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Old 02-10-14, 09:32 PM   #101
jur
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I had a Birdy, excellent reputation. 9 speed, small fold, light weight, great ride, the list goes on.

I now have a Brompton. Also excellent reputation. It's heavier, a bit slower, doesn't have the same gearing range, the list goes on.

What won?

Convenience won. Sheer all-round convenience. Coupled with the name they made for themselves for the best fold bar none. For folding it beats the Birdy quite far. The ride quality for the Birdy is a bit better, perhaps a lot better, but I also have a bike with unbeatable ride quality, a Swift, which is for fast road riding.

Horses for courses. If folding is what you want, the best one to get is Brompton. Sure it won't win races but that's not what it's for.

As for other companies in this folding game, the advantage that Brompton has built up over the past 30+ years, that is going to be very hard to beat.

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...similar (or better) fold, better parts, better ride and for cheaper.
Nope. Pick any two. In the (I believe too improbable) event someone does come out with a Brompton beater, it will be expensive. Certainly Dahon have poured years into the effort of coming up with a Brompton beater. The result is the Curl. This, their best effort, is not even in the same class, and they know it - it is not even offered in the West.

Chap by the name of Len Rubin crafted a Brompton clone out of titanium and gave it MTB gearing. His idea was to go into business with the idea, but its stratospheric price scared away all but the most well-heeled collectors.

So the MIT is very obviously trying to compete by riding the same wave of success that the Brompton has earned. I think it unlikely that they will compete effectively. Reason? The name Brompton and everything it represents. That's the reason they are so popular in the far east. People buy them and pimp them up. That some of the parts are not of the same quality level as in other cases is quite irrelevant.

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Old 02-10-14, 09:46 PM   #102
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What people are upset is the fact that the Brompton is not full DuraAce for the price they charge. Therefore, shame on them for charging so much when the price should be reduced by 30% or more. However, Brompton is paying good wages at West London and prefers to stay that way. I value a company that wants to build in their country of origin instead of firing the staff and moving production to China to reduce costs or make an extra buck. Furthermore, I don't see anyone at the factory getting rich either and Mr. Andrew R. does not look like a billion bucks either.
Not really. Who wouldn't want the free market to determine the most efficient bike at the cheapest price that could be produced?

Apple was comfortably introducing relatively minor updates to their amazing (at that time) iPhone line. Like Bromptons, they had an amazing idea that revolutionized the industry. Like Bromptons, they were happy to maintain a high-end pricetag for their premium phones for as long as they could.

Then Samsung came along, a scrappy underdog (in the mobile industry) that has shown that Apple's closed and proprietary-focused ecosystem need not be the ONLY way.

In the early years, Samsung mobiles were light years away from Apple's products, but in 2014 it's a very close fight. Where once Apple dictated what the market should have - at a premium of course - they are now forced to acknowledge that 5"+ screens are on the rise, primarily due to the incredible take-up of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 1/2/3 phones.

Who wins? Everyone but the Apple fanboys.

I sincerely hope to see this in the folding bike market. There's no reason why the mass market should be locked out of great things - especially when the high end has enjoyed it for many years already.
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Old 02-10-14, 09:54 PM   #103
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So the MIT is very obviously trying to compete by riding the same wave of success that the Brompton has earned. I think it unlikely that they will compete effectively. Reason? The name Brompton and everything it represents. That's the reason they are so popular in the far east. People buy them and pimp them up. That some of the parts are not of the same quality level as in other cases is quite irrelevant.


Agreed, hence why I said nothing much will change even if a Bromptons beater comes out tomorrow. But there's too many factors to say "it will never happen".

I sincerely believe it's a matter of time, and with the current attitude Bromptons is taking - an old-school, rather relaxed approach - which is great in the 70s but not so much in this ridiculously competitive world, it will likely be sooner rather than later.
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Old 02-10-14, 10:17 PM   #104
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What people are upset is the fact that the Brompton is not full DuraAce for the price they charge. Therefore, shame on them for charging so much when the price should be reduced by 30% or more. However, Brompton is paying good wages at West London and prefers to stay that way. I value a company that wants to build in their country of origin instead of firing the staff and moving production to China to reduce costs or make an extra buck. Furthermore, I don't see anyone at the factory getting rich either and Mr. Andrew R. does not look like a billion bucks either.

So my next folder will probably be a Brompton. That's if I can somehow find a way to use up the current one before I turn 90! LOL.


>>>>We continue to design and build our bikes in West London because it is the only way to ensure the necessary quality on our hand-built bicycles. Moving production offshore in search of lower labour costs, business rates and taxes would certainly bring some obvious benefits, but these would be outweighed by the consequences of losing control over quality and, ultimately, losing the confidence of the consumer.<<<<

http://brompton.com/about-us/the-factory
I strongly agree. Even though some of the Brompton components are made abroad, the fact that the owner has stuck with the London location through thick and thin means a lot to me. Also, the bike is an absolute dream to ride and is extremely reliable and well-made. I'm delighted with mine.
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Old 02-10-14, 10:27 PM   #105
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Not really. Who wouldn't want the free market to determine the most efficient bike at the cheapest price that could be produced?

Apple was comfortably introducing relatively minor updates to their amazing (at that time) iPhone line. Like Bromptons, they had an amazing idea that revolutionized the industry. Like Bromptons, they were happy to maintain a high-end pricetag for their premium phones for as long as they could.

Then Samsung came along, a scrappy underdog (in the mobile industry) that has shown that Apple's closed and proprietary-focused ecosystem need not be the ONLY way.
I am afraid you are dreaming. There is not much money to be made in quality bikes. It is a market driven by passion of those involved including manufacturers. It is a market where just surviving is already a significant success. You need to be grateful to manufacturers and suppliers who are there against all odds, rather than having chosen a more profitable career.
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Old 02-11-14, 12:01 AM   #106
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Keyvan - Have you looked into Ori? That's a bike more like the MIT in that they both fold fairly small (not as small as a Brompton, but you've heard that schpiel), uses 16" wheels, non-proprietary parts, similar spec - maybe its cheaper and you can save some money. Looks like an interesting option and seems to be sold in Singapore per this Ori website:

http://www.oribikes.com/ori/dealer/dealer.php
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Old 02-11-14, 04:23 AM   #107
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I am afraid you are dreaming. There is not much money to be made in quality bikes. It is a market driven by passion of those involved including manufacturers. It is a market where just surviving is already a significant success. You need to be grateful to manufacturers and suppliers who are there against all odds, rather than having chosen a more profitable career.
I disagree. It sounds like you're giving them far too much credit. There's no reason to be grateful to profit-driven companies based on some unproven romanticized notion they are doing it for 'the good of humanity'. I'd say Bill Gates deserves more credit BY FAR.

I'm not even trying to blame Bromptons and Bike Friday for maximising their profits. I work in my father's company which deals in high-end safety equipment and his prices are marked up FAR above the norm - mainly because he can.

It's in preparation for the day - which may be tomorrow or decades later - when his business model may no longer be viable due to external factors - economic crashes, geographical disasters, increasing competition, etc. If you could comfortably make 30% more off your wares, you would be stupid to charge 10%.

Having viable competition drives prices down and pushes innovation - it almost seems like all the naysayers want things to remain EXACTLY the way it is now. Mostly from a lack of imagination.

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Old 02-11-14, 04:27 AM   #108
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Keyvan - Have you looked into Ori? That's a bike more like the MIT in that they both fold fairly small (not as small as a Brompton, but you've heard that schpiel), uses 16" wheels, non-proprietary parts, similar spec - maybe its cheaper and you can save some money. Looks like an interesting option and seems to be sold in Singapore per this Ori website:

http://www.oribikes.com/ori/dealer/dealer.php
I just did, and it doesn't seem to fit my needs. My closest second choices would actually have been the MIT V8 or Dahon Curve, mainly for their size.

I do like what Bromptons offers specifically - a folding bike that basically gives me no reason NOT to ride. It's really compact, folds quickly, has a sweet bag-holding system, and doubles as a no-fuss trolley after folding. Overall it makes it easy to ride and switch between public transport, which is great in a small city like Singapore.
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Old 02-11-14, 09:57 AM   #109
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I just did, and it doesn't seem to fit my needs. My closest second choices would actually have been the MIT V8 or Dahon Curve, mainly for their size.

I do like what Bromptons offers specifically - a folding bike that basically gives me no reason NOT to ride. It's really compact, folds quickly, has a sweet bag-holding system, and doubles as a no-fuss trolley after folding. Overall it makes it easy to ride and switch between public transport, which is great in a small city like Singapore.
It sounds like our priorities for a folding bike are the same.

I think it is time for your Dad's company to send you on a business trip to (you'll have to some up with the reason - research the competition, expand into new market, meet distributor face to face, etc) in (you'll also have to pick you preferred location, one that also just happens to sell Brompton's at a more attractive price than Singapore). Just be sure to place you order first and make sure that it has arrived before you depart.
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Old 02-11-14, 10:27 AM   #110
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It sounds like our priorities for a folding bike are the same.

I think it is time for your Dad's company to send you on a business trip to (you'll have to some up with the reason - research the competition, expand into new market, meet distributor face to face, etc) in (you'll also have to pick you preferred location, one that also just happens to sell Brompton's at a more attractive price than Singapore). Just be sure to place you order first and make sure that it has arrived before you depart.
Hmm I certainly agree. Too bad most of our customers tends to be within the Asia Pacific. Opening up new fronts in Europe or US when we are already swarmed with regional orders is not something he would be in favor of.

However, my mother is planning a trip to London in the middle of this year. That could prove a rather interesting turn of events...
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Old 02-11-14, 10:29 AM   #111
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According the the website the Brompton width is 10.6, not 12.0 - my experience confirms the smaller dimension...
Indeed, in my renewed measurements, 10.6" seems to describe the width well. 12" might have been in the situation of twisting the saddle for the airport X-ray channel, where you have a bit of leeway in the width direction, but are barely getting through in the 2 other directions.
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Old 02-11-14, 10:46 AM   #112
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If you could comfortably make 30% more off your wares, you would be stupid to charge 10%.
Why don't you google "how much does a bike mechanic make"? Near fast-food wages are typical. On occasion you will find posts from those running bike businesses and saying that they could finally afford bike parts after they got out.
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Old 02-11-14, 12:13 PM   #113
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Hmm I certainly agree. Too bad most of our customers tends to be within the Asia Pacific. Opening up new fronts in Europe or US when we are already swarmed with regional orders is not something he would be in favor of.

However, my mother is planning a trip to London in the middle of this year. That could prove a rather interesting turn of events...
Problem solved - just don't wait too long to get your order in.

And while you are at it, that sweet little wife of yours will need one too...
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Old 02-11-14, 05:14 PM   #114
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When I look at what's available, every folder that has better parts than the Brompton is selling close to the same price if not more.
When the Mezzo D10 came out,MSRP was like $1100 or so. A comparable Brompton(6spd,fenders/rack) would've been around $1600 at the time. The Mezzo had a 105 drivetrain,which is at least as high of spec,if not higher,than anything on a Brompton. They were an excellent deal,and I'm sorry I sold mine.

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What people are upset is the fact that the Brompton is not full DuraAce for the price they charge.
Actually,I'm upset that for the price they can't use cromo instead of hi-ten. I'm also upset that they just recently figured out that a drive crank with replaceable chainring is a good idea. It would also be nice if they could have brakes that open tool free,and a chain tensioner that stays on the bike when removing the wheel. Brompton came out with this really great folding system,then just sat back and coasted.
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Old 02-11-14, 07:19 PM   #115
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Why don't you google "how much does a bike mechanic make"? Near fast-food wages are typical. On occasion you will find posts from those running bike businesses and saying that they could finally afford bike parts after they got out.
If a bike mechanic makes lousy wages, that is a problem for the industry to figure out. Paying more just means more money goes into the pockets of the owners. The forums are saying most neighbourhood bike shop mechanics are young part-timers or hobbyists anyways. Those are the ones making "fast-food wages", not the highly skilled veterans or professional race mechanics.

And what the heck does that have to do with the manufacturers anyways? Nevermind, don't answer that.

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Old 02-11-14, 09:07 PM   #116
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Problem solved - just don't wait too long to get your order in.

And while you are at it, that sweet little wife of yours will need one too...
I wouldn't mind giving her the Bromptons and I'll stick to my Dahon MU Uno, to which I'm adding the SRAM 2-speed hub. Then I'll have to save up all over again, but it'll be worth it imo

Now that I think about it, a Bromptons would be a sweet Valentine's Day gift for her~

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Old 02-12-14, 10:20 AM   #117
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M6R - Racing Green/Orange - Brooks B17 Men's - Schwalbe Marathons - FCB + T-Bag - standard everything else

Singapore: roughly US$2,600
US: roughly US$2,000
Australia: roughly US$2,260
UK: roughly US$2,040

Damn this sucks.
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Old 02-12-14, 10:46 AM   #118
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M6R - Racing Green/Orange - Brooks B17 Men's - Schwalbe Marathons - FCB + T-Bag - standard everything else

Singapore: roughly US$2,600
US: roughly US$2,000
Australia: roughly US$2,260
UK: roughly US$2,040

Damn this sucks.
Just have your mom pick it up in London.

A thought for you to consider is to keep the standard saddle and save some $ and weight. I know many Brompton owners love their Brooks saddles and I have enjoyed one on a bike in my past, but I am more of a "don't solve a problem until you have a problem" type. Yes they look cool but i have found the stock saddle to work very well. I have done a number of 50 mile+ days, which really isn't what the Brompton is intended for but it made sense in my circumstance - I had no issues with the saddle.

If the primary use for the bike is a 20 or 30 minute ride and hopping on and off buses - the Brooks saddle, in my mind, is not needed. The Standard saddle is quite nice and very light. If I were to change saddles I would go with the much lighter weight Terry Fly Ti for about the same price or less than the Brooks and which I have had good experience - 200+ miles in one day, on another bike. I get the aesthetic appeal of the Brooks but I am more of a function first guy. But, if you find the standard saddle doesn't work for you - then definitely try another seat.

For what it's worth, I took the same approach with grips and am still using the standard grips and have not felt it necessary to get Ergons.
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Old 02-13-14, 10:23 PM   #119
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I'm definitely a function-first guy too. I have never considered the Ergons (never even thought about the grips at all) but the std seat makes good sense.

All up, the bike here in Singapore is about US$2,385 without the Brooks. US$2,520 with (not $2,600 as originally estimated).

Looking at ordering from Oregon and having it shipped over. Shipping itself should cost no more than US$150. The shops there are offering US$2,000 for the exact same specs, with more options (free colored grips, seats, pedals, dynamo hubs, etc).

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Old 02-19-14, 08:56 AM   #120
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It seems I've made a big mistake. After weeks of deliberation, I finally sat down and did up an Excel spreadsheet and discovered the price difference between a Portland Brompton and a Singapore Brompton is more like US$70, after shipping and GST (US$320) are considered.

I could wait for my mother to go over to the UK and bring it back in June/July, but I think she would not have the strength nor the inclination to do so.

Anyways, now it seems I don't have much choice but to pop down to my local dealer, so thanks everyone for your helpful tips and opinions.

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Old 02-19-14, 11:20 AM   #121
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Even flying to the US and bringing it back, in the box, as checked luggage

will be less than shipping as un accompanied air cargo.
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Old 02-19-14, 07:47 PM   #122
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Even flying to the US and bringing it back, in the box, as checked luggage

will be less than shipping as un accompanied air cargo.
That's quite true. I went to California/Nevada in April last year but was blissfully unaware of the Brompton. Otherwise I would definitely have gone up to Portland - we were even thinking of going up to Seattle - to get a sweet, discounted, GST-free ride.

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Old 02-20-14, 01:02 AM   #123
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patent expired. so copying it, is still stealing?
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Old 02-20-14, 03:00 AM   #124
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patent expired. so copying it, is still stealing?
Nope. If that's the case, there wouldn't be any 4-wheel cars on the road other than Ford. Which is why it's puzzling that people are so against competitors 'borrowing' the fold from Bromptons.

After seeing the history of Bromptons, I now have more respect for them. I like that they kept the manufacturing (and jobs) in a first-world country instead of taking the easy way out.

However, if a viable competitor was to arise, I'm doubtful Bromptons could carry on the way they are. It's really a matter of time. It'd be interesting to see how they respond to that.
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Old 02-20-14, 07:12 PM   #125
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Nope. If that's the case, there wouldn't be any 4-wheel cars on the road other than Ford. Which is why it's puzzling that people are so against competitors 'borrowing' the fold from Bromptons.
People that buy Bromptons are not interested in buying a copy. That's why Brompton is still around because prior owners are loyal and will continue to buy more should they need another folder. Brompton is a brand and you're going to pay more just for that. When you have a Brompton, people know you spent alot of money and they respect the quality. More important, there's pride in having the real thing that you'll never get from a copy. If you really can't afford one, there's nothing wrong in getting a less expensive bike. Quite frankly, I would rather buy a bike from a reputable company like Dahon than some clone company making a cheap Brompton.

I don't find it puzzling why competitors don't "borrow" from the Brompton. The ones that did came and went because they did not believe in the product like Andrew R. did. Educated consumers who are going to spend over 1K are going to look at things like aftermarket spare parts and dealer support. The clone companies did not have dealers so they were never going to be anything more than mail order resellers. Bottome line, Brompton clone companies were in it for a quick buck and have now moved on. Dedicated folding bike companies like Dahon, Bike Friday or Birdy have too much pride to copy off someone and I respect that.

In the end, it's up to you but I'll leave you with this. Do you really want to spend over 1K on a clone that says Bompton? No thanks.

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