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  1. #1
    Senior Member Hermespan's Avatar
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    Brompton copycat refines itself?

    Singapore established retailer (MyBikeShop) offering Flamingo London NX7 (calls it BP-01) as well as MIT V-8. Waiting to hear back from either Taiwan manufacturer and/or Singapore vendor to learn what any *important* differences are.

    Frankly I find all this technical bike talk about as interesting as audiophiles comparing woofers, computer nerds counting RAM and auto fetishists elaborating on I don't know what - carburetors? There is something male competitive that as a momma''s boy and sports non-enthusiast that I just don't get. To me a bicycle is not about status or power. It's just a transportation tool to get me from point A to B as long as it folds up for Air Asia and provides a modicum of serviceability, versatility and comfort.

    Anyway, I don't want to spend hours distinguishing between numbers, just get the colour I want and enough hassle-free (internal) gears to take me from Nepal to the Congo (in a gajillion baby steps). By a quick look at Togoparts it appears that the differences are marginal...

    folding size: 30 cm diff
    weight: 1.2 kilos diff
    brakes: V vs. disk brakes


    Waiting to learn price.

    Togoparts (Aslan bike forum) has lists of manufacturers' models and just to complicate things after two months of this esoteric research it appears that differences can be sleight. The Hoogie-Boogie M17 'Horse' made in Chinese for the Czech market is not the same as the Boogie-Hoogie 'Zebra ' 1912E which is sold only every second Thursday in Macau. Difference? Three screws as far as I can tell.

    All I care about is whether it's within my budget, how accessible parts and service will be, whether it feels right. When I had a banana bike at 12 I wasn't the slightest interested in the metal content of the spokes. Fifty years later not much has changed with me.

    Got a bike that fits in blue?
    Last edited by Hermespan; 04-24-14 at 12:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Winfried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermespan View Post
    Frankly I find all this technical bike talk about as interesting as audiophiles comparing woofers, computer nerds counting RAM and auto fetishists elaborating on I don't know what - carburetors?
    This is a technical forum. What do you expect?

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I just bought the real thing .. 2nd hand .. good luck with your bargain seeking .

    Un technically speaking ..
    the whole Folding bike market place is making a 1 size product .. then You Fit to it . adjusting the various bits.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hermespan's Avatar
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    Appears to be a niche market with (sigh...) wars going on betwern lawyers and engineers to make things exciting. Not only are folding bikes expensive, there is a shortage. The Singapore bike shop has one left of the 'old' model, the Malaysian shop (Foldingbike4u) outside Kuala Lumpur in Petaling Jaya gas to special order it and requires a 50% deposit.

    Thus beta male prefers to buy 'outdated' and seconds products (who needs this year's car or laptop when last year's is almost as good at less than half the price?) Of course the question is *is it* half the price?

  5. #5
    jur
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    The main difference between various models of the same manufacture, of say road bikes, lies in the quality of the parts. Poor quality will have very wide tolerance giving lots of slop, and in general won't last very long or stay adjusted long. If you buy a Wally Mart bike, that is what you get. In ignorance people will wonder why bikes at bike shops are so expensive compared to such klunkers. It is a pleasure to use / ride something of good quality compared to klunkers.

    The same may not be true of folding bikes unfortunately. The majority of what is offered for sale is the cheap and nasty stuff asked at the mass market so only have $1.30 to spend and won't ride it much at all. For you who want to travel from Nepal to the Congo, I would spend some of my money on established quality bike such as Bike Friday. These use widely available parts you could source from almost anywhere in the world.

    You mentioned spokes? If you choose a Wally bike, expect lots of spoke breakages. Too low tension, rubbish fatigue life.

    Of course, you *can* ride between Nepal and Congo on a Wally bike. It may even never break. You probably don't have to worry about theft too much, although in Africa, anything that isn't made of dirt is worth stealing. So not much comfort from a cheapie there. Might as well get some enjoyment out of a quality bike along the way.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    The main difference between various models of the same manufacture, of say road bikes, lies in the quality of the parts. Poor quality will have very wide tolerance giving lots of slop, and in general won't last very long or stay adjusted long. If you buy a Wally Mart bike, that is what you get. In ignorance people will wonder why bikes at bike shops are so expensive compared to such klunkers. It is a pleasure to use / ride something of good quality compared to klunkers.

    The same may not be true of folding bikes unfortunately. The majority of what is offered for sale is the cheap and nasty stuff asked at the mass market so only have $1.30 to spend and won't ride it much at all. For you who want to travel from Nepal to the Congo, I would spend some of my money on established quality bike such as Bike Friday. These use widely available parts you could source from almost anywhere in the world.

    You mentioned spokes? If you choose a Wally bike, expect lots of spoke breakages. Too low tension, rubbish fatigue life.

    Of course, you *can* ride between Nepal and Congo on a Wally bike. It may even never break. You probably don't have to worry about theft too much, although in Africa, anything that isn't made of dirt is worth stealing. So not much comfort from a cheapie there. Might as well get some enjoyment out of a quality bike along the way.
    Apparently the "Wally bike" that is the MIT V8 is still a very good, hardy and versatile piece of equipment. I think why some people are bashing it (in other threads) here is because the manufacturer basically stole much of Brompton's equipment and ideas years ago. And that's fair - theft of industry secrets is a bad thing.

    Unfortunately, that's exactly how many up-and-coming countries had to work. They lacked the creativity and skill-base to design their own cars - such as Japan and later Korea - so they copied Ford and Mercedes and Volkswagen etc (through means both above and below-board I'm sure) while refining their own designs.

    How much better off are consumers for that? Would we all really be better off if we did not have Toyota and Honda now?

    This is what is happening here, and maybe in 10 years we'll see China-designed bikes that rival or even surpass those of the Bromptons WITH THEIR OWN IDEAS. One can hope, I guess.

  7. #7
    jur
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    Actually I meant a Walmart bike (Wally bike).

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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    This is what is happening here, and maybe in 10 years we'll see China-designed bikes that rival or even surpass those of the Bromptons WITH THEIR OWN IDEAS. One can hope, I guess.
    We've seen Brompton clones come and go and many with better parts. The owners were in it to simply make a quick buck and then left. They weren't in it for the long run and have moved onto something else. Good for them.

    There is a China based company that rivals and has surpassed Brompton with their own ideas. The company is called Dahon and I have two of them. However, I still have a Brompton even though the price would have afforded a high end Dahon easily. New technology is only one reason why people are buying folding bikes and it may not even be the most important. Brompton continues to thrive even with a tech product so you have other factors involved.

    Here's one factor. Do you really want to spend lot of money of a bicycle called MIT??

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Reading on the topic awhile, It seems a lot more traffic in copyright infringing products circulating in China and Asia in general ..

    When something is retailing thru shops in the West , there is usually a repair after the sale
    and materials and workmanship warrantee backing .

    IDK if any of the copycat companies stand behind their products, after the sale and once in the consumer's hands.

  10. #10
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    Apparently the "Wally bike" that is the MIT V8 is still a very good, hardy and versatile piece of equipment. I think why some people are bashing it (in other threads) here is because the manufacturer basically stole much of Brompton's equipment and ideas years ago. And that's fair - theft of industry secrets is a bad thing.
    I think calling the MIT V8 "hardy" is still a little premature. Give it a few more years and see how it fares. I have a few econo bikes that are still functional after several years but they certainly involved a lot more regular maintenance and preventive measures to keep them on the road reliably than a higher quality bicycle. For instance econo bikes are usually fitted with non-SS spokes (that tend to rust more readily, aren't as strong as many SS spokes and they tend to stretch and involve more wheel truing) and have cup&cone bearings in the hubs and BB rather than cartridge bearings. Not that it's a bad thing but unless you're mechanically inclined, stick to a more frequent maintenance schedule and are able to source parts fairly cheaply, maintenance costs for an econobike can really start adding up over the years. I think that's were some of us are coming from. The MIT V8 may look similar to a Brompton and have a similar fold but it isn't one. For the most part the Brompton has a very good reputation and is highly regarded, otherwise manufacturers wouldn't try to copy it. But the Brompton's design, which adheres to certain design constraints with both pros and cons (i.e. narrow hubs allow for a tighter fold but aren't as common in the aftermarket), is what defines it and is the reason for it's success. It has a well balanced design that serves a large number of cyclist's needs. Bikes like the MIT V8 try to capitalize on that reputation solely by it's looks and fold principle when, functionally, it's a different animal. People falsely view it with rose tinted glasses as a less expensive Brompton but with more aftermarket options when that isn't the case.
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I had a merc which was a brommie copy and a brommiw at the same time. Only thing inferior on the merc was that the front bag block frame threads needed recutting, and kenda tyres. Both bike have improved since then.
    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.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Reading on the topic awhile, It seems a lot more traffic in copyright infringing products circulating in China and Asia in general ..

    When something is retailing thru shops in the West , there is usually a repair after the sale
    and materials and workmanship warrantee backing .

    IDK if any of the copycat companies stand behind their products, after the sale and once in the consumer's hands.
    Agreed. I'd be pretty sure you wouldn't get the same quality service as Brompton but to be fair, people from Asia do expect A LOT LESS from post-sale service than in western countries. Apparently it's relatively common for people in the US and Australia to return items after trying it for a few days and discovering it is not to their liking. That's not the culture in most Asian countries.

    My wife and I bought some baby clothes from Amazon and discovered they were too tight (despite it being "for 12 months" and our baby being 7.5 mths). We wanted to return it but Amazon just told us to keep the clothes and refunded our money. Everyone we told were quite shocked. And this is in Singapore, a first-world country.

    AFAIK that VERY RARELY happens in Asia. The thought of wrangling with a shop to return items keeps most of us from bothering.

    So rather than liberally apply your mentality to a pretty conservative culture, maybe you guys should start to think globally. What works in America or the UK may not work in other parts of the world.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Always interesting to discover how other parts of the world think , which you typically only learn by going there or reading literature from there ..

    before the WWWeb..

    careful with that chewing gum down there (if rumors are true).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Always interesting to discover how other parts of the world think , which you typically only learn by going there or reading literature from there ..

    before the WWWeb..

    careful with that chewing gum down there (if rumors are true).
    Indeed... it's illegal to import and impossible to buy chewing gum in Singapore UNLESS it's for medical purposes. And to think people are making such a big deal over Marijuana.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    Indeed... it's illegal to import and impossible to buy chewing gum in Singapore UNLESS it's for medical purposes. And to think people are making such a big deal over Marijuana.
    My cousin from Canada was over in Singapore two years ago and didn't realize that and was chewing gum on the underground transit and people where looking at him like a felon! hahahah! he realized that later and never did it again! I think the last thing he wanted to be was calling his parents that he's arrested over in Singapore while "importing" (the one pack in his bag) and using chewing gum!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azreal911 View Post
    My cousin from Canada was over in Singapore two years ago and didn't realize that and was chewing gum on the underground transit and people where looking at him like a felon! hahahah! he realized that later and never did it again! I think the last thing he wanted to be was calling his parents that he's arrested over in Singapore while "importing" (the one pack in his bag) and using chewing gum!
    Haha we do bring in packs of chewing gum from overseas all the time. Hardly a big deal, just not something you'd want to call attention to. As long as it's not copious quantities I doubt the authorities care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    expect A LOT LESS from post-sale service than in western countries

    So rather than liberally apply your mentality to a pretty conservative culture, maybe you guys should start to think globally. What works in America or the UK may not work in other parts of the world.
    What?? Am I missing something? Some experiences from Germany: You cannot open the box with the item you want to buy even when there is no seal of any sort. All you are allowed to do is to pay for the item and take it away. If it turns out not quite the product you wanted, you have no right to return. I.e. all you are allowed to do is to pay for a cat in a bag. (Similar experience in other EU countries.) Car rental experience: I reserve on-line with an on-line price. After I return it, they charge me a substantially higher walk-in price I would have never been interested in. After arguments at the rental place and over the phone they still insist on the walk-in price and this was one of the main rental agencies in Germany. They have a Ministry of Consumer Protection in Germany, but all they apparently do is to issue some empty declarations - there is no office of any sort where I can file a complaint. Locals told me that all I could do is to file a civil suit. Well, I persisted and after a 7th call to company headquarters they refunded my money. US adopting consumer protection from elsewhere? rethinking something? thank you, I will pass.

  18. #18
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    Haha we do bring in packs of chewing gum from overseas all the time. Hardly a big deal, just not something you'd want to call attention to. As long as it's not copious quantities I doubt the authorities care.
    I can understand why Singapore has banned chewing gum. They don't want this:

    (Bugglegum Alley, San Luis Obispo, Califonia)

  19. #19
    jur
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    I heard they banned it because hooligans were putting wads of it on the edges of train sliding doors, preventing them from closing fully and making the trains stalled as a result.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    What?? Am I missing something? Some experiences from Germany: You cannot open the box with the item you want to buy even when there is no seal of any sort. All you are allowed to do is to pay for the item and take it away. If it turns out not quite the product you wanted, you have no right to return. I.e. all you are allowed to do is to pay for a cat in a bag. (Similar experience in other EU countries.) Car rental experience: I reserve on-line with an on-line price. After I return it, they charge me a substantially higher walk-in price I would have never been interested in. After arguments at the rental place and over the phone they still insist on the walk-in price and this was one of the main rental agencies in Germany. They have a Ministry of Consumer Protection in Germany, but all they apparently do is to issue some empty declarations - there is no office of any sort where I can file a complaint. Locals told me that all I could do is to file a civil suit. Well, I persisted and after a 7th call to company headquarters they refunded my money. US adopting consumer protection from elsewhere? rethinking something? thank you, I will pass.
    Am I missing something? Since when did I mention Germany? Your rant is nonsensical and misdirected.

    If I was to nitpick like you, I'd say Japan probably has better service than 95% of Western countries. So learn to read between the lines?

    Germany is known as being a rather uptight country (an ignorant bias perhaps), so it shouldn't be too surprising they tend to be more strict about returns. In Australia, there's stories of people buying inflatable pools, using them over the summer, and returning them for cash when they're done.

    The returns process is also made painless by an established system and culture - no questions asked as long as you provide the necessary documents. That's not the case in most Asian countries - try returning a shirt and they'd casually ask a series of questions like "Didn't it fit you?", "How many times have you worn it?" or just ask you to pick out another item of equivalent value.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    I heard they banned it because hooligans were putting wads of it on the edges of train sliding doors, preventing them from closing fully and making the trains stalled as a result.
    Yes I heard it's something to do with the trains - putting them under the seat I assumed - but this is a better explanation.

  22. #22
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    The Brompton patent expired long ago. Flamingo or anyone else can copy Andrew Ritchie's design so long as they don't infringe the Brommie elements protected by copyright. Thus, Flamingo's bikes now have a visually different maintube (protectable by copyright), even though the function is the same (to protect function, one needs a a patent). The purpose of patents is tech transfer ... after patent expiry. I worked on a Brommie vs. Flammie case in the Low Countries. Brommie's use of copyright was like the choreography in Kill Bill 1 and 2.

  23. #23
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    That's an interesting answer. I honestly hope that satisfies the haters.

    What Flamingo/Neobike did was absolutely wrong in law and principle, but I believe the long-term benefits far outweigh their deceit. I'm sure they did not do it for the 'good of mankind', but Brompton's fold should be studied and improved upon by many more beyond the Brompton team.

    No less than Ford's basic design was perpetuated with elements still in use today. Maybe THAT will be what drives a surge in eco-friendly transport in today's increasingly eco-conscious world.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    I can understand why Singapore has banned chewing gum. They don't want this:

    (Bugglegum Alley, San Luis Obispo, Califonia)
    Heh... that's pretty much it. Uncontrolled use inevitably leads to such BS which benefits no one. In most first world countries, this would pretty much be viewed as a erosion of their rights.

    It can be a slippery slope, to be sure.

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