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Contemplating a Birch Folding Bike Purchase: Wise Investment or Regrettable Decision?

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Contemplating a Birch Folding Bike Purchase: Wise Investment or Regrettable Decision?

Old 02-06-24, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by univega.duder
I'm finding it a bit challenging to pinpoint exactly what's not clicking for me visually with the Zizzo bike. I think it boils down to a few factors: the ... lower-quality components ...
What? You are considering this Birch rig with bottom feeder components, including a welded handlebar and freewheel, but you're holding up your nose at the Zizzo? Come again. 😂

Last edited by Ron Damon; 02-06-24 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 02-06-24, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by univega.duder
The reason I'm interested in the Birch bike in part is the very low cost $215 and the quirky design which I haven't seen before. But after reading everyone's comments here I'm less sure that the design is a good one.

My hope is to have an affordable folder to use in the winter months in New England where there's often salt all over the roads. It would be nice if it's reasonably compact to be able to toss in the back of the car and to store more easily at home. I'm also thinking about the possibility of adding a front hub motor.

I think the Xootr is a great idea and you've reminded me to keep my eyes out for one.

Those are very reasonable goals.
I just asked because there was a time when I was cycling through different folders in search of "the one"- a Strida clone, a carryme, and ended up on a Brompton and Xootr Swift.
I ended up losing a bit of money on the Strida and carryme.

If it's possible, can you up your budget?

I've learned the hard way that it's better to buy once and cry once.
With a cheap anything, you cry every time you use it.
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Old 02-06-24, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
What? You are considering this Birch rig with bottom feeder components, including a welded handlebar and freewheel, but you're holding up your nose at the Zizzo? Come again. 😂
Haha, true! While the Zizzo likely outshines the Birch in most aspects, there's something eye catching about the Birch, despite its questionable components and design.
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Old 02-06-24, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mlau
Those are very reasonable goals.
I just asked because there was a time when I was cycling through different folders in search of "the one"- a Strida clone, a carryme, and ended up on a Brompton and Xootr Swift.
I ended up losing a bit of money on the Strida and carryme.

If it's possible, can you up your budget?

I've learned the hard way that it's better to buy once and cry once.
With a cheap anything, you cry every time you use it.
I have some flexibility with the budget but part of me prefers something inexpensive as it doesn't feel quite so precious. I do own a couple of very nice Helix folding bikes that I can't bring myself to ride while the roads are so salty and grimy - perhaps I'll get over that at some point. And hopefully there will be fenders available for the Helix in the future.

I'm curious what your impressions of the Strida were? Do you prefer your Swift over the Brompton?
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Old 02-06-24, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by univega.duder
Haha, true! While the Zizzo likely outshines the Birch in most aspects, there's something eye catching about the Birch, despite its questionable components and design.
I think the finish of the Birch looks great, if it actually looks like that in real life I dont know.
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Old 02-06-24, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by univega.duder
I have some flexibility with the budget but part of me prefers something inexpensive as it doesn't feel quite so precious. I do own a couple of very nice Helix folding bikes that I can't bring myself to ride while the roads are so salty and grimy - perhaps I'll get over that at some point. And hopefully there will be fenders available for the Helix in the future.

I'm curious what your impressions of the Strida were? Do you prefer your Swift over the Brompton?
Dude! You have great taste. The Helix was on my short list.

The Strida was a fast accelerating, large umbrella folding, very unforgivable crotch whacker. The sheer pain of braking caused me to sell the Strida.
As for the Xootr Swift, I loved the ride and adaptability. I got the Brompton for the fold and the luggage system. The Origami Swift solved the only issue that I had with the Xootr (lack of a good rack and luggage).

If you have a couple Helix bikes, I'd designate one as a beater.
The cheapest bike is the one that you have already.
TBH, it's on my short list....folds fairly small. Rides quite nice (never had one, but heard it's comparable to a Swift).
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Old 02-06-24, 06:34 PM
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Update: Just read some of the complaints about the Helix on ******.

I really did love my Swift. It was my first folding bike, and my best one.
The Carryme was the most compact. The Brompton the most functional.
However, the Swift was extremely reliable, stiff, versatile, and built tough as nails.

I'm very grateful to Piningis for resurrecting that design.
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Old 02-06-24, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mlau
Dude! You have great taste. The Helix was on my short list.

The Strida was a fast accelerating, large umbrella folding, very unforgivable crotch whacker. The sheer pain of braking caused me to sell the Strida.
As for the Xootr Swift, I loved the ride and adaptability. I got the Brompton for the fold and the luggage system. The Origami Swift solved the only issue that I had with the Xootr (lack of a good rack and luggage).

If you have a couple Helix bikes, I'd designate one as a beater.
The cheapest bike is the one that you have already.
TBH, it's on my short list....folds fairly small. Rides quite nice (never had one, but heard it's comparable to a Swift).
Ha! Sounds like the Strida provided you with a memorable riding experience. I've always been curious to try both the Strida and Swift. I'll have to take a closer look at the recent Origami Swift. I did own a Brompton for short period and it was hard to beat for the luggage system and delightfully small fold. That's one of the few bikes I've regretted selling.
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Old 02-06-24, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mlau
Update: Just read some of the complaints about the Helix on ******.

I really did love my Swift. It was my first folding bike, and my best one.
The Carryme was the most compact. The Brompton the most functional.
However, the Swift was extremely reliable, stiff, versatile, and built tough as nails.

I'm very grateful to Piningis for resurrecting that design.
I've been really happy with the Helix bikes. The ride quality if fantastic and the folding elements are an engineering marvel. That being said I'd probably wait until they're a little more established before investing unless you're okay with the lack of accessories. There's not yet a rack, fenders, or a system for carrying luggage.

I'm going to look more at the Origami Swift. I like that it's available as a frameset and that it appears to accommodate a fairly wide tire. It would be fun to build one up.
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Old 02-06-24, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mlau
Those are very reasonable goals.
I just asked because there was a time when I was cycling through different folders in search of "the one"- a Strida clone, a carryme, and ended up on a Brompton and Xootr Swift.
I ended up losing a bit of money on the Strida and carryme.

If it's possible, can you up your budget?

I've learned the hard way that it's better to buy once and cry once.
With a cheap anything, you cry every time you use it.
This.

Keep in mind, the difference between $200 and $2000 is huge, but the difference between $200 and $400 is not only a smaller cost difference, but you're still DOUBLING your budget, and believe me, that makes a big difference in components, like the difference between stamped steel and forged aluminum hubs, between plated and stainless steel spokes, etc.

Regarding riding a Helix in winter weather, I baby my bike too, mostly to keep from further accelerating rim sidewall wear due to grit on the rim brake pads; The Helix has DISC brakes, tailor made for the wet, so does not have this drawback. Hose it off and you're good.

The Origami Bull has good frame and strong wheels with disc brakes and I saw on sale very recently for $500, which I thought was a good deal, and I personally would add a 2X crank to get a lower 1st gear that I require.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 02-06-24 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 02-06-24, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mlau
Update: Just read some of the complaints about the Helix on ******.

I really did love my Swift. It was my first folding bike, and my best one.
The Carryme was the most compact. The Brompton the most functional.
However, the Swift was extremely reliable, stiff, versatile, and built tough as nails.

I'm very grateful to Piningis for resurrecting that design.
Is the swift frame available only disc brakes? Thanks

Last edited by jdogg111; 02-06-24 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 02-07-24, 06:58 AM
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The drawback of the Swift is its bigger folding size.
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Old 02-07-24, 07:09 AM
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The drawback of the Swift is that it really doesn't fold.
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Old 02-07-24, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
The drawback of the Swift is that it really doesn't fold.
The drawback of the Swift is that it really doesn't fold as small.
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Old 02-07-24, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
The drawback of the Swift is that it really doesn't fold.
Actually, it is an advantage as well as a drawback. You are giving up some folded length and gaining stiffness in return. When I pull back on the handlebars, there is no flex as typical with a folder. Swifts just ride better to me. A worthy compromise.
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Old 02-07-24, 12:25 PM
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There are folders with a one piece frame without any hinge and without flex like the Birdy and Tyrell Yve.
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Old 02-07-24, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
There are folders with a one piece frame without any hinge and without flex like the Birdy and Tyrell Yve.
Yes, the Origami Swift.
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Old 02-07-24, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
There are folders with a one piece frame without any hinge and without flex like the Birdy and Tyrell Yve.
But with the Swift the stem attaches in a way that it eliminates flex.
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Old 02-07-24, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
The drawback of the Swift is that it really doesn't fold.
Well, yes, it does fold. It just doesn't fold in half.


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Old 02-07-24, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jdogg111
Is the swift frame available only disc brakes? Thanks
It is set up for disc brakes or caliper brakes.
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Old 02-07-24, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis
Well, yes, it does fold. It just doesn't fold in half.


Sure, Paul. The Swift, old and New, disassembles, which is different. For example, how does the handlepost fold? It doesn't. It needs to be removed, diassembled from the bike altogether. You and your deceptive marketing stick once again.

In bringing back Frankenstein, you missed an opportunity to actually improve on that basic design idea and achieve a fold. And it was not hard to imagine how. The path was first charted by the FSIR, a bike that actually folds rather than disassembles, and features a continuous, solid top tube with no hinge. But no, yours was an unimaginative copy-and-paste job, and your originality was simply to outfit that ghastly rack (and those hideous green wheels). Good grief.

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Old 02-07-24, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
Actually, it is an advantage as well as a drawback. You are giving up some folded length and gaining stiffness in return. When I pull back on the handlebars, there is no flex as typical with a folder. Swifts just ride better to me. A worthy compromise.
The FSIR offers that and an actual fold. Think outside the cult.


Uninterrupted, rigid top tube with a neat fold requiring no unsightly rack. No hideous green wheels either.


Swift? 😂😂😂

Even on typical folders, there is no flex at the handlepost nowadays. It's 2024, bro. Maybe your bikes flex, mine don't. I wouldn't put up with it, if they did.

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Old 02-07-24, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
The FSIR offers that and an actual fold. Think outside the cult.


Uninterrupted, rigid top tube with a neat fold.


Swift? 😂😂😂


Even on typical folders, there is no flex at the handlepost nowadays. It's 2024, bro. Maybe your bikes flex, mine don't. I wouldn't put up with it, if they did.
But look how short yours is. I could not ride it. And the fold is huge. Also your derailleur is dragging on the ground. Time to get a new bike.
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Old 02-07-24, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
But with the Swift the stem attaches in a way that it eliminates flex.
I think you never tried (or even seen in real) a Birdy and a Tyrell: their stem doesn't flex at all. These aren't Brompton stem!

The Birdy was designed for German riders, for tall guys.

The Tyrell not, but there is a new stem that increases the saddle-handlebar distance and make it fit for average Europeans, its still too short for tall people.
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Old 02-07-24, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
But look how short yours is. I could not ride it. And the fold is huge. Also your derailleur is dragging on the ground. Time to get a new bike.
Right.
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