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?