Monday, June 11, 2012

The Brompton: an Owner's Impression

Bromptons in Maine
A few months ago we became owners of Brompton folding bikes. I am still surprised and a little embarrassed by how much I like my bike. Why that mix of emotions? Well, because I cannot really take credit for this purchase or for the specs - it was mostly the husband's idea! Don't get me wrong: I've been admiring the Brompton for years and have written about it here wistfully. I've even taken one on an extended test ride last summer. In the end I was not convinced that I actually needed or wanted to own a Brompton. But my husband was, and he argued that it made sense for us to both get them at the same time. Since he felt strongly about it I ultimately agreed, though remained nervous that my use of the bike might not justify the purchase. I now ride the Brompton nearly every day. Funny that something I was not sure I needed can now feel indispensable.

Brompton, East Pier, Dun Laoghaire
Designed by engineer Andrew Ritchie, the Brompton is a British folding bicycle that has been in continuous production since 1987 and has remained largely unchanged since. You can read about the history here. There are many folding bikes on the market these days, but the Brompton is said to offer the most compact and easiest fold, with the durability and speed of a full-sized bike. The Brompton has 16" wheels and a hinged "unitube" frame. The construction is brazed steel, with the option of titanium extremities (fork and rear triangle) occasionally available via special order. The bike is optimised to carry a front load with low-trail geometry. The frames are hand-made in Brompton's factory near London. The wheels are built in Wolverhampton. Components are sourced from a variety of manufacturers including Sturmey Archer and SKS, 80% of the components being Brompton-specific in design. A selection of colours, handlebar setups, gearing options and accessories is available.

Brompton Folding Bikes
Our bikes ended up being identical except for the saddles and seatposts. The model is the Brompton M6L-X. This is code for the bikes having upright handlebars, fenders, 6 speeds, and titanium extremities. The finish is raw lacquer. The tires are Schwalbe Kojaks. The bikes are fitted with SON/ Lumotec IQ Cyo dynamo lighting. The Ti and SON specs were to save weight, improve ride quality, and have the best available lighting system. The raw lacquer we chose simply because we both love the look. Going with the 6-speed gearing option and choosing the lowered (-12%) gearing was a decision based on the advice of Todd from Clever Cycles in Oregon, who has toured on his own Brompton extensively. We did not want to make our bikes touring-specific, but we wanted the option of riding them in hilly areas.

We chose the M-type model, because we both prefer upright handlebars when riding for transportation. Since handlebar height is mostly non-adjustable once you choose the model, the rider's positioning on the bike depends on saddle placement. I am just under 5'7" and with the M model my handlebars are almost 2" above saddle height. He is just over 6' and his handlebars are ever so slightly below saddle height, for a more aggressive position.

Ballycastle Waterfront Path
As far as accessories, we share a shopping basket and each have a Carradice City Folder front bag. The shopping basket is a big, open container with handles. The Carradice City Folder is a large office bag, with a padded laptop compartment, plenty of room for other things such as books, clothing and camera equipment, and two rider-facing pockets each large enough to fit a water bottle (or coffee cup!). I have lots more to say about this bag and will post a review soon. But no matter which Brompton bag one chooses, the system is easy to use. A front block must be installed on the bicycle's frame, and the bag or basket simply clicks onto it via an internal rack-like frame structure. The attachment system - consisting of the block, the "socket" that accepts the block, and the rack-like frame that extends from the socket - is rigid and solid. The bag does not budge once attached. We opted not to install rear racks, figuring the front bags - supplemented with saddlebags when necessary - would meet our needs. We can always add rear racks later if we feel it necessary.

Brompton, Ulsterbus Bus Stop
Not to overstate the obvious, but the Brompton is a very compact bicycle. It can be folded to different extents, including the "sit" fold that stabilises the bike as a kickstand would, the "shopping cart" fold that allows it to be rolled around by the handlebars (with basket attached, the bike turns into a shopping cart), and the complete fold shown here. After some practice, it takes me less than a minute to do the complete fold. The small fold makes it suitable for travel like no other folding bike.

The compactness isn't just for travel and multi-modal commuting. The bike is light (compared to other city bikes) and easy to carry in and out of the house even in its unfolded state, which is especially practical for city dwellers who live up several flights of stairs and for those who wish to keep their bike in their office instead of parked outdoors for hours in an unsafe neighbourhood. I very rarely do multi-modal commuting unless I am traveling, but I still find the compactness useful for these reasons. Somehow, a small bike is an easy bike and I am enjoying this much more than I anticipated.

Of course, I am taking advantage of the fold as well. We have not owned a car for close to two years now, and it hasn't been simple to travel with two full sized bikes. The Bromptons will fit into any Zipcar without requiring bike racks or an oversized car, and they can go on any train, even at the most crowded of times.

Brompton, Charles River
But what surprised me about the Brompton was not the compact fold, which I'd already known about. It was the features that distinguish it as a bike, not just as a folding bike. For instance, I had not fully understood previously how well it works for riding in everyday clothing. My positioning is upright. The frame's unitube is so low, the bike is essentially a step-through - no more difficult to mount/dismount than a loop frame. It has fenders and even tiny mudflaps. The wheels are so small and far down that even without dressguards my skirt doesn't go anywhere near the spokes. The crankset has a built-in chainguard, which is not an enclosed chaincase but good enough. The quick-release seat post is great for wearing shoes with different heel heights: Instead of setting my saddle for the flattest pair of shoes I own and then feeling as if my knees bend too much when I wear heels, I can simply adjust the saddle to whatever height I want for every ride. I can wear any outfit I want on this bike and not feel limited.

Then there is the cargo capacity. The Brompton can carry a surprising amount of stuff in the front, with no detectable impact on handling. I can carry all of my camera equipment - medium format clunkers, flash units, whatever - on the bike in a way that feels stable, safe and comfortable, not precarious or dis-balancing. Ditto with art supplies - heavy paint, primer, stacks of wooden panels. No problem. It just works and my balance on the bike is not affected. Essentially I now own a cargo bike that is sufficient for my needs.

Summer Dress Cycling
When considering the Brompton, I worried about the handling and ride quality. I ride my bikes a lot. The kind of work I do, I don't just go to an office in the morning and back at night; I might ride from place to place all day and some of my destinations are 10+ miles apart. For that reason, a bike that is easy to transport but does not ride well is useless to me. When I test-rode the Brompton, its handling struck me as peculiar (the front end felt weirdly wobbly) and I was not sure whether I'd be able to get used to it. Even after a couple of days test riding it, I remained unsure. It took me about a week of owning the bike to truly get used to it, but once I did I started to prefer the handling over other bikes - especially in the city. The Brompton is easier for me to maneuver through tight spaces, easier to U-turn than other bikes, just somehow easier to handle all around. I no longer feel the "weird wobbly" sensation. When I later learned that Bromptons have low trail, it made sense.

It is a common complaint that small wheel bikes feel harsh. I was concerned about this, and together with the MTB-style hand position of the Brompton's handlebars, it just seemed like asking for trouble. I have nerve damage in my hands and am usually unable to ride in this hand position, especially if a bike's ride quality is harsh. I could just imagine my hands going numb after 10 miles (it has happened on other bikes after much shorter distances). However, I have experienced no problems with harshness or numbness on the Brompton, and do not know how to explain why not. I do not think it is attributable entirely to the Ti bits, but it could be the combination of that and the geometry. In any case, my longest single Brompton ride so far has been 45 miles (sandwiched between two 30-mile days) and I have yet to experience any discomfort so far.

Maine, Memorial Day Weekend
As far as speed and the bike's ability to tackle hills, I would describe it as being more like a roadbike than a city bike. That does not mean it is quite as fast as a roadbike. But with the lowered wide range 6-speed gearing it can handle the same type of terrain. It takes me longer to climb on the Brompton, but I can do it, even with my decidedly upright position. Opting for a model with lower handlebars (the S-type) would have made it even more aggressive.

Finally, the Brompton has done better than I imagined it would off road. The handling feels intuitive on dirt and gravel, and the Schwalbe Kojak tires feel wider than the 32mm they are. The small size and the low step-over on the bike somehow makes me feel as if I'll be able to bail easier in the event of a "wipeout," which in turn makes me more confident. The most challenging off road ride I have done so far has been on the Brompton.

Brompton, Charles River
While my husband does not have as many miles on his bike as I do on mine, he has been commuting on it more or less daily, with his 3-year old Pashley Roadster now an inclement weather/ winter bike. Like me, he likes the Brompton's handling and ride quality more than he expected to, and the more he rides it the more he likes it. He is also very happy that he can easily keep the Brompton in his office and take it with him everywhere he goes. He hates leaving his bike locked up outside, and now he does not have to. The Brompton has little wheels that allow it to be rolled around in "grocery cart mode," but when grocery shopping he often just rolls the bike in unfolded, piles food into the basket, and checks out and rides off, without anyone objecting (not all stores permit this, but the one next to our house does). Like me, he is impressed by the front load system - its carry capacity, simplicity, lack of extra weight and bulk, and low to the ground positioning. He agrees that carrying weight on this bike has no effect on steering or handling. He likes how the bike rides off-road. They've been resurfacing streets in our neighbourhood, leaving stretches of road without asphalt for days, and the Brompton rides nicely over the baselayer. He finds the bike maneuverable, easily able to make sharp turns and go around obstacles, hop curbs (I can't vouch for that one). In a general sense, what he likes is that performance-wise the Brompton does not feel to him like a compromise compared to a full sized bike. The one exception he is not crazy about, is the downhill handling - which he says is "more fun" on his full-sized bikes - though personally I do not feel that way.

Maine, Memorial Day Weekend
One unexpected outcome of owning the Bromptons, is that we feel well-matched on them in terms of riding style. We are finding that it's easier to ride together on these bikes than either to go roadcycling or to ride our full-sizd city bikes together. So after a break of many months we've started doing recreational rides together again. The Bromptons handle hills well enough for us to do the same routes as we would on roadbikes, only slower. Now we ride side by side and talk more than we ever used to. I am not sure what about these bikes is causing this harmony exactly, but possibly it's the handling. 

Bikes in the Studio
As far as the Brompton's drawbacks, the main one for me is that there are times when I find carrying it around inconvenient. At over 20lb, it is not exactly a light bike for someone of my size to carry casually in one hand for prolonged periods of time, and it is not always practical to deploy the easy-wheels and roll it around (some shops and offices won't allow it). The good news is that after being forced to carry it frequently during my trip in Ireland, I now have more upper body strength and can deal with this better than I used to. Still, I do not see the Brompton being my sole transportation bike; I need a full-sized bike to supplement it for times when I prefer to leave my bike outside. Right now I ride the Brompton most of the time, supplementing it with my vintage Raleigh when I need a full-sized bike. I know there are debates as to whether it's okay to leave a Brompton locked up outdoors, and maybe some day I will feel comfortable doing that. But at the moment I do not.

As far as quality, malfunctions, and things of that nature, it is probably too early to tell. Both of us had issues with seatposts slipping when we first got the bikes. In my case, simply tightening the clamp resolved this (the quick release is harder to use now, but still doable). The husband uses an anti-slip paste in addition to having tightened the clamp. During my stay in Ireland, my gears went out of adjustment and a couple of clamps rattled loose, possibly during one of my off-road rides. Chris Sharp of the VCC Northern Ireland (who owns a Brompton as well) was kind enough to re-tighten everything for me. He tells me this is not uncommon in his experience, and that he uses Loctite or similar on his own bike.

Maine, Memorial Day Weekend
A less serious complaint pertains to how much of a spectacle riding the Brompton is. I am a fairly private person in real-life and these bikes garner a lot of attention. Crowds gather to watch me fold and unfold the bike. Children point and shout "Mommy, look!" as I ride by. Strangers approach to ask what the bike is, then ask to spell it and actually write the name down on a little notepad. It can get out of hand, and of course when the two of us are riding the bikes together it is even more of a sight.

Then there is the "clown bike" aspect of it. While I find the Brompton to be adorable, in a cartoony forest animal kind of way, I am pretty sure that I look ridiculous riding it. Unfortunately I have lost all sense of perspective at this stage. Worse, I really don't think I care.

Maine, Memorial Day Weekend
So here I am, riding my lovely weird little folding bike and enjoying it very much so far. Other than using my own saddle, I have not made any modifications yet and am even using the stock foam grips without issue. At some point I will think of something to personalise my bike, but it is not a priority at the moment.

As a bike that's a mechanical curiosity, the Brompton invites elaborate technical analysis, but I've tried to steer away from that here. While I appreciate that aspect of the Brompton, it is only one of the things that attracts me to it. I like it not just for its multimodal commuting and easy-travel properties, but as a regular bike. That is what I most wanted to communicate at this stage.

106 comments:

  1. Bromptons rock!!!

    I wish I'd gotten the lower gearing ratio. I bought the standard 6 ratio and spend most of my time in the middle gear, never wanting to go faster, but I have encountered hills where I'd like to have an easier gear.

    Anyways, keep enjoying the ride! And I'll enjoy your posts. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NOTE: changing to the lower gearing ratio is relatively easy and not too costly... your local B dealer will change out your front chain wheel from 50 teeth to 44t -- and take a couple links from the chain... presto -- low gearing...
      --mcget / trophy bikes philly

      Delete
  2. Perhaps this is a question for the Co-Habitant, but does the chain guard provide sufficient protection for pant legs - say for men's dress slacks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is welcome to answer for himself, but I will say that whenever I ride any bike (not just the Brompton) in trousers, I always roll up the right leg. This includes bikes with chaincases, as I've actually had trouser legs get stuck on the chaincase itself or on the crank!

      Delete
    2. No I don't think it's sufficient to rely on. It works much better than it looks but it's not 100%, especially with lighter coloured trousers.

      Delete
    3. It protects from grease pretty well (better than hockey stick style guards). I still ride it like this without any extra prep for a short commute, but for longer rides (pleasure rides or hills) I roll up the pant leg.

      If I am on the bike long enough, I will occasionally feel a pull on the fabric as the chain guard tries to keep it away from the chainring/chain, so it's not 100% fool-proof. The wind can be a factor, and of course boot-cut wide legs are worse. The most exciting thing that happened so far is a particularly stiff fabric cuff managed to knock the chain off to the inside.

      Oh, and I probably wouldn't do this with light trousers.

      Delete
  3. It is a nifty little bike & my experience has been similar to yours, including the 'spectacle' aspect. Another unexpected feature of the bike is that people want a go on it and I've seen more people ride a bike for the first time, often in years, (with big grins on their faces) than I ever have since getting mine. I tend to keep the basket on the front and the U-lock in it as a weight to make the handling a little more normal. It's a bit odd not being able to see the front wheel but other than that it's fine for beginners who seem to find it really approachable

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent well-considered post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Just travelled last week with a Brompton for the first time. Exploring a new city by Brompton was even easier and more fun than I had hoped.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I was in Ireland, I debated whether to do a quick exploration of Dublin my last day there, and if so whether to take the bike. I am very glad I did. I did not bother with a map and just rode around the city; it was great.

      Delete
  5. About time you guys got these bikes! As a long time reader I have been amused by how much you downplay the Brompton's fold, not so much here as in your earlier posts. To us engineers and bona fide geeks, the fold is everything!

    ReplyDelete
  6. "The one exception he is not crazy about, is the downhill handling - which he says is "more fun" on his full-sized bikes - though personally I do not feel that way."

    I feel mine handles better in downhill turns with the wide Greenspeed tyre on the front (won't fit the rear) than with the Kojak or Marathon tyre. A Brompton tyre might also be an improvement.

    Why did you go for the Kojaks? The kevlar bead ones are the lightest but I think Brompton's tyres give a plusher ride.

    Anyway, glad you like your new bikes. I've had mine for seven years and it's still my favorite bike.

    ReplyDelete
  7. At first, I thought that multi-moal was a typo, but then I looked up moal, and now think that It might be more suitable for writing about my folder, which is a humble Dahon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me and my typos! Could have been worse...

      Delete
  8. I must admit I was excited when I learned you got the Bromptons. Late last year I became fascinated with Bromptons and the notion that we could just "throw" them in the car and take them anywhere with little or no preparation. Despite living in the suburbs I just had to get them. I agree with all your observations about the bikes and we are enjoying them as much as you are. Thank you for what you do here and enjoy the rides! Oh yes, the addition of Ergon grips was a nice improvement.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I enjoyed my years of Brompton ownership, but they do require slightly different care and feeding from other bikes. First off, you can't swap or upgrade components without considering whether they'll interfere with the folding. On my old L3, using the "wrong" kind of brake blocks prevented proper folding.

    You also have to be a little careful on what and how you tighten some bolts. There used to be a very specific torque for the seat bolt that *just* held my weight and no more. You were supposed to change the folding bracket every few years, too.

    Congratulations on the new bikes; they are enormous fun. You're getting a very polished machine that's way ahead of my mid-90s L3.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your Ireland trip inspired me to get the Brompton out of the closet (kept there because Popsy is scared of it) and I am enjoying it on relaxed daily rides as alternative to fast road bike. One wierd/funny thing last week; started slipping the chain and it fell between the chain guard and crank where it got stuck necessitating loosening the chain guard to release. So, going to put in a washer on the chain guard to prevent that. The reason the chain was slipping I (duh) found out when the chain tensioner pulley came off and was lost at the end of a ride! When I got the new chain tensioner the LBS explained that there is a dust cap that can be removed for tightening. Oh! Now, I recognized the little cap that fell off couple of weeks back and had no idea what it was. The brompton is very forgiving luckily for me! Jim Duncan

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for that helpful post. I'm planning to buy either a Brompton or a Tikit this fall to replace my current folder. I wish you could also test the Tikit.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice first impressions post! Interesting that after two ambivalent test rides you ended up liking the bike so much. Makes you wonder about test rides doesn't it.

    Are you embarrassed because the Brompton is not as pretty as your other bikes? I think it will grow on you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no. I actually find the Brompton very attractive. I still remember the first time I walked into Harris Cyclery and saw Elton's personal raw lacquer Brompton. I stopped in my tracks and just stared at it. This must have been in Spring 2009, before I even started this blog.

      What I am embarrassed about is that this was probably my most passive bike purchase, and yet I like it so much. It's also, as you point out, very odd that I now like the bike despite the iffy test ride impressions. Altogether it's funny more than anything.

      Delete
    2. serendipity can be great (thought its utterly crap, often, too) :)

      Delete
  13. Can I ask what one of these costs? This was actually one of the best bike test ride reviews I've ever read. So congrats on that, but one key component that is missing is how much it costs (unless I missed that, in which case I apologize). Knowing what it will cost will give me an idea of where I put it on my future bike timeline. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe they start at just over $1000, but the cost varies wildly depending on the spec. Clever Cycles has a nifty bike builder that allows you to configure the bike with the specs you want.

      Delete
    2. Didn't you once question the utility of titanium on a Brampton? Seems like a big expense. While I sometimes struggle to understand how you spend so much on bikes and bike accessories, I'm willing to suspend disbelief if you'll tell me: was the TI worth it?

      Delete
    3. Hard to say for sure. There's this. I think it's a personal decision.

      Delete
    4. in the post you referenced where you felt a difference in the ride quality between the ti and steel version of the brompton, did both bikes have the same type of suspension block (regular or firm)?

      i have no regrets about purchasing an all steel brompton (in bright yellow!) last summer, but i have always wondered if the weight savings and difference in ride quality was worth the significant price increase.

      Delete
    5. i worked out the other week that I've done more than 30000 miles over the past six years or so on my brompton, most urban and impossible to walk, meaning i'd either have used a car or public transport - that's lots (and lots and lots and lots) more than the devaluation on a car in a year, or a metro ticket in london for a year..

      Delete
    6. It appears that Brompton has discontinued the titanium version. Ga'head.... try and order it.

      Delete
    7. It becomes available once or twice a year, in limited quantities. They announce it in advance.

      Delete
    8. You are right, they brought it back for 2013, but it's not $1000. I passed, but my Brompton is coming soon... 17 weeks. Damn.

      Delete
  14. I just passed my one year mark with my Brompton and all that you describe is true. I was also shocked at how much I prefer the Brompton.

    As for the general public, I will walk away and let my husband be the Brompton ambassador most times as I am so tired of having to put on a show. (strange how demanding people can be)

    I have locked mine outside before and choose to fold it up completely then lock it through the frame and wheels. I prefer to bring the bike inside however.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brompton ambassador : )

      As far as locking up, I am not sure why I can't do it since I am fairly blasé about locking up all my other bikes. Something about the little critter of a bike just seems more vulnerable.

      Delete
    2. I happily lock my Brompton on most streets in my home town (Sheffield in England) as it's quite a provincial place and the local criminals haven't realised that it's a very realisable asset. In London I would be very cautious indeed as the scroats there know exactly what the bike is worth and where to sell it. I see a lot more on our local streets these days so I may have to be more cautious in future.

      Delete
    3. You could always just get cover, roll it into the shops without anyone being the wiser. Me, i'd probably get a good ulock too.
      http://www.nycewheels.com/brompton-cover-and-saddle-bag.html

      Delete
  15. I greatly enjoyed this post and other tales off Brompton-ness spread throughout your blog. Your description of people staring at it tickles me somewhat - here in England they are a very common sight in southern cities, and every time you pull up to a traffic light in central London you'll probably be jostling with one or two - I suppose we take it for granted! Also warms the cockles of my heart that your backup bike is a Raleigh - We may not be much of an industrial country any more but at least some part lives on...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I lived in England in the early-mid 2000's, in a very bikey town, and do not remember ever having seen a Brompton. Plenty of vintage Raleighs and other 3-speeds though. Then I came back to visit in 2010 and did see Bromptons in London. It seems the popularity exploded recently. There are more and more of them in Boston as well.

      Delete
  16. Great article!

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/it/abus-bordo-75cm-folding-bike-lock-2010/

    This is the bike lock I'd recommend if you'll ever consider to buy one. My LBS rents Bromptons and they have this lock, too.

    Even though I believe that a Kryptonite lock is undestructable, I find them heavy and uncomfortable to carry. I prefer to not to carry a lock and have my Brompton always with me. But if I'd decide to pour 90$ to a foldable lock, attachable to my Brompton, I'd buy a Bordo foldable lock.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The hand pain/ride quality thing -- duh you hardly have any weight on them because of your position plus...

    you have suspension! Hello!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But the suspension is in the rear, am I missing something? There is definitely some weight on the hands. Also, I've ridden bikes such as the Pilen and Urbana, which were more upright, and my hands hurt despite very cushy tires.

      Delete
    2. Some, but not as much as with a longer tt frame. Plus your hand are stronger now that you have a few years of riding under your belt, including hard road rides.

      It's complicated. The suspension is in the mid-rear. When you hit something in the rear the elastomer compresses. When you hit it in the front it also does a bit of compressing but not as much as a dedicated front absorption system like a shock or fat tire on rigid fork.

      imo it's a good design that reduces complexity and drive train efficiency losses.

      yesterday i found out the iso for their 16" wheels is larger, effectively given it ride like a larger wheel.

      having said all this it probably isn't a good position for long distances but vis-a-vis earlier post on travelling put a long step w/drop bars on this and good to go.

      or use a combo of longer stem/todd's ergon grip method with bar ends for neutral hand position.

      Delete
  18. Didn't you slip once something like 'husband' instead of cohabitant? Hasn't the 'strong feel' and 'getting it simultaneously' something of a wedding thing? Well forgive me being so indiscrete. As always nice blog and great reading... Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I leave my Brompton locked outside in central London most days, like this: http://bromptontalk.wikispaces.com/Commuting
    although I did get it stolen once, when it had a less-strong D-lock on it. I now also put a chain through the Brooks saddle, as thieves know their value, too.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm more drawn to the Bike Friday Tikit as a similar bike. But even though I've owned other folders, test driving both Tikit and Brompton, I didn’t get that ready-to-buy feeling – in the same way your test drive didn’t seem to “sell” you. That “it takes a while to grow on you” phenomenon is another hurdle to adoption.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Handsome bikes. I find them to be quite elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's been interesting reading about your adventures and experiences while on the Brompton.

    About 2-3 years ago I decided I wanted a bike for traveling, I had gotten sick of dealing with loaner bikes that didn't feel right and would waste half a day trying to get them to ride well. I primarily looked at Bromptons, Dahons costly SnS coupler frames, and Bike Fridays. I appreciated what the Brompton was, and got pretty close to getting one, but what kept me away was kind of hard to ignore (for me).

    * Lack of ability to adjust handle bar height
    * Not a fan of any of their handle bar styles, and no real option to use my own
    * Huge dependance on very proprietary and hard to find components

    The last mark was the most important to me, as it would be a shame to fly in to a new place only to find something on the bike got wrecked while getting tossed around in the airport, and not being able to get a replacement part part at any local random bike shop. By the time something could get ordered and shipped out I would typically be mostly done with whatever trip I'd be on.

    I eventually went with a Bike Friday Pocket Sport, which is a cousin of their now flagship New World Tourist. I think I'm a bit happier with that now than I would have been with the Brompton, but with the trade off of bulky folding. In the end I found the Friday to feel more like a real bike (riding it, and also maintaining it) than the Brompton.

    However if I ever feel the need for a folding local commuter bike (the Pocket Sport is hardly that), it would be a very hard toss up between the Bike Friday Tikit and a very built up Brompton.

    Thanks for sharing your post again. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Even so, I think if I had to deal with the classic mass transpo first/last mile or two problem only, I would consider a Strida. Seriously. But there's no dealer nearby. And you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard for me to say, because I never do that sort of commuting; I mostly ride my bike and very seldom take public transport.

      The Strida... I have seen it at several bike shows now and had a very quick test ride at the New Amsterdam Show. It felt like riding on a step-ladder. I will try to do a longer test ride next time I have the opportunity.

      Delete
    2. As the owner of both a Brompton and a Strida, I advise you to take a step back when reviewing the Strida. It's not really a bicycle at all (in a good way), and I think it's best if you look at it the way Mark Sanders, its designer, does - as a human amplifier that fits somewhere between walking and cycling. It breaks all of the rules of cycling, but its less really is more, sometimes.

      I originally toyed with getting a Brompton about 3 years ago, but in the end opted for a Strida mostly because of it's unusual design and the fact that so many users seemed to love it. Granted the wobbly steering takes a little getting used to, but once you do it's agile and responsive.

      The odd thing about the Strida is that its simplicity has a strangely liberating effect. It doesn't look like a bicycle, has only a single gear and uses a kevlar belt instead of a chain (fantastic, by the way, due to its silence and cleanliness) - and each one of these elements has made using it much more of a pleasure than I expected. Originally designed just for short urban journeys, I've done 20 mile 'tours' on mine through the countryside in the Highlands of Scotland, and it's been great (apart form the original saddle - ouch - which I changed for a sprung one). Its simplicity means I can just pootle along and admire the scenery. No worry about which gear I should be in, or about getting oil stains over my trousers.

      Oddly, though some people regard the Strida as a 'clown' bike, and serious cyclists may ridicule, I've had nothing but expressions of amazement from people.

      Delete
  24. I used to love to hate on Bromptons, mostly because of the crazy evangelical zeal of the 2 owners I knew.

    One might be casually cruising around the High School parking lot waiting for the wed. night ride to roll off, minding ones own personal beeswax, when the High Priest would appear, herd you into the fence or a lamp-post, and boldly declaim "Your kids are gonna put that thing out on the curb when you're dead ya' know, cuz" everbody's gonna be riding one'a these by then." The same stupid conversation would follow, me joking and smiling and trying not to encourage him while inwardly vowing to ease him into a ditch or mailbox. Today, on this ride. Meanwhile he would tell again of the first day he got his Brompton and how he "Sailed up Agony Hill in 3rd gear thinking he was in second!". His freaking car couldn't go up that hill in 3rd gear and why was he so prolifically slow on it every blinking day since that marvelous life changing afternoon?

    The other Brompton owner was less confrontational but just as zealous. He would make you wish for a nice retired couple on a recumbent tandem to go hang out with. He had fabricated some wheel discs from plastic sheet and had a Campy aero waterbottle and cage hose-clamped to the seatpost. He would periodically tear off the front and spin madly for a minute or so before folding up like a broken kite and dropping back to wheeze and hack till he thought it was time to "Kick our ass again". Of course I do the same thing but in a dignified, comraderally(is that a word?) sort of way. He was just a dork. Not like me.

    Bromptons, sheesh.

    And yet... the silly things are just so clever. And they are obviously screwed together by people who love them and want them to go out into the world and make it a better place. I've welded enough old DaHons back together now to have become convinced that the dude that designed them should stick to creating patio furniture since that's clearly where his heart is. Sort of a B+ design, indifferently built. Bleh.

    Bromptons on the other hand, remind me of the nifty little sports racers of the late 50s and early 60s that changed everyone's perception of what a modern racecar ought to be. They were mostly British too. I now rather covet one but since all my bike dough is getting diverted to supporting my oldest daughters budding MTB Racing career I better just chill. The next bike is going to be a nice traditional Mercian anyway. The one she's are going to leave at the curb...

    Spindizzy

    "How do you find a Vegan, Barefoot Runner or Brompton rider at a Party? You don't. They find you."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That pretty much describes parties I've been to. Which is why I never ever allow myself to go on about how wonderful my new single speed Brompton is or how (insert current enthusiasm here) has changed my life for the better of the planet.

      katerine

      Delete
    2. Lovely prose SpinDizzy. I haven't even got my Brompton and I'm already boring people talking about it. The colour choice is most important and a stanger's opinion is what's needed. Luckily I have a Brompton colour configurer website bookmarked on my phone so market research can be done at any social event. I still can't decide.

      Delete
  25. Oh, and that picture of you in shadow, one foot on the pedal, the other gracefully stretched out as you gaze into the breeze that is blowing your hair back? That could be the bike dorks "Farah Fawcett and the red blanket poster".

    Just sayin'...

    Spindizzy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would require a huge stretch of the imagination!

      Delete
  26. LOVED this review,my friend! While I couldn't afford a Brompton,I did buy my first folding experience this year,your experience mirrors my own (I bought a Citizen Miami),though there'd be little-to no comparison between my >$250 folder and a Brompton-still,riding my budget folder makes me think more seriously about a Brompton some day-I had never given much thought to them before...

    Excellent write-up,my friend :)

    The Disabled Cyclist

    ReplyDelete
  27. nice post, it sort off articulated lots of what i experience/d on my brompton from scratch, and it sounds like the start of a relationship, i found the ride twitchy at first too, but then grew used to and later loved the manoeuvrability, specially snaking through London traffic. the only thing I've found is that regular use makes one fitter (perhaps as you found with the upper body strength/lifting aspect), meaning the gear range began to feel restrictive, as one becomes more ambitious in using it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll see how the bike feels in a year, but for now as I get fitter the gear range simply expands my travel radius. I didn't think I could ride to Place X even with the low gear when I just got the bike, but now I can - that sort of thing.

      Delete
  28. Hi,

    I have the 2SL. When I bought it I wanted a minimal bike as light as possible. I knew I would be carrying it a lot by hand, due to the trains and platforms. I do wish I had am extra gear for the hills, but I am over that now. its means I have to work harder and get a better work out each time. I love how it's fitted in so nicely with my love. One of my favourite things is beating road bikes at the lights!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm about a year and a third into Brompton ownership now. Like you it wasn't a typical bike purchase, I was visiting friends and family in the south of England and decided to pick up a Brompton 2nd hand whilst there as the London congestion charging zone had just been shrunk and there was an excess of supply as people swapped back to their cars and sold their Bromptons off a bit cheaper than usual.

    My plan was to use it in London and Oxford over the next few days, return home and sell it with a bit of a mark-up. Instead I kept it and now depend on it daily for the last 8 km of my journey into work. In fact I probably ride it more than my other bikes which I bought more deliberately.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I really wanted one recently when I was away in a place where it would have been very easy to cycle but there were NO bike rental places at all.

    My husband is pushing for them . . . we shall see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the thing - As a couple you really do need to get two in order to get the travel and mobility benefits out of it. Won't make sense if one of you is with the folding bike and the other with a full sized bike.

      Delete
    2. "That's the thing - As a couple you really do need to get two in order to get the travel and mobility benefits out of it. Won't make sense if one of you is with the folding bike and the other with a full sized bike."

      We definitely have Bromptons on the short list. We spent a recent weekend in Savannah, Ga. Kind of spur of the moment, I happened to have my Dahon Classic III in the trunk, fortunately we were able to rent a 24" wheeled cruiser for my bride, worked okay there because it was flat. Next time we might not be so lucky!

      Aaron

      Delete
  31. Not read every response but take care with that clamp adjustment, as you'll over stress the clamp and plastic sleeve. The trick is to thoroughly degrease the seat post, and I mean thoroughly.

    The trail does have some interesting effects with 'rider' and front luggage loads. You can experience a tank-slapper wobble which corrects as you transfer weight forward, especially if riding with a heavy backpack (or in my case a couple of times, with 2-seater settees). Having smaller tyres the contact patch and steering axis change dramatically for relatively small weight transfer, and certainly with underinflated tyres. Tyre pressure and type are crucial to actually liking the bike on your first ride.

    The loading options with a rear rack are immense I've carried a York 200 watertight canoe box on the rear carrier and a York 80 goes on the front frame. However the ability to lash down long slim loads has seen me transporting cladding boards at 4 metres long, and an exceptional piece of wooden moulding for a skirting board at 5.1 metres. The load stability comes from having the load platform arranged in the same way that a grocers' delivery bike has it - integral with the main frame and with the load directly over the front axle.

    Enjoy the bikes, I've had a Brompton since 1989 and very nearly bought one in 1980. The early ones did bend and brake a bit with abuse but the current version has managed to stand up to some substantial loadings. Somewhere is a picture of the rig - towing the York 200 this time, and carrying 30Kg of Sportworks bike rack, sack of tyres, and various other luggage, and estimated GVW including rider of over 250Kg, Handled perfectly but did need the hydraulic brakes, riding 1-speed at roughly 80"

    Wholly endorse the concept of cycle friendly stores, as after all you have drive-in shopping. I tend to avoid any store that refuses to let me take the bike inside, and the idea of cyclists shopping sessions, when the store is less busy would be great.

    For your travelling note that there are some Brompton dealers who do hire bikes out in the UK, and the Brompton Dock system is just beginning to roll-out - like Zipcar only for Bromptons, and we get 40 storage/hire bins on to a single car parking space, but these can hire out 80 or more bikes to long term users.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great post. I have a Brompton and a Tikit, so perhaps these reflections will be helpful to folks.

    The Brompton is a much more compact and regularly shaped fold, and stays clamped together better. Also, because it's so compact, it doesn't require any disassembly to get it into the B&W case (you had a photo of yours, Velouria, in an earlier post), so I find I'm much more I cloned to take it on airplane trips, since I don't have two repackings to do. The Tikit takes me aout 20 minutes to disassemble and reassemble and back again. The Beompton rides quite well. I'd highly recommend the -12 gearing on the M6, which is what I have. And I'd highly recommend swapping out the really quite horrid and uncomfortable grips for something like the Ergon bioKorks. I have the version with small bar ends, and I love them. The bar ends allow for a very natural, handshake type grip for longer distances and serious climbing and the little pads are quite comfortable. You'll have to cut them down a bit, but it's easy to do with an x-acto knife. The Brompton luggage is superb. I have a C-bag in the front and I can carry a ton. I have a small Carradice saddlebag as well.
    Foldabikes in Palo Alto (and on the web) makes a great canvas carryall that fits a Brompton. You can buy a cheap foam camping pad and wrap the bike in it and put it in the bag and fly that way if you don't want to buy the B&W case. If you do that, it's quite light and well protected and you call roll and actually carry the stuff on the back with some straps when you get where you're going.

    The advantage of the Tikit is its near infinite customization. I have mine with Nitto Albatross bars, an internal 8 speed hub, a barcon shifter from J-Trk, a generator hub, and great MKD pedals. The cockpit mirrors my around town bike exactly because everything was made to measure. I can carry a ton with a Rivendell medium size Saddle Sack, which is a terrific bag. Maybe not quite as stuff able as the ormpton C-bag, but it has great straps on the outside for additional stuff. The ride is a bit better than the Brompton because the height and cockpit are exactly right and the handlebars are great. But it doesn't fold into as small and regular a package.

    Both Channel Wasson at Foldabikes and Dave Seybert at Bike Friday were great to work with, and very responsive.

    For what it's worth, before I got the Brompton, I bought a Dahon for a month in Tel Aviv. There's simply no comparison between it and either the Brompton or the Tikit. It was nowhere near as comfortable a ride or convenient a fold.

    Cheers,

    Pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comparison!

      I will most likely get the Ergon bioKorks as well at some point in the near future.

      Delete
    2. i'd like to endorse the ergon grips as well. thanks to todd for suggesting the upgrade when i purchased my brompton from clever cycles!

      Delete
    3. i have the p type/touring handlebars and would love to know if anyone has found a replacement for the thin brompton foam grips on these?

      Delete
    4. Can you not wrap cork handlebar tape around them? I had seriously considered getting these bars and that was my plan.

      Delete
    5. VAR and Dare grips are long out of production but they do show up here and there. Harris no longer mail orders VAR but they might have a few still. Traditional looks and simplicity. And comfort.

      I've had a few upright bikes that were just not rideable until I found the right grip. Once comfort is found you sit differently and more naturally on the bike. Grips are a tiny thing that's very important.

      Delete
    6. thank you both, i will try the cork handlebar tape (somehow the brompton in all its functionality didn't associate itself with bar tape in my head the way say an old sunbeam does, but it will be fun working out what colour works best with it, and to get it thick)

      Delete
  33. I agree with Pam about Ergon grips; mine aren't cork, but they do make short ones that fit Brompton bars. Less hand tingling. Those and replacements to the old Brompton brake levers are the only big changes I've made on mine. (T5 now stolen, M6 with Sachs hub, M6 with BWR hub).

    The -12% gearing for the 6 speed made sense on the Sachs and old Sturmey hubs but I don't know if it's needed for everyone on the BWR since the range is much wider. Even with 0%, I do use the top gear on it sometimes. Sheldon's gear calculator can tell you more. It's an easy switch to a different crank (and chain length) if you feel like changing. As for deciding number of gears, it makes sense to get the derailer no matter what - weighs nothing. Like most options, can be added later too.

    My family uses Cyo lights on the Bromptons with Shimano hubs - not as nice as yours but the Cyo (and the Topline Plus with or without brake) are bright enough to make even the small Brompton stand out in traffic. The halogen lamp Brompton still supplies is a mysterious relic.

    Haven't found much use for the rear racks but Ortlieb Frontrollers do fit as long as you don't go around sharp corners fast - they can drag and rip. They just barely miss my heels.

    Carradice front bags with a welded steel frame held the most but weren't waterproof and delaminated. The newer ones are a bit more wobbly, with plastic/alu frame. Ortlieb bag is waterproof, wobbles back and forth more still, and seems to hold less but still does carry plenty. Better designed to find your stuff. Someone needs to develop a baby seat for the Brompton front clamp! (well, maybe...)

    Compared to others we've used, the Bike Friday NWT style is a great ride but can't fold fast compactly, Birdy is a little faster but similar, Raleigh 20 folds just enough to get into a car trunk sometimes but look at the chrome.

    Thanks for your review - I think you are right that it's the trail that makes the steering different. And like yours my other bikes are sitting in storage more since the Brompton came.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a Brompton front bag with the aluminium/plastic frame and it is not wobbly at all. Very sturdy in fact.

      There actually is a child seat for the Brompton. It's called ItChair. http://www.itchair.info

      Delete
  34. Great coincidence that you posted this, as just this morning a friend suggested a Brompton as the solution to my problem. Problem is, being able to carry a bike on Amtrak would greatly simplify my traveling life, but in the east (and at the stations I'm using) they won't transport bikes. I wondered how something with such small wheels could possibly feel anything but clownish, but now you've got me curious to find out. I could avoid the hassles of a rental car and the unpredictable nature of Philadelphia traffic if I could roll out of 30th Street Station with one of these. I could wish for less than 20 pounds, and an adequate rack and bag would be a necessity, but now I'm definitely going to look into it. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've lived in Philadelphia; you can definitely roll this bike out of 30th St Station and ride it in the city.

      If you are trying to save weight, I would rethink the rear rack. Front bag is usually enough, especially supplemented with saddlebag, even for touring.

      Delete
  35. Carl,

    I took my Brompton on the Boston-Washington line easily ten times last fall with no trouble at all. Amtrak permits folding bikes and has a policy to that effect on its website. If you're at all worried, go to Ikea, buy one of its $5 plastic shopping bags - the bright yellow or blue ones. A folded Brompton will fit in it and you can carry it on. It fits in the overhead or end of car luggage racks. The Ikea bag folds down to nothing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pam. Yes, my point was that a folding bike would be okay. It annoys me no end that I can't transport a regular bike without a box, which makes it useless, and can only do it between stations with baggage service, which also does me no good. A bag for the bike seems like a good idea anyway. Glad to hear you had success.

      Delete
  36. Great post! Really enjoyed it.

    Regarding your mention of carrying your bike around with you, this is a hot topic amongst Brompton owners. In fact, I did a post about it on my own (embryonic) blog not long ago, which you might find of interest.

    http://bromptonbruiser.bigcam.co.uk/2012/05/15/to-lock-or-to-carry/

    ReplyDelete
  37. Very intrigued by this bike and your review.
    I was wondering, have you ever reviewed a Bike Friday? They seem equally functional and similar in many ways.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not reviewed a Bike Friday, though I'd be glad to should an opportunity present itself. You might want to read Pam's June 12, 2012 1:56 PM comment with a comparison of the two.

      Delete
  38. As far as relating the Brompton's handling to low trail: In your review of the Royal H randonneur you wrote that you never noticed a big difference in handling. Why then do you notice it in the Austria Steyr bike and the Brompton? I wonder if there is not something else at play.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the randonneur I did notice a difference at first, namely at slow speeds. But the thing is, I seldom rode that bike at slow speeds and my impressions of it were mostly in the context of roadcycling. The other two are city bikes, and riding them in dense stop and go traffic gave me plenty of opportunities to notice that aspect of the handling.

      The other thing is that my positioning on the randonneur was very different than on the other two. It is very possible that having more weight on the handlebars makes the low-trail quirks less noticeable on the randonneur than on the upright bikes.

      Delete
  39. Re loose bits and loctite -- consider beeswax. At low torque and temperature, it gums things together. At high torque, it is considered a sufficiently superior lubricant that tightening torque (which depends on thread friction) should be reduced by 20% (according to one reference I saw). And it doesn't go bad, or leak all over your stuff, though it will pick up crud if you let it rattle around loose in your bag.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I too have a M6R, reduced gearing, raw lacquer Brompton that I have owned for about five months - and find myself using it on most trips (except for those few cities with Bikeshare, and even then . . . ). I concur with your analysis of the Brompton.

    A few thoughts:
    1) Changed out to Ergon biocork grips; secured with twine (red!). Of course, I didn't know when I bought them they come in a gripshifter version. I would highly recommend that. I cut mind shorter - and they are larger and I think probably more comfortable - but look a bit more "homemade" or DIY - which is cool/or uncool I guess depending on your philosophy.
    2) I used a Brompton Front Bag and bought a Po Campo Satchel (both large and small) for the backrack. I can travel and use either.
    3) Great on airline travel - taken on four flights.
    4) Concur - I can wait to get my SO "J" on one!
    5) I am thinking of retrofitting a SON hub for lighting. I wanted to do some zoobombing in Portland on a trip and chickened out for lighting purposes (that's what I'm telling myself).

    Thanks for the reviews.

    P.S. Thanks to the commenters for the ideas about ortleib front panniers (I'm keeping that in mind) and about the locking. I've been carrying my baby from place to place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Question about attaching things to the rear rack - Does it not make things awkward when you want to fold the bike, even in "sit" mode?

      Delete
  41. i have a steel swift folder that rides as close to a "real" bike as can be. 20in tires and loads of aftermarket possibilities for handlebars, gears, wheels, etc. xootr.com also has an aluminum version reasonably priced. Doesn't fold as small as a brompton, but can be put in a suitcase w/ some tools. With the savings you could buy 2 - oops I mean 4.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i'd rather have one bike that is just right than 2 bikes that are almost as good but not really... but that's just me

      Delete
    2. Interesting, I have not seen that one. Lots of folders on the market these days; good to have choices.

      Delete
  42. Is there any particular reason for choosing Schwalbe Kojak instead of Marathon tire? How well is it when handle off road condition?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dry, hard dirt roads are fine but the least bit of mud and the small wheels get bogged down. Small wheels are much better and faster than most people think except on soft dirt roads, where normal size wheels roll better. The difference is clearly noticeable. I've tried Kojaks and Marathons and there's not much difference in this respect.

      For paved roads, I find Brompton's own tyres are fast and comfortable.

      Delete
  43. I'm so excited to read about your Brompton! I just test rode one in Phoenix where we are moving later this summer. I'm planning to purchase one in August for the start of grad school at ASU. I'll be getting the H model. I tried both H and M models and found the H markedly more upright and placed no stress on my forearms. Although Phoenix is very flat and low elevation, I'm going for a 6 speed and having the gearing reduced to accommodate hills when we travel. I debated this as I was able to manage hills in San Fran on my Dahon a couple of years ago but decided it might be worth the minor added expense for longer excursions. I decided to go w/ EZ wheels as well. I'll be combining my commutes with light rail most of the time and because I'm short I much prefer being able to roll the bike in the folded position rather than have to carry it.

    Of course, color choice is a big decision and I'm going w/ Turkish Green (more like a robin's egg blue really). The color will look beautiful with a brown Brooks saddle and leather grips but I'm going to make that upgrade later I'm impressed w/ how smart the Carradice bag looks on your Brompton and am seriously considering getting one. I was inclinded to go with the O Bag but after seeing the Carradice bag in person I think it looks more professional for school and my field placement.

    Thanks for a very informative post and I look forward to more updates.

    ReplyDelete
  44. July 2012 - I wonder who has caused the world-wide surge in popularity of Bromptons ??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am guessing the Path Less Pedaled!

      Delete
    2. Jeez, hardly. Folding bikes are huge now and it has nothing to do with bike blogs.

      Multi-modal = Brommie.

      Delete
    3. It's from me riding it around in a three-piece suit, going 25 mph, on the streets of London for 2 months in 2010

      And then doing the same in DC later that year

      And then in New York in 2011

      Delete
  45. yes teh Brompton is excellent.

    I own 3 bikes: a Cervelo S5, a Trek Speed Concept 9.9, and my itty bitty Brompton.

    And I love teh Brompton most of all.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Loved your opening paragraph! Almost identical with my own experience! Great article!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Velouria! I have been reading this blog regularly for quite some time and I will now post. I loved this Brompton review! I was wondering what your thoughts were of riding the brompton in the rain? Or whether you'd recommend it for winter riding? I am torn between ordering this and a retrovelo. (I know they are nothing alike) but I would like a very versatile bike that was good off road and in all weather.

    ReplyDelete
  48. A great read ! Thanks for sharing, okay my minds made up I'm getting a Brompton

    ReplyDelete
  49. Great read and thanks for sharing. I've been admiring the Bromptons from afar. How do you find the 6 speed gearing in terms of shifting? I've read that it's a strange back and forth sort of thing. I'm not describing it right, but was it difficult to get used to? Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have six-speed S-6-L and, from day one, the gear changing just came naturally. Equal stepped gears too.

      Delete
    2. I too found the 6-soeed gearing intuitive from the beginning. The derailleur gears (left shift) are half-steps between the hub gears (right shift) and I find it to be a harmonious system.

      Delete
  50. I bought the Carradice bag but it doesn't come with the luggage block attachment, apparently. Is that an accessory purchase from my Brompton dealer?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Do airlines accept Brommies as hand luggage?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Yeah, great question. Does anyone have experience taking a brompton as hand luggage??

    ReplyDelete
  53. I own a Cessna 172 (and previously a C150). I have toured all over Australia using the Brompton as transport from the airport to the town, sight seeing, and return. Maybe not so good as hand luggage but perfect for small planes!

    ReplyDelete
  54. The front bag is amazing and it will carry enough groceries to keep one going for a day or two.
    If one weighs more than about ten stones the old type 55 psi maximum tyres will drag and get rimmed on bumps.

    Having just said that I ought to mention that in these parts it is fairly common for cars to need new bottom-ball joints in the front suspension every couple of years. Councils who install "Sleeping Policemen" everywhere most certainly do not help.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Brompton has become iconic in folding bike design. I've been cycling mine to work for 2 years now and they are still the first choice for classic bike connoisseur that requires a portable cycle.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I met a girl waiting at a bus stop with this cube of a bike. That's when I fell for the Brampton Bike. I had never seen one before or knew of folding bikes. I found the local dealer and they were awesome. We spent 2 hrs test riding and finding the right fit, style, seat,etc. Their customer service alone made me a customer. I found a blog about a long distance brompton ride, and didn't realize that this was the owner of local bike shop until later. I knew I had made the right choice about the bike and the shop. My Brompton arrives in April 2013. Thank you for your great blog and valuable information.

    ReplyDelete