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Old 10-04-10, 02:22 PM   #1
Sammyboy
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My Brompton has arrived!

So, I picked up my Brompton on Saturday. I had said I would never buy one, and at full price, I wouldn't have, but the UK Govts Cycle to Work scheme meant I got it as a tax free benefit, with the costs spread over 12 months interest free. Basically, a 1000 bike for 50 a month for 1 year. My Downtubes, which I love, were giving me two problems; carrying them into buildings, specially hotels, was hard work, and on trains with small vestibules round the doors, the relatively large fold was meaning I felt I had to stay next to the bike, which on a 2 hour ride is not what I wanted.

So, I got a P6 with mudguards, rack, T Bag, and cover. So far, I'm liking it. With the telescopic seat post, I can get it to my height with plenty of post to spare, and the bars are at about the right height. I'd still like brakes on the lower position, and will think about how to achieve that, but as for the brake performance, well, i don't know why people are complaining; it's as good as the V brakes on my Downtube. We'll see how it holds up in the wet. The gears are a cludge, as I knew they would be. All the nonsense about multiple pinions doesn't really hold up when the derailleur itself introduces more innefficiency, but I guess the chain tensioner has to be there anyway. As for the two shifters, I am not a fan; the hub changes much quicker than the derailleurs, so I'm frequently popping up into 6th (3rd on the hub, high on the derailleur), and waiting for the der. to get me back to the 5th I really want. The ratios and spacing, however, are fine. I'm also pleasantly surprised by the seat, which I had expected to replace with a Brooks asap, now I suspect I won't.

The fold is wonderful; all of the attention to detail makes it work just right, and as soon as I put it on a train this morning, carried it into a lift on arrival, brought it into my hotel tonight,I knew I had made the right decision. I'm impressed with the Kojaks, it feels fast, but the real test of that will be when I ride from Euston to Waterloo stations in London tomorrow night. On my Downtube, I can beat pretty much everyone on the big sprints down Kingsway, and across Waterloo Bridge. If I can still skin the carbon and lycra brigade on the Brommie, I will be pleased, and they won't.

The T bag is also great; loving the front mount, like the size, and think that having it yellow inside is great from the point of view of finding things. Also, the bottle pocket allows me to bring my insulated coffee mug, buy a coffee at the station coffee bar, and carry it 3 miles to the venue ready to drink. That's a BIG plus for me! What I'm wondering now is what impact the Ortlieb QR thing for the rack will have. I want to fit my Ortlieb Office Bag 2, and I'm certain that it will clear my heels, but I had not realised the extent to which the bike stands on its rack. The quick release attachment for the case sticks up a fair distance; it may cause the bike to be unstable. If so, it's possible that fitting the biggest skate wheels I can find in place of both pairs on the rack will give me the clearance, but if not, I'll need another plan.

I have to travel a lot for work, often for a whole week, and I'm not sure the T bag will hold everything; also, it's not ideal for laptops. I'd like to use the Office Bag for the computer, work materials, phones, etc etc, and the T bag for clothing and so on. If not the Office Bag, I suppose the Racksack is an option, but how easy is it to remove? I'm fairly sure no pannier will work on that rack, so I'm wondering what other bags might fit the needs; must carry a 10" netbook and other worky stuff, must be quick to remove, must work with the T Bag. Any thoughts?



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Old 10-04-10, 02:50 PM   #2
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congrats nice folder.
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Old 10-04-10, 03:36 PM   #3
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NICE BIKE. congrats. i can see that you're loving it to the max. post more pics please. i too will not hesitate to get the folding bike i like at full price if we have that kind of program.
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Old 10-04-10, 03:38 PM   #4
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Bravo! Well done! I'm interested to know how you like the P bars. I got the M bars because I'm a traditional sort, but I've found myself wanting another hand position from time to time. Please report your triumphs and pratfalls. And again: Well done!
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Old 10-04-10, 03:45 PM   #5
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Damn my wallet is having palpitations again.
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Old 10-04-10, 04:36 PM   #6
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Way to go, Sammy! The Brompton is a wonder of design. Hope you have many miles of smiles on it.

I imagine you got the P bars for your height? As much as I love the Bromptons, I just can't get used to the look of those 'bars.
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Old 10-04-10, 04:38 PM   #7
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Nice bike Sammyboy. I can't see the Ortlieb office bag 2 working for you, but if you can do a test fit your plan with larger skate wheels might work. If you do try it, one way or another would you be good enough to post your findings?

I would think that the Brompton/Ortlieb bag (which is essentially an Ortlieb Downtown) would take one of Ortlieb's very nice laptop sleeves well and keep your computer dry. The Rack Sack might then carry your clothes?

Maybe one bag on your bike and one on your back would be the best way of extending your carrying capacity and still make it through hotel foyers easily.
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Old 10-04-10, 05:10 PM   #8
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I'll let y'all know. So far, I like the P bars a lot, and once I'd looked at the options, I couldn't think why anyone wouldn't have them, except on the grounds of traditional appearance. I have it in mind to fit bar end mounted brake levers, and see if I think then put interrupter levers on the lower bars.......
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Old 10-04-10, 05:14 PM   #9
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Lewis - having paid for the T-Bag, I want to use it, and I REALLY wanted to move away from anything on my back, for reasons of sweatiness. I can get a decent sleeve for my netbook without spending a fortune, and the Racksack would probably hold it nicely, but I'll certainly let you know how I get on with the Office Bag as well. I'll do a test mount later this week, and measure to see if 110mm wheels would do the job. That's definitely my preference as it's a nice piece of kit, and I have already laid out the 100 for it! If not, then the racksack, or possibly a Carradice saddlebag might do, though I'm pretty close to the seatpost weight limit, so a saddlebag couldn't have TOO much in it. Once I drop another 20lbs or so, I think that might become luggage option #3
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Old 10-04-10, 05:25 PM   #10
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possibly a Carradice saddlebag might do
The Carradice SQR system is very nice.... but I completely understand you want to use what you've already bought...

just so you know, I have a very light weight backpack shaped so that it's off my back, it has a mesh panel that contacts me and allows air circulation between my back and the load. The space in the bag is a very funny shape so I don't find myself using it as much as I though I would. It's great for carrying a sack of water or folded waterproofs but that's about it.
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Old 10-04-10, 05:58 PM   #11
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I have a wonderful backpack called the Highson Suit Commute. It's big, it has a laptop pocket, a document sleeve, lots of space, and a part which is basically a suit carrier. The only thing that's not perfect is, it makes me sweaty. I think an Eagle Creek folder in the T-Bag will take care of my smart clothing needs, but beyond that, we'll see.
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Old 10-04-10, 05:58 PM   #12
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Always amazing to see the folded size of the Brommies.

As for the larger inline skate wheels, there are diameters available up to 110mm (be aware that the larger ones are pretty heavy). Some reputable skate shops in UK from which to procure said wheels:

Club Blue Room, London
Slick Willies, London
Proline Skates, Cardiff
Loco Skates, Eastbourne
Skate Asylum, Co. Durham
Kates Skates, Cumbria

Edit: They apparently go up to 125mm now!

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Old 10-05-10, 12:16 AM   #13
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Interesting, if you buy a new bike they take less of your money.
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Old 10-05-10, 02:01 AM   #14
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It's to encourage people to cycle rather than drive. In America, it would be heralded as a sign of impending communist rule, but I like it.
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Old 10-05-10, 07:05 AM   #15
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It's to encourage people to cycle rather than drive. In America, it would be heralded as a sign of impending communist rule, but I like it.
Don't forget some americans think canadians up here are commies! my coworkers had that experience once when his manager in the states thought Canada is a communist country, this was in a small town though in the states. Big cities have a much different outlook cause they get to experience all kinds of crap when growing up.

I'm also jealous of england that at least they are building these cycling superhighways and it's encouraging to people and gives them a sense of security because they have their own lane. Where I am most parts you just hope they give you enough space when they pass. But at least we're slowly transitioning with car is not the only transportation.

A coworker here from tehran says it's a car nation and every house hold has two cars and they just trying to build more roads and all it does is more cars to fill them up. Gas is cheap there and the streets smell like smoke. Guess you have to reach a critical point before the government starts to think of alternatives.

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Old 10-05-10, 07:09 AM   #16
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Congrats on the new bike, Sammy. Looks great.

Also, good job on integrating a folder and bicycling into your work. I wish I could do that. Great example that others should emulate.
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Old 10-05-10, 07:29 AM   #17
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It's to encourage people to cycle rather than drive. In America, it would be heralded as a sign of impending communist rule, but I like it.
I would take offense at this, but unfortunately, it's true!

I don't live in the big city, but around here, some cowboys in their pickup trucks don't like sharing the road with bicycles. Even barely traveled country roads. Go figure...
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Old 10-05-10, 07:36 AM   #18
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Sammy,
Glad to see you are loving the Brommie, I am close to your size (bit shorter and lighter ) and had come to the conclusion the only two folders that are going to fit were the BF Tikit and the Brompton P . Keep us up to date on the luggage and how well you like the 6 speed aspect of it. I am certain there is a Brompton in my future, the question is when.

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Old 10-05-10, 08:34 AM   #19
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congrats on that Brommy

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Old 10-05-10, 09:08 AM   #20
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That's a pretty nice shiny bike. When I looked at the P bars they DO make sense, they are almost like drop bars where you can get into an aero position and hunker down into a headwind or downhill. You cannot do that with a flat bar at all. If I do get a brompton I'd opt for P bars too, at least it would give you a good option to take it for touring with that many handholds. I'm still in a internal debate when I actually do save up enough it would be either the tikit or the brompton both really good for multi modal and a wider gear range than my current single speed (my knees can't do that anymore at my age!).
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Old 10-05-10, 09:13 AM   #21
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The cycle superhighways are a mixed blessing; they are not separated from the road, so cars are able (and in some circumstances allowed) to enter them, but they feel like cyclists HAVE to stay "where they belong", and there is no real enforcement against cars encroaching. Apparently some of the blue paint is slippery too (though it seems mostly it's an excellent riding surface). On the other hand, lots of people are using them, and the biggest factor that makes cycling safer is more cyclists. It's not perfect, but from what I hear on this forum of American driving, it seems safer heree.

I was in Iran 10 years ago, and most of the cars were locally made Paykan copies of the 70s Hillman Hunter. Really weird to be trapped in a sea of them! At the time, diesel was less than two cents a litre, and petrol around 3c, so it was VERY cheap to drive. India had lots of bikes though.....

I'm encouraged to hear about 125mm skate wheels; seems promising. Selling my car (my wife still has one) and doing my 30k miles a year by bike and train was a good bet, I sleep more, read more, get more work done (all on the train), and get more exercise and have more fun (on the bike).
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Old 10-05-10, 09:15 AM   #22
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Those gears really turned me off when I test rode one.

Otherwise, no doubt a fantastic piece of engineering.

At risk of hijacking the thread or retelling a well-known tale, why Brompton don't make their frame compatible with the other internal hubs out there?
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Old 10-05-10, 09:31 AM   #23
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welcome to the club

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Old 10-05-10, 09:44 AM   #24
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Those foam grips look super-massive on such a svelte machine, but I'd imagine they function well. I've just tried some Ritchey foam grips which turned out to be way too thin but nevertheless I'm coming round to foam as a grip material despite conventional wisdom.
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Old 10-05-10, 09:48 AM   #25
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In fact, maintaining my OCD reputation, could you tell me the approximate O.D. on those grips, sammyboy?
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