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  1. #1
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    Plotting an NYC Brompton. Advice needed.

    I'm planning on buying one to make my NJ Transit-to-Midtown commute more palatable. Planning on a titanium model with a straight bar and fenders, no rack. I'll be schlepping it through Penn Station every day.

    My main question is about the drivetrain -- three-speed? two speed? Single? Factors to consider are that 1.) I like to ride fast. 2.) I live on a short but Matterhorn-like hill in New Jersey, the only significant climb on the route. 3.) I'm trying to keep the weight down because of the aforementioned Penn schlep.

    Advice from any and all quarters is welcome.

    Moammar

  2. #2
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Since you're commuting with potentially a bunch of stuff, I'd stick with the wide three speed which will give you a lot of flexibility.

    I would also pick up the front bag for carrying stuff. If you need more space, you might consider something like a Carradice saddlebag. I too would go sans rear rack. But you should add roller blade wheels for the schlepping in Penn Station. It makes a huge difference in my experience.

    Have you thought about lighting?

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    Are the little wheels they sell lousy for rolling?

    I was planning on just the battery lighting, as I just need to be seen. The route is well lit.

  4. #4
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    I use to have the 2 speed titanium with Brompton and now I have the 3 speed hub on another Brompton. I would say, the the 2 speed is okay IF you have the proper gearing. If you like going fast, then you might not be happy with the 2 speed because I was never really able to maintain a fast speed and always wished I had another gear to shift into. The 3 speed is the same as the 2 speed except you have the 3rd gear to go into. I use the one gear for take off and uphill, middle for cruising and the last gear when I am going fast or downhill. I still wish I had gotten the 6 speed so maybe I'll buy another Brompton with a 6 speed!

    The titanium model is well worth it if your going to lift it often to catch a train or bus. You should also change the pedals to MKS pedals and grips to Ergon, which will lighten the bike and make it more stable at faster speeds. Good luck!
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

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    Yes, get roller blade wheels for rolling, the EZY wheels that Brompton makes doesn't roll well.
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    For go fast, perhaps the 3 speed will do, with the 54t chainring, instead of the 50, and either 13, 14 or a 15 t cog,
    then you just walk up the hill on the last mile home.

    Q: there is the Cycling general category: are you a high rpm spinner,
    or a low rpm High ratio masher?

    The S bar is not high enough for 5'9'' me, I have an M bar type ..
    the AW3 speed shifts quickly.

    ratios can be roughly calculated here : http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/internal.html

    though I'm unsure whether, since Sheldon passed away ,if anyone has updated the tables for recent product releases

    for the BWR , use the SRAM hub data.. the hybrid 7,8,9x3 is a wider ratio internally than the AW3.

    BWR could use a single cog too, taking off the shifter and left hand gear shift lever..

    I put a Schlumpf mountain drive on my m3, (wide ratios good hill climbing low but probably weighter than you want to add).

    after getting the front derailleur mount, a bolt on adapter

    custom made for cm wasson, Palo Alto Ca foldabikes dealer.

    I'd sell it , [on the verge of returning it] Steve Parry in UK has similar, over there.
    then you have a fitting to attach a 'braze-on' front derailleur.

    Then you can have a range shift of a 53/39, or 50 /34 double
    in place of the single ring, thumb shifter operated .. , not much added weight

    a light weight double crank+ the shifter kit, is probably within a pint's weight of the original parts..

    with 6 speed there would be 3 shifters , but it sounds like you have only a 1 time downshift , so that wouldn't be too much.,

    PM, etc.

    [can return it or sell .. at same as return credit would be..
    got a FD and a Thumb lever too]


    add:
    No, the 4 wheel EZ wheel kit, on the rear rack is not bad at all,
    I upgraded the front 2.

    Those wheels are thinner than Roller blade wheels, still a rubber/plastic 'tire'
    and you can just add them to the order list, when you spec the bike.
    they roll on the same Industrial sealed bearings as the skate wheels do.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-06-10 at 11:19 AM.

  7. #7
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moammar View Post
    Are the little wheels they sell lousy for rolling?

    I was planning on just the battery lighting, as I just need to be seen. The route is well lit.
    Our experience was that installing a set of roller blade wheels performed much better and was cheaper.

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    I live in a very hilly area and I would say a 6 speed is perfect since you can 'fine tune' the gears to the gradient of the hill. I also had a smaller front chain ring installed, which really hasn't affected my speed too much but allowed me to get up the hills- as a result I've lost 2 stone! Front bags are brilliant especially the brompton s-bag. I have a rack on my bike and it has allowed me to carry many things like sky boxes, duvets, holdalls, toilet roll multipacks, sacks of pasta and rice, breakfast cereals, fajita kits and bananas! But it's horses for courses!

    www.bigphil89.wordpress.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    possibly consider a single speed with a Steven perry front drailer (2 or three speed?). Then you can change front gogs easily to get the gearing you want but reduce weight. You can always run with out the changer set up and kick the gearing down manually to the smaller gog when you get to the hill, I used to do this and I have heard of other doing it also.
    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. Birdie red.

  10. #10
    mjw
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    Any recommendation on the roller blade wheels?

    edit: never mind- I can google
    Last edited by mjw; 10-05-10 at 10:44 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw View Post
    Any recommendation on the roller blade wheels?

    edit: never mind- I can google
    About 70mm preferably with red cores and clear wheels to disperse the Red LED rear lights to the side.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...olling+a+mezzo
    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. Birdie red.

  12. #12
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Folder4life View Post
    The titanium model is well worth it if your going to lift it often to catch a train or bus.
    Well, maybe. It almost doubles the price of the frame, and saves you 2 pounds. Personally, I didn't think that was anywhere near worth it, but I'm a big and strong bloke.

  13. #13
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw View Post
    Any recommendation on the roller blade wheels?

    edit: never mind- I can google
    FWIW, I never experimented with different size roller blade wheels. I simply grabbed a pair from an old set of roller blades my wife had as a teenager. Relative to the EZ Wheels, there were much much much better. They don't need to be particularly efficient; although judging from my experience, bigger will help with imperfect surfaces like sidewalks.

  14. #14
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    Hmmm. Multiple thoughts.

    Mixed mode commuting has changed me from a bike snob to a more realistic biker. I thought I'd want a fast multi-gear road bike that I can fold into nothing. Surprise! Ease of folding, ease of rolling thru the terminal are much more important to me. And for the distances that I'm travelling (typically 2.5 miles on one end, 1.5 on the other), the "most-efficient time" is not substantially different than my "relaxed, I'm not gonna get sweaty pace". If I'm going to work or a social function, I want to arrive calm, cool and collected, not a sweaty mess.

    Having owned multiple folders (20" dahon helios, 20" dahon boardwalk, 16" curve d3, strida 3, strida 5, and now a brommie T5), they all have their place. I like the ease of selecting the right gear, but I can make do with a single speed bike. My Strida has circumnavigated Manhatten, with hills and bridges a bit annoying but manageable. For the most part, on sub 4 mile rides, I can do w.o the multiple gears. After that, I'm on the bike enough to miss the gears, and I notice the difference in riding time.

    The 3 speed is more than enough for a commuter bike (again, I'm trying to commute w.o. getting sweaty); I do like the closer gear options afforded by 5 or more gears.

    Weight does make a difference, but more for carrying it than for riding.

    The center of gravity for the dahon's suck for carrying. When the bike is folded, I could never find a convenient way to carry them. And unfortunately on the 3 that I have owned, they just don't roll along nicely in a folded state. So living w them, I needed to attach a strap or put them into a bag to make carrying them easier. This contrasts w the Brompton (which is nicely carryable, though heavy) and the Strida (nicely carryable, and Light).

    Strida rolls along nicely in their folded state. My rackless Brompton (with only 2 wheels) doesn't roll along nearly as nicely. You'll prob need a Brom with a rack and 4 wheels to roll nicely in their folded state.

    NJ Transit buses are erratic with allowing bikes on board. Most buses will just allow you to bring your folder right on board. Some buses (with the cargo area below) will require you to put your nice bike down below. As a consequence, bring a nice bag, or expect scratches. On rare occasions, the buses w.o. cargo areas will not allow you on at all.

    On trains, my strida will fit right overhead in the overhead bins; the other bikes need to be stowed next to you, or you will need to stand at the wider ends of the trains.

    Penn station *is* a shlep. You will either need to unfold your bike and roll it along, or get the brom w a rack to roll it along nicely. My strida is the only one that I found to be enjoyable to roll in a folded state for that length of time.

  15. #15
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    I agree with bobw, if you need to roll the folded bike for an extended distance, rolling with a rack on the Brompton and all 4 wheels will be easier than without. Titanium will only shave off approx. 2 lbs. The bike is still heavy if carried.

  16. #16
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratdog View Post
    I agree with bobw, if you need to roll the folded bike for an extended distance, rolling with a rack on the Brompton and all 4 wheels will be easier than without.
    Interesting. That was not our experience.

    We always rolled it by extending the seatpost and leaning it back. We found that it was more nimble that way.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Interesting. That was not our experience.

    We always rolled it by extending the seatpost and leaning it back. We found that it was more nimble that way.
    It's not as if I haven't tilted mine back & rolled it either, but it never felt as stable for me. I guess it's a case of "to each their own" as far as methodology. Guess the OP will just have to try it himself/herself.

  18. #18
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    don't use wheels. possibly remove if you don't use for sitting position. i ended up only moving it around unfolded. only fold just as you board, leave train

  19. #19
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    The OP needs to go through Penn Station in NYC. You won't get away with rolling it unfolded in the train station. Depending on which train he gets on, he has to go down stairs or escalators and can possibly travel several hundred feet with hundreds of other people. Not something you want to do while carrying the bike. I'd advise rolling it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Interesting. That was not our experience.

    We always rolled it by extending the seatpost and leaning it back. We found that it was more nimble that way.
    I do like using the seatpost, but when I do that:
    - The bike doesn't stay locked together. You have to push the post back down to grab and carry it.
    - with the standard size wheels, I have a limited range of how much I can tilt before the elastomer drags. Larger wheels (90mm, 100mm) make rolling and tilting easier, but the standard 2 wheel rackless bike becomes wobbly when just sitting in its folded state. I suspect a rack (which gives a more stable base when folded) would benefit from larger wheels, and would also roll quite nicely. I finally settled on some skate wheels that are nearly identical to stock diameter and drag it behind me. Not nearly as nice as my strida, but waaaay better than carrying.

  21. #21
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    I'd recommend the contrary about the rack. With a rack, the Brompton rolls easily, especially across the smooth floors of the Penn Station. It even does OK on subway platforms. My wife is not keen on carrying her Brompton any more than possible, and we find that we can roll them along nearly all the time other than carrying them on the stairs. I suppose the upgraded wheels work fairly well on the Brompton without a rack, but I'd still put one one (actually, we have them on both of our bikes).

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The 4 wheel set of the larger diameter EZ wheels does roll nicely ,
    they offer a rubber plug for the bottom of the seatpost

    to keep it from rolling away, on the sealed bearings.
    uses 2 different bearing IDs: 6mm on front 5 on rear..

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