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  1. #1
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    The Best bike in the world?

    A while back there was a thread about aleged 'bias' in AtoB magazine in favour of a certain diminutive small-folding commuter bike.
    I don't read the mag so couldn't really comment. But now there's a digital edition I can kinda see the point.

    Exhibit A (part 1)
    Exhibit A (part 2)

    To save you the time I'll paraphrase the 'review' the links above lead to.
    "I rode 3 bikes, a Bike Friday, a Birdy, and a Brompton. The others were awful even after I welded several tons of new crap onto them, but the Brompton was the best [sneer] because it's British and it can go a thousand miles with no effort and because I can get two hundred of them into the boot (trunk) of my [atonishingly vulgar] Bentley..."

    What an idiot. Worst road-test ever. Bikes aren't even comparable as they're kind of for different things.
    Next week: 'Sandals versus Airmax Runners versus Steel-toecapped work boots. Which make the best wedding-wear?'

    Ugh. I'm ashamed to be on the same island as this fool.

    Cough.
    I'd like his workshop though....

  2. #2
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon's Avatar
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    Without commenting on the substance of the review, what struck me most was how much money this fellow had to throw around. Rohloff versions of each bike, "the Bike Friday fits well enough in the boot of my Rolls Royce, but it's a tight fit for the Bentley", etc.

    Must be nice.
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  3. #3
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    teh best bike in the world is theone you have and use.I dont worry how it goes into the bently

  4. #4
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    He didn't say if he'd done 'a rohloff' to the Brompy. That was my gripe - that in his eyes the 3 speed base model was better than the other two after the mods...! More. Money. Than. Sense.
    But we're all really rich like him in the UK... Bring on the party!

  5. #5
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    This article was very similar to those found in Cycling Plus.

    His comment that a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub was perfect for a hundred mile ride is incredible. I guess he was thinking about looping central London for 100 miles, but one involving hills or mountain ranges requires a triple or Rohloff hub.

    I did like the girl although.

  6. #6
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    Well, I found a 2-speed hub good fun for the 1200 km (and about 10,000 m climb) of Paris-Brest-Paris but agree that YMMV.

    The OP should note that the review was not done by an A2B staff member. The Brommie did get fitted with a Rohloff.
    Last edited by LWaB; 03-24-07 at 04:17 AM.

  7. #7
    Life in Mono
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    I agree that particular article was a bit 'fingers down throat' ..... trophy everything ! written by a guest writer who seems poles apart from green living editors - I'd say a blip on otherwise pretty damn good mag, (ok with a slight Brompton bias) ..... I find it a damn fine read - cant help but read it when it drops thro letter box - which is rare !

  8. #8
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    Well, that was a little over-the-top, but the AtoB guide still has good things to say about the Friday and Birdy:
    http://www.atob.org.uk/Buyers'_Guide.html

    The Brompton is still the bomb if you need a quick, compact fold. If only they'd sell a stock model with real-world gearing....

  9. #9
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    Bike Friday is the best anyway,and you can not compare with a Birdy please this bull****
    I Love my Bike Friday New World Tourist
    www.colmanlerner.zenfolio.com
    http://submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=60183
    “No Sueñes Tu Vida, Vive Tus Sueños“
    There is a driving force more powerful than steam, electricity and nuclear power: the will.
    A.Einstein

  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    From those that have bike fridays, there's no way it takes an hour to get it into a suitcase. I can get a full S&S frame into a suitcase in 45 minutes, with significant disassembly.

  12. #12
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    The guy is arrogant, has an unpleasant and boastful style, but his conclusions seem fair, if you see past they arseholery. He doesn't say the Brompton is perfect for a 100 mile ride with the 3 speed, he says it's the only one on which he would attempt one, out of the box; and makes it clear that this is because of the major faults with the other two, all of which he details.

    So I'd agree, he comes across as a complete arse, but at the same time, he seems to have something valid to say. Reminds me a little of Dutret, in the SS/FG forum!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy
    The guy is arrogant, has an unpleasant and boastful style, but his conclusions seem fair, if you see past they arseholery. He doesn't say the Brompton is perfect for a 100 mile ride with the 3 speed, he says it's the only one on which he would attempt one, out of the box; and makes it clear that this is because of the major faults with the other two, all of which he details.

    So I'd agree, he comes across as a complete arse, but at the same time, he seems to have something valid to say. Reminds me a little of Dutret, in the SS/FG forum!
    Well, yes and no. The problem with the weird cable routing on the Friday is well-known, particularly if you have open cables on the main tube, no fenders, and ride in the rain. It's no more than an irritation on the bikes I have, but if the Rohloff's return spring isn't adequate, I can see it being a major problem. The issue with the bronze bearings is well-known, too, but only applies to bikes of a certain vintage. I think that BF stopped using the bronze bearings 5 years ago, and has used a steel bearing since then.

    as for this:

    >Wanted - Old fashioned track bars (curving immediately from the stem), Lyotard Marcel Berthaud Pedals, MKS GR9 Pedals

    I can't believe that you can't get this stuff in the UK. American Cyclery in San Francisco (http://americancyclery.com/) can definitely provide you with the bars and MKS pedals. I think you're out of luck on the Lyotards though.

    Me, I'd like to find some old-fashioned leather biking shoes to use with toe-clips

  14. #14
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Thanks, but American Cyclery can't provide me the bars I'm looking for. Nobody makes them now - I've seen the Soma Major Taylors etc, but that's not the look I'm after. It's the 30's/40's look I want, as on the bike below. I can also get GR9's here, no problem, but I'm looking for someone with a used pair to trade. Likewise the Lyotards (which are long out of production). I'm a retrogrouch born and bred, and the bars, in particular, are to use on a 1940 frameset.


  15. #15
    To fold or not to fold?
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    Not sure why anyone reads AtoB. The ONLY cycle mag worth reading is Velovision. Every issue a joy, and a good focus on folders, as well as all manner of other non-standard bike weirdness. A free online pdf of recent issue is here

  16. #16
    The Metropolis, UK
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    I wanted to revive this interesting thread on AtoB. These are the lot that call the Brompton clone, the Merc a rubbish bike. If they have issues on it being a copy then don't mention it but don't mislead potential readers.

    The very same magazine gave an unfavourable review of the Downtube FS which totally contradicts a much better and objective review from the folding society site on the very same bike. They promised to store the review bike for collection and then sold it on.

    A review that judges a folder to be automatically better because it's British and to brag about their Bentley sums these types of people up. Who needs to subsribe to such bigoted rubbish when we have such a helpful and knowledgeable folding bike community here and then some very good reviews on the folding society pages too?
    Last edited by mulleady; 04-17-08 at 04:25 PM.

  17. #17
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    "... fold into a suitcase in 30 seconds"? Bike Friday claims that?

    Neat handlebar adapter.

  18. #18
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    "... fold into a suitcase in 30 seconds"? Bike Friday claims that?
    No, that's the "quickfold" time.

    I'm an A to B subscriber, and I like the magazine for a lot of reasons - but I just had to shake my head when I read this article, it was so bad. I generally like the reviews by the magazine's regular reviewers, and although I can detect a slight Brompton bias, it's nothing like you see in this review.

    (Although I do think that the Brompton is sort of underappreciated on this side of the pond, since you really do have to see the fold in person to understand why the Brommie is so popular for multimodal commuting *despite* the peculiar gearing and subpar brakes; if I had a particular kind of commute, I'd buy one in an instant).

  19. #19
    rhm
    rhm is offline
    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhedges View Post
    (Although I do think that the Brompton is sort of underappreciated on this side of the pond, since you really do have to see the fold in person to understand why the Brommie is so popular for multimodal commuting *despite* the peculiar gearing and subpar brakes; if I had a particular kind of commute, I'd buy one in an instant).
    I have a multimodal commute, and when I got my Strida (about three years ago, when the price was about $300) I wasn't completely thrilled with it, so I thought I'd try a Brompton for comparison. I rode my Strida to the store, and test rode a $1400 Brompton for a while. You're right, it's beautiful the way that thing folds up. But if you get beyond the way it folds up, it's a pretty dull bike, even disregarding the peculiar gearing and subpar brakes. When I got back on my Strida, I was astonished at how light and lively it felt; and the brakes work, too.

    Since then, I continually wonder why people rave about the Brompton. It's not awful, but it's not great, and it's dreadfully expensive for what you get. So... what gives?

    With this in mind, I read that ridiculous review, the one with the Bentley and the hot chick, and one thing became clear: If you show somebody two bikes, one priced at $1400 and the other at $300, and they assume the more expensive one is better, then you can't trust their objectivity. And that's why I don't read AtoB.

  20. #20
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhedges View Post
    No, that's the "quickfold" time.
    I did not think so. I am surprised that the editors let something go that is factually false.

  21. #21
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    I think I'm in love...with Laila.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt52 View Post
    Not sure why anyone reads AtoB. The ONLY cycle mag worth reading is Velovision. Every issue a joy, and a good focus on folders, as well as all manner of other non-standard bike weirdness. A free online pdf of recent issue is here
    No, the ONLY cycle mag worth reading is the Lauterbrunnental Leaflet!

  23. #23
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    That is ace... We need more bike comic-strips...

    Hey... I was full of bile the night I wrote the original post eh?

  24. #24
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Nope LP you reconstituted their bile and put it into perspective lol!

  25. #25
    lube addict
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    I'd give the author more credence if the motor vehicle he loaded the folding bikes into was a Mini Cooper. Rolls? Bentley? Gimme a break!

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