Helix Folding Bike, front view

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.

Helix Folding Bike, rear view

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.

Helix Folding Bike, folded up

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:

Helix folding bike build specsThe 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 Folding Bike, founder Peter Boutakis riding

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.

ridehelix.ca

21 COMMENTS

  1. That folding front fork doesn’t inspire confidence, even with that slide down safety mechanism.

    Theres nothing holding the swing arm either, maybe the next iteration will have a latch.

  2. OK, that is nice. I like it. But I seriously doubt it “offers ti’s renowned ride qualities”. If so, nuance of bike frame design and geometry apparently mean nothing and I might as well get that Walmart special and throw some DA on it.

  3. There R literally hundreds of different folding bikes out there, proofs that anyone can put hinges on to a bike. I thought you can buy a Bike Friday that weights like only 16 lbs…. If anyone is worrying about weight.

  4. Yep, this ticks many boxes and isn’t too expensive for what it offers. If I didn’t already have a decent folder… and assuming the fenders and rack will be well designed too – then I might be interested.

    Could be tricky to put a dynohub on it. Monofork dynohubs do exist, but for what mounting method?

    Spyke levers with Spyre calipers? That’s hopefully a typo – or are those levers convertible between long and short pull?

  5. One size fits all is perhaps not the best recipe for “World’s Best Folding Bike,” too many compromises in terms of fit. Maybe fit is not important for folding bikes (note: sarcasm).

  6. I read this and it makes my heart glad to live in a sensibly sized city where I wil NEVER need a folding bike.

  7. “once they’ve finalised the locking devices…” Doesn’t seem to be much changed since I first saw this back in February or so. Was worried about that “fork” then, and still am now. There needs to be a serious mechanism to ensure that it cant be ridden off with that front fork unlocked. Also if the lock slides UP to engage, then they need to be damn sure that road vibration wont let it slide down and un-lock mid ride…

  8. @yogibimbi – do you have a custom Tern X10? From everything I’ve been able to find, the 2013 models are 9.8 kg, or 21.6 lbs. They also seems to cost more than this Helix.

    I happen to like this folder and having done some research for the last year or so, this has moved up towards the top of my list. Good specs and components for a fair price.

  9. @ElFugitivo: Because it is absolutely nothing at all like a Brompton except for that whole “folding bike” thing? Different folding mechanism, different frame material, single sided wheels, different drivetrains, different braking systems, different sized wheels… It’s actually nothing even remotely like a Brompton.

    I like the idea and pricing; would love to see it in production.

  10. Every website I look at is just regurgitating Helix’ publicity material. Does anyone know if the prototypes have been made available to independent reviewers outside the company?

  11. @elfugitivo the wheels of the brompton do not meet at a single axis and therefore you cannot wheel it on the main wheels, you need the additional rollers. On the helix the wheels meet. That is a huge difference.

  12. This is not the lightest folder. My bike friday is a full touring bike and it weighs less. My wife’s petite tourer is even less. Oir bikes arent event flashy. Even with my suspension seatpost mine is about 21~22lbs….Fridays get down to 14lbs for lightweight models. Those are 100% steel by the way.

  13. i have been contemplating between this or the Brompton, and i have ridden the Brompton, how does this compare to either the Brompton or a Specialized Sirius Elite (both the most recent bikes i have ridden). I think the ride as important to the size for me.

What do you think?

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