My name is Chuan Jun, currently, a business student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, interning at Mighty Velo. Despite being a two-weeks old intern, I was given an opportunity to build two Birdy performance foldable bikes. The two bikes I built from scratch are the Birdy TouringPLUS and Birdy New Classic. While building these two bikes, I noticed some differences and would like to share more in this article.
Interning at Mighty Velo
I am currently interning at Mighty Velo alongside 6 other bubbly interns from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Most of us are new to foldable bikes, hence we are taking this opportunity to learn together at Mighty Velo.
During the first two weeks, we managed to try out numerous activities such as building the bikes from scratch. Initially, we were all confused with the whole building process as we were unfamiliar with many of the bicycle components. However, as we got more hands-on, we became more confident in handling the tools and our knowledge about bicycle components. Read on to know more about the entire process!
Key Differences between the Birdy TouringPLUS and the Birdy New Classic
The Birdy TouringPLUS differs significantly from the Birdy New Classic when comparing their bike specifications. The Birdy TouringPLUS is designed for long-distance riding, while the Birdy New Classic is an entry-level foldable bike. Having said that, both bikes are considered to be high-performance foldable bikes in the market.
The most significant difference when comparing both bikes would be their frame design. The Birdy TouringPLUS embraces a single piece Monocoque Aluminium frame while the Birdy New Classic uses a tubular Aluminium frame. This sets both bikes apart in terms of styling. The Birdy TouringPLUS would deliver a sporty vibe while the Birdy New Classic brings a vintage and retro look.
The next notable difference would be the braking system and tyres that the bikes utilize. The Birdy TouringPLUS comes with a Juin Tech GG-R1 Cable-Actuated Hydraulic Disc Brake. It is futher complimented with the Tektro FL-740 QR type 3-finger brake lever.
On the other hand, the Birdy New Classic comes equipped with a Tektro 837AL V-brake and a Tektro CL-330RS brake lever.
The tyres that the Birdy TouringPLUS uses is the Schwalbe Big Apple 18×2.0″ tyre with an Alex Crostini M1.1 black anodized rim, while the Birdy New Classic comes with CST 18×1.5’ 90psi Kevlar tyres and Alex DA16 rims. Although both braking systems provide an immediate response when utilized, the Juin Tech GG-R1 Cable-Actuated Hydraulic Disc Brake certainly does not require much maintenance in the long run as compared to the Tektro 837AL V-brake.
The hub for both the bikes differs as well since both bikes provide a different number of gears. For the Birdy TouringPLUS, it comes with a Sturmey Archer CS-RK3 3×8 hub while the Birdy New Classic comes with a Shimano 8-speed hub. With the Sturmey Archer CS-RK3 3×8 hub, the Birdy TouringPLUS boasts a 24-speed gear system which allows the cyclist to customize their gear preferences to suit any terrain that they are cycling at.
The Birdy TouringPLUS also uses a Shimano Sora derailleur while the Birdy New classic uses an ACERA 8-speed derailleur.
Due to the difference in the number of gears, the shifter for both bikes comes differently as well. The Birdy New Classic comes with a Shimano Acera 8 speed right-only shifter on its rounded handle grips.
The Birdy TouringPLUS comes with a Shimano Revo shifter L3-SP/R8-SP shifter on its ergonomic handle grips. This difference is evident when you are changing gears as for the Birdy TouringPLUS you would be rotating both the left and right handle to shift gears while for the Birdy New Classic you would just be clicking on the shifter on the right to alter the gears to your liking.
The Bottom Bracket for both bikes differs as well. The Birdy TouringPLUS comes with an integrated bottom bracket while the Birdy New Classic comes with a TH-7420 68/122.5mm steel axle bottom bracket. Although the installation process has significant differences, it does not impact the rider’s riding experience on the Birdy Bike.
The saddles that are installed on the respective bikes are to serve different purposes.
The Birdy VL-312-3 w/cromo-rail saddle on the Birdy TouringPLUS is designed to be sleeker and narrower to deliver a sportier feel, which is meant for riders who want to go fast. The Velo VL-312-3 saddle of the entry-level Birdy New Classic comes thicker, wider, providing riders with a cushier feel.
With different designs, speed alteration and comfort that both bikes are equipped with, it is not a surprise that the dimensions and weight of both bikes have minor differences.
When folded, the Birdy TouringPLUS measures 60cm(H) x 33cm(W) x 72cm(L) while the Birdy New Classic measures 62cm(H) x 33cm(W) x 72com(L). The Birdy TouringPLUS also weighs 11.8kg (w/o pedals) which is heavier compared to the Birdy New Classic which weighs 10.9kg (w/o pedals). Birdy Bikes are extremely flexible and convenient when folded down, hence the 1kg weight difference does not affect the manoeuvrability of the bike at all.
Learning Process of Building the Birdy TouringPLUS and the Birdy New Classic
The process of building both the Birdy TouringPLUS and Birdy New Classic is generally similar. However, there are some technical differences due to bike design and specification. The Birdy TouringPLUS requires more attention to details to build as the bike is more sophisticated. I was also more meticulous when tuning the gear shifter for the 24-speed Birdy TouringPLUS as it requires more precision.
In contrast to the quick release skewer system on the Birdy New Classic, the Birdy TouringPLUS rear tyre comes with a thru-axle system due to its internal hub. As a result, more precision is required in order to align the rear tyres to fit seamlessly into the frame. Though I was unfamiliar with some bike components due to lack of experience, I was thankful to have my mentors, Ming Sheng and Dominic, there to help me.
All mechanics at Mighty Velo are experienced and would offer me help when I needed it throughout my bike building process. They were very detailed in our bike inspection to ensure our customers’ safety while riding our bikes and at the same time, they made sure they imparted the correct bike building skills to us.
Available in a Plethora of Colours
Mighty Velo is the sole authorised distributor of Pacific Cycles Bicycles in South East Asia. We are the only distributor in the world that custom makes many of our Birdy, CarryMe and CarryAll frame colours. We are also the only bike company in the world that offers 17 customized frame colours for Birdy Gen3 models and four customized frame colours for the Birdy New Classic model.
The wide variety of frame colours allows our customers to choose and customise their bike to their liking. If you wish to get your hands on a Birdy Bicycle today, head down to our experience store at 30 Tai Seng Street, Breadtalk IHQ, #02-14, S534013 today. We are open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 7pm.
Alternatively, you can check out more information on our bikes on shop.mightyvelo.com.