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  1. #1
    Senior Member Chop!'s Avatar
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    I've known Steve on & off for a while now and have ridden a few of his SP Bromptons and seen many more around and about in the UK, here's a pic of his latest Brompton/Merc hybrid, Steve claims that it is the World's lightest Brompton, it has Merc bike Aluminium chassis, Brompton titanium forks & rear triangle, carbon fibre seat post & cranks and is single speed. ,
    I have shown this before on another thread, but thought it was of interest to everyone
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  2. #2
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    I am working on something similar but with an internal hub.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Heraclitus's Avatar
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    That is very cool. Thanks for posting.
    Nothing endures but change.

  4. #4
    easy racer
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    Hi Chop,
    I must say I'm very interested in the Aluminium frame of the Merc. It looks to be an exact copy of the Brompton. How did they get away with that?
    Cheers,

    Andy
    P.S. Did you get to ride it? And was it as cool to ride as it looks?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chop!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by easy racer
    Hi Chop,
    I must say I'm very interested in the Aluminium frame of the Merc. It looks to be an exact copy of the Brompton. How did they get away with that?
    Cheers,

    Andy
    P.S. Did you get to ride it? And was it as cool to ride as it looks?
    As I said Brompton sold the rights to the Asian manufacturers, yes I rode it and it's very quick, but it's still a Brompton and it's just not my favourite bike, love the small fold, but it's a bit of a dinosaur technologically speaking!
    A to Z of Folding Bikes, Designers, Sellers, Accessories, Forums, Meetings, Publications
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  6. #6
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chop!
    As I said Brompton sold the rights to the Asian manufacturers, yes I rode it and it's very quick, but it's still a Brompton and it's just not my favourite bike, love the small fold, but it's a bit of a dinosaur technologically speaking!
    Brompton is definitely a dinosaur but it is a SMALL dinosaur. I think that is part of the reason it has survived and all the Brits still buy them because it is a local product and so there is national pride as well. Put a silk dress on a pig and it is a pig in fancy clothing. Regardless I will soon have my own fashionable pig. With any luck I will have my Merc frame next week and my titanium Brompton shortly thereafter. When you need a small bike there aren't many choices unfortunately that are decent quality and still usable.

  7. #7
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    What is it about the Brompton that commands so many "old fashioned" "expensive" and "dinosaur" comments from across the Atlantic?

    First off - I don't have one so I'm not biased but I think it's a little over the top and I'm tiring of it.

    Can someone enlghten me about what it actually is about the Brommie that is old fashioned?
    Is it because they fit mudguards and the handlebars look a little funny? Is it because they're so small? Is it because they're made from steel not boneshaking alu? Is it because you Americans can't help but roll out once your time-honoured (and condescending) "Gee - aren't those English just so quaint and old fashioned" comments our way?

    I think you Americans think it's old fashioned for no other reason than they think England is old fashioned. It's a mild form of predudice if you look at it that way. It's not true of course... We don't all wear bowler hats, drive around in minis, have only 3 tv channels, wear tweed, have bad teeth, or talk like Hugh Grant, nor do we know the Queen or live in adorable little cottages. Yet somehow the idea of britain as a 'bit backward', continues to prevail...

    Back to the bike anyway:
    People always whinge on-and-on about the cost. "La La La Why are they so expensive when they're such old fashioned little bikes La La La....?" It might be a revelation—but the Brompton wasn't designed in the 1930s like some of you seem to think. It came out in the nineteen-eighties, when Dahons looked like sawn-off shopping carts and most folders were those bendy cavavan+boat specials that no-one really takes seriously.

    No one ever levels the "old fashioned" moniker at the Moulton but they are significantly older. The low-end Dahon's have a geometry which is a close facsimile of my 1970s Raleigh Twenty. They aren't old fashioned. Yet a bike with an original geometry and innovative design gets labelled as a dinosaur because they don't rush out a new design every October to catch the new model year. Instead they quietly innovate, honing what they have to a point nearer perfect each time they make an improvement. Is that it? Is it because progress is measured by new paint and design revision led by marketing?

    As for cost. You get what you pay for. And by that - I don't necessarily mean the that materials are superior. I mean they weren't made for pennies in the far-east by a manufacturer that has no foibles about exploiting people. They're made in London, primarily for Londoners—and with that comes the cost of paying Londoners a fair price to make them. I don't think that's particularly unfair.

    One last retort at this endless 'old fashioned' tirade: How many other manufacturers have major titanium frame parts? And a fold that is second to none? No-one at all has such a quick or small fold. Whatever anyone says no-one can ever get past that one.

    Rant over - If you got this far you're probably thinking "Whoa!... Chill out man!". Don't take this too seriously. I'm not really upset. I'm being eLoud. I'd like to hear peoples views though... In fact...Flame away! Just don't let the DT-Tribe™ hijack the thread...
    Last edited by LittlePixel; 03-17-06 at 06:44 PM.

  8. #8
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    LP- Well Chop is on your side of the big pond. As for my dinosaur comments it applies to many of the parts other than the frame. The brakes are not exactly leading edge. For such a small bike it weighs a ton. Definitely could improve on the drive train too. Everything is Brompton specific so if you need a part, good luck getting them. These are my major concerns.

    Now of course I expected things to be a bit off as well since people from the UK drive on the wrong side of the road. For example, it is nigh impossible to fit a decent mirror. And the only real chance to fit one that stays on the bike while folded must be on the right grip. Sadly a right hand mirror doesn't do the rest of the world (all 3+ billion of us that ride on the right side (right and correct) or the road. If you put in on the left grip it promptly buries itself in the ground. Who in their right mind would operate a vehicle without mirrors in traffic? This brings me to the next point that is mirror related. How are you mount mirrors on the "P" bars?

    Sadly it takes all the titanium parts to get the weight down to a reasonable level for such a small package. This is the enigma of the Brompton. It is good on many levels and than fails miserably in others. Combine that with A to B's blind rah rah sycophant Brompton praise and you don't know what a pig you have until you get it home and undress it. Reading A to B's take on the Brompton I would have thought it was the second coming of Christ. Instead I found some chick from the Red Light district in Amsterdam but with a few (thousand) quid I can tart her up a bit so my friends won't laugh their arse off when they see her.

    The reason I bought one is I needed that really small package AND I had enough $$$ laying around to transform it into something I could live with long term. Out of the box I hated the damn thing but it was better than walking.

    I don't begrudge paying anyone a decent wage. God knows all you Brits and EU folks take it up the bum on taxes already. Last thing I would want to do is take away a pint from someone. Anyway I don't want to drift away from the bike topic so I'll leave it at that. One last thing, while I may live in America my family is from the Emeral Isle! Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

  9. #9
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    But Chop has a Mullet so he's reliquished all UK citizenship rights!
    [only kidding Chop]

    Not quite sure about the mirror thing. I didn't realise Bromptons came only in asyncronous right-hand-drive and that mirrors couldn't be swapped right for left...

    That happened to me on eBay - I sold a mirror I'd got for my GF that wasn't really what she wanted so I sell it for like 10pence and the buyer gets it and is like "I didn't realise it was only for the right hand side of the bars" What a plum. YOU TURN IT AROUND! Sheesh.

    I must conceded you do have some valid points though:
    Yes the brakes are a bit crap. Maybe they have to offset the costs?
    Yes a bit heavy but with that comes good durability.

    And in all this I can't deny I'm drooling at the bike at the top of the thread in all it's alu glory. Give me that and I reckon I could make it even lighter... (no rear brake, no bell, less spokes, Matzo seat...

  10. #10
    easy racer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chop!
    As I said Brompton sold the rights to the Asian manufacturers, yes I rode it and it's very quick, but it's still a Brompton and it's just not my favourite bike, love the small fold, but it's a bit of a dinosaur technologically speaking!
    [Ducks the bottles and flying furniture, in the barroom brawl]
    Cheers Chop! I agree about the dinosaur comment (caliper brakes??) but, being only a small package myself, the small fold is the only reason I bought it. Though, if I had the money, I would like to get a Merc just for the lighter(?) frame. Then I could finish my 'Better' Brompton.

  11. #11
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    Well, how much does it weigh?

  12. #12
    Señor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by easy racer
    ...Then I could finish my 'Better' Brompton.
    Nice! What are the specs?


    Wav - you're not planning to Frankenstein a NEW Ti B. with a Merc frame are you? (If so, that would seem like such a waste.)

  13. #13
    easy racer
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    Hi Spambait 11,

    I don't know if the spec question is for me, but here it is anyway.

    Standard Brompton frame, fork, and rear triangle.
    Most of the bolts have been changed to Titanium! (What a waste of money!? )
    Stem has been cut down, and an X-lite Clikon seatpost has been used as a handlebar stalk.
    Hope seatclamp to hold the seatpost and bars, with an assortment of shims, together.
    Easton carbon bars, with Shimano flatbar brake levers.
    Brompton Dual pivot brakes, both front and rear.
    AVC carbon seatpost, with Selle Italia SLR saddle.
    Middleburn cranks, on a TA Ti Axix bottom bracket.
    One Brompton folding pedal, and an MKS touring lite pedal.
    Primo Comet tyres.
    The front wheel is a Pantour hub, with a Velocity Aeroheat rim.
    The rear is to be changed for a Kogswell singlspeed hub, with a matching rim... Sometime? (Not the 3-speed jammed in 1:1, which is on there at the moment!).

    Seed - The weight of my Brompton is somewhere less than 10.4kg / 22.9 lbs.
    Though, that weight was taken when the bike had mudguards, no Ti bolts, no carbon bars and no primo tyres.
    I should weigh it again, but I'll hate to find how little it has changed since my wallet became a lot lighter!

    It has taken over a year to get this far and I have spent way too much on it, as I could have just got an SL-2X for the money!!

  14. #14
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    Hi,

    I have never ridden a brommie, so can't really comment either way about its parts being good or bad. However, I'm from the US side of the pond, and I would say that's one sweet ride.!

    juan162

  15. #15
    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    Titanium, aluminum, carbon, single-speed, and it folds. Music to my ears. Wicked-sweet man.

  16. #16
    Señor Mambo
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    Thanks easy racer - your bike has definitely given me some ideas; I'm just not so sure yet about cutting down the handlepost (I have the tools to do it; I'm just not sure I have the guts) though what you did is what I want to do.


    Quote Originally Posted by easy racer
    It has taken over a year to get this far and I have spent way too much on it, as I could have just got an SL-2X for the money!!
    Yeah, but what would have been the fun in that?

  17. #17
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    "Can someone enlghten me about what it actually is about the Brommie that is old fashioned?
    Is it because they fit mudguards and the handlebars look a little funny? Is it because they're so small? Is it because they're made from steel not boneshaking alu? Is it because you Americans can't help but roll out once your time-honoured (and condescending) "Gee - aren't those English just so quaint and old fashioned" comments our way?"
    ]]]-LittlePixel

    I purchase all my new bikes based on those so-called "old fashioned" values learned on my father's knee (and all his English and other foreign made cars back in the 1960s and 1970s). They were superior to all that crass over-the-top American made tanks that passed for personal use in that time. I remember being laughed at by all of my friends and even my father's friends laughed at him driving around town with his Morris Minor station wagon-only a few were imported here. That is, until the Oil Crisis of the 1970's. Then people's attitude changed dramatically when my dad sailed by them as they glumly sat in their overrated tanks waiting to be gassed up on alternate days. And I passed them by on my Flying Dutchman dutch made road bike.

    "I think you Americans think it's old fashioned for no other reason than they think England is old fashioned. It's a mild form of predudice if you look at it that way. It's not true of course... We don't all wear bowler hats, drive around in minis, have only 3 tv channels, wear tweed, have bad teeth, or talk like Hugh Grant, nor do we know the Queen or live in adorable little cottages. Yet somehow the idea of britain as a 'bit backward', continues to prevail..."]]-LittlePixel

    That is caused by the mess left by World War 2. England was temporary set back a few years because you had to rebuild. I know it was temporary since my father bought his first car-an MG TC I believe he called it-in the late 1940s. After that he was the second or third person to buy a Triumph motorcycle in the early 1950s. Then the Minor in 1959. If that is not progress, I do not know what is. As for labeling-I grew up in the "real" Hollywood California. There are no movie stars here. They live hidden in the hills surrounding Hollywood or west of downtown Los Angeles in Beverly Hill and other such communites. So Little Pixel, you Brits are not the only ones being typecast (although I just love real genuine British products)!

    "Back to the bike anyway:
    People always whinge on-and-on about the cost. "La La La Why are they so expensive when they're such old fashioned little bikes La La La....?" It might be a revelation—but the Brompton wasn't designed in the 1930s like some of you seem to think. It came out in the nineteen-eighties, when Dahons looked like sawn-off shopping carts and most folders were those bendy cavavan+boat specials that no-one really takes seriously."
    ]-LittlePixel

    About the price, I am not suprise in the least. The Brompton's choice and purchase was already figured in when I went ahead with my decision. I know the US dollar is weak right now. So boo-hoo. I wanted something made in a first world country for once. I knew I had to pay the price. I wanted a European bike-not another far east bike masking as one. The Asian bikes are nice-I am also a Dahon owner after all-but I miss my bikes like the ones that were made new some thirty or more years ago (plus hidden technological improvements). Brompton does this and more.

    [I]"No one ever levels the "old fashioned" moniker at the Moulton but they are significantly older. The low-end Dahon's have a geometry which is a close facsimile of my 1970s Raleigh Twenty. They aren't old fashioned. Yet a bike with an original geometry and innovative design gets labelled as a dinosaur because they don't rush out a new design every October to catch the new model year. Instead they quietly innovate, honing what they have to a point nearer perfect each time they make an improvement. Is that it? Is it because progress is measured by new paint and design revision led by marketing?"[/I]-LittlePixel

    Rapid improvement is Crass Americanism at it's best and worst. You are right about the lower end Dahons (like my Boardwalk S1) being an somewhat imitation of the old Twenties. That is why I (and maybe others) like it so much. I could not get a Twenty since it was not imported in great numbers. So I opted to modify a Boardwalk.

    "As for cost. You get what you pay for. And by that - I don't necessarily mean the that materials are superior. I mean they weren't made for pennies in the far-east by a manufacturer that has no foibles about exploiting people. They're made in London, primarily for Londoners—and with that comes the cost of paying Londoners a fair price to make them. I don't think that's particularly unfair."-LittlePixel

    Walmart (and others) spoiling the masses through their cheap and plentiful sales and merchandise. Anything that does not come off as inexpensive-like department store bikes-are rejected as "too much money" or where are the V brakes? Not "does the item in question suits my needs and is durable?"

    One last retort at this endless 'old fashioned' tirade: How many other manufacturers have major titanium frame parts? And a fold that is second to none? No-one at all has such a quick or small fold." -LittlePixel

    You summed up the "hidden" technological features these little bikes have to offer!
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 03-18-06 at 01:14 PM.

  18. #18
    easy racer
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    Thanks for all the kind comments guys.

    It has helped me to try to get the back wheel finished. I may even refit the 17" moulton 'guards I had, to make it a bit more practical in the moist British climate.

  19. #19
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon'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?

    First off - I don't have one so I'm not biased but I think it's a little over the top and I'm tiring of it.

    (First of several snips)

    I think you Americans think it's old fashioned for no other reason than they think England is old fashioned. It's a mild form of predudice if you look at it that way. It's not true of course... We don't all wear bowler hats, drive around in minis, have only 3 tv channels, wear tweed, have bad teeth, or talk like Hugh Grant, nor do we know the Queen or live in adorable little cottages. Yet somehow the idea of britain as a 'bit backward', continues to prevail...
    . . .I'd like to hear peoples views though... In fact...Flame away! Just don't let the DT-Tribe™ hijack the thread...
    No flaming here, well expressed. I know that my ideas of England are probably out of date where they aren't simply wrong.

    But even though I already knew that the Brompton is a relatively recent brand, there is something about them, in their normal configuration, that has always looked old fashioned to me. Maybe it's the upright riding position, or the curvy tubes, or the hub gear. I don't know, it just has that image for me. I don't know if other people see it that way.

    Not the one that's pictured at the beginning of this thread, though!
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  20. #20
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    Great Bike!

    Great posts too. I enjoyed and agree partially with both sides of the debate. From where i am standing (and with my wallet) Brommies have a fair price tag yet they are way out of my budget for now, especially with the NL being 2nd hand folder heaven. Brommies are sold second hand quite a lot but retain lots of value.

    So i will not likely ever get one unless i stumble upon a great deal or suddenly must multi mode heaps.

    I do think they are old fashioned in many ways, yet they were and remain innovative. It does astound me that they don't add V-Brakes, it seems even dumb not to. They could at least have the braze ons and offer the brakes as an option. But i astounds me even more that no brand has managed to equal or make minor improvements upon the Brompton in terms of the fold, cost, standardization, weight and possibly wheel size. The GoBike comes close but in terms of availability, standardization and service, forget about. I still wonder who will outdo the Brompton in those areas mentioned and just how much loot they will make. I don't follow why Dahon with all their Research and many models has not done this.
    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.

  21. #21
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11
    Wav - you're not planning to Frankenstein a NEW Ti B. with a Merc frame are you? (If so, that would seem like such a waste.)
    Yes. I am considering going with a front derailleur as well and a dual chainring but keep the hub in the rear as well as the rear rerailleur. That'd would give me quite a range of gears and still a reasonable package weight. I ride a lot at night when I travel so I'll be going with a SON hub dynamo as well. It should be interesting when I get it all done. I don't consider using the Merc frame as a waste and I personally think it rode better than the standard Brompton. Heck the entier Merc costs about the same as just the Ti bits on the Brompton.

  22. #22
    Señor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wavshrdr
    I don't consider using the Merc frame as a waste and I personally think it rode better than the standard Brompton. Heck the entier Merc costs about the same as just the Ti bits on the Brompton.
    I meant buying a new B. Ti and then stripping it. I was thinking you'd ride it for a while first.

  23. #23
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11
    I meant buying a new B. Ti and then stripping it. I was thinking you'd ride it for a while first.
    I have a couple Bromptons already. I have test riddent a BTi already and really only plan on using it as a donor bike. I ordred the P6R-X for a donor bike.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Chop!'s Avatar
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    The point that I have not made as yet is:-

    Although the Merc chassis is lighter, the Merc forks & rear triangle are far heavier than the Brompton equivalents, thus you need a Merc middle bit and Brompton Ti sticky out bits!

    Then you put the heavy Merc bits onto the heavy Brompton bits, find someone really obnoxious to sell the leviathon to!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chop!
    Then you put the heavy Merc bits onto the heavy Brompton bits, find someone really obnoxious to sell the leviathon to!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    That's pretty darn funny!!! The guy you sell it to probably wouldn't even know the difference!

    juan162

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