Birdy City review

Comfy and classy folder

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The Birdy City is made by the German company Riese und Müller. At around £1,200 it's far from cheap, but its aluminium frame has a good finish and we expected a lot from the German engineers behind it.

  • Frame & fork: Monocoque frame boasts elastomer/coil suspension and a great finish; anti-dive leading link design fork works well (8/10)
  • Handling: Fast, refined ride was a hit with testers; one of the most comfortable folders available (8/10)
  • Equipment: Eight-speed cassette provides a good range of gears for town riding (7/10)
  • Fold: Final result is quite compact, but folding the front wheel under the frame is a bit of a faff and you all-too-easily end up with grubby hands – not great on your way to work (6/10)

The folded package is one of the neatest we've seen, but it wasn’t the most intuitive fold. The part of the process that caused the difficulty was how the front wheel folds back under the frame, hinging at the bottom of the front fork – about six inches behind the front wheel axle.

This also makes for convoluted cabling for the front V-brake, involving the cable disappearing into the fork and the use of a zip-tie.

The fold consists of lining up the cranks with the seat tube, dropping the bars, folding the front wheel under the frame, then folding the real wheel under the frame, dropping the seatpost into the frame and finally folding down the bars.

The result is a very neat and portable package, though when we were in a hurry we never ended up with quite as neat a result as the official pictures, but it was always readily portable.

The Birdy, like many folding bikes, has what is effectively a very long stem. On a lot of bikes this results in a lot of fore and aft movement, which is one of the first things you notice when you start riding folding bikes. The Birdy, though, is much more solid.

Not only does its ride offer a reassuring solidity, the Birdy was also very comfortable and smooth thanks to its shock-absorbing elastomer.

It’s a refined machine and the ride is such that, unlike with most of the other folding bikes we've tested, you genuinely could take this for all-day rides.

Ultimately, though, while there’s most definitely a heck of lot to like about the Birdy, we can’t overcome some nagging doubts about the convenience of that folding mechanism.

 birdy city:  birdy city
birdy city: birdy city

Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
  • Age: 53
  • Height: 175cm / 5'9
  • Weight: 75kg /165lb
  • Waist: 33in
  • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
  • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
  • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Location: Bath, UK
Back to top