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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 09-16-08, 02:29 PM   #1
PDR
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Question about Brompton gears

I am seriously considering buying a S-type Brompton (raw lacquer) as the trains I use seem to be getting increasingly more crowded and I have to fold and try and find space for my 20 wheel Dahon MU SL.
I think the 2 speed gears will suit my needs but if I wanted to change to say the 3 speed hub at a later date is it just a case buying another rear wheel/hub and gear lever etc to upgrade the bike?

Similar question regarding the lightweight titanium parts, I know these add around 400 to the cost of the bike, so are these something that can be added at a later date if I feel I need them (I know SJS Cycles stock these parts).

Thanks,
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Old 09-16-08, 03:04 PM   #2
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is it just a case buying another rear wheel/hub and gear lever etc to upgrade the bike?
Basically yes, though you'd have to fit all the shifters and cabling - and get the routing 'correct' so the fold works properly.

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...titanium parts... are these something that can be added at a later date if I feel I need them? (I know SJS Cycles stock these parts)
Yes - parts swap out perfectly, so you can get them/fit them as funds allow - seatpost, triangle, forks.
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Old 09-16-08, 04:44 PM   #3
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Hi PDR.

The 6 speed is much better and it's not worth the small trade in weight saving to simply have a 2 speed in my opinion. Titanium parts are great in principle but the price premium is simply not worth it. As a owner of a raw lacquer I believe it's definitely worth the 88!
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Old 09-16-08, 05:33 PM   #4
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Hi PDR perhaps I should reserve my opinion above until I try a 2 speed titanium version. Reading Will Self's highly entertaining article certainly made me think. Then again he can afford the 440 premium a lot easier than me! Not that I begrudge him that given his writing talents.
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Old 09-17-08, 07:39 AM   #5
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Thanks guys,

I did test ride a 2 speed some time ago (back to back with a Birdy Speed) and it seemed OK.

I have less than a mile to travel at either end of my train journey with just a 100m stretch of uphill to ride each morning so I reckon the 2 speed should be fine. I also don’t like the two flimsy gear levers on the 6 speed or the odd way the odd gear sequence works.

The main reason for wanting a Brompton is for when the trains break down. So long as I can get across the river Mersey via the ferry or bus then the furthest I have to ride is 9 miles. If they do put a rail replacement bus on then of course the Brompton will be more acceptable to the driver than my 20” wheeled Dahon MU SL..

I don’t expect the Brompton to be as fast or as light as my MU SL, but there are other advantages such as a Brompton will fit into the works lift with the rear wheel quickly flipped under. The Brompton folds a lot smaller and the chain is away from your clothes when the bike is folded (I’ve got plenty of oil stains on my clothes already). I just want to see how good these bikes really are.... if I find I hate it, then there are always plenty of people on e-bay who will give me a fair price for it.
Cheers,
Paul
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Old 09-17-08, 07:46 AM   #6
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I've got a 3 speed, and to be honest a 2 speed (or even single-speed) would be fine especially as it saves most weight (and costs).
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Old 09-17-08, 08:32 AM   #7
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I think it's all in what you will be happy with. I have a six speed and could not imagine having any less gears and I live in a fairly flat area. I could do with less but the I would rather have more. I was a little concerned about the odd shifting pattern but it became second nature very quickly.

As for the titanium - other than the cost I wish I had invested in it. The Brompton is easy to pick up but I wouldn't want to carry it far. On the other hand I have a bad shoulder and that might influence my judgment.

-Jim
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Old 09-17-08, 09:22 AM   #8
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Nope - my ultimate Brommie would be pretty much as Little pixels (or the more costly official equivalent) - single speed and light as possible - avoiding those arm wrenching carries thro carriages, offices and shops. But I'd use a smaller chain ring to get about 60" which is good for me for most situations except fast descents. Failing that, the extra few grams for the wonderfully simple 2 speed, maybe weight well spent. ... Si
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Old 09-17-08, 11:02 AM   #9
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I've got a 3 speed, and to be honest a 2 speed (or even single-speed) would be fine especially as it saves most weight (and costs).
What is the weight penalty of a three speed relative to the two-speed derailer relative to the single speed?

If the penalty is minimal, my pick would be to get one of these "ultra wide" three speed hubs. Although I agree with you Simon that weight does matter with folding bikes since with most designs one does have to pick them up on a regular basis, in my experience.

Personally, I have a feeling that this market is going to get awfully competitive in a little bit. If one can wait, I would expect one's options to improve.
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Old 09-17-08, 03:34 PM   #10
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...
Personally, I have a feeling that this market is going to get awfully competitive in a little bit. If one can wait, I would expect one's options to improve.
So it is, we will see a huge folding bike hype in the near future.
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Old 09-18-08, 03:10 AM   #11
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I have just been in contact with the factory regarding the new Brompton Wide Range Hub....
It will be available in January so that is when my order will be going in for a new bike.
The new hub is half the weight of the 3 speed and has a gear range of 33.0 gear inches (2.63 metres) to 99.5 gear inches (7.94 metres) that sounds impressive.
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Old 09-18-08, 05:13 AM   #12
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Wow! Might get that for my 6 speed! thanks for the info on release!
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Old 09-18-08, 05:16 AM   #13
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Now a wide-range 3 speed titanium is soooo tempting in raw lacquer if I can get it next year when my current Cycle to Work Scheme instalments are up. Would have to sell on my current 6 speed to finance this though. Anyone know approx what a Ti Brompton with new 3 speed hub would be lbs or kg?
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Old 09-18-08, 05:17 AM   #14
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33-99 gear-inches... hmmmmmmmmmmmmm... that is so wide that the high and low will be useless in all but the most extreme hills.
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Old 09-18-08, 06:19 AM   #15
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Now a wide-range 3 speed titanium is soooo tempting in raw lacquer if I can get it next year when my current Cycle to Work Scheme instalments are up. Would have to sell on my current 6 speed to finance this though. Anyone know approx what a Ti Brompton with new 3 speed hub would be lbs or kg?
This is a 6 speed hub

Quote:

We will be supplying a 16-tooth and a 13-tooth sprocket with the BWR which, with a 50-tooth chain wheel, will give the following distances of travel:

Gear 1: 33.0 gear inches (2.63 metres along the ground)
Gear 2: 40.5 gear inches (3.23 metres travel)
Gear 3: 51.5 gear inches (4.11 metres travel)
Gear 4: 63.5 gear inches (5.06 metres travel)
Gear 5: 81.0 gear inches (6.45 metres travel)
Gear 6: 99.5 gear inches (7.94 metres travel)

This represents a gear range (top gear/bottom gear) of 302%; by comparison, the current SRAM 6-speed arrangement offers a range of 215%. Like our existing 6-speed offering, however, the gearing may be raised or lowered by fitting a 54-tooth (+8%) or 44-tooth (-12%) chain wheel in place of the standard.
End quote.

I could certainly make use of the 99.5 gear on the flat.
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Old 09-18-08, 09:02 AM   #16
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So it is, we will see a huge folding bike hype in the near future.
Well, I am always careful about words such as "huge". But if you go from having 2 or 3 bikes in the multimodal niche to 4 or 6, then I would consider that a relatively large increase in competitiveness.
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Old 09-18-08, 12:04 PM   #17
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This is a 6 speed hub...
A 3x2 speed hub:
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Old 09-18-08, 09:15 PM   #18
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The new hub is half the weight of the 3 speed...
Brompton says the BWR is 0.94kg. A SRAM T3 is 0.91kg.

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