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Old 08-31-17, 03:24 AM   #1
JohnnyW
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23 year old Brompton M3R?

I found a fantastically priced 2nd hand Brompton on eBay, situated close to where I work. It's only 400, amazing... but then I asked the owner what year it was manufactured. 1994!

Now I'm questioning if it is such a bargain? I don't know anything about folding bikes. This would be my first purchase for my new job. I know the owner has clearly taken very good care of it, and tells me that Halford's have checked it over and said it's OK, but with it being that old, isn't it very much likely that it will develop a fracture soon and cause me to have to replace the whole thing?

Sorry for being ignorant! Looking for some expert advice. Thank you!
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Old 08-31-17, 05:22 AM   #2
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I bought two for me and my son, hubs produced in 1990 as far as I remember. Ours had barely left the motor home they were bought for so looking brand new.

We have upgraded some parts becouse we wanted to not becouse we had to and you can do that too.

Main thing is our frames do not have the braze on you need to upgrade the bike to 6 gears. I solved that by installing a new 5 speed hub.

You may want to change the handlebars, and thereby also brake and gear shifters (or you just shim them). I would buy the bikes again if I had to decide all over again.
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Old 08-31-17, 06:14 AM   #3
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Thanks. I'm not planning on changing the configuration, so maybe that wouldn't affect me, but if the frame goes then obviously that's money down the drain :-/
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Old 08-31-17, 10:32 AM   #4
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had a black Mk2, 94 was marked on the 3 speed hub .. rack, bottle dynamo .. made some update improvements,
sold it when I got a green Mk 4 M3L.
swapped some pars off the new one.. to it, a Mk2 3T, it went to Seattle..

one place to inspect is the butt joints where the frame tubes meet the hinge plates.. those brazed fillets see the stresses .

hubs steel, spokes Zn treated steel not Stainless .. no rear latch so every time you picked up the bike the rear would fold under.

I changed some parts, some I transferred over to my newer B..

http://www.cyclofiend.com/working/20...clark1110.html









....

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-31-17 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 08-31-17, 10:49 AM   #5
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Personally I'd not recommed buying such an old Brompton for daily use. There have been so many incremetnal enhancements over the last 24 years that - while looking quite identical - it is quite a different bike today in terms of quality. If you'd like to upgrade an older model to today's standards you'd have to invest about 650€ just for the parts alone, not counting labour and will still not reache today's level in certain areas. There are certain areas like the breaks that are highly recommended upgrading, adding a bunch on top of the buy-price already.
Plus the Brompton frames made before the invention of the MK IVmodel in 2004 have a risk of breaking at the front part close to the hinge on the main frame and the replacement parts are no longer available. Nobody knows how big the risk is or what the root cause is but those failures happen. Not too often, but they happen until today. And then the bike is basically a total loss or you buy a whole new main frame. Therefor most people will be better off (and in the end cheaper) with a newer Brompton even if it is more expensive.
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Old 08-31-17, 10:53 AM   #6
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A new M3R seems to go for 1050.

Brompton officially says one should replace, perhaps every five years or so, critical parts made from aluminum: the bars, cranks, pedals, rims, front hub, brake calipers, etc. because of metal fatigue.

Looking through Gumtree ads for used Bromptons, I'd say the vast majority of owners think this advice is balderdash - the parts have neither been replaced nor is the price of the used bike reduced to fully compensate for the factory suggested replacement.

You should at least make sure a bike of this age has the handlebar stiffener recall done, or even better, a new replacement handlebar.
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Old 08-31-17, 11:19 AM   #7
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If the bike is that old and still in good shape I would not worry about the frame breaking. Many many bikes get bought and ridden for a season and then put away----real easy to do with a Brommie----since they don't take up much space.

If it was near me I would buy it just to play with....

It is not unlikely this bike has only a few hours of riding on it.
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Old 08-31-17, 12:03 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone, great advice and much appreciated!

I know the owner is quite a diehard Bompton fan, so I think it's been used very regularly over the past 23 years, even though they've kept it in good condition.
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Old 08-31-17, 02:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
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A new M3R seems to go for 1050.

Brompton officially says one should replace, perhaps every five years or so, critical parts made from aluminum: the bars, cranks, pedals, rims, front hub, brake calipers, etc. because of metal fatigue.
Should not be too hard to find a used M3R with a build-date after 2004 for below 700 if you live in the uk. For that amount of cash you are able to find a pretty young bike, older ones may be massively cheaper. Therefor I would not go for a 1994-model for 400. Not because this would be a bad bike or too expensive but because massively younger models (i.e. 10 years younger) do not cost much more and regarding there are things you definitively want to change on a very old model (like the brakes) a older model usually does not make too much sense. Very old models tend to be too expensive in comparison with younger models.

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You should at least make sure a bike of this age has the handlebar stiffener recall done, or even better, a new replacement handlebar.
Here's the historical recall regarding the Brompton's handlebars. May be of interest for anyone owning a pre-2000 Brompton: Accessories
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Old 09-01-17, 01:14 AM   #10
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The handlebar looks quite critical since in older models it can snap.
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Old 09-03-17, 03:39 AM   #11
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It's a good price for a Brompton for sure but the price reflects its age and use from the sound of it. It's not like its a bike that should be selling at 700 that is selling for 400 its probably at a fair value for the bike. If you are a light rider with spins it makes a lot more sense than if you are a heavy rider who mashes.
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Old 09-04-17, 06:52 AM   #12
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It sold for 460 in the end. I didn't go for it because I was worried that the frame was going to break. I ended up buying a 2013 model that is in pristine condition for 670 instead. A lot more money, but I don't think I'll have a problem selling it if I have to.
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Old 09-04-17, 07:52 AM   #13
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the newer hinge casting is better for more rapid production too, the butt brazing required a skilled worker's touch.
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Old 09-04-17, 08:23 AM   #14
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the newer hinge casting is better for more rapid production too, the butt brazing required a skilled worker's touch.
To be precise: The newer hinge was invented to be able to use a (self-constructed) machine that brazed them in semi-automatically. It was first invented on the stem-hinge in 2000 with the MKIII and later on the main-frame-hinge with the MKIV in 2004. At the time when they started to construct the machine way before 2000 the problem of breaking frames was to my knowledge not considered too serious (otherwise they probably would have started with the main-frame as on the stem there was never an issue). It was btw. not the welds that broke but the frame very close to the welds. So the problem was solved with the new hinge coincidently but not on purpose. I have no knowledge what the reason for the problem was - if it was caused by too much heat with some of the manual welds, weakening the material or if it was the construction that was enforced by the castings in that area. Breakages happen with the old frame, but not all frames break.
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Old 09-04-17, 08:27 AM   #15
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It sold for 460 in the end. I didn't go for it because I was worried that the frame was going to break. I ended up buying a 2013 model that is in pristine condition for 670 instead. A lot more money, but I don't think I'll have a problem selling it if I have to.
Congrats, I think this way you made the far better deal! It is 20 years between the two bikes and during that time a lot of improvements happened on the Brompton. The (mandantory) upgrade of the old brakes and brake-levers alone would have set you back about another 100... And there are far more enhancements on a 2013 model than just the brakes. It is even still in warranty for the frame for another year.
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Old 09-05-17, 03:03 AM   #16
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Congrats, I think this way you made the far better deal! It is 20 years between the two bikes and during that time a lot of improvements happened on the Brompton. The (mandantory) upgrade of the old brakes and brake-levers alone would have set you back about another 100... And there are far more enhancements on a 2013 model than just the brakes. It is even still in warranty for the frame for another year.
Wow. That's great. I can't post clickable links, but here it is (just cut and paste into your browser):

ebay.co.uk/itm/112535468428

Scroll down to see it. I think you're right: The other bike would have probably cost 550 after a service! This one is apparently all ready to go, serviced last month.
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Old 09-06-17, 04:00 AM   #17
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Good choice you should have a lot of fun with that bike.

Enjoy..
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