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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 02-20-06, 05:01 PM   #1
harrington
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Brompton

I'm currently considering three Brompton options: (1) M6L or (2) M6R-Plus or (3) M3L (to a lesser degree). Can someone tell me the difference between the three.

What I'm looking for:
(1) something fairly light weight and small. What do the Brompton weigh, I can't find the specs. The lighter the better.
(2) general commuter bike, but I tend to do some recreational riding as well. I currently live in Ohio, and it is moderately hilly here. I need to be able to carry it around the office and onto buses and even planes.
(3) DURABLE. I want something that isn't cheap and that will last. How long will a brompton last? Do the joints go bad?

What is service and parts like for brompton for consumers in america?

The guys at SFbikes.com have been very helpful with suggestions, but I thought I would ask a general audience. I'm unable to test out this bike before I buy, because I don't live near a dealer.

I'm 6 ft, 175lb male. I'm been looking at Brompton, but I'm also open for suggestions about other companies.

Also, can someone tell the disadvantages about Brompton.... or anything else I should know.


Thanks for all the help
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Old 02-21-06, 05:27 AM   #2
Tomaso
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Hi Harrington,

I don't live in the States, so I can't help You, but yes I think a Brompton is durable as are 95% of the folding bikes sold for 500 USD or more.
The only thing I don't understand is why people seem to be so focussed on Bromptons, they fold fast and compact, yes, but that's about it compared to other decent folders. I don't like the riding qualities (doesn't feel stiff enough) and they are way too expensive IMO for what you'll get.

So You might consider also : Birdy, Dahon (wide range of bikes, most of them lots cheaper and better than a Brompton, IMO), BikerFriday, Swift (or Xootr Swift) etc....................

Welcome to the forum !!

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Old 02-21-06, 12:34 PM   #3
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Welcome Harrington!

Thank you for considering folders for your commute. I have 2 (a Dahon Boardwalk three speed and a Brompton CE3) and would not part with them for the world. The most critical difference between a Brompton and the others (Dahon, Birdy, Bike Friday, and the others) is the extreme compactness of the folded package. I selected the Brompton for mainly that reason as well as it's riding quality doesn't suffer as much as you would think such a small wheel bike would. It would become apparent when the folded bike must be stashed in a very tiny spot on public transit (especially buses), restaurant, bar or some other public area. The Bike Friday is perfect for traveling to distant places since it actually separates as well as folds into a suitcase. But it would not be a good commuter since some of it's parts do not stay together when collapsed like an actual folder would.

If this is not your primary need, then I would at least look at another make. I only had my Brompton for a couple of months, but I had far fewer problems with it than my Dahon had at the time of it's first 100 mile check-up. The CE3 was also selected because I did not need fenders at the time-California weather and weight concerns (but you probably do since you are in Ohio). The three speed range is fine for me even though I also live in a moderately hilly area. I would speak again with the bike shop you wil be purchasing the bike from and discuss the optional lower gear range the bike could come in-from a high 50t to a lower 44t chainring-my Brommi came with a 46t, my Dahon has a 44t). You might be sacrificing some level grade speed, but I found out that these chainring diameters suit me just fine. As for the spec, I recommend you go to the official UK website http://www.bromptonbicycle.co.uk/ of the Brompton and check out everything you need to know about it as well as the list of dealers offering parts and accessories here in the US-this is how I located the dealer that I purchased my bike from.

Please let us know what you have decided to purchase.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 02-21-06 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 02-21-06, 02:59 PM   #4
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I'd suggest checking out my "Brompton? Dahon?" thread. Brompton? Dahon?

Lots of info there, lots of opinions .

The basic gist is, nothing touches the Brompton in terms of folded size. And, IMHO, convenience when folded (it has little wheels on the bottom so you can wheel it behind you like a piece of luggage, and a few other things).

In terms of being like a full-size bike, some of the others are better. The Swift in particular is really nice, but is also pretty big when folded.

Weight doesn't vary much. Brompton's are in the 22-26 lb range, some of the others are a couple pounds lighter but make sure you're comparing similar bikes (rack, fenders, etc).

After test-riding several, I'm going to get a Brompton. If you can't test-ride any then on the one hand, you'll have to just make an informed guess, but on the other, you'll be happy with whatever you get . No comparisons means no "Oh that other one was better at _____."
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Old 03-03-06, 03:17 PM   #5
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Hi Harrington

Welcome to the folding world.

The main different between M6L, M6R-Plus & M3L

M3L = M type handlebar, 3 speed (Sturmy Archard Hub) L= no rack or lighter about 24 lbs. Price $830

M6L = M type handlebar, 6 speed (SRAM Hub) no rack and just a few gram more than the M3L. Price $110 more than the M3L it is no longer a standard model.

M6R-Plus = M type handlebar, 6 speed (SRAM Hub) Rack and dynamo light system. The rack and dynamo system add about 2 lbs more to the bike so, about 26 lbs.

If you are planning to purchase this bike I would recommend upgrading the tires to the Schwalbe Marathon usually $20 if you custom order the bike. Also, the Dual pivot back brakes. Which is $10 if you custom order the bike. I would also add the new E-Z wheel set as well since they are only $25 custom or $40 after market.

I have been a folding bike dealer in NYC for the past 3 years and also a heavy user of the Brompton both in terms of daily city commuting as well as long distance touring. I just came back from a month long bike trip in Hawaii traveling from Island to island with my M6R.

There are many folding bikes out in the market and they all offer different things. But stay focus as to what your need are. The following is my order of important on a folding bike.

1) The speed it takes to fold and unfold
2) The Size after folding
3) The engineering (will the bike stay folded)
4) The Ride
5) The weight
6) The Price

Once you know what you are doing the Brompton can be folded in less than 10 sec.
The Size is (10.5 x 22 x22) Do keep in mind a few inches more determines if you get into the building or not! I can pick up my Brompton with one hand and shake it and nothing will fall out. (try this with any other folding bike). The chain is in the center of the bike after folding to avoid grease getting on others. The ride is OK, not a racing bike type of ride like a Bike Friday or a Mountain bike type of ride like the birdy. But much like a Schwinn or a regular city bike. The weight is around 24 to 26 lbs an average weight folding bike. The price is not the cheapest but definitely not the most expensive like the top of the line Moulton that is about $5000.

(1) In term of light weight Brompton do offer the Titanium model but it only save you 3.5 lbs and cost you about $700 more. Unless you have a medical issue or have lots of money. Maybe it is easier to loose 3.5 lbs

(2) If you do some recreational riding outside of the city I would recommend the 6 speed model as it really offer you better range of gears for rolling hills and hills in general. It is now very expensive to do the up grade from M3L to M6L since they now use different hubs.

(3) Durable is a great Question. Most of my customers keep a Brompton for 8 to 10+ years. It is very difficult to find a 2nd hand Brompton. Brompton offer a 2 year warranty on all the non-wearable parts and 5 year warranty on the Frame and they are very good about this. Most of people I talk to about Dahon tell me after about a year or so the frame starts to make creaking noise from the joints. So, do keep that in mind.

Finally a standard Brompton will fit a rider from 47 to 6 ft with inseam no more than 32 if you are taller than 6 ft or have inseam greater than 32 inches an extended post or telescopic is recommended.

I am a dealer for the Brompton, Bike Friday and Mobiky I used to sell the birdy but the customer service in the US is just too poor so I discontinue it. Feel free to ask more question if you like. As to the negatives of Brompton? If you are a heavy rider or are planning to carry lots of weights. I would look into stronger spokes for the back wheel.
If you total weigh is around 200lbs. The limit on a Brompton is 245 lbs

Good luck with your search www.bfold.com
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Old 03-04-06, 02:48 AM   #6
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Hi bFold!

I've added your site to my A to Z.
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Old 03-05-06, 10:23 AM   #7
bfold
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Hi Chop

Thanks for adding me to your site. But, I just try it and it is linking me to some other site?

If you can fix that would be great.

bfold
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Old 03-05-06, 11:07 AM   #8
Wavshrdr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfold
Hi Chop

Thanks for adding me to your site. But, I just try it and it is linking me to some other site?

If you can fix that would be great.

bfold
@bfold- Just thought you might want to know there is a major error on your website. Under the data for the M6R-Plus, you have the specs and info for the P6R-PLUS. I would also suggest making changes to your website so that the page you are on is reflected in the title bar of the web browser. Instead of just saying "untitled document" it could reflect what product you are looking at and it would give a more professional appearance. I don't know if you know that the ala carte page has nothing, no options, no choices, nothing.

I would also suggest putting up a bigger image (if you have one) for the Mobiky Genius and add images for Pacific Cycle's Reach. This would help a lot too. Also under the accessories area for Brompton I would HIGHLY suggest having photos or images of the products. Pictures sell much faster than text even for very basic stuff like seat posts but on things like panniers it is essential.
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Old 03-05-06, 01:28 PM   #9
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Hi Chop

I agree with everything you said. Unfortunatley my web guy is too busy to take care of my needs. I am in search of a better web site person and hope to get all that corrected soon. Many thanks for your help.

Maybe I should just buy a book and figure it out myself!
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Old 03-05-06, 03:18 PM   #10
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@bfold . first learn which tool your website builder used, e.g., Dreamweaver, FrontPage, then learn enough to maintain the site. The hard part is building the site the first time. Updates are easy once you learn your site.
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