncomfortable that it's the-end-of-days and I should toss out the bike with all its advantages? Absolutely not. It rides fine.
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Old 11-05-19, 12:37 AM
  #2256  
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Regarding fit and handlebar, im 6'4'' and my Tern Node D8 fits me just fine with the handlebar in pushed forward position.
What's lovely about it is the very stiff yet super quick release stem system that Tern has rolled out. The handlebar goes from upright to forward and vice versa in 3 seconds. This on the Helix would be very good.
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Old 11-05-19, 08:42 AM
  #2257  
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Originally Posted by RatonLaveur View Post
Regarding fit and handlebar, im 6'4'' and my Tern Node D8 fits me just fine with the handlebar in pushed forward position.
What's lovely about it is the very stiff yet super quick release stem system that Tern has rolled out. The handlebar goes from upright to forward and vice versa in 3 seconds. This on the Helix would be very good.
Having that extra flexibility is of course always nice. Is that quick release system something that can be moved to another bike, or is it integrated right into Tern's stem and isn't transplantable?
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Old 11-05-19, 10:03 AM
  #2258  
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As far as Tern goes they integrate it on the handlebar post.

I'd be surprised if there wasn't a similar system for aftermarket. If there isnt...there should be
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Old 11-05-19, 12:48 PM
  #2259  
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If there's anyone around SF Bay Area/Alameda, I'd love to try out a Helix.

I'd be happy to buy lunch/dinner.
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Old 11-06-19, 10:02 AM
  #2260  
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@ RatonLaveur

I don't know about the Tern Node D8 but Sean Gibson posted to say that he fitted bull horn bars to his Helix using the Tern Andross stem and I think the folding part worked fine. The problem was that the bars slipped down when riding because of the leverage given by the bullhorns. I guess flat bars or riser bars would not have that problem.

I think Ultralight posted pictures of Sean's bullhorn modification on his Helix Review thread, but unfortunately that thread has been removed recently. I mailed the administrator to ask why last week but have received no reply. Ultralight doesn't come up on a member list search. Anyone here know what happened to Ultralight?
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Old 11-06-19, 12:21 PM
  #2261  
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Originally Posted by mlau View Post
I might be a weirdo, but I think their price is fair for what they offer....not amazing, but not outrageous either.

My understanding is titanium is a PITA to work with... unlike steel, aluminum, carbon, bamboo...

My main concern is:

1. Will the company be around if stuff breaks?
2. Does the bike fit me?
3. What accessories are available? Grocery/commuting bags?

After having the brompton for a while, I love the freedom of a folding bike. It's a bike that truly disappears when you don't need it, but does everything a utility bike would need.

However, brompton's don't ride that great.

On Oakland potholes and cracks, you could seriously get hurt... not to mention some badly maintained streets in SF.


As I get older, I want less stuff... just higher quality.
Actually, I think Berkeley streets are much worse than Oakland streets! I ride my pakiT (skinny 16" kojaks) everywhere and only the Berkeley streets are likely to knock my teeth out, lol. Fortunately, my pakiT ride is stiff and it is easy to ride out of the saddle as much as is needed over the crappy streets. However, on my Dahon with 20" tires I don't need to stand hardly at all, so I would imagine 24" tires wouldn't be so bad. PakiT/Brompton use the same tires and they're pretty skinny and high pressure.
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Old 11-07-19, 12:39 AM
  #2262  
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
The current retail price is fair, it's just not viable. A major selling point 3-4 years ago was it would be a lighter ti folder at a heavier steel price. The weight didn't work out and now neither has the price.
Yea, you were right Joe (except about the BMW girl.) Honestly, Scorsese should direct this one.

Last edited by KentS; 11-07-19 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 11-07-19, 09:02 PM
  #2263  
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Originally Posted by KentS View Post
Yea, you were right Joe (except about the BMW girl.) Honestly, Scorsese should direct this one.
Lol @ dudes talking authoritatively about things they don’t even own: like criticizing a country they’ve never been to, or a food they’ve never tried!
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Old 11-07-19, 11:44 PM
  #2264  
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Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
Lol @ dudes talking authoritatively about things they don’t even own: like criticizing a country they’ve never been to, or a food they’ve never tried!
You're still a jerk, Abu. Welcome back.
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Old 11-08-19, 09:00 PM
  #2265  
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Originally Posted by Jonesandrew View Post
I don't know about the Tern Node D8 but Sean Gibson posted to say that he fitted bull horn bars to his Helix using the Tern Andross stem and I think the folding part worked fine. The problem was that the bars slipped down when riding because of the leverage given by the bullhorns. I guess flat bars or riser bars would not have that problem.
I have the Andros 2 on my Dahon bike, but it has a T-bar end on the handlepost. It works really well and doesn't slip. But I don't know how you're attaching it to the Helix stem. Does it also have a T-bar? If not, then you're probably going to "daisy chain" the Andros to a short handlebar tube, which is probably slipping inside the original Helix stem clamp.
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Old 11-11-19, 11:46 AM
  #2266  
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Since he frame size is fixed, the only solution for that is to use another stem (like the sport stem of the Birdy) or another type of handlebar like a a race dropbar or a riser instead of a flatbar. but I think hat this will have a negative impact on the folded size.
The disadvantages you point out apply to most folders, and certainly to my Brompton. Yes with the Brompton you can vary the handle bar between three types, and choose a slightly longer seat tube but these are not perfect solutions, and my criticism is that my Brompton doesn't ride stiff enough. I can't push into the bike because the handle (M type) has a little too much flex.
The stiffness issue of the Brompton you point out, which is true, doesn't come from the frame, its due to the very long stem and M type handlebar. If you take a flat bar like on the S type, its already stiffer but the long stem remains. Now doesn't really affect the performances., its just a feeling. What really reduce the performances of the Brompton is the poor gearing system.
The Birdy doesn't have this stem stiffness problem and offer several types of stem to fit different riders sises.

For the ride performances, yes, on soft surface, bigger wheels help.

But on bad hard roads like cobbles, they do not really help. With as consequence a lack of comfort and for very bad roads being forced to ride slower.
Well... yeah... but this reasoning holds pretty much for every bike, folding or non-folding. Even my 54 cm Rivendell Hunqapillar with 55 mm Big Bens at moderate inflation would feel cobble stones. In fact, the only bike that would probably take the cobbles at "full speed" might be my fat bike with 4" wheels running at 5 to 10 psi. If the road is THAT bad, you should probably be riding slower anyways for safety's sake, regardless of what you're riding on.
You should tryout a Moulton or a Birdy: both have small wheels but allow you to ride fast and safe on very bad roads and cobbles.
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