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  1. #1
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Talk me out of buying a Brompton. . .please

    As some of you know, I recently decided a folder would be a better fit for my daily commute than my current full size non folding touring bike (Surly LHT). The tourer isn't going to go away but I recently took a new job, moved and am having issues using the Surly for day to day. The touring section of this forum guided me to my Surly, so I figured you fine folk could guide me to a folder.

    I have swung back and forth over price, wheel size, folded size etc. Almost pulled the trigger on the Citizen Gotham II and a used Tikit offered by a member of the forums. However looking at the folded size and overall portability of the bikes I held back.

    Here's my issue, my new place is much smaller than the old one, it's upstairs and it's a very narrow set of stairs. Hauling a full size bike up them (30 lbs or so) is a pain and isn't doing either the bike or the walls any good. Looking at bikes folded, lugging an odd shape bundle of metal (again 30 lbs or so) doesn't seem to be a much better option. The package is smaller, but not as well balanced it just looks like it would be just as awkward.

    Enter the Brompton, yeah I got bike lust bad. Folds to a very small shape, looks easy to carry and I love the fact that I could take it inside most places without issue. Thing is new ones are very expensive in the states, used one are almost as much as new, and hard to find. I had no plans to spend this much when I first started looking.

    So, is there another option that would fit the bill for me? Or should I start saving my pennies, I've already been harassing my mates across the pond trying to find someone coming to the U.S. on business in the next couple of months, maybe they can smuggle a nice used one over (lots available here.).

    Also are there issues with the bike that I am unaware of? I plan on this being a day to day bike (I live carfree) work is 4-5 blocks, grocery, theater shopping etc are all within 5 miles. It is dead flat I am looking at the S2L with the Sbag.
    Jim
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  2. #2
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    OK
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  3. #3
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    There's no beating the Brompton for folded size. It is also a high quality bike and therefore pricier. I am not one to try to talk people out of buying folding bike, since I am affected with bike lust as much as anyone here...

    However, speaking practically, since money is a constraint, and your riding is all 5 miles or less on flat ground, you could get by with a lot of different, lower priced bikes. If carrying bikes up the stairs is your biggest reason for a Brompton, I think you'll find ways to carry other folding bikes up the stairs regardless of their folded shape. (E.g. put the bike in an Ikea shopping bag.) I think the weight will be a bigger issue, and the Brompton is not much different than many other folders out there. Downtube Nova is a good candidate. Dahons have several models with 7 or 8 speeds that will suit you well. Lots of Dahons come up on Craigslist for $200-$300.

    However, if you want the pleasure of owning up a very fine machine and are willing to save up the pennies, then by all means, go for a Brompton. I don't think anyone here can help you make that call. You certainly won't regret the purchase from a quality or functionality standpoint. And, oh, the high resale price works in your favor if you ever want to sell it.
    Last edited by SesameCrunch; 06-22-10 at 12:28 PM.

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    I'd ride one before buying one. If it fits, I think you would be better off with the "perfect bike" than one that you save a few bucks if you are using this everyday.

  5. #5
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Owning a Brompton makes your hair fall out.

    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  6. #6
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    Did you say "shopping" .. here's how my Brompton wannabe looks as I push it down the grocery isle at the local markets... other than the small folded size, these bike roll extremely well.




  7. #7
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    How about the dahon Mu Uno it is light and if you do need gears in the future you will have quite a few options. I like what Bruce Metras did with his Uno.
    Dahon Jifo
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  8. #8
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Last time I checked (about 1 mo ago) the dollar/pound exchange rate was really favoring the dollar. It had something to do with the meltdown in Greece. Maybe you can buy a Brommie from overseas, ride it for year (a 1 yr test ride!), then sell it for a slight loss or maybe break even. Can't get easier than that!

  9. #9
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    Dahon Jifo
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  10. #10
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    Owning a Brompton makes your hair fall out.

    Too late



    Brucemetras>that is one of the things i really like about the bike, the ability to do the grocery shopping like that.
    Last edited by Mr. Jim; 06-22-10 at 12:19 PM.
    Jim
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  11. #11
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    Definitely not trying to talk you out of a Brompton (as I like them also) but you asked for any other alternatives ... I have a couple of new, yesteryear's Birdy Frog.. 12" wheels 3spd .. cute .. rides pretty well.. small folded size.. PM me if interested ..




  12. #12
    Senior Member Folding-Bikes's Avatar
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    I think the Brompton is a bit like owning an iPhone, except you dont get a new one every 6 months.. if you can wait a little, it will be worth it

    edit: Bruce that looks like a mini Birdy! I like

  13. #13
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Try before you buy. Not every one likes the upright Brompton position.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8.

  14. #14
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceMetras View Post
    Did you say "shopping" .. here's how my Brompton wannabe looks as I push it down the grocery isle at the local markets... other than the small folded size, these bike roll extremely well.
    Bruce has demonstrated one of the advantages of a Brompton. It can carry a ton of glop in the front carrier.

    But the bike doesn't fit everyone. I'd test ride it first ...

  15. #15
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    Try before you buy. Not every one likes the upright Brompton position.
    OP is talking about the S2L model, which offers a more aggressive riding position.

  16. #16
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    OP is talking about the S2L model, which offers a more aggressive riding position.
    I missed that. Then one should consider that the front bag for the S handlebar isn't that big ...

    Although now that I am thinking about it, I recall that they make a special bag -- considerably smaller from what I observe -- for the S bar. Is it the case that the standard Brompton bags do not work with the S bar?

  17. #17
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    I missed that. Then one should consider that the front bag for the S handlebar isn't that big ...

    Although now that I am thinking about it, I recall that they make a special bag -- considerably smaller from what I observe -- for the S bar. Is it the case that the standard Brompton bags do not work with the S bar?
    Yes, they sell a different front bag for the S model.

  18. #18
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    The standard bag is too tall for the S model. As a man with any admitted "bag problem" I probably already own something that will work for larger trips. Looking at bags on the Brompton site I think my extra large Mountainsmith Messenger II might just work with the rack for a Brompton. This is a discontinued bag that is positively huge but not very tall. it already has an internal frame of sorts and I am handy with a sewing machine.
    Jim
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  19. #19
    jur
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    14R said about the Brommie, buy one. 20% of the time you will regret it. 80% you will be more than happy.

    Oh hang on, you said talk you out of buying one...

  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Talk me out of buying a brompton

    Your Height? S bar is kind if low , and unlike a 3 speed you can't shift the 2 speed at a stoplight, as its a derailleur scheme ..
    they are not light still about 30# as they went for solid frame for DH stability.. {decends nicely though**
    X version's Ti parts shaves off just a Kg. for a K$

    Bike Friday Tikit is cool .. an Oregon Built folder . also integrated rear end makes even Fixies possible .. season Tikit has an adjustable dropout, can use Nexus hubs etc too
    difference is the hinge point
    Brommy behind the BB Tikit in front , tikit hinges the seat post forward so fold retains your saddle height adjustment , Brommy telescopes into the frame so You have to fiddle with the height, each time..
    tikit hyperfold version has a cable that releases the handlebar hinge by folding the seat forward, speeding the fold speed to folding rear wheel under and pushing seat tube forward. loosening cable lets handlebar fold down .. there is a bit cheaper version with a T handle screw lock , just one .

    Brompton has 2 to deal with ..

    They Both use the 349 wheel but Tikit has clearances for GreenSpeed's 40 wide slick, bit more cush ..
    Brommy is 32 wide , though adequate.. especially the Schwalbe marathon K..

    May not talk you out of it , just Baffle you with choices ..

    I own a Brompton, got it used, a 3 speed with a 2 speed mountain drive crank I bought, for 3 more, lower gears .


    I have a loose Rohloff hub I think is destined for a Tikit Build up.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-24-10 at 12:03 AM.

  21. #21
    smallwheelsonly
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    You have a Surly a very high quality built bicycle you won't be happy with a cheap folder.
    i used to have a dahon, then a bike friday metro sold them both and now have a couple of bromptons and won't look back or regret anything. not trying to put them down as they are good bikes on their own price range.

    the brompton has the highest demand and resale value of any folding bike in my opinion and what i've seen in ebay[USA] the last couple of units that sold all of them sold for more than what the original owners paid for. ebay UK might have a fair price for pre-owned ones.


    btw get a 3 speed

  22. #22
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    I’d love a Brompton: I own a beater bike. My wife has a Swift & we sold 2 Dahons.

    I almost bought one for our flat, but my downsides:

    1. It’s small, but not light, compared to a full bike.
    2. Just because it’s folded, doesn’t mean it’s clean. So bringing it into the flat after it rains is a pain anyway. I bring the Swift indoors, but don’t ride it everyday. If I had to bring it in/out daily, that’ll be a major PITA.
    3. Custom components. Apparently much better at supplying components than Dahon (which we had problems for, in Australia). But I’m sure it’ll be pricey. Furthermore, there’s some accessories, where “you can install this, but it’ll affect the fold”.
    4. Sometimes folding a bicycle, and bringing it in is just not an option. Between car and bike, I use a bicycle 90% of the time (I walk as well). If I ride to…*a sushi train (conveyor belt sushi), I can’t imagine bringing my bicycle into the restaurant with me. And I still have to leave the bike alone when I wash my hands. Neither can I imagine locking a Brompton outside. So, the beater bike wins out. Sometimes it’s a convenience thing: I could probably bring a Brompton into a cinema…), but it’s just…*(for me) inconvenient.

    5. Then there’s price—once I got beyond the basic model, the price rises a lot. I could sell it sure. But with everything expensive (applies to phones, clothes, whatever), one also has to think of “what if it breaks in a way that insurance doesn’t cover it?” e.g. if I just lose it, or be at fault in an accident. Is the Brompton so necessary to my life that I would buy another one to replace it? Probably not.

    6. The usual problems with folding bicycles:The seatpost is part of the fold, so you can’t really replace the quick releases with bolts (for security). Then there’s less space to put a rack, or carry a lock etc. I have far more of these problems (what pannier to get, where to put my lock, where to put my lights so that they are visible, what tyres do I prefer etc) with my small-tyred bikes (Dahon, Swift) than with my “standard-sized” bike.

    My most-used bike is a beater bike. I lock it properly outside, and uninsured (what a concept). If I lose it, I have the Swift as a backup, until I use the money I still have by not buying a Brompton, to find another beater bike.

    This is not a post to damn the Brompton. It’s a great bike. Buying a folding bicycle is like buying a laptop computer—there are many models to suit many lifestyles, each with great features and compromises. I would love to live the life where a Brompton suited me, but I don’t.

  23. #23
    urban commuter
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    I own an S2L and love it. I only use the higher gear (the lower one is useless to me, I hate gears that low), so I basically consider it a SS. I'm now looking to get a 3-speed IGH commuter bike to round out the stable, but the Brompton works very well for its intended purpose. It is a high-quality bike that's built to last, convenient, better looking than most folders (IMO), and lots of fun to ride. I don't think you'll regret purchasing one a bit, as long as you think you'll get your money's worth.

    I generally carry my Brompton up and down stairs unfolded. I'm a 5'3" woman, and though I'm pretty darn strong, carrying the folded bike is awkward with all the weight concentrated in such a small package. Unfolded, it's light and easy to toss over my shoulder because the weight is distributed evenly. Also, I found that when it's folded and I need to walk down a narrow flight of stairs (to the subway, for instance), holding it in front of me resulted in brushing my knee/pants on the chain and showing up to work with a nice grease stain. I mainly use the folding capability to get around rush-hour restrictions for bikes on the subway, to carry it with me when I can't find a proper place to lock it up, and to store it at work/home. For those purposes, it's wonderful to have such a neat, tidy fold.

    Good luck in your decision! If you can afford to drop the money on it (it hurts, I know!!), I highly recommend this bike.
    www.carfreephilly.com: a blog about going car-free in the City of Brotherly Love

    2008 Brompton S2L | 2010 Trek Bellevillle | 2008 Kona Ute | 1971 Raleigh Twenty

  24. #24
    I... Don't care. nekohime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Jim View Post
    The standard bag is too tall for the S model. As a man with any admitted "bag problem" I probably already own something that will work for larger trips. Looking at bags on the Brompton site I think my extra large Mountainsmith Messenger II might just work with the rack for a Brompton. This is a discontinued bag that is positively huge but not very tall. it already has an internal frame of sorts and I am handy with a sewing machine.
    I use the s-bag for my Vendetta (Brompton M6L). I find that it's a great size for just normal every day going about. I bring my wallet, netbook, cellphone, Nintendo DSi, lunch and snacks, various papers, makeup, meds, and various odds and ends and they all fit nicely into the bag with a bit of room to spare. I also have a bigger carradice bag, but I almost never use it because I don't carry THAT much stuff. If it didn't go so well with Vendetta's color and my planned honey brooks and honey leather mudflaps I would've sold it already.

    When I need to go shopping with Vendetta, I use the s-bag plus a Klickfix basket (bought from ThorUSA) which I attach to the seatpost. This is what it looks like in parked and shopping modes:

    P9131169..jpgP9131162..jpg

    Personally, I find this setup very useful, and I can just roll the brommie around instead of using a cart. Who knows what nasties live in carts! At least I know my bag gets washed every week. I just ride up to the store, fold, roll it in, roll it out, unfold, and ride. The only downside is that if you load up the rear basket too much it gets a bit hard to unfold, but it's not a biggie.

    Oh wait you said talk you OUT of buying a brompton. Um...well, it's...er...um...no, can't. I'm a happy brommie owner. I was a poor college student when I bought it, and I'm a poor college grad now, but I love the heck out of this thing and would not sell it for anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p

  25. #25
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I own a 700c Surly LHT as well as a Dahon D7 and Bike Friday Tikit and NWTs. The biggest folder [the NWT] unfolded is a great deal easier to carry up and down my GF's stairs than the LHT. It's just a smaller bike with small wheels - keep in mind that's not even folding the NWT. Any folding bike in it's folded state will be very easy [by comparison] to move in and out of your new place compared to the LHT.

    So if you want a Brompton go for it, but I don't see that you need a Brompton specifically vs. any other folder that you may like. I've used Bromptons for days at a time and they don't carry any differently up and down stairs than any other folded folding bike - IMO.

    Now as another poster noted the LHT is a sweet bike so if you buy a cheap folder you may be disappointed in how it rides and it may not meet you commuting needs. My NWT is sized [cockpit] the same as my LHT and feels a lot the same to ride. Since both have racks front/back and fenders they are equivalent in what I can do with them. If I had to keep only one folder that was abler to replace my LHT it would be my Bike Friday NWT. The NWT is also by far the stiffest folding bike I have ridden. It doesn't flex when fully loaded and I can get out of the saddle and crank with impunity.

    Pictures of both bikes above and below...

    safe riding - Vik
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