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Old 02-19-12, 09:45 PM   #1
davidansley
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Brompton style Flamingo vs. Legit Brompton

Alright I know there a few threads on this already but they are all way outdated and pretty much dead. In addition, none of them really addressed any of the issues I am about to, unless I missed something.

Anyone actually ridden both a flamingo and a bromtpon? How is the ride difference? Any noticeable flex in the flamingo due to the aluminum main frame? How big is the flamingo compared to the brompton in the folded state, bigger? smaller? same? I ask that because I really like the idea of the slip cover and would want to be able to utilize that even if I got a flamingo. Does it actually come with a hub dynamo like the website states? Is that any good or is it cheap crap? The reason I ask these questions is I have been considering a bromtpon for a while, and while I would love to have one, the particular setup I would like to get is close to $2200(yeah I know, I have champagne taste on a beer budget lol)! Whereas the the flamingo is quite a bit cheaper(a little over $1000 after shipping to US if I remember the older threads correctly)-http://www.flamingobike.com/products/products_show.php?pid=55&cid=3-here is the website link for anyone who doesn't know what flamingo bike I am referring to. While that link doesn't show the bike with a hub dynamo, there are some sites that show it so I figured I would ask about it. I have no brand loyalty to brompton, so whichever is the better bike for the money, I would prefer that one. I do like that the flamingo comes with a nexus 7 hub as apposed to bromptons' 6 spd dual drive setup(although to be honest I'm sure I would get used to it should I go the brompton route, 7 spd hub just makes things easier right off the bat). I also prefer the v brake setup that the flamingo has, not just for the supposed better braking performance, but also for ease of use when it comes to getting a flat and taking off the tire. With the brompton you have to loosen the actual cable and then reset it. I like the convienience of just popping open the latch on v brakes, no adjusting neccessary.

Things I don't like about the flamingo however are the rear rack looks a bit chincy in comparison to the substantial brompton rear rack. How is the durability of it? What about the luggage system for the flamingo? I would personally want to find a way to fit the brompton luggage block on it in order to use the brompton system if possible, has anyone done this? If so(I know on previous threads there was talk of it), how successful was it? The luggage system is an important factor to me and one of the main reasons I really want a brompton-shopping cart mode, oh yeah lol. In fact I like the system so much I am considering buying a t bag now and finding a way to fit the block onto my dahon curve d3. If the flamingo won't work with it, then that makes my decision easy as I will just go with the brompton lol.

Some smaller, personal nitpicks against the flamingo that certainly arent deal breakers provided the bike is of good, lasting quality are the cheap looking folding pedals(easy enough to change out), lack of telescoping seatpost option(while I'm not tall enough to need even the extended seatpost I like the idea of being able to attach standard seatpost sized accessories i.e. sqr carradice bags etc, as well as remove the saddle for compact travel while still keeping the folded package locked should I ever decide to travel/tour with the bike), and the grip shifter(defnitely don't hate them as I have one on my curve and haven't changed it, just prefer thumb shifters). Also, I was really looking forward to picking the color scheme(the apple green looks so sharp, especially with the classy brown brooks saddle ). Again though, that's not a deal breaker.

Alright I know that was a lot of info to throw at you all and I apoligize, I just like to cover all my bases to make sure my purchase will be the right one. Thanks!!

Last edited by davidansley; 02-22-12 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 02-19-12, 10:41 PM   #2
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Patent infringements?
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Old 02-19-12, 11:07 PM   #3
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Patent infringements?
Expired long time ago.
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Old 02-19-12, 11:26 PM   #4
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..With the brompton you have to loosen the actual cable and then reset it. I like the convienience of just popping open the latch on v brakes, no adjusting neccessary.
Deflating the tire does the trick. ;-)
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Old 02-19-12, 11:58 PM   #5
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Yea, pretty much, only reason to remove a wheel is a Puncture,
just wait till the wheel is back in the bike before pumping it up again.
there is a adjuster in the hand lever on bromptons,
you can adjust it so it loosens the brake, if you want.

flaming-go looks to me like a 305 16" wheel , not a 349 the spec is a tubbier tire,
an 80# inflation.
Brompton is a 100 psi, & narrower, so probably rolls easier.. kojak 349 more so..

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-20-12 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 02-20-12, 12:03 AM   #6
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Deflating the tire does the trick. ;-)
Even with the v brakes on my curve I have to unlatch them to pull the tire out even when it's flat...do I have the brakes adjusted too tightly? I take it you're supposed to be able to take a flat tire off without adjusting the brake cables?
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Old 02-20-12, 12:17 AM   #7
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dual pivot brakes dont require the gnats whisker of rim clearance like V brakes
because they are a different MA .
a bit more in the hand lever , less in the brake caliper.
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Old 02-20-12, 04:48 AM   #8
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I'd like to know more about the flamingo brompton imitation. They've made some changes that many people have wished Brompton had implemented but at the same time those aspects don't look to have been properly considered. The frame is peculiarly narrow near the hinge, I've never seen an aluminum folding bike frame so thin in that area, it doesn't look strong enough. Routing the cables through the frame may or may not be an improvement; the result may look tidier but it may cause snagging issues and decrease braking efficiency.
The stem is probably a fair bit stiffer; the Brompton stem design is junk IMO, inherently absurdly flexy, however the flamingo Ahead version is laughably proportioned, jutting out from the frame when folded. And any improvement in stiffness derived from the Ahead stem may be lost due to the thinness of the aluminum frame near the hinge.
So it appears to be a mixture of clone and half-arsed improvement. You do get a proper hub gear and v-brakes. . . whether v-brakes are desirable is perhaps questionable.
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Old 02-20-12, 09:14 AM   #9
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So it appears to be a mixture of clone and half-arsed improvement. You do get a proper hub gear and v-brakes. . . whether v-brakes are desirable is perhaps questionable.
The biggest improvement is the cost. The OP suggests that the Flamingo is 50% (?) less expensive. If so, for the same performance you get twice the value.
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Old 02-20-12, 11:14 AM   #10
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Well lets see about the longevity of the aluminum hinges, I'll watch you guys..
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Old 02-20-12, 11:37 AM   #11
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The frame is peculiarly narrow near the hinge, I've never seen an aluminum folding bike frame so thin in that area, it doesn't look strong enough. Routing the cables through the frame may or may not be an improvement; the result may look tidier but it may cause snagging issues and decrease braking efficiency.
The stem is probably a fair bit stiffer; the Brompton stem design is junk IMO, inherently absurdly flexy, however the flamingo Ahead version is laughably proportioned, jutting out from the frame when folded. And any improvement in stiffness derived from the Ahead stem may be lost due to the thinness of the aluminum frame near the hinge.
So it appears to be a mixture of clone and half-arsed improvement. You do get a proper hub gear and v-brakes. . . whether v-brakes are desirable is perhaps questionable.
Interesting points Chad! I think part of the reason the hinge part of the top tube MIGHT look so small is because the rear part is actually bigger than the front, unlike the brompton which is the same size all the way across. From looking at pictures of the two bikes, they appear to be the same size at the hinge section. Of course the only way to really know would be to have both bikes side by side and do a visual, as well as a measurement comparison. So you very well could be correct in stating that the hinge part looks thin. One other thing to take into consideration is that while it is aluminum, it has been hyrdoformed which, having never actually done the process myelf to actually know, is reported to make the metal quite a bit stiffer. I generally agree with that as my dahon curve d3 has been hydroformed along the frame and I don't feel any really noticeable flex unless I am really jerking on the handlebars and the whole bike is aluminum, not just the frame, in the case of the flamingo. So I think provided the hydroforming process was done correctly(which for almost $1000 before shipping I would hope it is!) there shouldn't be any issues with durability, as well as flex. Of course that question is part of why I started this thread in the first place, to see if there was anyone who had both bikes that could compare the ride quality of the flamingo to the brompton.

As far as the internal cable routing, I'm inclined to think it's a good thing. While there is the possibility that it could cause snagging somewhere inside the frame and hinder braking performance I don't know if I am too worried about that. The only way I could see that happening is if there were rough spots inside the actual frame tube, which hopefully is not an issue since that would be part of preparing an internally cabled bike before the welding was done(again were talking about a $1000 bike here, not some $200 cheapo knockoff). All in all good points though and definitely things to consider...Definitely insterested in having someone chime in that has owned a flamingo that would be able to adress those concerns.

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The biggest improvement is the cost. The OP suggests that the Flamingo is 50% (?) less expensive. If so, for the same performance you get twice the value.
Yes indeed, provided of course the bike is good quality. It doesn't matter how good the performance is if it only lasts half the time and now I'm having to get another bike to replace the original. Which even if it is still under warranty I would be looking at close to $500 in shipping costs by the time I send the bad bike bike and get a new one. That is of course unless the manufacturer does the ethical thing and pays the shipping since it was a bike defect, some do some don't.
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Old 02-20-12, 11:40 AM   #12
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Well lets see about the longevity of the aluminum hinges, I'll watch you guys..
Haha, well I've been riding my curve d3 almost daily for 8+ mile rides home from work and no frame issues so far And I'm actually over the max weight quoted by Dahon for the bike, although not by much...SSHHH, don't tell em though lol!
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Old 02-20-12, 12:55 PM   #13
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The Flamingo has double-walled rims too which presumably are superior.
Where would you be purchasing the bike from? I didn't know there were retailers who did overseas shipping.
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Old 02-20-12, 01:00 PM   #14
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The Flamingo has double-walled rims too which presumably are superior.
Where would you be purchasing the bike from? I didn't know there were retailers who did overseas shipping.
Well the last time I contacted Grace Gallant off the flamingo website she quoted me a price plus shipping. That was, however, a couple of years ago so things may have changed. I haven't emailed about the bike again as I am nowhere near close to having the money so I want the price and availability info to be current and not what was quoted to me a several months ago. Once I get close to what to what the price quote was last time I was planning on contacting Grace again to see what the status on ordering the bikes was. Anyone have any current info on that?
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Old 02-20-12, 01:58 PM   #15
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...Once I get close to what to what the price quote was last time I was planning on contacting Grace again to see what the status on ordering the bikes was. Anyone have any current info on that?
Folding bike prices went up significantly in the last few years. If you will assume the old price, you may have a surprise when you will be ready to buy.
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Old 02-20-12, 03:12 PM   #16
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Folding bike prices went up significantly in the last few years. If you will assume the old price, you may have a surprise when you will be ready to buy.
I just emailed Grace from Flamingo Bikes earlier actually for a price quote and to see if she still deals with individual buyers so we'll see what she says.
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Old 02-21-12, 09:05 AM   #17
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I have owned a Merc, an older Flamingo-made Brompton clone, and I currently own a Brompton M6L. The Merc was a very fine bike. Build quality was good, ride was fine too. The Merc had a SA3 hub, all other components were reasonable and worked well. It was aluminum, so a little lighter too. I had no problems with it.
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Old 02-21-12, 09:20 AM   #18
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Just an off the cuff thought; the Brompton with all the good and bad points, has stood the test of time, and that fact really shouldn't be ignored. A clone, for whatever reason, may or may not be an improvement. I would think that if it were such an improvement, Brompton themselves would have done it. So in my eyes, the point of the clone is simply lower price???

In for a penny, in for a pound? Personally, Brompton seems to be what everything else is compared too, if so, if possible, get the Brompton is my thought?? The only reason in my book to buy a different brand is to save $$$ - the only possible exception is the Bike Friday.
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Old 02-21-12, 10:40 AM   #19
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I have owned a Merc, an older Flamingo-made Brompton clone, and I currently own a Brompton M6L. The Merc was a very fine bike. Build quality was good, ride was fine too. The Merc had a SA3 hub, all other components were reasonable and worked well. It was aluminum, so a little lighter too. I had no problems with it.
Thanks for the input sesame, I was specifically asking about the hydroformed frame of the flamingo though. The merc, while aluminum, will no doubt handle differently than due to it just being a cylindrical tube. Also, while I have heard many good things about mercs as far as quality goes, I've only heard a few things about flamingo. I was more wondering about the flamingo quality as we all know quality can vary from year to year even in the same company, let alone one that has switched owner/brand names multiple times.
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Old 02-21-12, 10:50 AM   #20
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A clone, for whatever reason, may or may not be an improvement. I would think that if it were such an improvement, Brompton themselves would have done it. So in my eyes, the point of the clone is simply lower price???

The only reason in my book to buy a different brand is to save $$$ - the only possible exception is the Bike Friday.
Good point Peter, which is why I wanted to get the opinions of people that have owned/ridden both bikes in order to see whether or not flamingo is indeed an improvment or if it is just a really expensive knockoff. You mention the only reason to buy a diff brand would be to save money...in this case, lots of money, half in fact. When the money being saved is half the cost, I would think it's well worth the extra time to research that option and see if it's worth it. Even if it offers no advantages, as long as there are no significant disadvantages(poor quality, longevity issues etc.) it is still worth checking out. As far as going to bike friday or some other brand, I am set on getting some sort of brompton type folding bike, I just love the fold and how the bike is engineered, simple as that. I already have a Dahon Curve D3 so my "other non brompton brand" slot is already full anyways lol.
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Old 02-21-12, 10:56 AM   #21
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Just an off the cuff thought; the Brompton with all the good and bad points, has stood the test of time, and that fact really shouldn't be ignored.
The clones did not stand the test of time because Brompton blocked them in courts even after their patent expired.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brompto..._and_licensing
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Old 02-21-12, 12:37 PM   #22
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looks like nobody has chimed in who actually owns both bikes so it's just speculation.

so my speculation is that the real brompton is probably better (better QC resulting in less loose ends). for a major price savings, it might be worth the gamble but i'd rather pay around 50% more than a flamingo and find a used real brompton. as for paying double for a real one? if you can afford it, i'd go for the real one. if you can't afford it, i'd try out the flamingo since bike is better than no bike. but don't expect the quality of a real brompton. you might be pleasantly surprised but at least you won't have unrealistic expectations.
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Old 02-21-12, 02:07 PM   #23
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looks like nobody has chimed in who actually owns both bikes so it's just speculation.

so my speculation is that the real brompton is probably better (better QC resulting in less loose ends). for a major price savings, it might be worth the gamble but i'd rather pay around 50% more than a flamingo and find a used real brompton. as for paying double for a real one? if you can afford it, i'd go for the real one. if you can't afford it, i'd try out the flamingo since bike is better than no bike. but don't expect the quality of a real brompton. you might be pleasantly surprised but at least you won't have unrealistic expectations.
Obviously if money were no object I would just buy a brompton and then put a fancy expensive hub gear with some insane amount of gears but that's not the case. I'm sure the brompton is better in the long run. But the question is, is it $1000 better? And I do already own a folding bike so I wouldn't be getting the flamingo just for the sake of getting a folding bike. Maybe I'll just spend a little bit of money making my curve a "brompton slayer" and just save up and buy a brompton when I can.
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Old 02-21-12, 02:16 PM   #24
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i think it's $1000 better. at least for me it is. but that's just me and my value of $1000. this is why it's actually a personal decision.

for david beckham, he's probably cool with spending an extra $1000.

for a homeless guy, he's probably not cool with spending an extra $1000 so the added cost isn't worth it.

for the average folk, it's hard to say but depends on your personal situation including but not limited to finances, how much you value bikes, if you are a stickler for quality (slightly lower quality annoys you), etc.

the discussion may not matter though...if you can't buy a flamingo, then you may not have much of a choice.
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Old 02-21-12, 04:00 PM   #25
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I think more research is needed. I wouldn't discount the possibility that the Flamingo is better quality in many or most respects. Brompton don't have access to techniques like hydroforming, their manufacturing methods have grown around whatever was available to a small-scale venture at the time, and small changes to the bike require complicated factory reorganisation. Those methods generally have been shown to work well but there are some problems that crop up regularly such as the rear frame rusting through and disintegrating. So the quality issue isn't entirely straight-forward.
Having said that there's more evidence of a lack of real design on the Flamingo in the seat post, the Brompton geometry is based around a forward-offset seat post which makes the folded size smaller, sticking a regular seat post in there is less than ideal.
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