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Former Brompton owners?

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Former Brompton owners?

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Old 09-18-17, 08:40 AM
  #51  
markokompic
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Originally Posted by desastar View Post
I have tried to understand why so many owners are in love with their Bromptons, and the best reason I can think of is that it is cute and it folds really well. Other than that, its gear ratios are limited and big gaps between gears. Front end feels too light and vague, although you could get used to it. I have a 3 speed and it sits in the cupboard most of the time.
Here are my thoughts:

- It is very good practicality combined with great engineering and reliability.
- I find the handling and ride characteristics really good for such small bike.
- Absolutely that the gear ratios are limited, but I do not need small cadence gaps for commuting.
- It is definitely not a replacement for road bike and not a “do it all” kind of bike.
- I do not find front end too light, but it depends on a bike configuration and fit - handlebar and seat position can be adjusted to fit particular rider.
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Old 09-18-17, 02:56 PM
  #52  
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Urbanescappee - since you are interested in travel with the bikes, I’ll share my thoughts, even though I am not a former owner. My wife and I are avid cyclists and have owned our Bromptons for almost five years. We use them exclusively for travel, which is why we acquired them, and we are extremely pleased.

Others have mentioned the advantages of the quick compact fold and luggage block but I wanted to weigh in on the gearing which works great for us. We have six speeds with the smaller -12% chainring. This gives us a low of about 29 gear inches and a high of about 88 gear inches. With this gearing we can climb any hill we have faced (if we ever encounter a monster we will walk it up, hasn’t happened yet) and maintain a speed of about 24 mph spinning a cadence of 90. Can go faster if we want but on 16” wheels I find 24 mph to be plenty fast. The step between gears is uniform and naturally a bigger step than with bikes with more gearing, meaning your cadence will vary more as you change gears - has not been an issue for us. I often use both shifters simultaneously but most people will do one, then the other, which is fine but up a hill I like the quicker shift.

We have the stock saddle, stock grips, marathon tires, firm suspension and find the ride and position to be comfortable, not an issue for us. No doubt we were ready to get off the bikes after 70 miles through Rioja with portions on the Camino de Santiago but most of our rides when travelling are much shorter. For exploring a city (sometimes adding a quick bus ride, water taxi, what have you) and easily travelling by any mode between towns, the Brompton is without peer.

One other point - we do not have rigid cases but instead use the Brompton soft case. This allows us to roll up the case, strap it on top of the T-bag and ride off. We have supplemented the padding by using an accordion folding egg crate camping pad (Thermarest Z-lite) which folds and stow in the bottom of the soft case. We have travelled multiple times to Europe and throughout the US and Canada and have never had an issue transporting our bikes with this set up.

Can’t understand anyone having trouble with the fold - try it five times and you will have it mastered.
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Old 09-18-17, 03:35 PM
  #53  
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I agree with pretty much all comments. Depending on the sort of riding I'm doing sometimes I really like how it handles and at other times not at all. But it's been reliable and in constant use for 6 years.
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Old 09-19-17, 11:27 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by BooksandBikes View Post
Like most of the bikes I have owned I just had to have a Brompton.

Sold it at a considerable loss with 10 days on eBay.

I did not like the Brompton Black /Cherry or grape color S2 I purchased. Never meshed with the bike.

The pedals kept scratching my leg. Learning curve for fold was frustrating. Just wasn't what I thought. Ride was twitchy and ...meh. I couldn't wait to get rid of it.

I regret selling the Rivendell Quickbeam and the Cannondale Bad Boy. I felt great about selling the Brompton. Really could not stand the S2.

I loved the M6 I rode at the dealer and simply should have bought the used M6. Dealer was selling at same price as new Black S2.

Took it in to a closer bike shop and mechanic changed the brakes position...bike would not fold. Had to drive all the way back to dealer ...


I'm just not tactile and have zero interest in tinkering.

I think the e-Brompton may be worth considering. I need to check out the pricing.

I recently purchased a used Citizen Seoul. It is worse. I can't give it away.
I have a Riv, too, a Clem L with a Bafang mid-drive e-kit.

Yes, you should have popped for the 6-speed. I just bought a Stardust Black M6L and it's perfect. I don't think I would've been happy with flat bars and 2 speeds. Replace that lousy Citizen with a proper Brompton!
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Old 09-20-17, 07:43 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by BooksandBikes View Post

The pedals kept scratching my leg. Learning curve for fold was frustrating. Just wasn't what I thought. Ride was twitchy and ...meh. I couldn't wait to get rid of it.

..... I felt great about selling the Brompton. Really could not stand the S2...

.....I loved the M6 I rode at the dealer and simply should have bought the used M6....
Curious how the M6 solves the issues you mentioned you had with the S2?
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Old 09-20-17, 11:47 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by DoubleDiamonDog View Post
We have six speeds with the smaller -12% chainring. This gives us a low of about 29 gear inches and a high of about 88 gear inches. With this gearing we can climb any hill we have faced (if we ever encounter a monster we will walk it up, hasn’t happened yet) and maintain a speed of about 24 mph spinning a cadence of 90. Can go faster if we want but on 16” wheels I find 24 mph to be plenty fast.
This sounds impressive. I can't imagine averaging over 20mph without a helpful breeze on my Brompton. I guess I need a better engine.
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Old 09-20-17, 12:16 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by residuenyc View Post
This sounds impressive. I can't imagine averaging over 20mph without a helpful breeze on my Brompton. I guess I need a better engine.
I'm not sure "maintain 24mph" is a flat-road average. Maybe David Millar is doing this on his CHPT3 Edition, but that's about it 😬
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Old 09-20-17, 02:27 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by residuenyc View Post
This sounds impressive. I can't imagine averaging over 20mph without a helpful breeze on my Brompton. I guess I need a better engine.
Yes, perhaps "maintain" was not the best choice of words. If we want to cover distance, on flat roads with no wind (is there such a thing?) an average of around 18 mph for an hour plus would be more likely. But for those with a better engine, the gearing would allow 24mph with a cadence of 90. Wind at back or slightly downhill averaging 24mph is very achievable. I have gone over 30 downhill on the Brompton but was not completely comfortable going that fast on it.

The upright position on the Brompton compared to my road bike means I work harder to go the same speed. But usually I am not concerned with getting from A to B as quickly as possible, when traveling.

I guess my main point is that I find the gearing to be plenty high enough and believe it best for the traveller to be more concerned with the low gearing, unless one is a particularly strong rider. The overall gearing range of the 6 speed has worked out extremely well for us.
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Old 09-21-17, 03:32 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by BooksandBikes View Post
I did not like the Brompton Black /Cherry or grape color S2 I purchased. Never meshed with the bike.
It really pays to test ride folding bikes thoroughly. They can be somewhat quirky such that with the entire package, it's hard to tell whether it's what you really want.
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Old 09-22-17, 01:42 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
It really pays to test ride folding bikes thoroughly. They can be somewhat quirky such that with the entire package, it's hard to tell whether it's what you really want.
Must admit I didn't and hadn't ridden a bike for some 25 years. I sat on one in the showroom in a similar spec and I just did some research, ensured I got the best setup for my requirement and condition (ie H bars and telescopic seat, six speed for touring as well as commuting) and have been extremely satisfied. Obviously I'm aware it's a folder so has some compromises although not using any other bikes I really don't see what they are at the moment but you have to buy it for what it is, a nicely engineered take-it-anywhere bike.
Some 6 weeks on and about 140 miles of use, I'm finding I'm pretty nippy on the thing too .


I echo what someone else said about the fold. I don't know how someone could have an issue with it and even hurt themselves doing it. Do it properly, do it slowly , and even then you'll do it in a lot less than a minute. I really cant be bothered to time myself but it's no time at all. Buy the time someone at the office is unlocking their non-folder and putting their lock away, getting setup, I'm already unfolded and ready to go...and of course have had the benefit of keeping mine nice and warm and dry with no risk of damage from an attempted theft because it's been next to me in the office rather in the dodgy open aired underground carr park .


Originally Posted by markokompic View Post
Unfortunately I have not tried two speed one, but I believe that you can make it work if you adjust chainring to your needs. However, you should consider benefits of both solutions - low maintenance of geared hub and one more speed vs lower weight before making a deceison.
Regarding the tire pressure, I do the same - pump to around 100 psi and then leave it to deflate during the week or two.
Schwalbe Kojak with tan walls look great, but I believe they are limited edition only (for chpt3). I run Brampton Kevlar tires on all my bikes, mostly due to perceived puncture protection.
Thanks, I hear you about the low maintenance. I think you're right, a three speed would the better option than two (extra gear & low maintenance albeit for extra weight).

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Old 09-22-17, 05:22 AM
  #61  
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The good points about my old Brompton.

The fold. I could fold or unfold my Brompton in seconds (at least I could when I first got it), and parking it was as simple as kicking the swingarm under the bike, no kickstand was necessary. It folded small enough to keep in the closet in my office.

The comfort. My Brompton had a good position for commuting; nice, and upright, and after adding a Brooks B17 and Ergon bar ends, it was even better. I discarded the stock pedals as soon as I got it home, and swapped on some MKS quick-release pedals, which were lighter, better looking, and worked better with my shoes.

Components. The shifter was plastic, but did the job. I had no trouble working with the 3 speed hub, having ridden "English Racers" when I was a kid. Having such experience, I knew how to make the adjustments to keep the shifter and hub in direct communication. The brakes were the same as the brakes on any other bike, they work and are adjusted the same way.

The bad things about my Brompton.

Serviceability. To do minor repairs you need to carry tools. I am a competent bike mechanic who has worked in a bike shop, and can do any bicycle-related repair or adjustment. I can change a rear flat on a Brompton in 10 or 15 minutes, provided I have a wrench to remove the axle nuts. But for those who are not mechanically-inclined, changing a rear flat is challenging. I can change a tire on a conventional bike with quick-release wheels in 5 minutes with no tools at all. The frame is mild steel, and in the places where the paint gets rubbed or scraped off, it will rust. The contact points between the frame joint and the clamp rusted on my Brompton, causing them to stick, which required a few kicks to open when I wanted to fold the bike. A little grease would keep it working for awhile, but eventually it would stick again, and people walking by would wonder why I was kicking the hell out of my bike.

Weight. Despite their small size, Bromptons are heavy. The frames are durable and sturdy, which is a different way of saying "heavy". The weight somewhat negates the benefit of the small fold.

Gearing. No matter what the flavor, 3 speed or 6 speed, the Brompton does not have the gearing for varying terrain. As a commuter in a flat city, or with rolling hills, the gearing is adequate. For people who live in areas where there are mountains, it is not. My old neighborhood was flat, as was my work commute. My new neighborhood has steep hills, too steep to ride a Brompton without dismounting and pushing. (I can climb, as a racer I climbed the Ventoux in France, and the Angliru in Spain).

Upgradeability. There is a large aftermarket for Bramptons, with a huge number of parts and accessories. Unfortunately, these parts are Brompton-specific, and are expensive. One can indeed upgrade the gearing on a Brompton, but doing so is expensive, and requires a fair amount of skill. Schlumpfs and Rolhoffs can be added, for the same price as buying another new bike, and these add to the already significant weight of a Brompton.

I would not buy another Brompton now. It is not suitable for the local terrain. I could modify one to work, for the cost of two other bikes which I could ride without modifications.

But if I lived in LA, New York, Miami, Paris, or London, I would get a Brompton, it suits the terrain in those places quite well.
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Old 09-22-17, 02:26 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by DoubleDiamonDog View Post
Yes, perhaps "maintain" was not the best choice of words. If we want to cover distance, on flat roads with no wind (is there such a thing?) an average of around 18 mph for an hour plus would be more likely. But for those with a better engine, the gearing would allow 24mph with a cadence of 90. Wind at back or slightly downhill averaging 24mph is very achievable. I have gone over 30 downhill on the Brompton but was not completely comfortable going that fast on it.

The upright position on the Brompton compared to my road bike means I work harder to go the same speed. But usually I am not concerned with getting from A to B as quickly as possible, when traveling.

I guess my main point is that I find the gearing to be plenty high enough and believe it best for the traveller to be more concerned with the low gearing, unless one is a particularly strong rider. The overall gearing range of the 6 speed has worked out extremely well for us.
24mph? Perfect conditions over short distance, possibly. Hit a bit of wind or hill and you are stuffed. Lack of gears to keep spinning. Bike is good to explore cities, 10mph is probably the reality for most.
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Old 09-22-17, 02:51 PM
  #63  
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Me on my 6 speed Brompton:
Here I'm passing a few roadies on carbon wonder bikes; uphill & flat:
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Old 10-07-17, 05:38 PM
  #64  
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I bought my Brompton in 2005 new for $750 and sold last year for $950. Not bad... you don't see too many bikes the value goes up like Brompton. If you have a MK I, last time I saw on ebay some sold it for more than $10K. It is like collectible items now. Right now I have ~15 Brompton bikes.

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Old 10-09-17, 10:28 AM
  #65  
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15, Wouldnt that be Brompton XV?


[ I have a Brompton specific model Schlumpf Mountain drive crank, for this hilly town 3 by 2 speed geared crank..]

like having a 50, 20 crank but the chain stays put.





...

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Old 10-10-17, 02:54 PM
  #66  
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Regarding the person that was complaining about the shifters on the Brompton, it is most likely that this person did not use the Brompton often enough that it did not become second-nature for this person. Sure, it is an odd shifter, but that, for me, was part of the appeal. Then again, it's not for everyone.
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Old 01-13-18, 03:17 PM
  #67  
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To anyone familiar: What is the current Mark designation? In the early 2000s just before the 1" lengthening of the wheelbase? Whole history of the Mks if you know it off hand please.
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Old 01-13-18, 04:36 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by exBromptonite View Post
To anyone familiar: What is the current Mark designation? In the early 2000s just before the 1" lengthening of the wheelbase? Whole history of the Mks if you know it off hand please.
Mk1 1981 - 1984
Mk2 1987 - 2000
Mk3 2000 - 2004
Mk4 2004 - today

Mk4 got the longer wheelbase.
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Old 01-13-18, 05:20 PM
  #69  
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Mk1 sharp hump bend, in frame tube.. the collectable.. black ends red main frame


Mk2 the frame tube smooth bend, 5 speed version, used the 2 cable hub
so fittings for shifting chain, funnel nuts on hubs , and cable roller wheel on both ends..
[used to have a 3 speed , rack & bottle dynamo , black]


Mk3 the 6 speed hub was from Sachs, 13t & 15t ( skipped every 5th tooth) , but 3 spline , 3/23" thick cog,

Mas;
The Brompton Book https://www.amazon.com/Brompton-Bicy.../dp/1901464253




....

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Old 01-13-18, 06:48 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Mk2 the frame tube smooth bend, 5 speed version, used the 2 cable hub
so fittings for shifting chain, funnel nuts on hubs , and cable roller wheel on both ends..
[used to have a 3 speed , rack & bottle dynamo , black]
2 cable hub only until 1993, after that S/A Sprinter with 5 gears, alternatively 3 speed.

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Mk3 the 6 speed hub was from Sachs, 13t & 15t ( skipped every 5th tooth) , but 3 spline , 3/23" thick cog,
3 speed and 5 speed hubs on the MK3 still came from S/A until they went bust in summer 2000, hence 5 speed only available until late 2000. 5 speed had a smaller chainwheel than on the Mk2. 3 speed switched to Sachs in about March 2001 as S/A inventory was gone by then. 6 speed only available from spring 2002. Mk3 had lots of enhancements over the MK2 including brakes, spokes etc.

The lower end basic C model was invented in parallel to the MK3, available until 2007 and made use of cheaper parts, some of them stock left from the Mk2.

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
There's a newer version than that available (though still called 2nd edition) - I'd suggest to go for that one. It covers a little bit more about the last years.
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Old 01-14-18, 10:29 AM
  #71  
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S-A sun race supplies the BSR & BWR, but they are both 3 speeds standard is like the regular AW range,

BWR the gears are wider apart , half stepped by 2 cogs ..

you can get a 5 speed hub, but not on the factory order form list, that is online..

after market wheel? go for it..

[still coping with 1st edition book]





...
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Old 01-14-18, 12:15 PM
  #72  
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Well, from the early MK2 and to a current MK4 pretty much every single part has changed. I'd assume barely any part is identical (if any at all). Possibly the standard (non-telescopic) steel seat posts. There are far more changes than mentioned in the Brompton book.
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Old 01-19-18, 02:20 PM
  #73  
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That is very impressive knowledge, berlinonuat and fietsbob.

Where is the extra 1" located or how was it achieved?

I had a Mk 3 frame apparently. Is the Mk4 a worthwhile upgrade from Mk3 for current and former owners? In other words, does that extra inch makes a noticeable difference in performance such that one should consider another purchase?

Adding to answers so far for the OP, the Mk3 Brompton was acceptable in my opinion for a bike of that nature but not really all that great of a ride experience either. I used it in the city and along parkland trails. In the city it's excellent for convenience, along hardpack and light gravel trails, it seems okay. Not being an expert, I can't offer much more than that general subjective description in terms of ride performance. Of course, you buy a B for the fold foremost.
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Old 01-19-18, 03:55 PM
  #74  
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the main frame tube, on the Mk4 is 60cm long, centers of seat and steering mast tubes..

My Mk 2 I used a SAP , pointed backwards to get my self comfortable, I did not need it with the new frame..

rear wheel, folded under, just touches the back of the front mudguard with the front wheel straight..

the Mk 2 I had to have the wheel turned to the side, for a rear fold.




...
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Old 01-19-18, 04:03 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by exBromptonite View Post
Where is the extra 1" located or how was it achieved?
It was a sideeffect of the new hinge of the mainframe (not something designed on purpose) and is located on the mainframe. You won't notice a difference in handling or riding.

Originally Posted by exBromptonite View Post
I had a Mk 3 frame apparently. Is the Mk4 a worthwhile upgrade from Mk3 for current and former owners? In other words, does that extra inch makes a noticeable difference in performance such that one should consider another purchase?
I would always prefer an MK3 over an MK2 as it has been enhanced massively but not obviously. I'd prefer a MK4 over a MK3 in general for one reason: The new hinge on the main frame. The old frames had some breakages around the hinge and the spare part (front part of the main frame) is no longer available. However: It is only a fraction of bikes that break (but they still do until today) and there's no clear pattern which bikes do or may brake. It may have to do something with load, miles, riding-style, a bad day of the welder in the factory, a batch of tubes at the lower end of acceptable quality or any combination of any of those or other possible root causes. Fact is: No such breakages with the MK4. If a bike with the short wheelbase breaks it is a total loss (though selling it as spares still brings in some cash).

Brompton follows a politics of continuous improvement from the beginning. Each model year there have been some enhancements in parts and quality - since 1988. This makes 30 years of small enhancements since invention of the MK2 and 18 since the MK3. Sometimes obvious ones like hub-dynamos, gear-options or lately the rear carrier, sometimes more subtle ones like higher quality bolts, stronger rims, the front-wheel hook or better roller wheels. Many really make a real difference in daily life as i.e. the 2013 brake-levers or the locking mechanism for the rear frame (standard from 2008 on). Thus the younger a Brompton is the better it is. You can retrofit almost everything to older bikes (backwards compatibility is another core point of Brompton) but this quickly adds up on cost. Therefore it may be worth upgrading some bits of an older bike that you already have but as the prices for used Bromptons are pretty high financially and rationally it makes often more sense to sell the older bike and buy a newer one if you want to upgrade a lot. Buying an old clunker with the intention to upgrade it to today's standards makes no sense at all - you'd end up spending more than a new Brompton costs and still have an old bike and some differences to newer models.

Still an old Brompton is as much fun to ride and there's no real need to upgrade if you already own a MK3 and are happy with it. The things I would recommend upgrading are the brake levers, the rear-frame latch, the roller wheels and - if desired - the hub-dynamo lighting. However: Things like the different handlebars or the two-speed have only been available during the MK4 period (retrofitting is of course possible, but pricey). The length of the frame respectively the slightly longer wheel base does not make a noticable difference.

So if you want to buy a Brompton buy a young one as it is simply the better deal. If you have an old one it depends from your taste and needs if an upgrade is worth it.

Last edited by berlinonaut; 01-20-18 at 03:47 AM.
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