Birdy Bicycle Information

Fitting 17 inch AM Moulton wheels to a Birdy

(Extract from an email received in August 1998)

By Peter Evans

Initial Installation

I have now fitted the Moulton wheels to the Elox. No problem with the front which went in nicely. Not so easy with the back where there was a gap where the axle fitted which I had to fill with a washer as I did not want to bend any aluminium. Because of this and because of the thickness of the hanger, I was not able to use the Moulton wheel nuts as the captive washer took up too much space. The bike rides very nicely. I have used an ordinary friction drive changer which works very well. The chainwheel is 50T: a range of 30 to 94.

The bike is not yet foldable as I have not got a spare set of the plastic chainwheel surrounds. I might use old chainwheels. I also have to make that bit that goes on the jockey wheel to take up slack chain when folded. I shall probably use a mudguard stay. Graham will be giving the bike a go later in the week: I shall be interested in his reactions.

Further Riding Impressions

I compared my Elox with the AM wheels to my other Birdy with the standard wheels. There is no doubt that fitting AM wheels transforms the bike. Road holding and ride are both better. What is most surprising a that the Elox is now completely silent - the creaks have gone. Whether this had anything to do with the new wheels seems pretty unlikely.

The brakes (RX100) are top class. A test ride in the rain yesterday showed that they performed almost as well in the wet as in the dry. I have had to reduce the chainwheel to 42T as the chainwheel guards (=52T) would not hold the chain when folded. Gearing is now 26-79": perfectly adequate for my sort of cycling. Initially I fitted a short derailleur, but this did not take up enough chain when folded and there was a tendency for the widget that is fitted to the bottom jockey to curl up as the chain climbed over the teeth of the largest sprocket. Luckily this happened (it was not the first time) going uphill at slow speed so no damage was caused. I have made a new widget but at present I am using the Birdy one. The derailleur is an Alivio, the jockey arm is not quite so long as the Elox's XT which came too close to the ground. I have ignored the cable stops fitted to the Elox and run a single Goretex cable from an old friction changer to the derailleur. Works a treat.

As you know the Elox has more stretch then other Birdys because of the different stem. To give a more comfy ride I have fitted stubby bar extensions covered in Grab-on and brake extensions which allow control of braking without having to move hands.


Thanks for that useful information. I know Chris Dent uses an old chainwheel in place of the original plastic guard on at least one side after fitting a smaller chainwheel. He also constructed a sort of eccentric retainer to fit in place of the retainer bolted on the seat tube above the chain to stop it dropping off what is the top when not folded (don't know if I've explained that very well!). Graham McDermott has tried riding Peter's modified Elox, and reports very favourably on it.

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Copyright (C)1998 Peter Evans
Last updated: 13 February 2000