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  1. #1
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    Brompton newbie in NYC questions: Lights? Bfold?

    I'm more or less a complete bike and Brompton newbie. I bought a (barely) used Brompton from a friend and have started bike commuting in Manhattan, and am loving it so far. I also took it out to Long Island I biked a bit there, but the hills almost killed me; I really wished I had the six gears. I used to bike everywhere around there as a kid, but I don't remember the hills.

    My first order of business is to get lights for night riding in the city. I tried to read up on them on BF and the web, but am thoroughly confused. I'm not clear on what I should be looking for, or what will work well on a Brompton. What sort of lights would make sense? Cheap is of course good, though I'm will to spend money if there's good reason to.

    Does anyone have experience with Bfold, the folding bike shop in the East Village? I see lots of mention of NYCeWheels, which seems to be well known, at least because of their huge web presence. However, I live on the Lower East Side, so Bfold is much more convenient. So I'm wondering if they're good and reliable, and if they are, I can make them my go-to bike shop. I might buy my lights there.

    Anyway, thanks for any advice, and for indulging this noob.

  2. #2
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    I just bought my Brompton from NYCeWheels, and really liked them. It's not that far a trek, when you have a bicycle! :-)

  3. #3
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    Bfold is very well regarded.

  4. #4
    Lao
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    As far as I know of NYC bike shops (which is not very much), Bfold seems to be lesser known but still well regarded.
    "When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth."

  5. #5
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    I recently purchased a six gear Brompton from David Lam at bfold. It is a racing green and sage m-bar with rack, son dynamo lighting and 12% gear reduction. Mr. Lam answered every question I had and to my great satisfaction guided me to others. I trust his word and work.

  6. #6
    Senior Member blakcloud's Avatar
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    You may not need the six speed, though I understand you would prefer it but the answer may be reduced gearing that can be changed on your Brompton. First look at the chain ring and count the teeth. Brompton makes a 44 tooth which may be better suited for you. There is also the possibility of changing the cog size but one thing at a time.

    As for lights, there is nothing about a Brompton that says you need to shop at a Brompton dealer for lights. Unless you have a generator hub on the front, then you can buy any light from any LBS, REI, Amazon etc that you want.

    Look at the Planet Bike line of lights, they are generally good and inexpensive. I like to put lights into two categories, lights so that you can be seen and lights so you can see. I subscribe to the latter as a lot of my cycling is on dark bike paths. If your riding is mostly in well light areas where any bike light that throws a beam is washed out,then buy a light so you can be seen. Planet Bike Blinky lights work well for this scenario.

    Have fun.

  7. #7
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    A Brompton 12% gear reduction = 44 tooth chainring

  8. #8
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    Regarding light: What Blakcloud said.
    Regarding Bfold: Very good folder specialist. You won't find a shop like this in most cities. Worth a trip even if just to look at all those (some rare) SWBs under one roof.

  9. #9
    Roadmaster Snobbery Club bhtooefr's Avatar
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    Regarding light, you can still do plenty of things if you've got a dynamo, as long as that dynamo's a 6 volt dynamo. It's just that a lot of the good stuff is in Europe, and you have to either order from bike shops over there, or pay even more to get it from shops here. (Seriously, my lights were cheaper to buy them from Germany, including shipping, than to buy them in the US.)

    I prefer StVZO-compliant beam patterns for seeing, because they don't waste light on illuminating the sky, just the road ahead of you - meaning, more brightness on the road for the same input power (which means more brightness on a dynamo, more battery life or brightness for the same weight for battery, or less weight for the same brightness or battery life). I use a Philips SafeRide 80 on my 'bent trike, and if I had a dynamo, I'd probably get myself a SafeRide 60 (the 80 pulls more power than the StVZO standards allow, so the 60 is the dynamo version of the 80).

    Although, for rear lights, StVZO doesn't allow blinking... so the best bet is a non-StVZO compliant blinking rear light. I actually run an StVZO-compliant one, but wish it blinked.
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  10. #10
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    After YEARS of research and trials, all my money now goes to Bromptons. All my money now goes to David from BFold.

  11. #11
    smallwheelsonly
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    After YEARS of research and trials, all my money now goes to Bromptons
    Amen !!

    many will wake up later and follow the same trail.....eventually

  12. #12
    CSG
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    Count me as another Brompton diehard. I tried a number of other brands but my Brompton fit the bill perfectly. I've often thought of touring with it.

    While I dealt with a west coast Brompton dealer, I've heard nothing but good things regarding bfold (and NYCE).
    2002 Novara Ponderosa HT MTB
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  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Battery lights on the M bar and a seatpost taillight are OK, by me..

    NYC is obviously well lit, so even Knog (etc.) LED lights
    fill the 'be seen' amount of lights, needed..

    Enough hills consider : switch the cog from standard 13 t , to a 15t.
    cranks from the Std. 50-t to the 44t as in the
    reduced gearing offering when new..

    people have also switched cranksets,
    putting on a double will give you a flatland and a hilly range.
    for those 3 speeds in back.

    Front Derailleur, is optional . just takes a rag and a moment,
    to change from low , back to High .. maybe ..

    high to low can be done,on the move, derailing , with your foot.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-09-12 at 11:45 AM.

  14. #14
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    Both excellent dealers with specialist knowledge and a strong customer orientation.

  15. #15
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    Next you need the Brompton Oratory jacket, to deliver oratory like a modern day Cicero.
    http://www.brompton.co.uk/jacket/
    '06 Trek 1.2 Alpha (road), '12 Specialized Hardrock (camp/trail), '12 Giant Expressway 2 (folder, public transit)

  16. #16
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MF Monk View Post
    Next you need the Brompton Oratory jacket, to deliver oratory like a modern day Cicero.
    http://www.brompton.co.uk/jacket/
    Bah, just wear a bicycling toga, like I do. It's far more breathable - and nothing says "classic(al)" like 18 ft. of wool wrapped around your body.

  17. #17
    jur
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    Toga?? No. I wear this http://bikebutterfly.com/ watch the video at about 50s, the rest is timewaste.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  18. #18
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    Thanks for your replies. I'm looking for lights to be seen, and starting simple. I suppose I can upgrade if I ever feel the need.

    I think what's confusing me is attachment and compatibility with the fold. Are there any issues with the lights interfering when you fold the bike? Part of the problem is I'm looking online, and haven't had a chance yet to see the lights in real life. Is the anything to look for or avoid? Attaching the headlight to the handlebars seems simple enough, but it looks like you'd have to flip the light up and back to fold. Is that ever a problem? I'm also not sure how to attach the tail light. To the seat post? To the bracket where the reflector sits now (I don't have a rear rack)? Will either of those options interfere?

    Thanks again for helping a clueless noob.

  19. #19
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    I just got my raw laquer M6L Brompton from bfold, but after visiting about 3 times there before I took the plunge. I'm currently asking the same question there about lights. They are all really patient and answer all questions, so I'll be getting all my accessories there, that shop is really a treasure. I still haven't decided on lights, but just using cheap ones right now, but will upgrade as needed. They suggested a "light in motion" series, but will get one when I start biking out of the city. I'm not sure about the rear lights either. I'd be happy to hear suggestions as I would like to remove the reflector as well. Right now I have a blinky on the bag I carry for the cover, but that's not ideal.

  20. #20
    Junior Member A.Danger's Avatar
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    I use the Blackburn Flea, both front and rear on my Brompton. They're TINY, so really easy to pack around in a pocket if you don't want to leave them on your bike. They Come with a Velcro band, so simple, easy removal. Also: rechargeable through USB, so no battery nonsense. I actually bought the solar charger for mine! Good luck.

  21. #21
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    I am also new to Brompton and just bought an M3 two weeks ago from Bfold. It was overall one of the best customer service experiences I've had in NYC in the past 12 years. They recommended a couple of very inexpensive lights with small bungee cords to start, and I've already used them many times and they work great. I also spoke to NYCeWheels over the phone when trying to track down the bike I wanted and they were fantastic over the phone, but a little out of the way for me from Brooklyn.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cineluxe View Post
    I am also new to Brompton and just bought an M3 two weeks ago from Bfold. It was overall one of the best customer service experiences I've had in NYC in the past 12 years. They recommended a couple of very inexpensive lights with small bungee cords to start, and I've already used them many times and they work great. I also spoke to NYCeWheels over the phone when trying to track down the bike I wanted and they were fantastic over the phone, but a little out of the way for me from Brooklyn.
    I tend to find folding bike specialists very good and it is great to see NYC excels with 2 fine shops. I say to them 'live long & prosper' business wise!

  23. #23
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Another possible option.
    reduce Gearing, Cheap = just add a small chain ring and change down with foot, change up manually. Else Steve parry ,(or dahon?), adpator and a front mech.
    Lights cateye cube work well, with clear rollerblade wheels to disperse light.
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    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.

  24. #24
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    I've purchased a Tern bike from bfold; great guys. I've also heard wonderful things abotu NYCewheels and their website and videos are amazing.

    A guy from bfold, Steve, organizes a brompton ride called "Brommie Yummy" I think, and the Brompton owners in the city are fanatical about their bikes -- I went to the Central Park Moonlight Ride and there were easily 5-8 Bromptons there.

    I don't have actual personal experience with NYCewheels, but I figure I'd just point out that on Yelp, some have complained that NYCewheels won't service a bike if it wasn't purchase from them: http://www.yelp.com/biz/nycewheels-new-york

    I have absolutely no idea if that's true or not, just passing along the info from Yelp.
    Last edited by NeoteriX; 09-09-12 at 02:24 PM.

  25. #25
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    I took my wife to buy an upright girly bike this weekend and ended up with a Brompton. It's just more practical since we live in a 4th floor walk up and a Dutch style bike is a lot heavier and bulkier than my Pista.

    We bought it at Adeline Adeline. It's more style oriented when it comes to bike shops but the sales guy was still very knowledgeable. Super friendly and patient. Price is the same as anywhere else, even though it's in Tribeca. Only downside is that they only have 2 or 6 speed models. Nice experience overall, I would go back there again for accessories/services or if I ever want to pick up a Brompton for slower rides with the girl.

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