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  1. #1
    gfr
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    Similar to Brompton

    Hello,
    I'm interessted to buy a folding bike, i have seen dahon bikes, but i think it was bigger when i fold it than the brompton one.
    I Know that Merc has a similar model than brompton, and Flamingo also has a similar model than brompton.
    I like so much this flamingo bike:

    http://www.flamingobike.com/products...d=55&cid=3#pro

    Do you think it's a good bike ?
    Where can i buy it in Europe (by internet)?

    Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Merc sell this model:



    You can buy it here at what I regard as an excellent price of £330. A similarly speced Brompton would cost you over £600 and you'd have to wait before you could get it.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Merc-3spd-long...ayphotohosting

    I have owned one of these for eighteen months and it has been a real favourite. I have ridden it for 2500 miles in every weather and have never had a puncture. It's a great little bike and even though I have now bought a VERY expensive bike, I still make a point of riding the Merc at every opportunity. It is reliable, fast, agile and folds into a tiny package. Get one. Anita will post them anywhere as far as I know.

    Where do you live? PM me if you want anymore information and either way, let us know how you get on.
    Last edited by EvilV; 09-25-07 at 05:23 AM.
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  3. #3
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    What is the status of the Amazing Merc G6, with V-brakes, telescopic stem, blah-blah-blah...?

  4. #4
    Bicycling Gnome
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    I'd put money down that it won't happen.

    Flamingo (Grace Gallant Enterprises) probably makes money by creating long production runs of cost effective well researched bikes, not by tying up its staff in sourcing disparate parts and fitting together specials for an odd container load (or probably much less).

    Hand made bikes and specials cots a fortune. That's not their market.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  5. #5
    gfr
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    Thanks, where can i buy one Flamego bike ?
    And how much it cost (more a less) ?

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Bicycling Gnome
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    £330 plus postage.

    Scroll up to the top of the page when it loads.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Merc-3spd-long...ayphotohosting
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    Thanks, where can i buy one Flamego bike ?
    And how much it cost (more a less) ?

    Thanks
    I don't think Flamingo sells directly to the public. That's why EvilV is directing you to the Merc site. Merc buys their bikes in bulk from Flamingo and resells it to consumers.

  8. #8
    gfr
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    Thanks a lot,
    I see the Merc, but Merc Folding bike only has 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub gears, and Flamingo bike has: 16" INTERNAL 7-SPEED NEW FOLDING BIKE
    You can see this model of Flamingo folding bike here: http://www.flamingobike.com/products...p?pid=55&cid=3
    Is it possible to has a Merc with more than 3 speeds ?
    Thanks

  9. #9
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    Thanks a lot,
    I see the Merc, but Merc Folding bike only has 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub gears, and Flamingo bike has: 16" INTERNAL 7-SPEED NEW FOLDING BIKE
    You can see this model of Flamingo folding bike here: http://www.flamingobike.com/products...p?pid=55&cid=3
    Is it possible to has a Merc with more than 3 speeds ?
    Thanks
    I don't think so. The Merc has the sturmey archer 3 speed as you mention.

    Whether you need large numbers of gears depends on what kind of riding you do. I have ridden mountain bikes for years before I bought the Merc. They usually had more than twenty gears and were often out of adjustment.

    Sturmey archer gears are more or less maintenance free. They just work. As standard, the merc has gears of 45 inches, 60 inches and about 79 inches. If you want those ratios as metres of development, then the figures are: 3.6, 4.8, 6.2. I find that this is pretty suitable for most commuting and general riding. If you live in an exceptionally hilly area it may be a little too high, but you can change the ratios easily. I went camping on my Merc last year (2006). If you want to do cycle touring and if you need to climb a lot of hills, you can change the front chainwheel for a smaller one. You can even do a modification and run two front chainwheels so you can swap between them. I have done that to mine, but to be honest, I mostly only use the original gears that it came with. It is rare that I change down to the lower set of gears.

    I mentioned the mountain bike before - since I got the Merc, I've hardly ever used it with its 24 gears. The Merc is far more agile and quicker around the city or on a journey of ten miles. I often ride it twenty miles in a day.

    Merc only import the 3 gear version of the Flamingobike. Here is mine on a camping trip:




    The bike also comes with the front luggage system and a carrying bag. It has a luggage rack, dynamo and lights, a propstand and mudguards. It is an almost exact copy of the brompton of the 1990s, but it is far better value for money.
    Last edited by EvilV; 09-27-07 at 08:43 AM.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  10. #10
    gfr
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    I know the prices of a Flamingo bike:

    < The differences between FL-BP-01 and BP-02>
    The main different design - top tube of main frame . (Both of them with alloy material for main front frame, but in Hi-Ten steel for rear triangle frame) FL-BP-02 with traditional curved top tube; but BP-01 with new square straighter frame tube which made by hydraulic pressure mode.

    The price for FL-BP02-7 equipped with Shimano Nexus Interior 7-speed hub, including dynamo light is US$560.00 + EMS express freight US$150.00. Folding bike carry bag is upcharged US$16.00 /per piece.

    The price for FL-BP01-7 equipped with Shimano Nexus Interior 7-speed hub, including dynamo light is US$590.00 + EMS express freight US$150.00
    Folding bike carry bag is upcharged US$16.00 / per piece.

    What do you think it's a good bike or is it too expensive ?

  11. #11
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    I know the prices of a Flamingo bike:

    < The differences between FL-BP-01 and BP-02>
    The main different design - top tube of main frame . (Both of them with alloy material for main front frame, but in Hi-Ten steel for rear triangle frame) FL-BP-02 with traditional curved top tube; but BP-01 with new square straighter frame tube which made by hydraulic pressure mode.

    The price for FL-BP02-7 equipped with Shimano Nexus Interior 7-speed hub, including dynamo light is US$560.00 + EMS express freight US$150.00. Folding bike carry bag is upcharged US$16.00 /per piece.

    The price for FL-BP01-7 equipped with Shimano Nexus Interior 7-speed hub, including dynamo light is US$590.00 + EMS express freight US$150.00
    Folding bike carry bag is upcharged US$16.00 / per piece.

    What do you think it's a good bike or is it too expensive ?
    Does the 7-speed also come with the front bag?

    If you need a compact fold, it certainly is cheaper than a Brompton. And in some dimensions, a superior product.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Kabir's Avatar
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    Given the US dollar being record low, anything denominated by US dollars looks more attractive. With $710 total cost, it is about 355 British pounds. The 3-speed Merc costs 342 pounds. I think 13 pounds is a good investment on higher gear range.

    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    I know the prices of a Flamingo bike:

    < The differences between FL-BP-01 and BP-02>
    The main different design - top tube of main frame . (Both of them with alloy material for main front frame, but in Hi-Ten steel for rear triangle frame) FL-BP-02 with traditional curved top tube; but BP-01 with new square straighter frame tube which made by hydraulic pressure mode.

    The price for FL-BP02-7 equipped with Shimano Nexus Interior 7-speed hub, including dynamo light is US$560.00 + EMS express freight US$150.00. Folding bike carry bag is upcharged US$16.00 /per piece.

    The price for FL-BP01-7 equipped with Shimano Nexus Interior 7-speed hub, including dynamo light is US$590.00 + EMS express freight US$150.00
    Folding bike carry bag is upcharged US$16.00 / per piece.

    What do you think it's a good bike or is it too expensive ?

  13. #13
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Are those prices on the BP01 direct from the manufacturer, or have you found another outlet? Obviously, it isn't from inside the EU or the price wouldn't be in US dollars.

    If you are in Europe GFR, don't forget the VAT and import duty you will have to pay if you import from a non-EU country. I have been badly surprised on one occasion by those kind of charges. Buying from an EU firm means you will pay no extras as far as I understand it, because VAT is already charged in the original price. You don't get charged again.

    In effect, if these prices you quote are direct from Taiwan, you need to add VAT of 17.5%, import duty, and probably a customs handling fee. That's what happens here in the UK anyway. I'm not sure what the import duty is from Taiwan. Anyway - let us know how you get on.
    Last edited by EvilV; 09-27-07 at 08:46 AM.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  14. #14
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Does the 7-speed also come with the front bag?

    If you need a compact fold, it certainly is cheaper than a Brompton. And in some dimensions, a superior product.
    I think that's just a feature of the deal the Merc importer has put togther. You get the luggage block fitted to the frame at the front of the bike and the front luggage, plus a bike bag for carrying the bike tidily on trains etc. I've never used that myself, but I've not often taken it on public transport.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  15. #15
    RJC
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    When I asked Merc a month ago about the upgraded bike I was told:

    "We are going to do an upgrade on the Merc with more gears, upgraded brakes,
    etc but at the moment this has been put on hold as there hasn't been any time
    to go forward on it."

    So maybe it will happen someday but probably not anytime soon.
    Maybe they need to sell more of the current batch of 3 speeds before
    they can invest in a container load of newer models.

  16. #16
    gfr
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    I think that the VAT, import duty is too much, i think it's better to buy a Merc.
    But i think more gears are better to my city.
    If i buy another gear is it possible to put in a Merc folding bike, this kind of gear:
    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_8spd_XRF8.php
    Is it possible to put more gears in a Merc ?
    What do you think ?
    Thanks

  17. #17
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    I think that the VAT, import duty is too much, i think it's better to buy a Merc.
    But i think more gears are better to my city.
    If i buy another gear is it possible to put in a Merc folding bike, this kind of gear:
    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_8spd_XRF8.php
    Is it possible to put more gears in a Merc ?
    What do you think ?
    Thanks
    I think this idea of fitting an eight speed hub to the Merc might be tricky. I'm not sure about what sized rear cog you would need, or the spacing of the rear dropouts. You would have to buy a new hub gear and have the rear wheel rebuilt. As supplied the Merc has a reasonable gear spread, but you will maybe find occasions on very steep hills where you need a lower gear. I can get up most hills - even quite steep ones around town with the stock gears, but I have made a six speed conversion to my Merc by adding a second, smaller chainwheel to the crank. As supplied, the Merc has a 52 toothed front chainwheel and a neat aluminium chain guard disk. When I went touring with heavy luggage, I decided that I wanted more low gears. I was riding much further than normal commuting and carrying stuff, so I bought a spare, smaller chainwheel from Anita at Merc with a 39 teeth. This is the smallest chainwheel that the Merc crank can take. It cost about £4 plus a small amount of postage. It is a nice quality item like the rest of the bike. I had looked at European made chainwheels that were £30 and were no better quality than the one from Merc for £4.

    The simplest solution to more gears is to put the small, 39 tooth wheel where the original 52 toothed one was on the inside, and put the old 52 toothed wheel where the circular aluminium chainguard was. Now you will have two chainwheels and can manually lift the chain from one to the other. You will have now 6 gears and will have spent about £6.

    I made mine change from a handlebar lever, by buying a clamp and front mech to change the gear with a simple friction lever on the left handlebar. This gives me six gears, easily changed. It cost me about £50 for the parts. Most of it went on the clamp made by Steve Parry.

    The simple method which needs you to change the chain by hand is VERY cheap and effective. I only use the low set of gears very rarely, and could have saved myself the money to get handlebar lever changing.

    Here are some photos for you to see how it works.











    I bought a clamp made by Steve Parry and a simple mech, which allows me a nice slick change between 52 tooth front ring and a 39 toothed one.
    Last edited by EvilV; 10-01-07 at 02:50 PM.
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  18. #18
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    I think that the VAT, import duty is too much, i think it's better to buy a Merc.
    But i think more gears are better to my city.
    If i buy another gear is it possible to put in a Merc folding bike, this kind of gear:
    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_8spd_XRF8.php
    Is it possible to put more gears in a Merc ?
    What do you think ?
    Thanks
    Supposedly, the SA 8 will will not work because of rear triangle interference with the chainline. According to the discussion, the biggest cog that can fit on the Brompton/Merc is 17t. The smallest cog that can fit on the SA 8 is 19t due to the size of the driver.

    -G

  19. #19
    gfr
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    Thanks a lot, for your answer.
    You say that the only way to put more gears is using a new chainwheel.
    is it impossible to change the 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub gears to another hub gear with more speeds (maybe 5, 6 or 7 ?? )
    Thanks

  20. #20
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    Thanks a lot, for your answer.
    You say that the only way to put more gears is using a new chainwheel.
    is it impossible to change the 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub gears to another hub gear with more speeds (maybe 5, 6 or 7 ?? )
    Thanks
    This has been answered above.

    Similar to Brompton

    If it had seemed practical and cost effective, I'd have changed the hub, but it seemed far too difficult and expensive.

    The standard hub has a gear range of 175%. By adding the new chainwheel (VERY simple and cheap) you increase the range to about 215%. This works and is almost certainly much more efficient than having a much more complex 7 or eight speed hub. The SRF-3 is about 95% efficient in its most ineffeicient gears. Seven and eight speed hubs drop to figures like 89% or 90% efficient in some of their gears. Adding an extra chainwheel keeps the efficiency high as long as the chainline is ok, which it is. This is very like what Brompton have done in recent years. Their six gear bikes have a three speed hub with a two speed derailieur on them. You end up with two levers, but higher pedaling efficiency.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  21. #21
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    Thanks a lot, for your answer.
    You say that the only way to put more gears is using a new chainwheel.
    is it impossible to change the 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub gears to another hub gear with more speeds (maybe 5, 6 or 7 ?? )
    Thanks
    You can probably fit an SA-5 speed hub into the dropouts.

  22. #22
    gfr
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    Sure !!
    Do you think that i can put 5-speed Sturmey Archer (http://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_5spd_XRF5.php) instead of 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub ?

    Thanks

  23. #23
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfr View Post
    Sure !!
    Do you think that i can put 5-speed Sturmey Archer (http://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_5spd_XRF5.php) instead of 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub ?

    Thanks
    Well, I recall that the rear hub on a Merc is http://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_3spd_SRF3.php. Check out the dropout spacing.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Saddle height?

    EvilV, or one of the other Merc-riders - how high does the Merc saddle go? Same as with the standard Brompton seatpost?

    That's too short for me. So if it's the same, the next question would be - does the Brompton telescopic or extra long seatpost fit a Merc?
    ICE B1, Brompton H6, Schwinn Mirada drop-bar vintage mtb

  25. #25
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yangmusa View Post
    EvilV, or one of the other Merc-riders - how high does the Merc saddle go? Same as with the standard Brompton seatpost?

    That's too short for me. So if it's the same, the next question would be - does the Brompton telescopic or extra long seatpost fit a Merc?
    If the Brompton is too short, the Merc will be too short. I looked into the telescoping Brompton seatpost and my memory says they are identical. (think of this as a 90% yes)

    Note that you can go with the longer Brompton seatpost instead of the telescoping one ... it will make the fold somewhat taller.

    -G

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