Bicycles

Helix bike is claimed to fold smaller than any other

Helix bike is claimed to fold ...
When folded down, the Helix isn't much bigger than its wheels
When folded down, the Helix isn't much bigger than its wheels
View 4 Images
When folded down, the Helix isn't much bigger than its wheels
1/4
When folded down, the Helix isn't much bigger than its wheels
Those wheels still turn when the bike is folded, allowing it to be carted along like wheeled luggage
2/4
Those wheels still turn when the bike is folded, allowing it to be carted along like wheeled luggage
It tips the scales at 21 lb (9.5 kg)
3/4
It tips the scales at 21 lb (9.5 kg)
Other features include spring-loaded locking mechanisms to help keep the bike feeling rigid, internally-routed cables, disc brakes, and a 9-speed transmission
4/4
Other features include spring-loaded locking mechanisms to help keep the bike feeling rigid, internally-routed cables, disc brakes, and a 9-speed transmission
View gallery - 4 images

The whole idea behind folding bikes is that they can be made very small and unobtrusive for transit and storage. It would follow, therefore, that the smaller they can be folded down, the better. Well, Toronto's Peter Boutakis claims that his company's Helix bike can fold smaller than any other. It's also got a snazzy lightweight titanium frame.

Pivoting on helical hinges, the two 24-inch wheels fold in against either side of the one-piece main frame and sit between the cranks. Once the handlebars have also been folded down, the seat lowered and the pedals flipped in, the end result is a package that measures 23 × 25 × 9 inches (584 x 635 x 229 mm). It's only slightly wider than the crankset, and not much bigger than the wheels. Those wheels still turn when the bike is folded, allowing it to be carted along like wheeled luggage.

Tipping the scales at 21 lb (9.5 kg), it's also said to be the world's lightest folding bike. It can't actually claim that title, although it's certainly still among the lightest.

Other features include spring-loaded locking mechanisms to help keep the bike feeling rigid, internally-routed cables, disc brakes, and a 9-speed transmission
Other features include spring-loaded locking mechanisms to help keep the bike feeling rigid, internally-routed cables, disc brakes, and a 9-speed transmission

Other features include spring-loaded locking mechanisms to help keep the bike feeling rigid on the road, internally-routed cables, disc brakes, and a 9-speed transmission. Plans call for all of the CWSR (cold worked stress relieved) titanium frames to be hand-welded in Canada.

Boutakis and his team will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise production funds for the Helix, starting early next month. At that time, a pledge of US$1,199 will get you one, assuming all goes according to plan. The retail price will be $1,499.

You can see the bike in action, in the video below.

Source: Helix Folding Bike

Helix - The World's Best Folding Bike

View gallery - 4 images
15 comments
sk8dad
Wow! Finally a bike design that functions as well as it looks.
Rann Xeroxx
I think they should make a custom backpack or sling bag for it and sell it with it. It would give a better feel of why this would be useful to people as it would allow you to carry it via mass transit and ride the bike the last mile.
Junksupposed
So where does a 24" tire fit inside a 23" space? I'd also like to see a detailed video demonstrating the folding and locking. Those slots cut in the fork and steering tube are a bit concerning.
Dax Wagner
$1500?? Why do bike makers insist on pricing these folding bikes as much as a small, used car on Craigslist? Adding hinges can't make it that expensive.
LikelyLad
Another bike, another stupid price. Where does $1,500 come from - when you look at the individual components? It doesn't make any sense.
Freyr Gunnar
"Helix bike is claimed to fold smaller than any other […] 584 x 635 x 229 mm"
Brompton is "585mm high x 545mm long x 270mm wide".
The Helix having 24" wheels, it's hard to believe it could fold smaller than the 16"-wheeled Brompton, but it does look like a good project. It just needs fenders/mudguards and a luggage block in the front to clip bags à la Brompton, which is super convenient: www.carradice.co.uk/product_images/20091006162210-large-4-628.jpg
Dax Wagner > $1500?? Why do bike makers insist on pricing these folding bikes as much as a small, used car on Craigslist?
Making a good folder isn't as easy as people think. Besides, it must withstand daily fodling/unfolding, which is where the cheap ones show their price.
> Adding hinges can't make it that expensive.
A good folder costs upward of $1K. Besides, this bikes is made of titanium (for weight) and has disk brakes.
owlbeyou
Of course, you're not gonna go off-roading with this, but as a city transporter it works. I do wonder what the weight limit of the rider would be though.
Making it totable in a back pack might get dangerous in the confines of a people space like a sidewalk or subway. One wrong move and you could hurt somebody. Carrying it like a briefcase is much better. This lightweight titanium folder has a lot going for it, and for 15 hundred bucks it can be worth it, more so if the price goes down with increased production.
Germano Pecoraro
The idea of a bicycle frame that folds out on itself is excellent, but I have some doubts about the rigidity of the whole. The cost? It 'significant
JAT
The rider needs a helmet!
Peter Boutakis
Thanks to gizmag for the excellent article, and thanks to the readers for your comments!
I wanted to respond to a few of the points that were brought up:
"So where does a 24" tire fit inside a 23" space?" Good question. Bicycle industry wheel sizes are mostly inaccurate. This is because many different tires sizes can fit on the same rim. In our case we are using a 1.5" wide tire on a 20" dia rim (bead seat diameter), which brings the overall diameter to about 23". If we used a bigger tire, such as a 2.25", the diameter would increase. To try and keep it simple, the bike industry calls it a 24" wheel. Regardless, you may notice that the seat is still slightly higher than the wheels, this will be the same height for production making the height 23" as claimed. Source: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
About the slot on the fork and steerer tube: The fork and steerer are of adequate thickness and the slots are not at high stress points. We've done extensive simulation and real world testing and have confirmed it is strong and safe.
About the weight: Our claim of 21lbs is total bicycle weight including pedals. It is common for bicycle companies to post weights without pedals, which may or may not be the case here. Without an actual hands-on review of either bike, the numbers are just manufacturers claims. Even so, the author brings up a valid point and we hope to make good on our claim for production!
About the price: Folding bikes are generally more expensive because of the hinges and locks. Helix will be made out of titanium, which is significantly more expensive than steel, aluminum and carbon. With that said, it is still very competitively priced in comparison to other titanium bikes, folding or not.
About world's smallest claim: Based on the numbers provided for the Brompton (585mm x 545mm x 270mm or 23" x 21.5" x 10.6"), the total volume would be 5241.7”. Helix is 5175”. The main differentiator being the width measurement, helix is slightly thinner, this makes it easy to get through doors and other tight paces where height is less of an issue.
About rigidity: Rigidity will be one of our biggest selling points. Helix uses a patent pending tube-in-tube locking device that is very rigid.
About accessories: Helix will have mounts for mud guards, racks, lights and more. There will be a unique carrying option as well, but it will be available after our first production run. Stay tuned!