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  1. #1
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Brompton S6R 35 miles review

    +++PLEASE SCROLL DOWN IF ALL YOU WANT IS THE BIKE REVIEW++++


    Short intro: I've been a member from this forum since 2004 after developing an interest on folding bikes. Since then I had the chance to own a few 20" wheeled bikes (Giant Halfway, Giant Halfway RS, Downtube VIII NS, Downtube VIII FS, Merc GT6, Dahon Curve, Brompton C3E, Brompton S6L Plus and the last version of the same Brompton, a S6E). I have 3 very serious hobbies: Traveling, photography and bicycles. With a folding bike I am capable of adding these 3 things and enjoy my trips (and bike rides and photos) in a better way.

    After saving money for over a year I was able to finally buy a Brompton that, for a nice while, was my dream bike: Good enough as a "real bike" replacement (as we had a chance to see one of our members finishing BPB on a Brompton) and small enough to travel without any major disassembly (I am not a big fan of any of the folding pedals I had a chance to use, so my pre-flight disassembly procedure consists on removing the pedals, deflating the tires and removing the seat). Well, after spending time researching for the best upgrades and finally reaching my ideal bike, a very good friend of mine fell in love with my bike while I was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I ended up selling the bike for him and starting again just to reach about the same results I did with my black S6L.

    www.bfold.com is my source for Brompton related products. Unfortunately, David didn't have an S-Type bike in Raw lacquer (the color I always wanted but couldn't afford until now), so I ended up buying an M-Type and also buying a Silver S-Type stem (yes, and the cables necessary to make the conversion possible). The Silver didn't work as well as I expected so I stripped the powder coated stem and add a raw lacquer finish myself. I might need an "official" S-Type stem in Raw Lacquer from Brompton, but for now, it is working great.

    A few things that I new I would need upgraded:

    The saddle: S-Type Bromptons come with the nice Vitesse saddle (Pentaclip adaptor included) but I am a big fan of the Specialized Body Geometry line, so I just went with what I was used to (Cateye TL-LD1000 rear LED Light also featured on this picture)



    The pedals: as I menioned before, I still haven't had the chance to see folding pedals that are "conventional pedal replacement". I feel them weak and/or slippery. I once again went with what I was used to and got the "campus" pedal (one side clipless, one side conventional).



    The brakes: So far the brakes are my only serious complaint about the Bromptons. They just do not offer a nice speed reduction power. I repeated the Avid levers and got Koll-Stop Salmon pads (mixed texture this time) and I would say the brakes are now a 6/10. I'm still wondering what can be done just to make them as efficient as V-Brakes from the Curve or the Merc GT6 (BY FAR, the best braking power I ever saw on a folder).





    The home made Raw lacquer ended up looking pretty good, besides the fact that it took me aproximately 15 hours of work (would be cheaper just to order a new one...well...I had fun doing it, so it is justified)

    Halfway there (M-Type and S-Type stems):





    OK, now that you know who I am and Why I have this bike with these specific upgrades, let me tell you about my experience riding this bike during my weekend stay in New Orleans, LA:






    +++++++++++REVIEW STARTS HERE++++++++++++++++


    As usual, the bike came from Bfold in NYC properly packed, damage free and in perfect riding conditions (including adjusted brake and gear cables). For safely reason the tires were not race-ready, but overall the bike was rideable out of the box. After a nice 3 mile spin the bike went into internationally accepted luggage and checked in to LA.

    First thing I noticed comparing the R type Bromptons (Rear Rack models) with L (just fenders) or E (no rack, no fenders) is how stable and easier to move once folded the bike becomes. Transporting an R type bike is hassle free and even without the need of a rear rack I might keep that just for the convenience of playing with the bike once it is folded.

    The second think I noticed about this bike, and it has nothing to do with the presence or abcense of rear rack but (at least I believe) with the lenghs of cables, is how estable this specific bike is! I could ride no hands for an UNLIMITED amount of miles (something that I could dare to attempt on my previous Brompton for about 5 seconds, 15 at most). Besides the cable lenghs (specially the brakes ones that I custom cut myself) I cannot imagine a different reason for this bike to be so superiorly estable when compared to an almost identical Brompton.

    New Orleans was a nice place to test ride this bike: I had a chance to ride in traffic (both friendly and hostile), good and bad asfalt (it reminded me a lot of Rio de Janeiro, where the cracks might swallow your entire bike), crazy pedestrians not knowing what do do once spotting a high speed bike going their way and the classic barking dog that can be the annoucer of the meeting between your face and the asfalt.

    The bike performed really well. The S-Type handlebar give you enough cockpit for you to feel comfortable on longer rides, yet provides you a higher point of view (like a mountain bike instead of a 700c with drop bars bike). For the circumstances that I was riding the little bell wasn't the most appropriate device to use but it actually worked well with pedestrians. The 6 speed provided me the gears that I needed for both fast starts, slow manouvers and fast paced stretches (Average 16mph on those). Brompton yellow tires did really well, going over some glass and not giving me any flats.

    The trip was a success. I went where I wanted to go fast and in a reliable way. Packing and unpacking the S6R is no diffetent that the S6L: Fold the bike and go! If it wasn't for the below average braking power, this bike would be a nice 9/10 (10/10 if the price was more friendly!).

    I strongly recomend anyone considering a Brompton to check an S-Type and an R (rear Rack option). You can always remove the rack under specific circumstances, it costs less to have it originally coming with the bike and even if you don't need it, it might be a good weight compromise once you have the bike folded (it makes the folded package more estable and easier to manouver on the wheels).

    I continue to believe that, for now, the Brompton is the best choice if you need a bike that is close to a "real size" bike and yet can be packed under 60 seconds.


    I will write more about this bike after my next trips (Orlando Florida on November 6th and Brazil on November the 14th).


    14R

    St Louis Cathedral and equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson, Jackson Square, French Quarter. New Orleans, LA.


    EDIT: Picture resized to fit most screens
    Last edited by 14R; 10-31-07 at 12:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice report and a good photo at the end but can you resize it?

    I tend to run the rack elastic straps under the front bar of the rack to avoid snagging them when folded.

  3. #3
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    14R:

    Nice report. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. I have two reactions to your report:

    1) You have 4 hobbies - you forgot girls ,

    2) I wonder if you were able to ride more stable hands free on your new bike because the tire pressure was lower (i think that's what you said). I find that I can ride my Mini hands free for a much longer time when I haven't pumped up the tires for a while.

    Keep us posted on your travels.

  4. #4
    Life in Mono
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    Nice report !!

    You are a BRAVE man to attack the paint on a $1000 bike ... but great results well done.


    ditto the question on riding hands free - I too find it really hard to do on a Brommie (but fine on other bikes) .. so what changed ?? .. was your last brompton the one with shorter front frame (changed 3-4 years ago) ? I cant imagine its the cables .. but ???

    Finally - those neons inside clear tyres are really cool - where did you get them ?

  5. #5
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    14R:

    Nice report. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. I have two reactions to your report:

    1) You have 4 hobbies - you forgot girls ,

    2) I wonder if you were able to ride more stable hands free on your new bike because the tire pressure was lower (i think that's what you said). I find that I can ride my Mini hands free for a much longer time when I haven't pumped up the tires for a while.

    Keep us posted on your travels.
    1-That's not a hobbie, thats a full time job and very serious business.

    2-The tires came in slightly less inflated than I am used to, but before riding in LA i top them up to 6.5Bar as the older bike, so I am not sure I can say it is tire pressure.

    I will go for a ride today after I'm done here, hopefully I will make a short video of how estable this bike is.

  6. #6
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simple Simon View Post
    Finally - those neons inside clear tyres are really cool - where did you get them ?
    Answer 1 - It is a mixture of Radioactive Unobtainium with Liquid Carbon Fiber, available for sale at your local Air Force base (Top Secret Clearance needed).

    Answer 2 -Forced flash during daylight exposures + Yellow Bromptons with reflective band.


    Choose the one you feel like is more appropriate.

  7. #7
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    14R- Great review and info on what, how and why you bought what you did. I was considering a Brompton about a year ago but purchased a used Raleigh 20, in great shape for a nice price. Didn't want to spend a bundle of cash until I decided for myself if "small wheels" are for me. They are, but I'm still coping with the idea of letting go of the big wheels mindset. I'm impressed that you are able to ride for extended distances on the Brompton. I know of a few folks that do touring and longish club rides on Bike Fridays and Moultons but haven't heard of folks doing the same on a Brompton. Thx again and keep us posted on your bike and travels. PG.

  8. #8
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    I'm quite happy with the Brompton Green tire. Lots of glass around here, and very few punctures. The rolling resistance is not half bad, either. Of course, not as good as the yellow, which came in at the lowest of all tires tested by Greenspeed. Not too shabby for a tredded fatty with stiffer walls.

  9. #9
    Life in Mono
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14R View Post
    It is a mixture of Radioactive Unobtainium with Liquid Carbon Fiber, available for sale at your local Air Force base (Top Secret Clearance needed).
    Yeh ... I asked for that at my LBS, he winked and slipped me a bottle in a brown paper bag ... but on the way home I didnt seem to need to pedal .. strange that !

  10. #10
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Be very careful now...


  11. #11
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14R View Post
    The brakes: So far the brakes are my only serious complaint about the Bromptons. They just do not offer a nice speed reduction power. I repeated the Avid levers and got Koll-Stop Salmon pads (mixed texture this time) and I would say the brakes are now a 6/10. I'm still wondering what can be done just to make them as efficient as V-Brakes from the Curve or the Merc GT6 (BY FAR, the best braking power I ever saw on a folder).



    I can see why your brakes suck.

    You have road type calipers with short pull and V-type brake levers with long pull. That combination sucks even at the most powerful setting of the Avid levers. What you need are BMX levers or levers for old-style cantis. That'll fix your brake power prob.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  12. #12
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Thank you Jur. I just arrived in Brazil, I will go after some BMX levers here and see what I can get once I arrive in Rio (I'm somewhere between the Amazon jungle and hell)

  13. #13
    jur
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    To be on the certain side, measure the distance between the brake lever pivot and the cable anchor blob centre. For V-brakes, it is about 32mm. For short-pull brakes it is about 22mm. That's the difference in pulling leverage. You need the 22mm.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  14. #14
    Edd
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    14R
    I am about to put these on my Brompton: http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/src/00007...lver-14893.htm
    I have used them with the same brakes on two moultons and they have matched very well.

    Edd

  15. #15
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    I just arrived in Rio last night and unfortunately the only 22mm levers they have around here are US$2.00 Nylon ones that will not work as well as the current Avids I have.

    Thank you for the Link Edd. After this trip I will change my levers to flat bar road ones like the Shimano you suggested. For now I will have to just be very careful in traffic while down here.

  16. #16
    jur
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    Hey 14R, did you ever get other brake levers?
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  17. #17
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    I did, but I haven't had a chance to ride my Brompton due to a job exam that I am taking on this Thursday, Feb 28th. I'm studying about 6 hours a day and working out about 4 (no biking untill I am done with this specific physical exam as well).

    I'll come back as soon as I have a chance to ride the bike. I already have South America and Europe booked, and that's just for the month of March.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 14R; 02-26-08 at 04:38 AM.

  18. #18
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Last decent picture I took was about 3 weeks ago (by myself) using my small tripod (that's why the image is so close to the ground)


  19. #19
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    You have the same pedals as my Mercton!

    A question about tyres for anyone really - I've read about deflating them for flights. This sounded like a lot of hassle to me not having an easily transported track-pump, so I didn't bother on my recent trip to the states and all was well on both the outward and return trips; No exploding tubes, no loss of pressure etc.

    Can anyone fully explain the rationale behind purposely flatting your tyres before a flight as I don't really see the need in a pressurised cargo hold.
    Last edited by LittlePixel; 02-26-08 at 03:52 PM.

  20. #20
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittlePixel View Post
    Can anyone fully explain the rationale behind purposely flatting your tyres before a flight as I don't really see the if there's a need to in a pressurised cargo hold.
    No rationale. It is a commonly-held myth that the cargo hold of airliners is unpressurised, so people think tyres would explode. Even if it was, tyres would never explode, even in deep space.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  21. #21
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittlePixel View Post
    You have the same pedals as my Mercton!

    A question about tyres for anyone really - I've read about deflating them for flights. This sounded like a lot of hassle to me not having an easily transported track-pump, so I didn't bother on my recent trip to the states and all was well on both the outward and return trips; No exploding tubes, no loss of pressure etc.

    Can anyone fully explain the rationale behind purposely flatting your tyres before a flight as I don't really see the if there's a need to in a pressurised cargo hold.
    I agree. You really don't need to deflate them unless you have them already over the limit. I'd be really surprised if the hold pressure dropped more than 10 psi over the standard 14/15 psi of one atmosphere. So, that would ne the equivalent of raising your tyre pressure by 10 psi - hardly spectacular really. Actually, I bet the hold pressure doesn't drop as much as 10 psi.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  22. #22
    PDR
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    I would like to ask a question if I may.

    I have now ridden 2 S-Type Bromptons, both 2 speed with one being the lightweight version, I like them and I’m sure that I will add a Brompton to the fold at some point.

    I thought the brake levers on both these bike where rather cheap and nasty looking and the near vertical angle in which they where fitted to the handlebars was somewhat unnatural. I know you can change the lever to better quality ones but my question is can you alter the angle so that it is more horizontal? Or does this interfere with the folding of the bike?


  23. #23
    The Metropolis, UK
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    14R any chance of a close up shot of your while bike when you get the time?

    Sure looks great!

  24. #24
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDR View Post
    I would like to ask a question if I may.

    I have now ridden 2 S-Type Bromptons, both 2 speed with one being the lightweight version, I like them and I’m sure that I will add a Brompton to the fold at some point.

    I thought the brake levers on both these bike where rather cheap and nasty looking and the near vertical angle in which they where fitted to the handlebars was somewhat unnatural. I know you can change the lever to better quality ones but my question is can you alter the angle so that it is more horizontal? Or does this interfere with the folding of the bike?
    If you raise the brake levers they will not interfere with the folding process, but they will make the folded package a little wider.

  25. #25
    eight spokes somnatash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling View Post
    If you raise the brake levers they will not interfere with the folding process, but they will make the folded package a little wider.
    ?
    At least if you want to keep the original handlebarcatch: when folded, my levers look towards the front wheel (=towards the inside of the package) and I can only "raise" (=you mean more forward, less downward right?) them a tiny little bit more until they interfere with the spokes or wheel.
    Last edited by somnatash; 04-23-08 at 06:58 AM.

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