First Iíll show the pix. Scroll down for my quick review.
The requisite "out of the box" pix:
My primary consideration for getting this bike was the compact fold. I travel frequently and usually have 1 or 2 down days between meetings that I usually spend in the hotel room or just piddling around. Why not ride around on a folding bike?
Second, I did not want to engage in any major disassembly of the bike when I got there. Ideally, Iíd like to throw the bike in an airline regulation suitcase and go. Based on my measurements of this folded Brompton, this bike will fit in a large Samsonite Fílite maybe even the smaller Fílite (I think 29Ē). I need to go to a Samsonite store to see if they will let me drop this bike in their cases to try it out. Iíll report back later on this.
I considered the Dahon Curve and the Downtube Mini, but no one assured me that they could be packed in a suitcase with little or no disassembly. I did see a Curve in person and the Mini was adequately covered here. Both did not have a tight fold, IMHO or at least as small as the Brompton.
Initial impressions after three short rides: This bike is surprisingly speedy. You turn the pedal and go. You also want to keep pedaling! That is the fun part. It may be the high pressure 100psi tires.
It feels likes a full size bike. Steel! No creakiness of the joints. All in all it is a very solid ride.
Didnít have any problems with the twitchiness as other first time Brompton riders have experienced. Got adjusted rather quickly. No problems with the brakes, either. I think the myth about substandard Brompton brakes is not true, at least on this model.
Some negatives: Price/pricey accessories. Uncomfortable saddle. Plasticky shifter: No problems shifting, but the shifter protudes up and feels like it could break if I hit a parking meter. Rolling wheels/heelstrike problem: Those little rolling wheels in the back interfere with my pedal stroke; Iíve developed an inside/out stroke to compensate.
Thanks to 14R and Folderfanatic for your PMs and advice about the Brompton. I think I made a good choice.
Upcoming upgrades: new saddle, front carry block/bag, computer. Anyone know a good place for cheap Brompton accessories?