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  1. #1
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    Poor man's Brompton?

    Is there anything out there that can compete with the Brompton for folded size, and isn't more than around $500?

    The only thing I can find that comes remotely close is the Downtube Mini. And I have seen the Merc bikes, but it doesn't seem like they are being made anymore.

    Anyone know of any?

  2. #2
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    here:

    http://www.breezerbikes.com/bike_det...ompact&bike=i3

    the breezer i3 folding bike...starting at $399.

  3. #3
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by relyt View Post
    Is there anything out there that can compete with the Brompton for folded size, and isn't more than around $500?

    The only thing I can find that comes remotely close is the Downtube Mini. And I have seen the Merc bikes, but it doesn't seem like they are being made anymore.

    Anyone know of any?
    Quote Originally Posted by vincentnyc View Post
    here:....the breezer i3 folding bike...starting at $399.
    The Breezer I3 might appear similar at first glance. But it is not exactly the same dimensions-23" x 14" x 27.5"-or compact shape as a Brompton-11"(w) x 22"(l) x 23"(h).-or even a Merc. When I bought my rather simple basic Brompton over 3 years ago, I opted for a no frills, no extras approach and a real Brompton, not an imitation. I only focused on what I truly need at the time and on the basic frame, not the extras, of or near the actual purchase which was absolutely nothing. I kept the C Type or C3E (now a discontinued model) bike closer to 500 dollars than to a thousand.

    At today's prices and models offered, it still is dependent on what is actually placed on the bike even with the standard-ready to be wheeled out the door-models. I have found some differences in the price among the different dealers based on what the dealer deems what would be offered on their "standard" models thereby pushing up or lowering the basic true price-which is at the time of this writing still hovering at around $850.00 if you select the basic no extra cost parts only.

    The trick with any bike, not just the Brompton, is to make sure you are not buying more accessories and choosing the parts that don't cost extra on the final bill than you want or need. That is the key of where the prices are pushed upwards. Most of the time, people do buy more frills than what they need at present or in the future either due to ignorance or on a whim. If you really want an pricey bike like a Brompton, concentrate on keeping it as basic as possible and add something that will make the bike more comfortable if needed when you are ready.

    My own little "Poor Person's Brompton" is still going strong today. I have added some home sewed new bags for it. You can see a sample of them below and on my Flickr Creative Projects For You And Your Folding Bicycle Website (at the end of the set):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/world-of-folding-bicycles/sets/72157601331380862/
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 04-12-09 at 08:09 PM.

  4. #4
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    That is pretty nice. I was thinking along the lines of a fixed gear or singlespeed Brompton, to keep the weight down and lose the cables. I live in a fairly flat area.

    I'm not necessarily looking for a clone. As long as it folds well and comes out to about the same size, I'm fine with it. The Dahon Curve is another possibility, actually, since it seems to be about the same folded size as a Downtube Mini.

    My ideal use is to ride it downtown to a store or restaurant, slip it into a briefcase-style, non-huge, non-silly bag and take it in with me.

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

    As long as it folds well and comes out to about the same size, I'm fine with it. The Dahon Curve is another possibility, actually, since it seems to be about the same folded size as a Downtube Mini.
    I tried exactly the same thing before, downtube mini, then Curve, then clone. I have only one advice: if you want to have a bike that, once folded and inside a bag, doesn't leave people thinking you play the tuba, get a Brompton.

  6. #6
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    If you want a folder that folds as compactly as the Brompton, then your only option is either a genuine Brompton or one of its clones (Merc).

    Bromptons sometimes show up on Craigslist for a good price but you'd have to act quick as they usually don't last long.

    It seems that you CAN get a brand new Brompton for close to the $500 USD mark if you order the C-type. I contacted the gentleman behind Foldabikes.com and he replied stating that he could order it from England for you. It's just not listed by most dealers in the US.

    Your best pricing may be to order a C-type from one of the dealers in England therefore taking advantage of the favorable British pounds/American dollar exchange rate.

    At http://www.normanfaycycles.co.uk/ the C-type is being sold for 395 British pounds.

    It would be great if Brompton allows the customer to subtract standard parts from the Brompton as they please.

    For instance, I would like to buy just the standard frame and build up my own wheels with a Sturmey Archer 8 speed hub, add my own crankset/chainwheel, my own seat, my own pedals, etc. In fact, these are the items I'm adding to my current Brompton, but when all's done, I'll end up with a heap of Brompton parts that I have no use for.
    Last edited by ilovebicycling; 04-13-09 at 02:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    At http://www.normanfaycycles.co.uk/ the C-type is being sold for 395 British pounds.

    And you get a trojan for free if you visit the page. Be careful!

  8. #8
    A biking donkey.
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    DT mini fold is not nearly as small as a brompton fold. unfortunately neither is breezer (and its other names) which go as low as ~200 Euros.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ulugeyik View Post
    DT mini fold is not nearly as small as a brompton fold. unfortunately neither is breezer (and its other names) which go as low as ~200 Euros.
    There are pics somewhere here that show a few direct comparisons between a folded Brompton and Downtube Mini. I'd say they're close in folded size. How tidy is another question.

  10. #10
    A biking donkey.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagee View Post
    There are pics somewhere here that show a few direct comparisons between a folded Brompton and Downtube Mini. I'd say they're close in folded size. How tidy is another question.

    I have handled them before, albeit not at the same time and I did not get that impression. DT web-site says "Super compact" for Brompton but "Compact" for mini.
    http://www.downtube.com/Folding_Bike...e_VS_Brompton/



    I see, you must be talking about this :
    http://www.velochocolate.co.uk/html/...ldingbike.html
    may be I am too distracted by the "how tidy" factor.

  11. #11
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by relyt View Post
    My ideal use is to ride it downtown to a store or restaurant, slip it into a briefcase-style, non-huge, non-silly bag and take it in with me.
    Even a Brompton will give you some troubles with this. Although my wife and I never had a proprietor actually stop us. They did on occasion ask us to check the bike and such.

    Not knowing your dimensions, bike fit and weight can be an issue.

    Anyway, back to your original question ... with regards to commonly available folding bikes ... no, you have no other options. You can trade folded size for other qualities which might make you better off. A Strida or Carry-Me actually fits in a lot of places and is probably less obtrusive than a Brompton in many ways. But you should ride one before buying if ride quality is important to you.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by relyt View Post
    That is pretty nice. I was thinking along the lines of a fixed gear or singlespeed Brompton, to keep the weight down and lose the cables. I live in a fairly flat area.

    I'm not necessarily looking for a clone. As long as it folds well and comes out to about the same size, I'm fine with it. The Dahon Curve is another possibility, actually, since it seems to be about the same folded size as a Downtube Mini.

    My ideal use is to ride it downtown to a store or restaurant, slip it into a briefcase-style, non-huge, non-silly bag and take it in with me.
    Even with a Brompton you'd need a huge silly bag.

    If you're not more than around 5'8" then the Carryme is definitely your answer. Singlespeed, efficient, cheap, spectacular build quality, and folds way smaller than a Brompton. It retails for a little less than $500, but better deals can be had (not because it's not worth $500, but simply due to marketing/image...the quality of workmanship is the same as the +$2,000 bikes which are built alongside it).

    Now I should warn you that the Carryme isn't for everyone. Many people claim that they just want to ride to stores, restaurants, work, etc, but fail to mention that they're really more interested in maintaining familiarity. So you have to ask yourself if you're willing to give up familiarity to meet your requirements or not.

    -Is the Carryme lighter than any other folder in it's price range? Yes. Is the singlespeed more efficient? Yes. Is it fast? Yes. Will you feel like you're riding in a paceline in the TDF? No. Is this a problem? Only if you give a priority to familiarity over function.
    -Does it fit in a way that allows efficient pedaling? Yes. Does it have as wide of a cockpit as "normal" bikes which have to deal with wheel clearance issues? No. Is this a problem? Only if you give a priority to familiarity over function.
    -Do the small wheels roll poorly? No. Do they prevent you from riding over large obstacles or poor roads? No. Are they dangerous? No. Do the way they look make some people lose the confidence to ride with sufficient momentum? Yes. Is this a problem? Only if you give a priority to familiarity over function.
    -Are replacement parts exotic or hard to get? No. Will you find them in your local cycle shop? No. Is this a problem? Only if you give a priority to familiarity over function.

    Bar none the Carryme is not only the smallest and lightest quality folder on the market, but IMO it is also the biggest bargain. If you look around the forum you will see that no one has anything bad to say about this bike except people who are too afraid to try something different, even if it's better, or people who overtly admit that their entire purpose in cycling is to emulate the experience of a traditionally styled bike as closely as possible.

    IMO the Carryme has only two faults:
    1. It can't accommodate a derailleur or internal hub.
    2. It won't fit larger riders.
    and as far as I'm concerned it completely obsoletes one or two speed Brompton's or cheap Brompton knockoffs and sometimes even better Bromptons if lightness and compactness are priorities.

  13. #13
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    The Breezer itzy is 8.8kg according to the website. If that's correct it's very light indeed.

  14. #14
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Itsjustme, what do you mean by "maintaining familiarity?"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    Itsjustme, what do you mean by "maintaining familiarity?"
    It's like switching to one of these when you're used to riding to work on one of these

    The former is a completely different riding experience; new, unfamiliar, and undoubtedly disconcerting to riders of the latter and for some that in itself would be enough to reject a switch, regardless of whether the merits of the design better satisfy their stated goals.

  16. #16
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    itsajustme, great reply for that person who was baiting. Your post on the Carryme, is spot on by the way.

  17. #17
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsajustme View Post
    ....Even with a Brompton you'd need a huge silly bag.....
    That really surprised me someone would think of these bags as such. When I actually measured and drafted my first version of my own interpretation of a proper Brompton bag/slipcover (pictured above in post #3), I was impressed with the small size of it compared to the other generally sized all purpose sized original slipcover which fits a wide range of all my various folders. Or the purchased bags that I bought from Dahon over time. It rolls up very nicely into it's own little saddle bag without bulging out like a pregnant woman when it is packed away in spite of being made of a thicker fabric (mid-weight demin) than the purchased official Brompton's rip-stop nylon cover. As for "silly," that belongs to the beholder's subjective opinion. Everyone has developed their own set of what is good taste and what is not ideals and should be free to exercise his/her purchases as such. I am pleased with the basic shape of my own creation and it does exactly what is designed and intended for-protect the bike from scratches, nicks, & mainly prying critical eyes that might cause me some problems. And of course blend in as a part of a lady's proper attire.

    Don't worry gentlemen. I did not leave all of you out in the cold. I can easily translate the basic slipcover into something far more masculine for your own proper attire and good taste.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 04-14-09 at 07:27 PM.

  18. #18
    Brompton M3L, Strida 5.0
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    itsjustame - great response.

    I am happy with my Strida, prefer it to my Brompton actually and will sell the latter probably soon.

    The Strida is also a great bike that suffers in the same way that you say - judgement by standpoint of other bikes. Judged for what it is and the function it provides - it is a great "bike" - or perhaps more properly, "human amplifier" as its inventor Mark Strida calls it. Also to your point - the distributor, areaware, gives great service. Diana there is very responsive. She has sent me two separate parts gratis.

    Actually biking in general (not just folding biking) suffers the problem you cite - "priority to familiarity over function". People don't understand how I bike to work. That's because they think of biking as something that you only do wearing spandex, a helmet, going fast and in traffic with cars, in warm weather only. If you just relax your assumptions, you can accomplish anything you want to.
    Last edited by makingmark; 04-14-09 at 08:25 PM.

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