Helor Flux (Helor 106): A review after 6 months of ownership.

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fliz

#1: Post by fliz »

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to move into a travel trailer, full time. This meant my countertop espresso setup needed to go. With a heavy heart, I sold my heavily modified LP and HG-1, and bought a Mypressi Twist and a Helor 106.

At first I was weary of the "downgrade" from an 83mm Mazzer 0187c to a measly 71mm 0186c. However, a fellow member who I happened to meet outside the forum (and therefore don't know his username and can't give him credit) ensured me that I'd be happy with the Flux. I can now confirm I'm very happy with it and dare say even prefer it to the HG-1 and likely a Niche, too.

In one word, the reason is alignment.

The Flux is a simple beast. It's not so much a grinder that utilizes a Mazzer burr as it is a Mazzer burr with a grind chamber screwed onto it. Disassembled, there's nearly nothing to it. The outer burr has a ring of magnets attached to one side and a surprisingly light grind chamber and spindle attached to the other. A catch cup attaches to the ring of magnets and and a hefty cover that houses a 3:1 gearing that sits on the grind chamber.

The grind chamber is milled from a single piece of metal and the spindle sits securely in the dead center. This spindle can not move from the dead center.

When I received the grinder, it was aligned so perfectly, I could easily turn the handle, with virtually zero resistance, even with the burrs completely zeroed shut. There was no sound from the burrs touching each other. I could not do this with the HG-1. Completely zeroed, the handle would not turn.

For the next 6 months, I enjoyed fantastic espresso with comically fine adjustments (60 click-less dots per revolution). I almost never actually hand ground my beans, as the 3:1 gearing in the hefty lid allows the use of a standard cordless drill without spinning the burr too quickly. I got a motorized grinder after all!

That is, until today... After a long bumpy ride in my travel trailer, a screw that I neglected to ensure was tightened came all the way loose. It was a tiny unnoticeable screw inside the grind chamber that only became evident when I tried to grind some beans, only to come to such a "grinding" halt, that I thought I broke my drill. Once I figured out what had happened and put the screw back where it belonged, I now experienced a rubbing sound. At first, I thought I damaged the burr, but a closer inspection revealed the burr suffered no visible damage whatsoever. It was the alignment! I freaked out, because I thought I screwed up the one thing that made this grinder special. How could the alignment be off? I eventually realized the force of running into the screw with the cordless drill knocked the outer burr slightly out of place. I feared I would never be able to get it back to the perfect alignment it was when I received it, but fixing it ended up being super easy, barely an inconvenience.

All I did was loosen the screws that held the outer burr in place, tightened the inner burr completely, and retightened the screws holding the outer burr in place. Boom. Literally perfect again. No sound and easily turnable at absolute zero.

I thought I liked this grinder before, but now I love it. I aligned my HG-1 once, and it was a pain. It took multiple tries, tons of wasted coffee, and I still don't think I did as good of a job as I did in less than a minute with the Flux. Granted, that may be the result of my own incompetence regarding the HG-1, but for me, that's still a huge benefit. If I could do it all over again, I'd choose the smaller 71mm burr in exchange for easier and IMO superior alignment in a heartbeat.

I previously imagined getting a Niche Zero after my travel trailer days come to an end, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe someone with one can chime in and share their thoughts as to how easily they'd be able to realign their burrs after something as traumatic as a screw accidentally falling into it. I also have come to really enjoy having the best of both worlds regarding the tactile feedback of a hand grinder and the ease of a motorized grinder I get by using a cordless drill.

I no longer do RDT as I find it's now completely unnecessary. Retention is less than .1g

I still find a benefit to WDT however. This may change if I get better at dumping my grounds from the catch cup to my basket as it *seems* there are no clumps of any kind when I visually inspect them. WDT still consistently increases my shot times by about 4 seconds though. (I usually do 20g in, 40g out and aim for somewhere around 30-35 including a 5-10 second preinfusion, and use a modified keycap puller as my WDT tool.)

In conclusion, I'd highly recommend the 106 to anyone in the market for a titan conical grinder. Its simplicity, precision, and ease of use are exemplary and its portability puts it in a class of its own. At $700, it is both the cheapest titan conical and most expensive portable hand grinder. I'd still call it a bargain though. It'll last forever and double as a home defense weapon in a pinch.

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jbviau
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#2: Post by jbviau »

fliz wrote:In conclusion, I'd highly recommend the 106 to anyone in the market for a titan conical grinder. Its simplicity, precision, and ease of use are exemplary and its portability puts it in a class of its own. At $700, it is both the cheapest titan conical and most expensive portable hand grinder. I'd still call it a bargain though. It'll last forever and double as a home defense weapon in a pinch.
Thanks! Very informative. However, was the grinder discontinued? I think Helor is Option-O now, and I don't see anything like the Flux offered on their site at the moment.

edit: I emailed Option-O for more info. and will post here if/when I get a reply.
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

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jbviau
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#3: Post by jbviau »

Update: Option-O emailed me back yesterday to say that the Flux has, indeed, been discontinued and that there are no plans to re-release it. Try not to grind any more screws, I guess?! :lol:
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

DaveB

#4: Post by DaveB »

jbviau wrote:Try not to grind any more screws, I guess?! :lol:
Grind away with aplomb! :D I imagine 71mm Mazzer 186C burrs will be available for the foreseeable future, not to mention at least one other brand with that form factor. Aside from the Mazzer Robur, the MC3 and later Monolith Conicals, etc also use those type burrs.
Von meinem iPhone gesendet

fliz (original poster)

#5: Post by fliz (original poster) »

jbviau wrote:Update: Option-O emailed me back yesterday to say that the Flux has, indeed, been discontinued and that there are no plans to re-release it. Try not to grind any more screws, I guess?! :lol:
That's odd. I got an email back from service@helor.com on 12/30/20 saying both the 106 and 102 would be available again soon

zefkir

#6: Post by zefkir » replying to fliz »

I don't know the whole story, but Option-O and Helor were two companies in a partnership. They split, on rather unamicable terms probably since neither acknowledge each other's existence.

There is now a Helor company in China, and a company called option-O in Australia.

Also, how soon is "soon"?

gunda

#7: Post by gunda »

zefkir wrote:I don't know the whole story, but Option-O and Helor were two companies in a partnership. They split, on rather unamicable terms probably since neither acknowledge each other's existence.
When was the split? They were separate companies a few years ago and then I thought they merged. Would be a shame if they split, especially if it was acrimonious.

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zefkir

#8: Post by zefkir »

Not sure, 2019 maybe?

bakafish

#9: Post by bakafish »

I got mine from original Helor on the Taobao China in August 2020. The service@helor.com is their email.

zefkir

#10: Post by zefkir » replying to bakafish »

I've never understood how to order from Taobao, that being said, what do you think of the Flux?