This question has been on the back burner for a while, but perhaps now is the time to get some insight, so I have the winter to make a decision.
A bit over a year ago, I got a three speed Brompton for a great price from a friend. Itís near perfect for my mostly urban riding, and itís become my primary mode of transportation. I ride it for everything from my three mile commute to 60+ mile joy rides. Iíve ridden it enough that I was able to do a 600+ mile rather mountainous tour in New Mexico (on a road bike).
I would really like to have gotten a six speed; at the price I paid I canít complain, but Iím starting to feel the limitations. I really wish it had a wider gear range, mostly a low gear for hills, and a higher gear for speed would sometimes be nice too. Three speeds is fine for the mostly flat city, but every time go outside my usual ride zone, I worry about what kind of hills Iím going to hit, and there are few places in the city I really struggle.
Iím thinking about upgrading, but the question is how? I found out that upgrading my Brompton from three speed to six speed costs upwards of $500, so I think itís worth considering getting a new bike. I could get a six speed Brompton, with whatever bells and whistles. Or should I get another folding bike, perhaps something more ďroadieĒ? And if so what? Iím thinking another bike might more suitable for longer rides and hills, perhaps a bit more speed, and just for a bit of variety.
Size and weight are a major consideration. I live in a teeny tiny New York City apartment, and four flight walkup. A non-folder is out of the question. Even a second folder might be questionable, but perhaps doable. The bike needs to be small and portable enough to store, carry up (many) stairs regularly, and fit on a commuter train so I can take it to places where Iím likely to encounter hills. Cost is a consideration; this would be my splurge of the year, but I am considering the price of a new Brompton.
If I go for a second bike, what should I consider? A Tern? Perhaps a Bike Friday? Which one? Perhaps a Xootr Swift? Something else?
Thanks for reading the long post, and Iíd interested in any thoughts or suggestions.