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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Upgrade three speed Brompton, or...?

    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.

  2. #2
    Newbie
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    Spot Acme, Trek 4900, soon Brompton M6R
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    I would visit BFold and see if they are willing to modify your M3L to a M6l for a reasonable price. $500 sounds steep for a relatively minor mod.

    Bike Fridays are great bikes. We checked out the new Silk model in Eugene, OR. It is available with belt drive, Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub, and disc brakes with various tire options. 20" Bike Fridays feel to us just like our 700c bikes. But their folds are nowhere as elegant or compact as those on a Brompton. If I lived in a 4th floor walk up I would stick with Brompton.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    BFold are the ones that told me it costs ~$500. I've heard similar elsewhere, so it's not just them. IIRC a new rear wheel and hub gear, derailer, cable, shifter, etc., the price adds up.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    this is a 28 hole narrow 5 speed hub to rebuild into your rear wheel , likely use the same spokes.

    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/produc...4/specs/1.html

    Bike Friday's Tikit has a different fold , but they offer abundant component choices
    and are in more than one size.

    shares the Brompton 349 sized wheel .. and tire choices..

  5. #5
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    Why not a cheap and easy option, replace the crank with a double one? I have a Flamingo 3 speed and put a double plate, 50 t and 39 t. It solves the problem inmedately.

    To go further, sometime ago fietsbob mentioned his schlumpf drive, but that may be expensive.

    I considered adapting a derrailleur? for the plates, and got the piece to atach the mechanism, but didnt go on with the project.

    I lived in a three flights apartment before and anything heavier or bulkier than the Flamingo or Brompton, to say, was out of my mind.

    Now when time came to carry my kid and face very very hilly streets in a mountain town, I turned to a Dahon Speed TR, with a dual drive and 24 gears. Otherwise was impossible to ride. But, at the same hand, I dont need to carry the bike upstairs anymore.

    Now to ride again the Flamingo I'm thinking about replacing the 39 t with a 30 or something smaller, the smallest the chain long can handle and replace the rear one with one bigger also.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    running it as a 2 chainring greasy finger shifting double will be simple.

    thing is duplicating the drop that the Mountain drive IG Crank makes practical

    the 2 chainrings are 20/50, or 21/53.. 22/55..

    then all 3 ratios are not overlapping, at all.


    a 34/54 may be do-able , the speed drive IGC makes that a snap shift , as well ..

    but as a "do I need a Low range on this hill till I get to the top, then stop and put the chain on the big ring?"

    that hand upshift may work ..

  7. #7
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    running it as a 2 chainring greasy finger shifting double will be simple.

    thing is duplicating the drop that the Mountain drive IG Crank makes practical

    the 2 chainrings are 20/50, or 21/53.. 22/55..

    then all 3 ratios are not overlapping, at all.


    a 34/54 may be do-able , the speed drive IGC makes that a snap shift , as well ..

    but as a "do I need a Low range on this hill till I get to the top, then stop and put the chain on the big ring?"

    that hand upshift may work ..

    thank you, Master.


  8. #8
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I found I could push the chain with my toe from the 53 to the small ring. This was a very easy skill to master and resulted in a quick change.
    I had to stop to change up. But maybe with pratice. ..
    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.

  9. #9
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeKid View Post
    $500 sounds steep for a relatively minor mod.
    The hub needs to be swapped. The 6spd uses a BWR,which not only has wider ratios,but the shaft has two sprocket mounts. The 3spd's BSR hub will only take one sprocket. Swapping the hub means a whole new wheel or a rebuild of the current one.

    Quote Originally Posted by pampera View Post
    To go further, sometime ago fietsbob mentioned his schlumpf drive, but that may be expensive.
    $600+ for the drive alone,IIRC.

    Bromptons hold their value quite well. If you got a good enough deal on the 3spd,you might be able to sell it for at least what you paid for it,or maybe a little more. Compare the 3spd's value + upgrade cost to the cost of a 6spd. Might be worth it to just sell the 3 and get the 6. Or get the 6 then sell the 3,since unless they have the bike in stock you want,it'll take like a month or so to get one in.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

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