Okay so I have sinned, I bought another folding bike about a month after I sold the Brompton, this time I got myself a Reise Muller Birdy, sometimes called a R&M Birdy, but most of time simply known as Birdy.
I decided to get the 9 speed Birdy Gen3 (Generation), in other markets it is referred as Mk3 (Mark), in charcoal matt grey as I reckon the dull grey paint is easier to maintain, besides black bikes attract less attention from bike thieves. Though I was also considering the 24 speed version with SRAM internal 3 speed hub, it was a little pricier, but I think the deciding factor was the simplicity of a cassette & derailleur system verses an internal hub, especially when it comes to having to replace a tire or inner tube.
I got the bike from Interbike Studio, located at Soi Yen Akat just off from Rama IV and Sathorn roads. Actually these are the guys that import the bikes from Pacific Cycles, a Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer that specializes in folding bicycles and bikes for people with disabilities. The shop is somewhat hidden, quite a distance off the main road, so the best option is to either drive there, or take the motorbike taxi, which is what I had done and Baht 20 was minimal to what I was about to pay. On the plus side the shop is never busy, which is nice, also next door is a little cafe, which I only opens during the late afternoon (I think), but handy if you are getting your bike maintenance and need a place to sit & wait.
The Birdy promotion price was Baht 60,000 net which came with a transport bag, handy if you plan to take the bike on a plane journey. I had them kit the bike with a set of Ezy wheels for two main reasons; 1) for easy rolling when the bike is folded , and more importantly 2) so the crank doesn’t hit the ground when folding the tail section.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never even ridden the Birdy Gen3 before, but having tried the Gen2 and New Classic, I knew how it felt. The difference being is that the Gen3 has been greatly improved from previous versions, with new front suspension fork, larger headset, and 3D forged technology, besides I believe in Pacific Cycles because they have an R&D department that produce interesting products such as the iF Move, Carryme, bicycles for people with disabilities.
A day after I bought the bike I took the Birdy on a test ride up a hill to see if I need to change the cassette for my riding preference, this was my first true real world ride. Noticeable immediately was how it absorbed the road vibrations, remember this is a small wheeled bike (18″ wheels) and it’s frame is made from aluminium, so just these two aspects usually me a buzzy ride. Secondly I felt stretched out like on my mountain bike, the handlebars I wish were a little wider though and fitted with bar ends (on my must do list), I was also surprised I could make it up a long hill without problems, with the exception of my asthma acting up as I had foolishly forgot to bring my Ventolin ventilator, but otherwise it managed the first hill very well. Also what struck me was that it was not twitchy going up or down hill. So only plus points so far.
Later I sent a picture of my Birdy bike via Line messenging to the guy who had bought the Brompton off of me, he responded with a picture of his Brompton standing folded next to a Crius folding bike which he owned long before., but the comment that followed the photo was “I rode the Brompton, and I don’t really like it, I prefer my old bike the Crius” …. I didn’t know how to respond to that comment so just left it at that, but we continued to chat about other bicycles.
Personally after my experience, I think the Brompton is pure hype, agreed the fold is awesome, but the weight is seriously heavy, it rides like shit, and no it is not easy to roll on it’s rack wheels either. You couldn’t ride the Brompton long distance without the urge to throw it in the ditch and hike or hitch a ride back home, that was the feeling I got after one whole day of riding the bike to & from work using a mix transport mode (bicycle, MRT). Sure some people will say different, but I am very particular about how my bike rides.