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  1. #26
    Casual Rider
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    This modified Brompton sounds great! How are the quality of the hinges and hardware on a Merc compared to the standard Brompton? Does anyone know if Mercs are available in the U.S.?

  2. #27
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    No Mercs in the US. I am trying to work on that a bit. I am working directly with them at the moment to get mine here. PM offline and I'll give you more info. So far they have been quite good to deal with and very helpful. I will report more after I get my bike in hand which if all goes well will be next week.

    I will be using the Ti bits from the Brompton to go with the Merc as well as a few other nifty ideas I have planned. I don't care about being a SS gear head but more of a versatile touring bike that isn't too heavy to cart around.

  3. #28
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    So,.. one thing i don't get. Did Merc substantially improve their quality or are current Mercs still as horrible as A to B magazine wrote, or is A to B grossly exagerating?
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  4. #29
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    @V1nce- I think A to B is full of human waste products. The Merc I saw wasn't anywhere near as bad as they said it was. Actually in many ways I thought it was better than the Bromptons it is imitating. I am selling my last Brompton to replace it with a "normal" Merc if that gives you any idea. Of course I will keep my hybrid Merc Brompton and my M6R-Plus as well. They use a SA rear hub, they have a decent frame, the weight for the basic bike isn't bad considering you get a dynamo, fenders, rack, pump, etc. It is a well kitted out bike for the money. It is about half the price of the equivalent Brompton. Now would it be my first folding bike, probably not. If I was looking for a Brompton first would I buy it, tough to say.

    If I didn't buy it it would be because support would be limited in the US so for a first time buyer who needs someone to hold their hand it would not be a good first choice. Since I am not that type of person then it is a great option for me. A to B magazine is just protecting their advertisers and MANY of their staff who have some arrangement or work for Brompton. You do the math and figure it out. By now most of you know I call it as I see it. If the bike is a piece of feces (dung) I will say it. I have no arrangement or special deal with any company. I am not beholden to anyone. I just buy what I like or what I think will be good and let the chips fall where they may. So far I haven't ended up with anything I really disliked.

  5. #30
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    Nice to hear your two cents, too bad A to B or so biased, otherwise they are a valuable resource.

    Just out of curiosity (and so i can consider buying perhaps..) in what respects is the Merc poorer than the Brommie?

    Also, is Merc still in business then? I send them 2 e mails and didn't get a darn thing and that was months ago.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  6. #31
    Edd
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    Heres a Merc on on ebay UK

    Merc ebay

  7. #32
    Life in Mono
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    I loved the description "suitable for all ‘stealth’ infiltrations of bike-unfriendly buildings!"
    Last edited by Simple Simon; 03-22-06 at 05:02 AM.

  8. #33
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    A to B magazine is just protecting their advertisers and MANY of their staff who have some arrangement or work for Brompton.

    Where is your evidence for these comments?

    I often disagree with A to B, but I think the aforementioned accusations are a cheap shot - unless you can substantiate them...

  9. #34
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    I am not the first one to bring this up and I am sure I won't be the last. I honestly don't have time to go back through all the websites where I originally saw this info. Anyone who is objective and reads A to B will realize that it is almost entirely a giant ad for Brompton and almost all the articles are "puff" pieces for Brompton. I have never seen a more biased publication (except a few odd newspapers in the US) than A to B. Either they don't test the same Bromptons we buy or they are blinded by their advertising dollars. One of the accusations that I saw verified before (though I didn't indpendently verify it) was there were A to B staff manning a Brompton booth at a trade show type function. If that is true and I assumed it to be, that is not keeping the company you are reviewing at arms length from your business and that to me creates a conflict of interest.

    For example where I work, I can't own stock or have almost ANY interest in the products I might recommend to our customers UNLESS those purchases are controlled by an entity where I have no control over they buying decision. I have no vested, invested or any other interest, nor do I act as an agent for any bicycle company, manufacturer of any parts or accessories with respect to any comments I have made about any of the companies parts, bikes or accessories. I personally would like to see A to B have full disclosure in their magazine about any relationships they may have. I have written them about this issue but they have never replied to my concerns.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    I have been reading A to B for four years and the magazine is certainly Brompton-centric, often frustratingly so. However, you have not supplied any verifiable evidence that A to B have, or do work for Brompton - the example cited cannot be corroborated. What's more, I once spent 30 mins at a Cannondale trade booth and 2 or 3 people asked me questions about the products! I do not work for Cannondale...

    Most of the advertising in A - B is taken up by specialist UK bike stores, not manufacturers (although Dahon and Birdy also advertise in the magazine). It is these bike shops that repeatedly list Brompton products, and this is hardly surprising, as Brompton is one of the best selling folders in the UK.

    I would also be interested to know if any of the contributors have links, or have a vested interest in Brompton - I shall write to them as well. If they do and have not declared it, I would be surprised and would no longer buy the magazine. If I receive a response, I will let you know.

    Oh, I have no links to Brompton or A to B - just my own prejudices and preferences...
    Last edited by Fear&Trembling; 03-22-06 at 08:57 AM.

  11. #36
    Señor Mambo
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    I thought Merc was banned from selling in the U.K.?

  12. #37
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittlePixel
    What is it about the Brompton that commands so many "old fashioned" "expensive" and "dinosaur" comments from across the Atlantic?
    IMHO It's mostly Wavshrdr making the "old fashioned" "expensive" and "dinosaur" comments, it's just that he makes them REALLY LOUD and REALLY OFTEN. Winning by volume. His long rants about the brakes usually fail to mention that his first and main experiences were on "C" type Bromptons which got far worse brakes than the rest. I test-rode a new Brompton and while the brakes were not the equal of the DISC BRAKES on my current commuter, I didn't consider them inadequate, in fact they worked pretty well and I didn't really think about them much. AND he usually doesn't have any other serious points except that they're "heavy".

    "Heavy" is relative, I seriously doubt you'd find anyone in the commuter forum who'd complain about riding a 26-lb bike. And Bromptons are for commuting. Yeah, take 'em on the Tour vs. Lance and you're gonna lose. The guys on 14-lb carbon race bikes are going to beat you on that century. Who cares? Take any folder and add all the things the Brompton comes with (fenders, lights, rack, mudflaps) and your weight difference starts to become a lot less significant.

    Price? You Get What You Pay For.

    I looked at, in person, Bike Friday, Brompton, Swift, and Dahons at the bike store I went to. The Bike Friday and the Brompton (the two most expensive) made me go "DAMN that is a slick idea." The BF because of the carrying case / trailer, what an awesome idea for someone doing bike touring + another form of travel. The Brompton because of the small fold with castors, and the clip-on briefcase that can be attached even while folded... VERY convenient for commuting.

    The Swift was pretty cool, looked like a good bike if you want to drive somewhere then ride a century... and the Dahons were pretty much the normal "80% of the value for half the price" that you can get with anything (cars, power tools, musical instruments, whatever, there's always a much cheaper option that's "almost" as good).

    FYI I intend to buy a Brompton after I move to a new home/new job where a folding bike will be useful (at my current job I leave my bike outside unlocked and don't worry about it). But my main interest is commuting. Any other purpose is secondary... and for pure commuting I don't think much can touch the Brompton.

    So anyway... just wanted to point out that not everyone on this side of the Atlantic shares Wavshrdr's opinions of the Brompton .

    And for what it's worth, I like "old fashioned" "dinosaur" English Brooks saddles too .
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  13. #38
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eggplant Jeff
    IMHO It's mostly Wavshrdr making the "old fashioned" "expensive" and "dinosaur" comments, it's just that he makes them REALLY LOUD and REALLY OFTEN. Winning by volume. His long rants about the brakes usually fail to mention that his first and main experiences were on "C" type Bromptons which got far worse brakes than the rest. I test-rode a new Brompton and while the brakes were not the equal of the DISC BRAKES on my current commuter, I didn't consider them inadequate, in fact they worked pretty well and I didn't really think about them much. AND he usually doesn't have any other serious points except that they're "heavy".

    "Heavy" is relative, I seriously doubt you'd find anyone in the commuter forum who'd complain about riding a 26-lb bike. And Bromptons are for commuting. Yeah, take 'em on the Tour vs. Lance and you're gonna lose. The guys on 14-lb carbon race bikes are going to beat you on that century. Who cares? Take any folder and add all the things the Brompton comes with (fenders, lights, rack, mudflaps) and your weight difference starts to become a lot less significant.

    Price? You Get What You Pay For.

    I looked at, in person, Bike Friday, Brompton, Swift, and Dahons at the bike store I went to. The Bike Friday and the Brompton (the two most expensive) made me go "DAMN that is a slick idea." The BF because of the carrying case / trailer, what an awesome idea for someone doing bike touring + another form of travel. The Brompton because of the small fold with castors, and the clip-on briefcase that can be attached even while folded... VERY convenient for commuting.

    The Swift was pretty cool, looked like a good bike if you want to drive somewhere then ride a century... and the Dahons were pretty much the normal "80% of the value for half the price" that you can get with anything (cars, power tools, musical instruments, whatever, there's always a much cheaper option that's "almost" as good).

    FYI I intend to buy a Brompton after I move to a new home/new job where a folding bike will be useful (at my current job I leave my bike outside unlocked and don't worry about it). But my main interest is commuting. Any other purpose is secondary... and for pure commuting I don't think much can touch the Brompton.

    So anyway... just wanted to point out that not everyone on this side of the Atlantic shares Wavshrdr's opinions of the Brompton .

    And for what it's worth, I like "old fashioned" "dinosaur" English Brooks saddles too .
    First off let me state that for the record my first experiences were on the C types but I also HAVE an M6R-Plus. I have on order a P6R-X. I have ridden several of the ones with the newer brakes and they still aren't up to the standards of most other folding bikes.

    Fact is the design is old that isn't always bad. If the brakes weren't so bad why would one of the major US distributors of this offer an in house service to upgrade your brakes (even on the newer models)? Send it to them and they will braze-on the parts to your fork so you can run good brakes. You seem to think there is a huge difference between the C brakes and the others when in fact there is only an incremental improvement. Look at the Brompton specific mailing lists and forums and the number one complaint is still usually brakes so I am not the only one that feels this way.

    I tend to point out the good points as well. It is not like I have never set foot on a bike nor do I own any. I put my money where my mouth is. I spend my own $$$ on a variety of bikes to try and find what is best for my purposes. In the real world my favorite bike is my Swift but it is not as portable as a Brompton but as a bicycle it is FAR better than any Brompton I've ridden to date. I am not the only one that has less than kind words to say about Bromptons, look at Chop and investigate some of his past posts as well.

    I have used my Bromptons quite a bit since I bought them. I never said they were totally garbage and I have indicated where they have their strengths. I have willingly admitted that they own that segment of the market and have no real competition…yet.

    If I thought they were such junk I wouldn't have bought 4 of them so far. Well now it is down to 2 in my possession and 1 on orders since I sold one of them. I realize they have their place in life just like most things. My point is that Brompton could have done more to improve them than they have. At least they spent some money on an upgraded manufacturing facility so maybe that will pay dividends down the road.

    I realize that some things are design specific mostly British needs or other countries where the drive on the wrong side of the road. I have mentioned this before I will point it out again. I personally like to have a mirror on my bike. In the US and most other countries we drive on the right side of the road so you normally mount a mirror on the left so it will be more effective. However due to the narrow bars of the Brompton you need to mount a barend mirror to actually see out past your body. This is almost impossible to do as when the Brompton is folded up in its little package the left bar end mirror would be buried in the ground. So it is relatively easy to mount one on the right but that obviously isn't as effective except if you are riding in the UK, Japan and a few other odd countries.

    As for the front bag carrier/brief case it is a good idea but it is almost mandatory as the rear rack is totally useless when you park the bike. You park it by folding the rear wheel up under itself so anything on the rack is now upside down so the only really useful place to carry anything is in the front carrier. That is why they make a ton of accessories for the front and NOTHING for the rear as even Brompton realizes it is almost useless!

    So while I appreciate the good things about the Brompton I am not blind to its faults. Sure I like the compact size, relatively good handling and ride but I hate that you have to buy a different saddle clip to use a different saddle or everything is so proprietary that you are locked into using their parts for a lot of things. I obviously don't since I have bought several of them.

    The Brompton is good for mixed-mode commuting but if I have to ride more than a few miles on it I would prefer other bikes. An out of the box Swift with bigger wheels and tires can easily be at 20lbs with the factory frame. Swap out the seat and slightly lighter tires. It takes a single speed Brompton with a Merc frame and titanium bits to reach that weight at a cost of 4 times as much. So where is the value proposition in that? As I have mentioned repeatedly, the Brompton's one ace in the hole is that it has a very compact fold. It is not particularly light, fast or versatile without major mods. As a bike it is competent (except for brakes) and is not a standout. If I want to ride all the way to my work each day my Swift or Bike Friday is a better choice but if I will ride to the bus stop and then to work and ride a bit more than they all (Swift, Brompton and BF) are about equal. If I need to repeatedly change buses or get on light rail then the Brompton is the better choice for me.

    It all comes down to how you need to use your bike. Which is more important, the small size or the actual function as a bicycle. I didn't buy any of my folders to ride on a century. As Eggplant mentioned you get what you pay for but you can ALSO overpay. My personal opinion is that there are better values than the Brompton. Despite that I have still bought a few because of some of their unique attributes. Obviously your personal usage will dictate what functionality/style or status elements you place a premium on and your total value proposition may be different than mine or may even change over time. I am not suggest to not buy a Brompton. I needed one to go with my other dinosaur the Brooks saddle like Jeff.

  14. #39
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wavshrdr
    First off let me state that.....
    I'd like to say that I appreciate Wavshrdr's tone in his response. Given how strongly my post criticised his points, it would have been easy to degenerate into flames. It's nice to see someone respond with maturity and be able to clarify/reiterate their position in response to criticism. I apologize if my own tone in the previous post was less than amicable. I wish there were more people in the world with the ability to convey a strong opinion in a non-conflagatory fashion.

    While in general I would say our differences of opinion are unlikely to be resolved (which is fine), I would address the mirror issue. I do not have a Brompton in front of me to check, but I believe the Mirrycle would work. Lemme see if this works:


    It rises straight up from the bar instead of out, and then has a top joint which you could leave just loose enough to pivot easily by hand but not by vibration (a rubber or plastic washer would make that a piece of cake). So you add one step to your fold, which is to fold your mirror around before you drop the handlebars.

    I have that mirror on my current bike and you can easily adjust the tension on the pivot points.
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  15. #40
    Senior Member Heraclitus's Avatar
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    Here here! I don't always agree with Wavshrdr, but I value his opinions very much. Kudos to both of you.
    Nothing endures but change.

  16. #41
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    I guess this is the time to anounced that my Brompton has undergone a first level modification. It has been sent to a good bike shop and it's brakes have been modified (along with a new traditional style metal shifter). More on this later as I will upload digital pictures of this change as well as the first multi-mode trip since this modifications has been done. All this and more just as soon as I am able to complete the trip, how to upload the photos onto the new thread, and let the local commuter train finish laying out new tracks to my destination.
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 03-23-06 at 11:26 AM.

  17. #42
    Edd
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    Wavshrdr great points, thanks for all the thought provoking and considered comments.

    [As for the front bag carrier/brief case it is a good idea but it is almost mandatory as the rear rack is totally useless when you park the bike. You park it by folding the rear wheel up under itself so anything on the rack is now upside down so the only really useful place to carry anything is in the front carrier. That is why they make a ton of accessories for the front and NOTHING for the rear as even Brompton realizes it is almost useless!QUOTE]

    I actually like the ability to "park" the bike. Its stable quick and the load can be removed. I can decide not to park it if I want and it would be like any other folder. You are right that the carrier is limited but with in this, can still be useful. I have seen photos of heavy loads carried on the rear rack and kept rear and narrow to accomodate the cycling motion.

  18. #43
    Senior Member Chop!'s Avatar
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    Another thing to remember is that Brompton actually looked into going over to Alu chassis (& hinges) but were not satisfied with the integrity of the welds each side of the hinge. These Mercs have not been out that long, how long, I wonder, before someone riding one sufferes a catastrophic failure?
    As in all these things there are +s and -s to each and every folding bike, all have strengths and weaknesses not found in their competitors. All you can do is get the best compromise which suits your needs. Or, as I do, have different bikes for different functions.
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  19. #44
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eggplant Jeff
    I'd like to say that I appreciate Wavshrdr's tone in his response. Given how strongly my post criticised his points, it would have been easy to degenerate into flames. It's nice to see someone respond with maturity and be able to clarify/reiterate their position in response to criticism. I apologize if my own tone in the previous post was less than amicable. I wish there were more people in the world with the ability to convey a strong opinion in a non-conflagatory fashion.

    While in general I would say our differences of opinion are unlikely to be resolved (which is fine), I would address the mirror issue. I do not have a Brompton in front of me to check, but I believe the Mirrycle would work. Lemme see if this works:


    It rises straight up from the bar instead of out, and then has a top joint which you could leave just loose enough to pivot easily by hand but not by vibration (a rubber or plastic washer would make that a piece of cake). So you add one step to your fold, which is to fold your mirror around before you drop the handlebars.

    I have that mirror on my current bike and you can easily adjust the tension on the pivot points.
    Eggplant Jeff - I don't believe that flames benefit anyone. I respect others opinions even if I don't agree with them. I try to present my views and the process I arrived at them. I am not a clueless idiot when it comes to vehicles. I have been riding, racing and modifying motorcycles for the past 35+ years. I have been racing cars for only slightly less time. Bicycles are another one of my major hobbies and cheaper than the first two. Educationally I was trained as an aerospace/aeronautical engineer so I am not clueless when it comes to metals, design, engineering issues, etc. While I am American or at least it says so on my passport I have lived and worked a good bit of my life outside of the US. I grew up speaking 2 languages and learned speak another 2 pretty fluently as well. So some may accuse me of ethnocentric (as in my culture is the only one that matters) but in reality I am well versed in other cultures and languages and I am not biased against anyone, race, culture, brand, etc. I am especially NOT anti-British as how could you be against a country that gave the world the like of Elizabeth Hurley!?

    So what does my biography have to do with this forum? It makes be a little more like a lot of you wherever you may come from. I can relate in a lot of different ways and I can be very empathetic to your situation. Also my life experience has taught me is that conflict is good to improve the breed but real progress depends on communication. Once someone starts "yelling" (i.e. flames) the argument is lost (on their part). Don't try and influence with your emotions, use your facts and your ability to present them. I am not always right and when faced with evidence to the contrary I will change my position. I welcome healthy dialog as we can all benefit from it. That is what this forum is all about.

    So if my comments at times seem negative they are my opinions based on the facts as I know them or see them. Take from it what you want. I was raged in a time when "critical thinking" was taught in the school systems. I was raised to be a skeptic. I say the negative things on purpose to get people to perhaps re-analyze their viewpoints. I hope that people will sometimes see a common thread here. If people analyzed my comments carefully I don't just slam something, I almost always offer up a solution where one presents itself. Sure I hated the brakes on my Brompton but I did something about it AND I informed others so that if they were considering the C type that they might want to plan on an upgrade OR go to better model. I don't talk disparagingly about anything without having experience with it first or understand it quite well. If sometimes I don't state things as accurately or succinctly as I would like it is because I grew up learning another language more than English at first.

    I hope we can all continue to get along and find a way to build on each other experience in a harmonious manner. To me that is what this forum should be about (or any other forum for that matter).

    As for the Mirrcycle mirror, I have a few of those. Tried one on it and snapped it off the first time I put it in my trunk. I appreciate the thought. So far the mirror that is working the best (and it is getting beat up and will probably die soon) is the Zefal Dooback (or something like that). I do have mirror that I can Velcro on and off but it gets to be a drag to remove it EVERY time I need to get on a bus and then put it back on when I leave.

    @Edd - I do use my rack on occasion but I have found a seatpost rack to be a better alternative. As I lower the seat I spin it 180 degrees so the rack is over the frame tube and it works quite well. The other issue with the rear rack as well is that I often hit my feet on anything on the rack if it is very wide at all. Again the seatpost rack alleviates that as I can position it slightly higher. I use a QR (quick release) version so if I have to take it totally off I can.

    @Chop I am like you that different bikes are for different purposes. It is difficult to play a round of golf with one club. You could but why would you want to?

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