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Birdy vs Moulton, Comparison

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Birdy vs Moulton, Comparison

Old 06-15-23, 12:48 AM
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Birdy vs Moulton, Comparison

So for the past nearly 10 years, I have regularly ridden a Birdy (badged here as a Bianchi Fretta). Over the years I have upgraded and updated the bike, ditching most of the original components, and converting it to 20” wheels. Nowadays it features a Dura Ace 7800 crankset and an XTR 9050 Di2 rear derailleur, shifters, and 12-40, 11 speed cassette. I have updated the bike with a Japanese Birdy suspension upgrade, plus a few other odds and ends. This has been my primary bike since I got it, and I have put a lot of miles on it.

Earlier this year I acquired a Moulton APB space-frame bike with a 531 frame, and since I got it, have upgraded it to Dura Ace 7700, with a Capreo cassette. I have been using this bike almost daily since March, and have put a about 1200 km on it. The Moulton and my Birdy both have Brooks B17 saddles, Marathon tires, and the same grips.

I have really enjoyed riding my Birdy/Fretta, and have taken it on many a long ride. But after getting used to the Moulton, the Birdy is going to a new home. I like the style of the Birdy, and how easily it can be upgraded, and how quickly I can fold it. But its ride is not on the same planet as the Moulton. I find the Birdy’s rather short wheel base to make it a little twitchy, and the design of the stem and steering, while working well enough, are also twitchy. The upgraded suspension works better than the standard spring and elastomer, but the bike still likes to bob about at higher cadences. Lastly, for some reason, the Birdy loves to make rattling sounds. The original brakes were quite rattly when going over bumps, the rack I recently fitted to it, despite nylon washers and such, also rattles a lot.

The Moulton is ungodly smooth and stable, and utterly silent. The suspension is primitive-looking, but simply works, I can pedal it more quickly than the Birdy without bobbing, it soaks up the bumps when it hits them, but otherwise is unnoticeable. If you have every heard the expression “steel is real,” and heard the hype about how wonderful old steel frames “feel” while riding, the Moulton takes that feeling to the next level. My last 531-framed bike was my old Trek 660, a bike which I loved to ride, the Moulton offers even a better ride.

Today I took the Birdy out for a 60km ride, and found that I didn’t like it anymore. I finally got the Di2 shifting sorted out, and it works brilliantly, but there was nothing else I enjoyed about the bike on the ride. I didn’t like the twitchiness, the rattles, the vague braking (the cables have to be replaced regularly if you regularly fold the bike), and I didn’t like the riding position, which, with a higher bottom bracket (because the bike was designed for 18 wheels) is higher than the Moulton, and less easy to reach the ground with my feet when I am in the saddle.

Luckily, I found someone who needs a good folding bike, and once the Birdy is out of the garage, I’ll have time to work on the Stowaway that arrived in the mail from the UK last week.
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Old 06-15-23, 03:19 AM
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I have also two Moulton, a Jubilee and a stainless steel Speed, and two Birdy, a 2019 gen3 Birdy Titanium and a Birdy 3 Touring (Riese & Müller = with cassette+derailleur) both have now a Ethirteen 9-32 or 9-34 11s cassette and Ultegra derailleur.

For me, the current Birdy 3 and Birdy Titanium front suspension (this front suspension and the overall bike geometry of these Birdy is totally different from the one of the Birdy 1, the Bianchi Fretta is actually a Birdy 1) work better than the leading link of the Moulton.

The Moulton rear suspension work better than the one of the Birdy, its totally different in the sense that there is no interaction between the transmission and the rear suspension on the Moulton because the bottom bracket is part of the Moulton rear triangle, the distance between the bottom bracket and the rear wheel axle is fixed, rigid (its not the case on the Moulton AM series).
The rear cone with pneumatic damping of the Moulton Speed is slightly better than the one of most other Moulton and the silver brazed polished stainless steel frame of the Speed is very lightweight and really gorgeous.
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Old 06-15-23, 04:35 AM
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This thread needs some pictures! These are pretty rare bikes (at least to US folks), so it would be cool to see them.
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Old 06-16-23, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by seat_boy
This thread needs some pictures! These are pretty rare bikes (at least to US folks), so it would be cool to see them.
Here they are:



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