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Old 01-28-17, 10:24 PM   #1
MAK
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Brompton touring on dirt and gravel

I know that many riders tour on Bromptons. Have any of you toured on dirt (some mud) and gravel? I'm doing the C&O/GAP in May and I'm considering an "R" model for the trip.

You're thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 01-29-17, 04:16 AM   #2
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How strong a rider are you? It will depend on that. There's no doubt that smaller wheels sink further into mud and loose deep gravel. That is a given. What is needed is a strong response to handle that. But perhaps sometimes that doesn't work either. I have toured Kangaroo Island on my Birdy which has almost identical wheels. My wife was on 451mm wheels. The difference was dramatic. So if a substantial part will be on loose gravel, you will need more strength and fitness to handle that.

If you are talking about packed gravel such as on dedicated bike trails, that should be fine.
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Old 01-29-17, 05:09 AM   #3
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I'd second Jur. Loose surfaces where you sink in is not the Brompton's terrain. Therefore it is pretty useless in mud and might be everything between perfectly fine and catastrophic on dirt and gravel, mainly depending on how loose those are in reality. Reason are the small and relatively narrow wheels with high pressure tires and limited profile. Assuming you'd not consider the Brompton for a trip where a MTB would be more adequate it should probably work, but maybe take a little bit more effort and probably sometimes rather walking than riding in very muddy areas.
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Old 01-29-17, 09:08 AM   #4
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Here's and interesting account of a Brompton on some interesting terrain. Perhaps it will give you a perspective.
Lovely Bicycle!: Off Road on the Edge of the World
And here is another about a trip down the Pacific coast by Todd from Clever Cycles. clevercycles.com/blog/2010/11/26/down-the-pacific-coast-by-brompton/
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Old 01-29-17, 02:41 PM   #5
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Schwalbe Marathon tires will help, but I imagine it will still be rough sledding in mud and loose gravel. I rode through some patches of both with those tires recently, and it was pretty squirrelly. Not impossible, but I wouldn't want to spend a whole day with those itty-bitty wheels in those conditions.
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Old 01-29-17, 02:45 PM   #6
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These are 349mm wheels right? If so 1 3/8 is the biggest Schwalbe I found. I can't imagine that tire being too helpful.

Are there any wide tires for Brompton's?

Thanks
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Old 01-29-17, 02:55 PM   #7
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If you think you are going to encounter loose surfaces on the route to any significant extent then you don't really want to be on a bike with 16" wheels whichever tyres you have on it.
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Old 01-29-17, 04:27 PM   #8
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I have ridden both. You should be ok on the GAP. I did it on a 20" Dahon. I did the C&O on a mt. bike. I don't think that the Brompton would do that well, accept close to DC
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Old 01-30-17, 11:51 PM   #9
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I'm very glad that I asked.

Thank you everyone for your responses. No small wheels for that trip.
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Old 01-31-17, 07:42 AM   #10
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I've done the 12 miles of the Wirral Way (old railway line, gravel, mud etc.) on a Brompton fitted with Kojaks .... wasn't perhaps the best tyre choice but I managed.
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Old 02-01-17, 09:46 AM   #11
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I've done the 12 miles of the Wirral Way (old railway line, gravel, mud etc.) on a Brompton fitted with Kojaks .... wasn't perhaps the best tyre choice but I managed.
KOJAKS? wow you are hardcore for punishment, i've used 20" kojaks on gravel and that sucker just slices into the gravel. MAK made the right choice to going for bigger wheels and fatter tires. it'll make the trip much more enjoyable instead of just huffing and puffing while everyone around you is just cruising along.
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Old 02-05-17, 12:43 PM   #12
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Seems Schwalbe has dropped the 349 Marathon Kevlar Belt, the smart guard takes up a lot of volume in the mold, so there is just a little black rubber over the Blue Puncture resistant polymer band..

IDK Green Guard Havent tried It then the band is said to be latex rubber..

SRP on steel bead Kojacks is $30, the others [marathon plus] are $50 each..
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Old 02-05-17, 01:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Seems Schwalbe has dropped the 349 Marathon Kevlar Belt, the smart guard takes up a lot of volume in the mold, so there is just a little black rubber over the Blue Puncture resistant polymer band..

IDK Green Guard Havent tried It then the band is said to be latex rubber..

SRP on steel bead Kojacks is $30, the others [marathon plus] are $50 each..
The SRP is maybe a bit misleading - at least here in Germany this may be what you have to pay in a local shop, but online they are massively cheaper. You get the Kokak (non-folding) in 349 for roughly 16 , the folding version only from Brompton for 36 . The Marathon Green you'll get for about 14 and the Marathon Plus for 25 . The situation in the US may be different.

As a sidenote the Marathon in 349 is a pain to mount (and you may have to redo it as it tends to sit unround on the wheel at the first try). The Marathon Plus is even worse. I would prefer not to have to repair any of the two when on the road. And the M+ provides the little bit of exercise for your body while pedaling that makes you fly once you change back to Kojaks in spring...
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Old 02-05-17, 03:47 PM   #14
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Schwalbes go on 16 " wheels a lot easier if you do the bit with the valve stem last. This enables you to push the bead into the rim strip area on the far side from the stem. That tiny bit of wiggle room will let me push them back on with thumbs if the tire has been on the wheel before and is therefore stretched a bit.
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Old 04-16-17, 03:39 PM   #15
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brompton and mud does not work well, the fenders are too close to the tires and gets blocked. it will actually stop the bike. been there, done that.

i have 44/305 on one of my brommies, gives better clearance and no clogging in snow or mud. it is also generally better in rocky terrain, but there the 349 marathons are quite ok.

alex m has been to the base camp mount everest with his.
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Old 04-16-17, 03:43 PM   #16
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base camp, the bike of alex mumzhui. he has been through more than one frame..
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Old 04-17-17, 03:05 PM   #17
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Can you actually ride the brompton on those rocks?
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