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Helix Titanium Folder Owner's Review Thread

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Helix Titanium Folder Owner's Review Thread

Old 08-27-19, 10:59 PM
  #101  
SurfHenk
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Ultralight, you are more than welcome!
In fact, measuring the Helix is something I was planning for a while, as I do plan to search for a suitable way to travel with the bike or even to search for a bag/trolley combination. So this thread was a good incentive 😉
And yes indeed I share your opinion. When riding both bikes back to back, the modest folding size increase is more than made up by the better riding characteristics.
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Old 08-28-19, 06:56 AM
  #102  
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Maybe then Helix should be compared against Bike Friday New World Tourist (NWT) rather than Brompton. NWT rides pretty much like a full-size bike and can be ordered to fit one's dimensions. It has 21 speeds and can be packed for travel into a typical large suitcase meeting airline dimensions, including fenders and rack. The features that I personally like is that it has a steel frame that allows for braze-ons and that a basket for the rear rack, into which I can toss my humongous backpack, also fits into the suitcase.
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Old 08-28-19, 08:42 AM
  #103  
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I think it is more apples to apples comparing against the Brompton than the BF, or my Airnimal for example. Both feature a similar fold with essentially the same compact footprint. 3.5 inches is no big deal on a train, which is really the area where length is even an issue. I get away with my Dahon, which is a good 8-10 inches longer than the Brompton, the Airnimal even longer, but I imagine some train and metro systems where they could become an issue. In those instances, Brompton and Helix are looked at essentially the same.

The ability to support a front bag like Brompton is critical, so hopefully they can equal and improve on that, because it is by far the most convenient way to commute and this is coming from a guy who bounces between a big Ospry backpack with the Airnimal and the Brompton bag with the Dahon.

Last edited by kayakindude; 08-28-19 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 08-28-19, 09:27 AM
  #104  
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Hello, it's clear that the Brompton is smaller, lot of photos shows the bike in ikea's dimpa bag

but the Helix not easy :



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Old 08-28-19, 09:40 AM
  #105  
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I have already posted my review before in this thread,
the folding bike is amazing and engineering is beautiful











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Old 08-28-19, 10:39 AM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by SurfHenk View Post
I am actually the author of the preview (originally posted on the closed Helix forum).
And have to say I am a bit surprised by your request for a smaller wheeled Helix. Honestly, the 24" inch wheels of the Helix are in my opinion it's biggest strength.
If anything I think Brompton should reflect how to fit bigger wheels in their bikes..
Of course bigger wheels are better for riding fast but I ride a 700c on a closed circuit for that sort of fun.
For my public roads needs; I would never buy this Helix because of its narrow tire limit.
I have almost endo'd in traffic because my now gone Dahon Mantis had skinny tires that rolled into a storm drain grate.
I never felt safe on 1.5" wide tires either like on the B or Strida.
So tire width is just as important as diameter to me and smaller diameters allow a frame to take fatter tires.
I also want a smaller fold than even a Brompton so it's easier to carry in crowded subways or store in a car.
I think a 20x2" tire is the best compromise for moderate speeds and 16x2" for the most portability without fear of dying in a pothole or storm drain like I almost did.

I agree; Brompton would have been smart to put out a 20" version 20 years ago, but now there are so many choices it may be tough to compete there especially if it was made of steel.
If Helix can get a 24" this small; I hope they could make a much smaller 16" bike or at least similar in size to a B but with 2" wide tires.

Last edited by ttakata73; 08-28-19 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 08-28-19, 10:58 AM
  #107  
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Glad to see this!

Last time I popped in around this forum, I had a Birdy, and the naysayers were gloating with every new Helix delay...
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Old 08-28-19, 02:03 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by ttakata73 View Post
...
I would never buy this Helix because of its narrow tire limit.
I have almost endo'd in traffic because my now gone Dahon Mantis had skinny tires that rolled into a storm drain grate.
I never felt safe on 1.5" wide tires either like on the B or Strida.
So tire width is just as important as diameter to me and smaller diameters allow a frame to take fatter tires.
I also want a smaller fold than even a Brompton so it's easier to carry in crowded subways or store in a car.
I think a 20x2" tire is the best compromise for moderate speeds and 16x2" for the most portability without fear of dying in a pothole or storm drain like I almost did.
...
This just shows we are not all after the same bike, which is perfectly normal.
I do like wider tires, in fact I run wide tires on my mountain bike since forever (that were once considered as very wide but have now become the norm at 2.4" or so). But for my folding bike I think 1.5" is more than wide enough. In fact it is exactly the same maximum width as on my "do all, go anywhere" gravel bike. And while exceptional situations can occur, I encountered very few gnarly situations because my tires were too narrow, but had much more moments where very small diameter wheels did not handle unexpected bigger obstacles well. But yes, I am aware I have to be cautious when passing tram rails for example.
But again, for my usage and needs and riding style, I am very happy with the Helix compromise. Wider tires are just not an option for this design, where the back tire is folded between the frame and chainring.
And yes, I will take a 24x1.5" wheeled bike over a 16x2" or 20x2" anytime. But I respect others see it differently and have other needs/wishes/...
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Old 08-29-19, 02:02 AM
  #109  
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For those concerned with wider tires for safety, my guess is that you can fit a fatter tire in the front, wrap the frame with clear 3M protector to prevent the tire from scratching the frame, and ride away. The rear tire will be skinny but I think that any 'head over the handlebar' crash is due to front tires rather than the rear. I am guessing that front can take 2" tires no problem.
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Old 09-15-19, 04:10 PM
  #110  
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Hi Helix owners,

from reading about the Helix, I'm hooked! Would it be possible to test-drive one of yours? I'm located in Switzerland, offers from neighbouring countries very welcome
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Old 09-15-19, 09:56 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
One of my abortive efforts at a folding bullhorn setup involved the Tern Andros II stem. It wasn't strong enough and the rear pivot slipped under force due to the leverage of the stem and bulhorn reach.

Ideas welcome.
Folding bullhorns is easy on standard Dahon or Tern stem (without the double pivots), and the horns fold down flush with the stem. I have clip-on-bars in the center, they also fold flush around the stem, but I have to remove the arm pads on each side, two screws, about 30 seconds.

Regarding those green tape wrapped "bullhorns" above, I've never seen any like those where the horns point down. Mine curve up, and you either mount standard road levers on the curve, or levers that anchor inside the ends. Those bars where the grip area is level, I don't see any advantage over standard drop bars. With bullhorns, you can angle the grip area up slightly to distribute the load better on your hands, which is why I also cover mine with "grab-on" foam.
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Old 09-16-19, 11:39 PM
  #112  
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Guess what showed up today?
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Old 09-17-19, 10:27 PM
  #113  
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I was hoping the Helix would fit into the B+W case that I've used for my Brompton as checked in luggage. Unfortunately no....


Brompton in BW Case


Helix - not quite!

Last edited by Ozonation; 09-19-19 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 09-18-19, 12:43 AM
  #114  
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Regarding suitcases, the Brompton is more of a cube, as are its various cases, I think.

The Helix is narrower but taller (and longer?), so a more conventional suitcase would probably fit it.

The original Helix promo video shows it being packed in a normal-looking suitcase. I hope it didn't change dimensions enough to stop fitting, unlike the Vello+ (which got noticeably larger during production).

Being able to fit into a airline-legal suitcase (or close-enough-to-look-legal) is one of my requirements for a folding bike.
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Old 09-18-19, 01:22 AM
  #115  
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Congrats Ozonation on receiving your bike!! Wonderful.

As to fitting in a legal sized suitcase (62") that was the design goal. My impression is that the goal was met by having the tires deflated.
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Old 09-19-19, 08:32 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
Congrats Ozonation on receiving your bike!! Wonderful.

As to fitting in a legal sized suitcase (62") that was the design goal. My impression is that the goal was met by having the tires deflated.
Yes... I recall that the objective was "normal" luggage. Still, it was hard to tell exactly from the initial photos of the Helix prototype so I was wondering if it would fit.

I recall with the Brompton that some users were able to fit it into a standard 62 linear inch suitcase as well, but it depended on the exact make and model. I figured it was worth a try with the B+W case.
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Old 09-20-19, 12:37 AM
  #117  
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[QUOTE=dmnobrien;21048180]It would be great to have a stem where you could easily unlatch it for folding, like the Tern Andros system:


Perhaps you need the Via VT2 foldable stem?
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Old 09-20-19, 12:40 AM
  #118  
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I posted this in the owners forum earlier. I have yet to post enough to add photos.

I received bikes 97 and 98 in August and have only ridden them a little due to circumstance. Reading Peter's post about the value being much greater than the Kickstarter price, I have no doubt he is correct. I paid in UK and this has been, with tax, a cost of around $1300US. Peter is projecting a price around 2.5 or more higher and I would suggest that is entirely fair. Build quality appears excellent. The question from those who see it is "Where can I buy one?" The answer currently is a slightly satisfying "You can't." The bike has its limitation simply because a folding bike is not a Holy Grail but is always a compromise. Thus, the bike rides with more energy and more easily than a Brompton, but is not as speedy as a full sized bike. Thus it does, as it should, fill a hole of being a nimble folder but a competent ride, including uphill. The gear ratios are sensible for the type of bike. It is easy to run out of gears on easy or downhill terrain but the gearing allows steep ascents that I would probably walk on my Brompton. Braking is reliable and nothing to think about - in a good way. I accurately weighed my Helix, with pedals, at 11.37kg and my, very old, Brompton at 11.92kg.

I took photos of unpacking and assembling when I got the bikes, I don't know if these might still be of interest to anyone. I have also taken apart the head tube and steerer and love the really cool bearings that make up the headset; a large planet central bearing with 6 orbital moons - also much larger than conventional headset bearings. It took a little while to realise that the steerer internal rod had a standard thread above a reverse thread to remove. The quick release pedals, the front wheel fold and the rear triangle locking mechanisms are also very pleasing.

I have changed the saddles on my pair as I have long had boxed two green Brooks saddles won at the Brompton World Champs; I finally have the bikes to put them on so that they match. I don't think this improves the Helix, but it personalises them. The saddle mechanism is another cool but, first time round, fiddly mechanism.

I have a sad tale, and that is that I know all in the second paragraph as when adding a longer head stem, just to see what it would be like, the release spring and clip for the top fold popped out. I have been unable to relocate it and at the beginning of the week sent a message to Helix for further advice, I have yet to hear back. On that note is anyone aware of a contact for Peter or the team other than the website one which is hello@helix.ca?
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Old 09-22-19, 07:36 PM
  #119  
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The hadle bar lock does strike the derailleur wire clamp bolt. Good observation.
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Old 09-22-19, 07:39 PM
  #120  
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Are there skinnier tires. The current tires are already skinny
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