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  1. #1
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    My Flamingo FL-BP01-7 Review

    Recently, I got a folding bike. Its a Flamingo bike. Basically, its a Brompton-clone from Taiwan. I did want a Brompton but no dealer here and the price of bringing one in was a bit too much for me. When I found out about Flamingo, I researched about it thoroughly and decided to get one once funds became available.








    This is my first folding bike so my review is based on the point of view of someone who came from a full sized bike. I was warned that 16" wheels will give a harsher ride. It was twitchy at the start but I was immediately able to adjust. As for being a harsher ride, I don't find it any harsher than riding an aluminum road bike. I do feel that you exert more effort but not that much. I don't ride fast anyway.

    When I was at a shop, I folded my bike and a lot of people were watching. It seems that they are amazed at how this bike suddenly transforms into a small package with rollers. The process of folding took me around 1 minute but I noticed that experienced people take only 15 seconds. Can't wait til I get it down.

    In summary, I love this folding bike. Expensive compared to a Dahon but I got it for the fold (takes around 1/3 of trunk space of my car). There are tradeoffs compared to a full sized bike but I'm willing to take them.

  2. #2
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Sweet! Thanks for the write-up.

    May I ask where are you? These are not available in the U.S. .

  3. #3
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    It's weird, I'm looking at the pics thinking 'how does it compare to a Brompton', and obviously it has the most important thing, i.e. better gearing. Plus V-brakes and cables routed internally, and space for a gripshift on the handlebar. This is all very good stuff IMO. As for weight, in my experience Brompton have underestimated the weights on their website so if a Flamingo were to have a lighter hub gear and no kickstand then I imagine it would be lighter than a Brompton. And better rims by the looks of things. Which leaves the question, what's the manufacturing of the frame like? Does it look like it's built to last?

    Are those actual Brompton tyres or have they mimicked the graphics?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    Sweet! Thanks for the write-up.

    May I ask where are you? These are not available in the U.S. .
    I got it in Manila Philippines. Well at least you have the Brompton available there

    Quote Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
    It's weird, I'm looking at the pics thinking 'how does it compare to a Brompton', and obviously it has the most important thing, i.e. better gearing. Plus V-brakes and cables routed internally, and space for a gripshift on the handlebar. This is all very good stuff IMO. As for weight, in my experience Brompton have underestimated the weights on their website so if a Flamingo were to have a lighter hub gear and no kickstand then I imagine it would be lighter than a Brompton. And better rims by the looks of things. Which leaves the question, what's the manufacturing of the frame like? Does it look like it's built to last?

    Are those actual Brompton tyres or have they mimicked the graphics?
    I haven't weighed it but based on Flamingo's website this is around 13 kgs with the kickstand. I'll try to weigh it on a scale and post the results here.

    As for the frame, it does look sturdy. In their initial model, the tubes were round similar to a Brompton. This model uses hydroformed tubes so its more squarish. As far as I know, hydroformed tubes are being used in a lot of Mountain Bikes nowadays so I guess the technology allows for sturdy construction of frames.

    The tires are not Brompton and the rims are I think a chinese brand called Shining. I'll try to get closeup pics of these and post it here.

  5. #5
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    I looked at their site and noticed it has a 7 speed IGH and the rear triangle is cromoly. Very nice bike.
    Dahon Jifo
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynocoaster View Post
    I looked at their site and noticed it has a 7 speed IGH and the rear triangle is cromoly. Very nice bike.
    i inquired about their bike last year and they quoted me about $1,100 including shipping. at that price i backed off. i might as well look for a used brompton (which is kinda elusive). there's this one brompton selling for $390 but i missed it by an hour.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
    It's weird, I'm looking at the pics thinking 'how does it compare to a Brompton', and obviously it has the most important thing, i.e. better gearing. Plus V-brakes and cables routed internally, and space for a gripshift on the handlebar. This is all very good stuff IMO. As for weight, in my experience Brompton have underestimated the weights on their website so if a Flamingo were to have a lighter hub gear and no kickstand then I imagine it would be lighter than a Brompton. And better rims by the looks of things. Which leaves the question, what's the manufacturing of the frame like? Does it look like it's built to last?

    Are those actual Brompton tyres or have they mimicked the graphics?

    The older Mercs/flamingos were a poor imitation if you take any notice of the out dated A2B reviews on the web. This is probably a better bike than a Bromptom for the money, but with a poor resale value. I think you made a wise choice, and I think you were brave to go for a niche product. If you find the steering twitchy you could change the bars to lower wider straight ones.
    Last edited by bhkyte; 04-21-11 at 04:37 PM.
    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.

  8. #8
    jur
    jur is online now
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    Pity Brompton do not seem to be interested in making the small improvements to their product. Those cables hanging so wide of the frame may make for an easy fold but they sure look crappy.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  9. #9
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Pity Brompton do not seem to be interested in making the small improvements to their product. Those cables hanging so wide of the frame may make for an easy fold but they sure look crappy.
    They have to a LIMITED extent, so have Mezzo. But the progress is slow and choices limited. Why don't Brompton do an improved cockpit version like little pixels? Why no dualdrive, draillers only on a SP version and so on. Mezzo need V brakes as standard plus more gearing options.
    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.

  10. #10
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    Got to ride the Flamingo at least 20 Km yest. Here are my findings:

    1) Rode through more varied surfaced roads. It seems that the ride is roughly the same as my cromoly road bike.
    2) At around 8km, I felt my hands get sore. I'm not wearing gloves so I guess that may be it. I'm also thinking of replacing the grips.
    3) I was descending on a steep road and I got pretty scared. Got a feeling that the wheels might slip. Don't know if its because its my first time. Just an observation.
    4) At one time, I forgot to raise the kick stand and rode with it down. Almost had a nasty fall because of it. Now I'll have to remember it else I might get an injury.
    5) The fold is pretty nice but I've always have a problem with the frame hinge. It seems its not as smooth. Might be caused by the internally routed cables but I'm not sure. I've seen other people fold a lot faster.
    6) Another thing I notice is that people tend to watch me fold the bike. Because I was having a little trouble folding it, some people will come and help me out. I don't really like it as they don't know how to help me and just do some random thing that would actually make the fold slower.
    7) Lastly, was rear ended by a big car yesterday. Good thing that it was only a slight bump. Felt it but the force wasn't enough to make me lose control. I looked at the driver as he/she passed me (couldn't see because the glass was tinted). Didn't even bother to see if I was ok. When I checked the bump, one of the roller wheels was misaligned. Went home and used pliers to put it back in.

    Overall, it was a good ride. That rear-ending made me lose a little confidence in bike commuting but I haven't given up. I'm loving this folder so far.

  11. #11
    Senior Member coolio's Avatar
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    OP,
    Thanks. Steep hills and 16" wheels can be a little harrowing sometimes. Take it slow.

    I have some friends that go to the phillipines quite often. What is a good bargain price for a new Flamingo if they go? I may hit them up for a favor.

  12. #12
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    @Coolio,

    I can give you the contact details of the dealer if you're interested. The retail price is 38,000 Philippine Pesos (please apply exchange rate) but you can get a good discount.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolio View Post
    OP,
    Thanks. Steep hills and 16" wheels can be a little harrowing sometimes. Take it slow.
    .
    As mentioned straight bars improve the handling. It makes the stem flex far less, and more width helps with the control. However, not every one likes the lower postion and it might make the seat feel too low. Lots of riders do not like the "moustache" bars.
    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
    Nighttime Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by chemeleon26 View Post
    @Coolio,

    I can give you the contact details of the dealer if you're interested. The retail price is 38,000 Philippine Pesos (please apply exchange rate) but you can get a good discount.
    $878.11

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
    $878.11
    quite expensive also. i was thinking it would be cheaper down there, guess not. although still $200 less than what i was quoted by flamingo. enjoy your ride and congrats on your new bike.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    My main issue with Flamingo is the max rider weight. it used to be 80kg or so, but I can't find a number on their site now. If it's closer to the Brompton max weight of 240 lbs, then it would be a lot more interesting to me.

  17. #17
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    The older Mercs/flamingos were a poor imitation if you take any notice of the out dated A2B reviews on the web.
    Personally, I thought that the reviews were poor and wildly biased. And I had a Merc and a Brompton.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    me too!
    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.

  19. #19
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    One thing you have to love about the Flamingo is the "upgradability". I was told by a mechanic that I can change the hard-as-hell brake levers to some thing much softer like a Shimano Deore or Avid. I don't think you have this option with a Brompton. Also I never expected it but I simply love the Nexus hub. Its well-suited to my type of riding.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chemeleon26 View Post
    One thing you have to love about the Flamingo is the "upgradability". I was told by a mechanic that I can change the hard-as-hell brake levers to some thing much softer like a Shimano Deore or Avid. I don't think you have this option with a Brompton. Also I never expected it but I simply love the Nexus hub. Its well-suited to my type of riding.
    Yes,as I said "good buy"
    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.

  21. #21
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    after reading this review, i am also considering the flamingo. it seems to have most of the things i need at a more economical price than the brompton. there's only one thing which i am not sure of. the front luggage carrier (block).
    OP (or anyone owning a flamingo), do you know if we can fit the brompton front luggage block onto the flamingo?
    i have tried to search the forums here and online and i haven't found an answer yet.
    thanks.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tria1611 View Post
    after reading this review, i am also considering the flamingo. it seems to have most of the things i need at a more economical price than the brompton. there's only one thing which i am not sure of. the front luggage carrier (block).
    OP (or anyone owning a flamingo), do you know if we can fit the brompton front luggage block onto the flamingo?
    i have tried to search the forums here and online and i haven't found an answer yet.
    thanks.
    The older "Mercs" have this as standard. There has been some issues with the thread strength on these bikes, but easily fixed at a good bike shop for 5-15.

    There is no reason why you should not be able to get a good LBS to weld/braze a small metal plate and then put a screw thread in it for around 20. then just use the Merc or brompton block and bag/basket. It may be beter to take the forks out to get a longer thread but my LBS found it unnessary as I said thery could glue the mounting block permanently on.
    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.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tria1611 View Post
    after reading this review, i am also considering the flamingo. it seems to have most of the things i need at a more economical price than the brompton. there's only one thing which i am not sure of. the front luggage carrier (block).
    OP (or anyone owning a flamingo), do you know if we can fit the brompton front luggage block onto the flamingo?
    i have tried to search the forums here and online and i haven't found an answer yet.
    thanks.
    There are two holes near the headset which is for the luggage block. I've seen Flamingo's version of the luggage block only in pictures but according to the reviewer, it doesn't "click" when the bag is attached. This indicates lower quality. The guy who sold me this bike offered to sell me the luggage block plus bag for P3,000.

    I am guessing that the Brompton luggage block will fit in nicely on this bike because they look alike.

    @Bhykyte, Good info on the Merc mounting block. I'll take note of this if I decide to attach one.

  24. #24
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    @bhykyte & chemeleon: thanks for the great info. all i need to do now is save up and begin the long hard negotiations with "the boss"...

  25. #25
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