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Old 02-09-09, 10:27 AM   #1
gringo_gus
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Bromptons and Fat Blokes (and Lady blokes too I suppose)

I got a DT mini, a HH7 and a merc. The last I ride least, because (a) it flexes so much (b) the back brake, even with teflon in/out cables hardly works. Probably because I am tall and fat (210lbs). But is it a merc thing or a general design thing, that I would experience with a brommie? I love the brommie fold, and I suppose I could test ride, but would like to hear if its an issue for any real brommie riders here.
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Old 02-09-09, 10:55 AM   #2
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Not a real Brommie rider, but my Merc doesn't flex at all. In fact I'd call it rigid. It's certainly as rigid as any other bike I have. I weigh about 165 pounds (Ok - maybe 169 - I need to ride and walk more).

You're right about the brakes though. You could always swap the brakes out for the double acting caliper design that Brompton now uses. I expect it will just bolt straight on since the frames seem pretty much exact. I'm assuming that you also have put on Koolstop salmon brake blocks. They improve things a fair bit, but the rear brake is still not great to put it mildly. Another trick is to wash down the blocks and rims with that citrus degreaser. I actually had the rear wheel grab and lock once after that treatment and as you are well aware, that's an amazing difference to the normal situation. Unfortunately, they also squeal after applying it, which depending on your viewpoint can either be a nuisance since it disturbs the peace, or an asset, since even pedestrians with ipods in their ears jump out of your way like frightened rabbits.

Last edited by EvilV; 02-09-09 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 02-09-09, 01:46 PM   #3
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Not a real Brommie rider, but my Merc doesn't flex at all. In fact I'd call it rigid. It's certainly as rigid as any other bike I have. I weigh about 165 pounds (Ok - maybe 169 - I need to ride and walk more).

You're right about the brakes though. You could always swap the brakes out for the double acting caliper design that Brompton now uses. I expect it will just bolt straight on since the frames seem pretty much exact. I'm assuming that you also have put on Koolstop salmon brake blocks. They improve things a fair bit, but the rear brake is still not great to put it mildly. Another trick is to wash down the blocks and rims with that citrus degreaser. I actually had the rear wheel grab and lock once after that treatment and as you are well aware, that's an amazing difference to the normal situation. Unfortunately, they also squeal after applying it, which depending on your viewpoint can either be a nuisance since it disturbs the peace, or an asset, since even pedestrians with ipods in their ears jump out of your way like frightened rabbits.
Yeah, but if he did all these useful things you suggested, he'd be deprived of an opportunity to buy a new folder. Where are your priorities, man?!!

On a serious note, I have a Merc also and I weigh 190. I don't have flex problems either. I have had brake issues, but after replacing the rear brake cables and both sets of pads, they're performing at an acceptable level. It's not the same as my high end racing bike, but my requirements are not as stringent for this particular bike, either.

PS: We have a similar stable of bikes. I have a Mini, a Smoothhound converted into HammerHead configuration, and a Merc, along with some others...
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Old 02-09-09, 02:07 PM   #4
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LOl - you're right Sesamecrunch - I admit it. I should buy a Brompton - a raw lacquer one like that beauty that Mulleady has. It would be nice to have a steel frame. Strangely, good steel frames are often more flexible and responsive than aluminium ones are. Anyhow - I hope Gringo Gus gets something he enjoys better than his Merc.

You're right about the brakes - when I go back to the Merc after other bikes, I get those, 'Oh ***** moments when I first zoom up to a road junction and apply normal pressure on the levers. Fortunately, if you grip them like you were dangling from a bridge over a deep canyon, it stops - usually in time.
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Old 02-10-09, 11:23 AM   #5
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... I suppose I could test ride, but would like to hear if [too much flex] is an issue for any real brommie riders here.
I weigh 195 lbs and find the Brompton to be a fairly flexy bike compared to the Swift, which has none of these characteristics of the Brompton: steel main-tube, main-tube hinge, extra-long stem-riser, and rear suspension. Those features do contribute to the Brompton's springiness. It's a nice leisure bike, I think, for a jolly rider. But if a stiff ride is what you're after, you're really going to have to take a test ride and judge for yourself whether it suits you.
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Old 02-16-09, 10:25 AM   #6
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In my research of folding bikes most seem to have a max of 210 pounds - both 20 and 26 inch models. Bazooka is 210 and I believe Dahons are 220 or 225. The Strida surprisingly has the highest limit I've seen at 250 pounds. So you're right at the limit for some models.

I push it at 250 and a computer backpack and had my bazooka frame snap on me after about 9 months, then had it welded which lasted another year. Probably not the safest thing but $150 weld was far cheaper than $600 for a new bike. It had a spring frame and was aluminum (or as you chaps say, aluminIum which both take away from the rigidity. I have a Dahon Jack currently because the frame is nice and rigid. The frame is fine for me but the rear wheel needs tuning/straightening. Regardless I know I need to lose weight and the ability to put less wear on the folder should be one incentive. Waiting for spring in Chicago and trying to get myself to the gym more often...
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Old 02-16-09, 10:45 AM   #7
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In my research of folding bikes most seem to have a max of 210 pounds - both 20 and 26 inch models. Bazooka is 210 and I believe Dahons are 220 or 225. The Strida surprisingly has the highest limit I've seen at 250 pounds. So you're right at the limit for some models.
Bike Friday is willing to accommodate heavier riders. I don't know exactly what changes they make to the frame -- use tubes of heavier gauge or larger diameter perhaps.
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Old 02-16-09, 11:31 AM   #8
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What about an upgraded R20 w BMX wheels?
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Old 02-16-09, 11:33 AM   #9
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thx for this guys.... as I say, my mini is less flexi than my merc, and doesn't give me any grief even when loaded with extras.... the answer is I should lose some weight, I know.
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Old 02-16-09, 12:49 PM   #10
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Waiting for spring in Chicago and trying to get myself to the gym more often...
You may have to relocate.
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Old 02-17-09, 05:22 AM   #11
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Too bad one couldn't go into hibernation and awake in spring, slim as you want!
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Old 02-17-09, 07:23 AM   #12
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Maybe it's due to the frame being designed for steel, but made of aluminum.

Typically aluminum frames have larger diameter tubes to increase the strength, but the Merc looks like it has the same narrow tubing as a Brompton.
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Old 02-17-09, 09:19 AM   #13
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Maybe it's due to the frame being designed for steel, but made of aluminum.

Typically aluminum frames have larger diameter tubes to increase the strength, but the Merc looks like it has the same narrow tubing as a Brompton.
If the Merc is spec'd the same as the Flamingo (though I'm not saying it is), then gringo_gus is greatly exceeding the maximum weight limit for the bike. The Flamingo is rated for 80kg.

Merc bikes ? Are they still available ?
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Old 02-17-09, 11:33 AM   #14
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that could be it......... I am gonna trade it in anyway, but looks like a brmptn might work for me still, worth a test ride.
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Old 02-18-09, 04:39 AM   #15
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Strangely, good steel frames are often more flexible and responsive than aluminium ones are.
It's actually not strange at all. Steel is more flexible, aluminium, when built big enough to handle the same weights as steel, is much stiffer.
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