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Old 08-05-12, 02:46 AM   #1
Training.Wheels
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So... I test drove a Brompton today...

...and I am in love! So how did the straight bar 6 speed Brommie compare to my Dahon Speed P8 and Tern Link Uno? Here's my little review:

1. Dahon Speed P8: For something that's just a couple of lbs. heavier than the Link Uno and the Brompton, the P8 feels like a sturdy tank. My girlfriend says it feels the "safest" out of the three. I think it's the most comfortable. If I were to choose a touring bike out of the three, this would be it. With its Big Apple tires, seatpost pump, and rugged steel frame, it really feels like this bike can handle what you throw at it.

2. Tern Link Uno: Definitely the stiffest out of the three. I appreciate it because of its efficiency, but my arse takes a bit of a beating after a while; will definitely invest in a Thudbuster or a Brooks saddle someday (or both!). Frame-wise, though, Tern definitely makes a quality product; the huge hinges feel and LOOK secure. I used to think that the aluminum frame felt too light - and therefore potentially frail - but after experiencing many potholes on it, the Tern proved to be a monster that can handle itself. I wouldn't tour with it because of its limited gearing, but I definitely get "that is a cool bike" comments from cute girls every now and then.

3. Brompton: Surprisingly agile. Accelerates fast; probably faster than the other two. I rode the S type (flat bar), so the ride felt stiff - in a good way. There was no wobbly-ness for me, although my girlfriend felt it. I really do think that wobbly-ness on small bikes is attributed to the rider's overall ability to adapt; I personally felt right at home on this bike. Turning was tighter but felt less stable compare to the 20 inchers. Can't have it all, though. Totally my dream bike to be able to bring around in the city and take inside with me while I quickly browse for jeans. You can't do that with the P8 or Link Uno - I mean... you can, but they are just way too bulky and cumbersome to bring around casually. It just wouldn't be cool, haha.

Out of the three, I feel that the Uno has the fastest but least secure fold. Those darn magnets just don't hold the thing together, I tell ya. The P8's fold feels more secure. It even looks smaller. Of course, the P8's main frame hinge also doesn't swing as freely as the Link Unos and the P8 has brake cables that probably help "hold it together." Nothing can beat the Brompton's fold, though. It's tightly compact and simply unshakable. While I wouldn't say the Brompton feels as close as the other two to having a "full bike feeling," it doesn't make a whole lot of difference to a non-competitive rider. It's fun, a head turner, and rides nicely. Will definitely be saving up to get my Brommie in a couple of weeks.

Oh, and here's the Brompton next to my Link Uno.
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Old 08-05-12, 03:30 AM   #2
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By the way, does anyone have any recommendations for a 20+ gear touring folding bike? I'm trying to complete the group here. I've got my all around, my simple workhorse, and soon I will have my sidekick. I would like a recommendation for a touring bike that is a completely different brand from what I have so far. I definitely would like to stick with the smaller wheel theme here, though.
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Old 08-05-12, 03:38 AM   #3
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Since you soon have both small fold and quick and esy riding/folding bike maybe look into a dedicated touring bike (and a detatchable rather than folding) like one of the Bike Friday bikes.
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Old 08-05-12, 04:08 AM   #4
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The Tern Joe C21 & C24 are decently priced, and I'd love to get one of them myself. They're available in NYC at NYCEwheels: http://www.nycewheels.com/xootr-scooters.html
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Old 08-05-12, 04:53 AM   #5
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Weird that Tern seem to have a magnet problem, I assume the parts are the same as Dahon.


How did you find the dual shifter 6 speed system on the Brompton?
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Old 08-05-12, 05:36 AM   #6
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Since you soon have both small fold and quick and esy riding/folding bike maybe look into a dedicated touring bike (and a detatchable rather than folding) like one of the Bike Friday bikes.
Definitely will consider that, considering BF's reputation in these parts.

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The Tern Joe C21 & C24 are decently priced, and I'd love to get one of them myself. They're available in NYC at NYCEwheels: http://www.nycewheels.com/xootr-scooters.html
Although I love the Tern line, I'm looking into other brands. Thanks for the recommendation though!

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Weird that Tern seem to have a magnet problem, I assume the parts are the same as Dahon.


How did you find the dual shifter 6 speed system on the Brompton?
The part is indeed the same as the Dahon, but there are a few factors that make it decidedly less reliable. For one, the frame hinge swings out more freely on the Tern, so already you are losing some of the resistance that keep it together. Another thing is that the Tern's N-fold results in the handlebars being on the outside (see above pic). When carrying with the right arm, my leg bumps into the handlebar, which tilts the wheel and disengages the magnet.

As for the the 6 speed shifting, it wasn't too hard to figure out, but I do prefer my Dahon's shifting on the right grip.
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Old 08-05-12, 12:20 PM   #7
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I always thought the magnet system for keeping the fold together was a bit odd. Wouldn't a strap or clip system be more effective?
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Old 08-05-12, 02:06 PM   #8
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I always thought the magnet system for keeping the fold together was a bit odd. Wouldn't a strap or clip system be more effective?
I personally think a strap is the best option. Magnets are nice, but a small amount of pressure tends to make them separate.
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Old 08-05-12, 02:39 PM   #9
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Good luck, you will never regret. This forum has its fair share of Brompton critics and it is not the bike for everyone. I have 3 folders and the Brompton is the one I would never give up as it is priceless for its versatility & compactness. It's a very able bike and many rivals are still trying to come up with a better compact fold.
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Old 08-05-12, 05:27 PM   #10
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I suspect the "wobblyness" that your GF felt was the difference between a 16" and a 20" wheel. I ride both and it always takes me a bit to make the adjustment. My 20" wheeled bikes happen to be Raleigh Twentys which are rock solid. My 16" wheeled bikes are Dahon Classic III's which do flex some.

As for a touring bike Tour on the Brompton? Dahon used to make a sweet 20" touring bike called the Speed TR, but they have discontinued it.

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Old 08-05-12, 05:58 PM   #11
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WOW they aren't kidding when they say its more compact.
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Old 08-05-12, 08:32 PM   #12
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Link P24h. Here is a person who has done a review:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ight=tern+p24h
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Old 08-06-12, 05:09 AM   #13
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Good luck, you will never regret. This forum has its fair share of Brompton critics and it is not the bike for everyone. I have 3 folders and the Brompton is the one I would never give up as it is priceless for its versatility & compactness. It's a very able bike and many rivals are still trying to come up with a better compact fold.
That's reassuring. A model that hasn't been changed in 30 years has GOT to be reliable, right?

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I suspect the "wobblyness" that your GF felt was the difference between a 16" and a 20" wheel. I ride both and it always takes me a bit to make the adjustment. My 20" wheeled bikes happen to be Raleigh Twentys which are rock solid. My 16" wheeled bikes are Dahon Classic III's which do flex some.

As for a touring bike Tour on the Brompton? Dahon used to make a sweet 20" touring bike called the Speed TR, but they have discontinued it.

Aaron
Man.. that path less pedaled site is extremely inspiring. Thank you for showing me that. I've actually seen a lot of Speed Pros showing up on my local craigslist lately; maybe one day, I might go for one.

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Link P24h. Here is a person who has done a review:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ight=tern+p24h
I've seen that! That's what got me considering the P24h in the first place (check my signature, haha). It's a great value indeed.
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Old 08-06-12, 04:12 PM   #14
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Yes it is very reliable!
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Old 08-06-12, 04:24 PM   #15
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How's the alfine hub going, Mulleady?
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Old 08-07-12, 03:57 AM   #16
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Very nice and funny report. i would.also stick.to my broomie if I had to choose
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Old 08-07-12, 04:06 AM   #17
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Very nice and funny report. i would.also stick.to my broomie if I had to choose
Thanks! I don't blame you; it's a fantastic bike. I know I said I would save up for a couple of weeks, but I just couldn't wait and got the Brommie today. Racing green with white extremities. I feel complete!
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Old 08-07-12, 07:04 AM   #18
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How's the alfine hub going, Mulleady?
Great Chagzuki. Did you knw I took the Alfine 8 of it and added the Alfine 11? The Alfine 8 kit is looking for a home now lol!

I'll post some pics
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Old 08-07-12, 07:05 AM   #19
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Thanks! I don't blame you; it's a fantastic bike. I know I said I would save up for a couple of weeks, but I just couldn't wait and got the Brommie today. Racing green with white extremities. I feel complete!
Haha you have foldernitis now! Nice one and please post some pics!
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Old 08-07-12, 10:26 AM   #20
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Thanks! I don't blame you; it's a fantastic bike. I know I said I would save up for a couple of weeks, but I just couldn't wait and got the Brommie today. Racing green with white extremities. I feel complete!
holy crap you don't waste time with your bike collecting eh?

I'm just surprised you are still on that tern uno's oem's seat. I switched that out to a brooks b17 and never looked back!
and yeah the magnet is very weak compared to a friends mu uno which i actually had trouble disengaging. With my tern all I need was a bump and the dang thing swung open.

You are very right though about the brompton easier to drag around compared to the other two, there is definitely no contest there because I tried dragging the brompton around myself. I myself would not drag my tern into the shops because of it's clunky fold. I went for the bike because of ride stiffness and I only need to hide it under my desk. If I really was multi moding and wanted to stick with 20" wheels I would have bought that trolley rack by now which makes dragging the bike around as easy as those laptop bags.

I'm just surpised your wife hasn't killed you yet! unless yer not married yet.
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Old 08-07-12, 10:59 AM   #21
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By the way, does anyone have any recommendations for a 20+ gear touring folding bike?
1) Derailleur drive trains have overlapping ratios, so 20 "speeds" are not 20 different gear ratios..

A Rohloff IGH has 14 different ratios, by contrast.. [like 3, 3speeds, narrow medium and wide,
but the sequencing cam only uses one of the 3 N gears , 2nd in a 3 speed]
It is a 7 speed , range shifted to be used twice..
and many tours around the globe are by people using those hubs..

I have one in my Bi-Fri Pocket Llama.

custom builder-modifiers, have rebuilt Brompton frame's rear portions
to use those much .. wider hubs..

other custom modifications: add double or triple cranks,
on the BWR 3 by 2 rear hub..

or (frame mod) dual drive 7 x3 Sram..


[the M3L I have I swapped out the Standard crank for a Schlumpf 2 speed mountain drive,for 6 gear ratios, wide range
3rd is in hi in low range , 4th is lo in high range

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Old 08-07-12, 11:17 AM   #22
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Pacific Reach is a very good tourer but I have to concede the Bike Friday Pocket Llama looks made for touring!

See the current thread below:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...3-Bike-Friday!
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Old 08-07-12, 02:27 PM   #23
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Haha you have foldernitis now! Nice one and please post some pics!
Group pic of the bikes will be up soon!

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holy crap you don't waste time with your bike collecting eh?

I'm just surprised you are still on that tern uno's oem's seat. I switched that out to a brooks b17 and never looked back!
and yeah the magnet is very weak compared to a friends mu uno which i actually had trouble disengaging. With my tern all I need was a bump and the dang thing swung open.

You are very right though about the brompton easier to drag around compared to the other two, there is definitely no contest there because I tried dragging the brompton around myself. I myself would not drag my tern into the shops because of it's clunky fold. I went for the bike because of ride stiffness and I only need to hide it under my desk. If I really was multi moding and wanted to stick with 20" wheels I would have bought that trolley rack by now which makes dragging the bike around as easy as those laptop bags.

I'm just surpised your wife hasn't killed you yet! unless yer not married yet.
Yeah, that saddle is indeed uncomfortable. With my mind totally focused on getting a Brompton, it just hasn't been a total priority. I will invest in one soon though. Oh, and I think my girlfriend fully regrets introducing me into the idea of folding bikes, although she has been very supportive, haha.

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Pacific Reach is a very good tourer but I have to concede the Bike Friday Pocket Llama looks made for touring!

See the current thread below:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...3-Bike-Friday!
Those are two awesome bikes. I have actually been eyeing the Reach; getting another Tern just seems kinda.. redundant to me. The Reach and and the Bike Friday will be in my someday list now. Thanks!
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Old 08-07-12, 04:36 PM   #24
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I will post some pics of my Pacific IF Reach
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Old 08-11-12, 11:42 PM   #25
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My Tern Link P9 is very stout and stiff. I have "jumped" off as many as two steps to flat ground. I think I could take it down steps, and possibly launch off of 3 or perhaps 4 steps if I absolutely had to. I wouldn't necessarily want to do this, but I could if I had to.

This got me thinking - as the Brompton has no locking mechanism for the initial fold, if you launched off of two or more steps, would/could the bike start to fold mid-air? Or maybe the frame isn't stout enough that you could even consider doing that even if you needed to...
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