When a girl builds a Birdy bike from scratch

My name is Regina Tay, currently a third-year Business Studies student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. I am in my final semester where I receive the opportunity to intern at Mighty Velo (MV). MV is the folding bike specialist in Singapore, who distributes Pacific Cycles’ Bicycles. Interning here for the past three weeks has been an eye-opening experience. While most of my peers are working desk-bound jobs, I got the chance to build bikes!

Read on more to find out as a girl, I learnt building the Birdy GT and New Classic from scratch!

The words “bike building” has never come across my mind until I started interning at MV. During my first week of internship, I learnt to build a Birdy GT in Desert Sand. So what constitutes the building of a bike? 

This was my very first time building a bike and the entire process was extremely tedious. The building itself was very technical and each step was unfamiliar to me. Often, I had to ask for help before going to the next step. 


Process of building the Birdy GT

Despite hearing these foreign terms for the first time, I decided to give it a shot. All Birdy Bikes come in 3 boxes. I unboxed the three carton boxes and proceeded to lay all the parts in front of me. 

Greasing parts of the bicycle frame

I started off by attaching the bicycle frame onto the bike stand and greasing the parts of the bike frame to install parts like the seat post and the handlebars. 

Next, it would be to install the BB through the bike frame. This step consists of attaching the crank, where the paddles are placed. After securing the seat post and handlebars, I went on to pump the tyres and gear tuning for the bicycle. 

Gear and Brakes Tuning 

I felt that brakes tuning was the most tedious part of bike building. To ensure the brakes to work well without producing a squeaking sound, I had to get the disc positioned perfectly in the centre of the brake pads. Gear tuning takes time, patience and perseverance as this step is not a one-shot process. 

It requires specific placement of the gears on the chains in order to achieve a perfect motion of the chains. This motion will then allow the chains to go around the gears and allow the rider to paddle smoothly. Once tuning of the gears is done, shifting of gears would be easy. The chain will rest perfectly on each sprocket with every click on the gear shifter.

The final touches will be adding the saddle to the seat post and securing all the bolts of the bike. This is to ensure that the rider stays safe throughout their journey on the Birdy. 

The Birdy GT is finally complete! Building the Birdy GT was a new experience and I felt accomplished watching the bike come from three boxes into a fully-functioning quality folding bike.

Learning Experience 

Once a bike is completed, a final quality check will be done to ensure all parts are intact and the bike is running properly. We will do test rides to check for the brakes and the smoothness of the ride. 

As the Birdy GT is slightly difficult and heavier to build, it took me a day to build it. I found the entire experience eye-opening as I would have never been able to build a bike if it was not for this internship.  

The bike building experience has allowed me to cultivate qualities such as endurance and determination as not all steps are clear cut and at times, I had to figure out some steps myself. 

Even though the process of building the bike was tough initially, I am proud that I was able to pick up a new skill. Building the Birdy GT also taught me that other than developing physical strength, mental willpower is equally as important as you will need the determination to tune the brakings and gearings.

Building the Birdy New Classic 

The following week, the Birdy Classic in Polished Silver was introduced to me.

This model had a noticeable difference as compared to the Birdy GT, which were the frame and the wheels. 

The Birdy GT comes with a single piece monocoque aluminium frame that is slightly arch-shaped. The new Generation 3 monocoque frame helps to achieve a faster and a more stable run, with the design closer to that of a road bike. 

In addition, the Birdy GT also has wheel tyres, similar to a mountain bike, which is suitable for light-trail riding. Fitted with Schwalbe Black Jack MTB tyres, the Birdy GT handles gravel and light off-road paths well.

The Birdy New Classic retains the vintage look of the original Birdy model, with an enhanced circular and straight mainframe. With the combination of Birdy’s second-generation monocoque frame, the Birdy New Classic boasts the mainframe that has better rigidity and internal cable routing for a sleeker look. 

The Birdy Classic comes with thinner CST pavement tyres - which is ideal for leisure riding and daily commuting. Between the two Birdy models, the building process is very similar, but the steps taken to build the Birdy Classic were more straightforward.

Learning Process 

Overall, the process of learning how to build a Birdy bike from scratch as a girl was really rewarding. My biggest takeaway would be learning that having both the physical and mental willpower to do so finish the building is very important. There were times there would be frustration with gear tuning - which caused me to cuss under my breath. However, when the entire bicycle is built, the sense of accomplishment was greater than that tiny bit of disbelief. 

Mighty Velo - The Folding Bike Specialist 

Here at Mighty Velo, we build each bike with our hearts and ensure that our bikes are safe for our customers. Mighty Velo is the authorised distributor for Pacific Cycles’ Bicycles in Southeast Asia, carrying brands like Birdy, CarryMe, CarryAll, Iruka, Reach and IFMove. We are also the only folding bike company to carry 17 different frame colours for the Birdy models and 9 colours for CarryMe model. 

If you are interested in our folding bicycles, please head down to our experience store at 30 Tai Seng Street, Breadtalk IHQ, #02-14, S534013 to speak to our retail associates. We are open from Monday to Saturday, from 10 AM to 7 PM. Alternatively, you can find out more information on our website at www.mighytvelo.com

We are available on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Carousell and Youtube. Check out more about us there and start your cycling journey with Mighty Velo today!