Setting out to create ‘the best folding bike on the planet’ is a lofty goal, but it certainly looks like the Helix’s designer has managed to address an urban rider’s main priorities: It’s very lightweight but durable, rides like a normal bike, and folds down to about the size of its wheels.
The Helix accomplishes these goals by using a titanium frame, 24″ wheels, and nice components like mechanical disc brakes and a Shimano Zee crank. Despite all that, it’s surprisingly affordable for a titanium bike manufactured in Canada, topping out at less than two grand for the most deluxe build.
Click below the break for all the details…
The Helix was invented by company founder Peter Boutakis, a machinist, welder, CNC programmer, software developer and cyclist. The bike is already in pre-production at his home machine shop, but their Kickstarter campaign hasn’t yet begun. Their last online update says once they’ve finalized the locking devices they will announce their Kickstarter start date.
The Helix’s hand-welded titanium frame offers ti’s renowned ride qualities and light weight, but also remains highly durable and corrosion resistant. This is great for folding bikes that are often exposed to all weather conditions or in transit on subways, in your trunk, etc. The frame geometry has not been announced, but it will be comparative to a medium sized performance commuter.
Boutakis has selected some components for the bikes, which will be available with a few different gearing set ups. Common components include TRP Spyre front and rear mechanical disc brakes, which were chosen for their light weight and slim profile. Shimano Zee cranks were outfitted due to their high quality single-ring specific design, and their typical DH application should ensure excellent durability.
The single or 10-speed bikes will use Zee rear hubs with 12mm thru-axles, plus Zee shifters and rear derailleurs for the 10-speed model. Other gearing options include 8 or 11 speed Alfine internal hubs, and rear spacing for all versions is 135mm.
The Helix impressively folds down to roughly the size of its wheels, measuring just 23” x 25” x 9”. Its patented side-by-side folding design tucks the wheels beside the frame and inside the crank arms. The bike can be folded down in any order, and it rolls on its wheels while folded up. In riding position, the Helix uses a pass-through locking design with a secondary safety mechanism. Its spring loaded locking device compensates for wear to achieve a solid fit long-term, and the frame’s front triangle has no hinges making for a stiff ride without creaking or flexing.
The complete bike weighs a scant 21lbs (10-speed model), which Helix claims as the world’s lightest folder. The rider weight limit is 250lbs, and production models will support accessories like fenders, lights, water bottles and racks. There won’t be a belt drive option, as the chain length changes during the folding process.
Common Build Specs:
The website lists three models, but shows ‘internal hub’ as one so there are really four options. At the Kickstarter pre-order pricing, the single speed Helix is selling for $1200 USD, and the 10-speed version for $1300. With an 8-speed Alfine hub it goes for $1500 and the 11 speed Alfine model brings it up to $1700. These prices will eventually go up by $300 on each model.
Helix has a partner on board who’s currently helping set up a manufacturing facility in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Their expected delivery date is being pushed back due to the overwhelming response they’ve received, so first shipments are now expected for around September 2015. Keep an eye on Helix’s website to get a heads up when their Kickstarter campaign begins.