I see both sides. In defense of Brommy. I really love the Brompton idea of: A bike for life, if it works great do not fix it or break it only tweak it slightly to improve it over the years. The Brommy is probably the most tested and true folder on the planet. Thousands on commuters rely on it a every day and some very ambitious tours have been completed on it. Very few issues at all have been found to be lacking in the design and the materials and almost none have not been corrected by B. in the end.
Even if this patent of Dahon comes to pass i think it very likely that the Brommy will still outshine Dahon in areas that for the casual cyclist mean little but for me mean a great deal:
Steel!!! It is real! (sorry couldn't resist) but steel on a long as heck seat post, handlebar and frame that takes a lot of strain since it is a special shape makes a huge difference. Which brings me to the second advantage which i already mentioned, that weight, steel and simplicity means:
The Brommy is a bike for life, most Dahon's (especially Alu) have not been around that long but i imagine they are good for 5 to 15 years tops. Hey i will gladly pay twice if a bike can easily last twice as long and the weight penalty is fine by me too, it buys me security (things won't suddenly snap on a Brommy) and durability.
The one thing i really begrudge Brommy is that they do not even offer as an option V-Brake bosses, that i think is just bordering on inexcusable. Sure their breaks work decent with great pads but adding the bosses as an option would not be a big deal and greatly appreciated by many. They have so many custom options but the one option that would really improve functionality and safety!! is not there, bad call.
As for price, well i think the Brommy does deliver value for money. I also realize they pair a fair wage to people employed in good conditions and i love supporting that. But if they wanted to easily cater to customers with less cash without creating a huge headache or adding a lot of hassle to their operation they could simply offer kits as an option! I mean i would very gladly assemble my own Brommy if it meant i could save 20% or more on the purchase price. How hard could it be to write a really great manual, dump the parts in a box and mail them to customers that like tinkering. Surely not harder than assembling all these bikes themselves and slowly but inexorably being left behind by the competition and knock offs.
Maybe we should start an on line petition!!?
On the other hand, sometimes i also think we are spoiled. No offense intended but faster fold? Come on it would be great if it happened but if 3 seconds annoy you or make you feel stressed it is perhaps time to re evaluate your priorities.
20 inch option would be great but it is nigh on impossible to then have a bike with the same folded size, unless one wants to settle for a terrible ride quality due to inadequate wheelbase.