When you think folding bikes, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind are the small wheels and subsequent nervous ride. Shattering this image, The Helix is a new titanium folding bike with 24in wheels and disc brakes, while maintaining an impressive claimed weight.
With this, it's not surprising the Canadian-made bike generated five-times its Kickstarter funding goal in the first 24-hours.
Designed to fold as small as possible despite its bigger wheels, the Helix folds down to 23x26x9.5in, smaller than some of its mini-wheel alternatives. With its patent-pending side-by-side folding system, the wheels sit on either side of the frame and between the cranks. Once folded, the wheels are still free to rotate, allowing the bike to be rolled along the ground for easy transport.
The Helix folds up to be decently compact
Built around a titanium frame, the Helix carries a claimed weight of 9.07kg (single speed version), which if accurate makes it potentially lighter than both the Tern Verge X10 (9.8kg) and a custom Brompton titanium – both of which feature much smaller wheels.
It's not the cheapest, nor the easiest material to work with, but titanium won't rust or corrode, and is well suited to stand up to plenty of abuse. Underlining this, the Helix is backed by a 10-year limited warranty.
Helix claims its patent pending spring-loaded locking mechanism is a safer and more efficient alternative to other folding systems. At the front, the locking mechanism passes through the fork and steerer tube, and is backed by a secondary ‘tube-in-tube’ locking mechanism; which the designers claim will prevent the bike from folding even if a spring actuator fails.
At the back, the Helix has a swingarm style pivot that the rear wheel folds around, and is said to be rigid enough that it can handle forces equal to that of a 'conventional' bike. This pivot also features the same spring loaded locking mechanism as the front.
Helix's spring-loaded locking mechanism appears to potentially solve common problems found in folding bikes of the past
Helix says that because of its ‘one piece’ frame design, the bike will be flex and creak free.
Available in three component levels, each model features thru-axles front and back,160mm Centerlock rotors, TRP Spyre disc brake calipers, and a SRAM S350-1 38-tooth crankset.
The singlespeed spec will feature an 18t rear cog and a Shimano Alfine chain tensioner. For the 10-speed spec, we see a Shimano Zee M640 Shadow+ 10-speed rear derailleur, a Shimano Zee M640 Rapid Fire shifter, and 11-36t cassette. Finally, the 11-speed internal hub version sees an Alfine rear hub and chain tensioner.
Only a few days into its campaign the Helix has raised nearly CAD$1,000,000 – and we’re excited to see how those extra funds are put to use.
Each Helix will be made in Canada, and expected delivery is March 2016. For more information or to fund the project, visit Helix’s Kickstarter page.