Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gliding with Birdies

Roadwalker's Birdy Monocoque

ME 109 - famous WW2 fighter... Two German Birds

With petrol prices hitting over $2 a litre in Singapore, car trips must be planned properly. I had to drop off my son at the Eastern side of the island for a cross country race. Made no sense to drive home and waste 60km so I spend the "waiting" time cycling the beautiful coastal bike path to Changi Village from ECP with 2 buddies riding Birdies. One a Classic and another the latest Monocoque model, both in pearly whites.
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The Birdy is a German designed full-suspension foldy that is made by Pacific Cycles. It looks extremely stylish and well finished. The mococoque model owned by my friend Choong came with 9 speed LX components and I was thrilled to take it out for a 15km ride.
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What impressed is how comfortable and plush the Birdy soaked up road bumps. No wonder many people swear by its legendary ride. Suspension setting is adjustable with the use of different colored elastomers. It also has the ability to carry front and rear panniers making it excellent for touring. I can understand why "Roadwalker" Choong has ridden over 3000km on it in just 6 months! On the flats, I hit a max of 39.5kmh and it felt very stable, though the handle post experienced some flexing. Packability is also very good, with its ability to go into a standard suitcase like my Bike Friday tikit.
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The Birdy is certainly perched right up there with the best folders. It is even advertised as the "Mercedes" of origami bikes and this is reflected in its high price. At a shade below $3k - this is one expensive featherless bird. Shortcomings? The folding takes getting used to. 18" tyres, while an excellent compromise between performance and packing (can fit into Samsonite), are rare and unavailable esp in third world countries. The accessories can be costly eg rear rack a whopping $250 retail (Dahon is $70, Tikit US$50 and Surly's super rear rack $95)! And bike guru Chris Wee has an issue with its inverted cable front brake setup. But many satisfied Birdy owners are willing to overlook these compromises.
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Paul, Choong and I enjoyed great conversations over Teh Tarik and a yummy Nasi Lemak breakfast at Changi Village. My "WRX" Speed Pro also had fun gliding with the 2 stylish German birds. And yes, I must as a proud father report that my son Jeremy came in 10/250 in his school's cross country race, gleaming medal and all.
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A delightful birdy morning indeed by any standards!

2 comments:

Lucid said...

I'm a Birdy rider as well and am quite satisfied with it. You mention the petrol prices in Singapore, the new electric Birdy might be the answer. Check it out at http://www.foldingcyclist.com/

-Linda

Oldyonfoldy said...

E-Birdy looks really cool Linda! I saw the Bionx motor in Vancouver BC and was impressed. One bug bear though is the many regulations/restrictions of electric bikes in Spore :(

Appreciate your input!