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  1. #1
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    Front suspension forks on a Brompton?

    I just wanted know if anyone has had any luck fitting front suspension forks to a Brompton? I was looking at some 16Ē wheel child bikes the other day and noticed that many had front suspension forks. Surely it would be possible to cannibalise a kidís bike and make something up for the Brompton? Alternatively what about taking the front suspension system off a Birdy bike and reengineering it to fit a Brompton. Has anyone ever tried anything like this? I know Steve Perry has done a handlebar stem suspension, however I donít know if anyone has ever done anything with the front forks?

  2. #2
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    I think that most of the Brompton purists would flog you for attempting to retrofit a kids front suspension to a Brommie, lol. In the words of Col. Kurtz, "The horror!"

    Not to say it couldn't be done. If you want to keep the aesthetics of the brommie, there is a Pantour front hub that sort of dampens the ride. I've only read about it, but there is a elastomer in the hub that gives somewhat as you go over bumps. It either comes as a basic hub that you can lace to a wheel or a full on replacement wheel that you just swap on the brompton.

  3. #3
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Zoom fork, like the Downtube Fs. Niiiice.

    But, will it affect the fold?
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    http://www.actiontec.us/proshock.htm

    I recall that someone actually installed one on a Brompton. I believe that this is the fork used on a Bike Friday Gnu; but that is also pretty fuzzy.

  5. #5
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    If you want to keep the aesthetics of the brommie, there is a Pantour front hub that sort of dampens the ride. I've only read about it, but there is a elastomer in the hub that gives somewhat as you go over bumps. It either comes as a basic hub that you can lace to a wheel or a full on replacement wheel that you just swap on the brompton.
    It isn't clear to me whether the Pantour hub is still available. Moreover, even if you can still get your hands on one, manufacturer support appears to be sketchy at best. Every once in a while a thread among the recumbent guys/gals pops up regarding the Pantour hub with someone trying to fix/replace/do-something with their hub and unable to contact the manufacturer.

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    Thanks for the link for the Pro Shock suspension forks. I will contact them to see what sort of price they are. With regards to the Pantour hub I have heard many negative reviews about this. In one forum post people describe it as pathetic! Another consideration is you can't use a dynamo hub on the front if you go for the pathetic Pantour hub! Pantours website is also really bad, It is so 1990s!

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    that UK Bromton guy SP Cuts and modifies the steering mast to use a telescopic suspension seatpost to mount the handlebars ..
    Clever Yank framebuilders can likely do similar..
    thing is you lengthen the hub to fork crown difference, to have suspension travel, the finely tuned handling gets messed up.

    Yea Pan Tour hubs for folders only move a half inch , may help riding chipseal roads though..

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by marada View Post
    Thanks for the link for the Pro Shock suspension forks. I will contact them to see what sort of price they are. With regards to the Pantour hub I have heard many negative reviews about this. In one forum post people describe it as pathetic! Another consideration is you can't use a dynamo hub on the front if you go for the pathetic Pantour hub! Pantours website is also really bad, It is so 1990s!
    One problem with the Pro Shock, though...it takes a 1 1/4" headset, while the B takes 1 1/8".

    ECB

  9. #9
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    ohh those forks would make your Brompton more like a 60s Moulton.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by griftereck View Post
    ohh those forks would make your Brompton more like a 60s Moulton.
    Why is that such a bad thing? I am not really bothered what the bicycle looks like, but rather how comfortable it is to ride. I regularly use my Brompton for touring and anything over 50 miles in one day gets a bit hard! In 2011 I am aiming to cycle round India / Nepal covering thousands of miles on my Brompton! In my mind the Brompton has a long way to go for improvement. I have recently fitted a Rohloff hub which has made a world of difference. Quite frankly the standard Stermy Archer is pathetic! Eventually I want to add a custom mod for disc brakes, suspension seat post and some sort of re engineered replacement for the rubber block at the back. Along with this I am aiming for front suspension forks. I think the Brompton is a great folder and extremely compact, however I feel they missed a lot of features that they could have implemented.

  11. #11
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    But will it still fold with suspension forks?
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Good Point .. N.B. ~ top of right side of fork crown there is braze on boss,
    to screw on the spring clip , [QHBCA]

    that clip holds the handle bar assembly down, by the 'nipple' piece attached to it,
    when folded.

  13. #13
    Senior Member JulianEdgar's Avatar
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    I think the Brompton is a great folder and extremely compact, however I feel they missed a lot of features that they could have implemented.
    The Brompton book recently released kinda implies that they don't want 'lots of features that could have been implemented'. As a Brompton owner (and someone who builds their own recumbent trikes) I looked long and hard at how to improve the suspension system of the Brompton. In the end I bought a Birdy.

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    I get very frustrated with Brompton as it seems they donít want to listen to customer suggestions. They seem have blinkers thinking their product is perfect when there is so much scope for improvement. Donít get me wrong I think the Brompton is an excellent bike; however there are things people are crying out for that Brompton just ignore. I personally think this is a bad business decision

  15. #15
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marada View Post
    people are crying out for that Brompton just ignore. I personally think this is a bad business decision
    Ordnarily, perhaps. But Brompton sell every bicycle they can make. There are often waiting times. Why change something you cannot make enough of?

    A 20" wheel Brompton, though, now that would be something.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Or a Moulton with hinges in the frame . and a telescopic seat post, and hinged steering mast.

  17. #17
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marada View Post
    I get very frustrated with Brompton as it seems they don’t want to listen to customer suggestions. They seem have blinkers thinking their product is perfect when there is so much scope for improvement. Don’t get me wrong I think the Brompton is an excellent bike; however there are things people are crying out for that Brompton just ignore. I personally think this is a bad business decision
    The fact that a vocal few want something does not justify it from a business perspective...Brompton builds what people want to buy. You see very few fully suspended folding bikes from any manufacturer...adding weight and cost that most riders don't need is pointless. If suspended folding bikes were of great interest you'd see a lot more of them. The reality is they are a niche product in an already niche segment of a moderately sized industry sector.

    Using the biggest tires your frame will allow and running them at moderate pressure is a better option for most riders than the cost, weight, complexity of suspension.

    If you want a suspended folding bike just buy one of those that are available.
    safe riding - Vik
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  18. #18
    Schwinnasaur Schwinnsta's Avatar
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    It is hard to judge the size of the market. I might spring for a Birdy if they were available here, or near here.

    Big Apples are nice but they not really comparable to a suspended bike.

    I was fortunate enough to pick up an old Moulton in good condition so I know how nice a small tire bike can ride. But it is not a folder.

  19. #19
    Senior Member JulianEdgar's Avatar
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    If folding bikes are like recumbent trikes (of which I have a lot of experience), people simply don't realise what they are missing out on until they ride a machine with suspension. As I have described in another thread, when you make actual measurements of ride accelerations, a small wheeled bike with only minimal suspension (like the Brompton) has an abysmal ride quality in objective, quantifiable terms.

    On recumbent trikes, I've lost count of the number of people who have suggested that suspension is a waste of time / effort / weight (etc) and then, when they ride a machine with suspension, rapidly change their mind! Of course, there are also some people who have sufficient body strength, innate resistance to vibration (etc) that suspension makes little difference to them. I have found many more of the former than the latter, though.

  20. #20
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
    It is hard to judge the size of the market. I might spring for a Birdy if they were available here, or near here.
    It's no coincidence that Birdy's aren't widely available in North America, but Brompton's [both made in Europe] are widely available...Birdy's just don't sell that well nor are they of much interest to most cyclists even by the standard of the small numbers of folding bikes that are sold.

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianEdgar View Post
    On recumbent trikes, I've lost count of the number of people who have suggested that suspension is a waste of time / effort / weight (etc) and then, when they ride a machine with suspension, rapidly change their mind! Of course, there are also some people who have sufficient body strength, innate resistance to vibration (etc) that suspension makes little difference to them. I have found many more of the former than the latter, though.
    And yet there are still only a handful of fully suspended bent trikes made and very small quantities sold. Not much of an incentive for a bike company to made a radical shift in their design and manufacturing plans. Fully suspended 2 wheel bents have been around for ages and similarly a few people have bought them, but they remain a niche item in a niche market because most people prefer the lower cost, lower weight and simplicity of non-suspended bents.

    I don't doubt that for some people a fully suspended trike or a Birdy is a great choice...I'm not suggesting nobody wants them, but a few people wanting a product doesn't translate into a viable business model - especially if that market is being adequately served.
    Last edited by vik; 07-10-10 at 06:04 PM.
    safe riding - Vik
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  21. #21
    If it dont fold frankly.. thatsut's Avatar
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    people want differnt things from life. If your needs are so unique that no one else wants them they may not be not profitable businnesses. (generally speaking)

    if you want something to suit such indiviual needs you may have to make they youself. marada: how are your fabrication/ engineering skills? or you may have to pay someone to do it for you.

    personally using your arms and legs as suspension with alittle technique may be easier

  22. #22
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    I'm still looking for ways to soften the ride up front on my Dahon Vitesse, I'm sure that there's plenty of scope for manufacturers to find elegant solutions to such problems. It's curious how, due to the multi-functionality of folders, it's not often apparent in advance the benefits of certain design issues. E.g. I bought a thudbuster some months back which makes the folder package a lot less tidy, at least vertically. But vertical size makes no great difference and in fact with the saddle extended the 4 inches or so outwards it's enough that I can wheel the bike holding the saddle comfortably, whereas with the saddle fully inserted into the seat tube there's no way to roll the bike. So 2 improvements are made and vertical size is sacrificed, but it's worth it.

    I think a suspension stem is likely a good solution for folding bike font end harshness and I can imagine the pivot being part of a folding mechanism too. . . given that quite a few Dahon owners find the cockpit cramped (as I used to before I switched to a thudbuster which moves the saddle backwards) something of this sort could solve multiple probems. If folders were more popular I'm sure more 3rd party companies would be developing add-on products.

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Soft Ride Suspension stems are out of production, but may be found at auction..
    they are By their design Long, 150mm.

    were targeted at the Mountain bike market.. Mechanism is a parallelogram.
    telescopic forks predominate so they Quit.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-12-10 at 12:38 AM.

  24. #24
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulianEdgar View Post
    As I have described in another thread, when you make actual measurements of ride accelerations, a small wheeled bike with only minimal suspension (like the Brompton) has an abysmal ride quality in objective, quantifiable terms.
    But the argument is much weaker if you consider that most recreational cyclists can stand for short periods of time on an upright bike.

  25. #25
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    But the argument is much weaker if you consider that most recreational cyclists can stand for short periods of time on an upright bike.
    +1 - having ridden a few bikes with small wheels [16" & 20"] through the centre of town with all the crap roads and debris you find in any large town I can say that I would not qualify the ride as abysmal...in fact I often ride my small wheel bikes preferentially because I enjoy the ride so much. I've read the same from lots of folks so I have to suggest Julian's analysis is wrong. If it was correct we would not see so many people moving from full size bikes to small wheel bikes and enjoying themselves.

    I will definitely agree that putting the right tires [I like GS Scorchers] on a small wheel bike and inflating them moderately makes them both fast and comfortable. Beyond that I have never felt the need for suspension of any kind. If I did I would be riding a Birdy!
    safe riding - Vik
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