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Old 06-06-17, 07:50 PM   #1
urbanescapee
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Former Brompton owners?

Some back story:
My wife and I have done a bit of traveling in Europe. While we were there we decided to buy a couple folding bikes to give us a bit more freedom and range than just public transit and rental cars would allow. We bought a couple Dahons. Though they were bulky, heavy, and extremely inconvenient on flying days, we are very glad we got them because it really enriched our traveling experience. We sold them before returning to the states to avoid lofty bike fees on the multiple flights it took to get home. Now we have our eyes on traveling again and are looking at Bromptons to take with us because of the considerably more compact form. I've read a lot online about people who love their Bromptons. I'd like to hear now from those who've had Bromptons and got rid of them for one reason or another. Why did you buy a Brompton, and why did you get rid of it? What didn't you like about it (apart from the trade-offs that are a part of owning any folding bike compared to a full sized bike)? Thanks
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Old 06-06-17, 08:02 PM   #2
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Still have my M3L. My take:

Good: Super compact fold, solid incremental engineering, head block for attaching racks that don't interfere with steering, easiest for multimodal commuting as far as taking up the least room, can roll in semi-folded position and use as a shopping cart with the front bag attached.

Bad: Expensive, very limited gearing range, riding position can be wonky for some riders (me included), difficult to remove the rear wheel for flat repairs or tire replacement.

Before you plunk your money down on a Brommie or two, by all means test ride one if you get the chance.
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Old 06-07-17, 07:18 AM   #3
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N+1 !..


I got, fixed up and resold my 90s era Mk2, a friend said 'if you find something else, let me know'

When I did find, a newer Mk4 - M3L, I did and she had changed her mind
so I resold the other one ($600) to someone in Seattle, who in turn resold it locally.

I had purchased a 2 speed crank, for lower gear range, I kept it and installed it on my newer bike..


In the last couple months I got a Bike Friday Tikit, used, its got a Sram 9 speed IGH, closer ratios.
(Orphaned, since Sram is dropping all IGH..)

The Tikit is now replaced in BiFri production, by their PakIt, it like the 20" wheel Touring bikes, has a rear fold

and removable bar and seat masts for packing in a suitcase, (or they sell a back pack for their PakIt, to go in..)

US made so costly like the London England made B, But offered in more than 1 size, and built with customer's component preferences..

Alfine 8 or 11 speed, or derailleurs/hybrid cassette/IGH, etc..


M3L is still here, I got Ergon grips for it ..



....

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Old 06-07-17, 12:52 PM   #4
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Haven't given up on Brompton yet. But when I've decided I wanted another bike; didn't go with Brompton either.

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... PakIt, it like the 20" wheel Touring bikes, has a rear fold

and removable bar and seat masts for packing in a suitcase, (or they sell a back pack for their PakIt, to go in..)

US made so costly like the London England made B, But offered in more than 1 size, and built with customer's component preferences....
This was 1 advantage over Brompton that I read/heard. That you can send your parts to Bike Friday(calipers, hubs, cranks, etc.) and they would install it on your ordered bike. I tried this when I ordered my Pakit; BF said no. But at least BF gives you some options(3 calipers to choose from, 3 crankarms, 2 rims, 3 headsets, etc). Brompton only has 1 offering for all of these and other parts. 8 speed chain Pakit is lighter than a 6 speed titanium Bropton at half the cost.

There is still plenty to like about the Brompton. For what you're planning to do, multi modal transport and travelling - it's great. I've done this to my Brompton many times. Fly/drive/train/bus to my destination, explore, visit restaurants/shops/museums/etc, use local bus/train/ferry.
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Old 06-07-17, 01:12 PM   #5
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Pakit can also be acquired with Belt drive, but you have to ask for that option in the order.

I bought my Tikit from someone who preferred the Brompton, when they had both..

I strapped the rear fold mech , on the Tikit , hyperfold was too eager to fold, otherwise..

just pushing the saddle forward releases the wheel & steering mast..
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Old 06-07-17, 07:59 PM   #6
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I bought a Brompton for my 2 km commute to work. I got the Brompton because I could fold it up and keep it next to my desk in the office. The commute was perfectly flat, and well paved, and for such a route the Brompton is perfect. If the weather turned bad, I could easily fold it up to put in the trunk of a taxi.

On the negative side, there are many hills outside my commuting area, and the very limited gearing of the Brompton means that I have actually had to get off and push the Brompton to the top. The riding position is perfect for commuting, but tiring for longer rides.

When my Brompton was eventually stolen, I did not buy another. I ended up getting a Birdy instead. The fold is a little bigger, but the Birdy is lighter, smoother, faster, offers a good range of gearing, and the driveline is easily upgradable with off-the-shelf parts. What's more, the cockpit is large enough to mimic a full-size road bike, so it is very comfortable for long distance rides.
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Old 06-08-17, 12:56 PM   #7
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My adult son an I own two Bromptons. Use them mainly for leisure and holyday at present. No plans to get rid of them but since you do not get a lot of answers I`ll give my wiew on your problem.

If I was to get rid of the B it would be if I lived in a place (like Copenhagen ) where it is not easy to take the bike with you. Parks, museums and other places can have strict rules for bikes (and I did not have space to store one extra folder), and a heavy fine if you do not obey. Outside the Kronborg Castle in Helsingør a guard told us we could not WALK our bikes (with a lot of luggage on them) down to the picknic area. He told us "If you meet the wrong person (guard) it is a 200 British pound fine for taking the bikes past the bike racks". We decided to split into two groups, one watching bikes one going innside the museum and then swap. Takes a lot of extra time.

Did you look at the 16" Downtube (mini I think it is called) or Dahon Curves? If you buy second hand you may feel better about leaving them locked up outside. I have decided to take a hand painted upgraded folder from the 70`s next time I go to Denmark or Europe but that one is not ideal for flying.

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Old 06-08-17, 03:16 PM   #8
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Anybody want to mention for the 6 speed a shifting pattern that only a dyslexic could appreciate. Also plastic shifters that feel and look like they were made in China in the 1950's. Oh, and did I mention the pedals that are sized to fit ballerina feet, and that weigh half the weight of the bike. Yes you get all that and design that is 20 years old all for the price of $$$. But at least you can fit the bike in a trash can when you have to throw it away because you cant figure out how to remove the rear wheel and its bizzare shifting cable connection when you need to switch out a flat. Sorry Bromton lovers, there are better options for half the price.
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Old 06-08-17, 05:53 PM   #9
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Anybody want to mention for the 6 speed a shifting pattern that only a dyslexic could appreciate. Also plastic shifters that feel and look like they were made in China in the 1950's. Oh, and did I mention the pedals that are sized to fit ballerina feet, and that weigh half the weight of the bike. Yes you get all that and design that is 20 years old all for the price of $$$. But at least you can fit the bike in a trash can when you have to throw it away because you cant figure out how to remove the rear wheel and its bizzare shifting cable connection when you need to switch out a flat. Sorry Bromton lovers, there are better options for half the price.
I'm curious why you hate it so much... Have you actually owned one for a while?
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Old 06-08-17, 05:59 PM   #10
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I had a birdy and replaced it with a Brompton. I didn't tire of the Birdy, on the contrary. However once I had the Brompton the Birdy started gathering dust so eventually I sold it. The arguments of a Brompton not having sufficient gearing range is ill informed IMHO. I never had problems and I found it easy to extend my gearing to 10 speed, while I also have a Schlumpf which further increases the range to a huge range unmatched by most derailer systems. Sure it has limitations but the majority of those limitations are in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 06-08-17, 06:43 PM   #11
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Yes, I owned a 6 speed for about 4 weeks, could not stand the shifting pattern, could have lived with all the other things i complained about. Brompton needs to climb out of the dark ages and update "everything", except the "fold".
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Old 06-08-17, 07:11 PM   #12
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For those that don't understand what I mean about 6 speed shifting pattern, I'm not referring to that there are only six speeds, I'm talking about that to go through all full 6 gears in a logical order, you have to alternate between two plastic shifters, if you don't keep track of what gear you are in, to go the the next logical gear you have to remember what configuration you last left the two shifters in. Really, for this pleasure you want to pay a premium price. I actually converted the 3 speed hub to a 5 speed hub to give me at least 5 logical steps between gears, at the expense of 5 other gears I never used because of their "illogic". Nevertheless the conversion and "the fold"was not enough to want me to keep the bike. A 20 year old design for a premium price is not what I expect of my bike.
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Old 06-08-17, 07:14 PM   #13
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Jur - the Brommie rear dropout spacing is what, 112mm OLD? Aren't many widerange hubs that'll fit in that space without modifying the rear triangle, which I'm loathe to do.

One must take into account the Brommie is pretty expensive already, further modifications to widerange gearing get even more expensive, and as far as I'm concerned, the Schlumpf drive would be in the astronomically expensive category.

On my M3L, the only way I could reasonably get lower gearing at the least cost is to go to a smaller chainring setup. But even then, the gearing would still be much too high for me. I'm a little guy and I like to spin as opposed to mash. We all have different needs out of our bikes. If you find your 10 speeds work for you, great, but not all of us have the same gearing requirements for whatever reasons.

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Old 06-08-17, 07:25 PM   #14
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I have a M3R that I use for multimodal commutes, and I, too, find the gearing absurdly high. I must be doing something wrong, because once I ride it longer than two miles, I begin to fantasize about bigger bikes with better gearing.
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Old 06-08-17, 08:31 PM   #15
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You buy Brompton for the fold, not the ride is how I best describe it to people who ask.

We have owned our Bromptons for five years but they rarely get used.

One of the reasons I bought the bikes was to take small day trips with the car and bikes. Throw them in the back of the car and go to places like Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake (wine country) ride around and then drive home. They fit in the car nicely and the idea is better than the reality. The bikes worked but were not as comfortable as our full sized bikes, so I bought a roof rack and now use our Rivendells for this purpose.

We have yet to take them on any overseas flights because I don't own the hard shell case yet and don't want to take any chances with baggage handlers. My neighbour who owns Bromptons with her husband stopped travellng with the bikes because they were more hassle than it was worth for them. They just rent bikes in the cities they go to. They did offer to lend us their hard shell cases so I am going to take them up on this and try it. If I like it I will purchase cases for us.

I have never fallen in love with my Brompton as much as I want to. The bike is all about compromises, with small wheels, wacky gearing and limited choices for sensible upgrades that don't cost a fortune. Knowing what I do now, I probably wouldn't have bought them. If I didn't need the fold the Moulton would have been a better choice as it was a nicer riding bike. The best thing about the Brompton is the fold. It is the most elegant fold that is so quick, I don't think any other folder can beat this.

I have always wanted to sell both bikes but my wife likes having them around for guests and her occasional ride. I am looking forward to our experiment with the hard shell cases and hopefully the bikes will live up to their potential.
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Old 06-08-17, 09:05 PM   #16
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Blakcloud, I have a hyperfold Tikit, and it's about the same fold/unfold time as my Brommie. Might even be a little faster if I practiced more.

I have my Tikit set up with drop bars and brifters, and while the folded package is nowhere near as compact as the Brommie, it's a world of difference for me as far as usability: drop bars for several hand positions, brifters because I'm used to them, and 8-speed gearing which I don't find limiting in the least like my M3L.
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Old 06-08-17, 10:43 PM   #17
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My wife and I have taken our Bromptons to the US and to Canada several times and each time we appreciated them enormously and rode them everywhere. My wife is no fitness fanatic so she has 5x2 speeds. I have 2 speeds.
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Old 06-09-17, 07:47 AM   #18
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There is a custom frame builder in Glasgow Scotland, who sells Bromptons As Is, or with replacements he makes

tricking it out with different wheels, 135 axle, & 100 front, for Rohloff~disc brake conversions, At a premium price.


I like Bargain guy, added a Tikit to my bikes , though Mine has an IGH , aka 'Season Tikit' .. Sram 9 speed hub, grip shift.

Have their double front pannier rack, , more volume, in the panniers, than my Ortlieb-Brompton 'O'Bag...




.....

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Old 06-09-17, 07:55 AM   #19
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If the sales, world wide, start falling off, then maybe you can present your CV in mechanical engineering
and product development in the Manufacturing sector,
and add your voice internally to the Brompton product development team..

Outside , yelling an opinion from the sidelines, may not be significant influence..








...
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Old 06-09-17, 08:13 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ward00 View Post
For those that don't understand what I mean about 6 speed shifting pattern, I'm not referring to that there are only six speeds, I'm talking about that to go through all full 6 gears in a logical order, you have to alternate between two plastic shifters, if you don't keep track of what gear you are in, to go the the next logical gear you have to remember what configuration you last left the two shifters in. Really, for this pleasure you want to pay a premium price. I actually converted the 3 speed hub to a 5 speed hub to give me at least 5 logical steps between gears, at the expense of 5 other gears I never used because of their "illogic". Nevertheless the conversion and "the fold"was not enough to want me to keep the bike. A 20 year old design for a premium price is not what I expect of my bike.
Probably too young to have any knowlege of half step gearing patterns, on bikes from the 60's, 70's & 80's
5 & 6 speed wide ratio freewheels, wiyh the wider gaps narrowed by the zig zag double lever shift pattern.

So, NB: It's not without precedent ... the 60.s brompton used the S-A 5 speed of the time, it used 2 levers .

they were kind of finicky.. the AW3, is robust and reliable... when the production of the SA 5 speed ceased,

they hired Sachs in Germany to adapt their 3 speed hub with a 2 cog driver,

that began the use of that type of gearing system, incremental changes , while maintaining the narrow width,

that is an important part of the compact folded size.

to do more reading pick up a copy: https://www.nycewheels.com/book-brom...ding-bike.html.


Or Amazon, etc.







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Old 06-09-17, 08:41 AM   #21
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We sold our Brompton and Merc when we moved and they stopped being used.

You get a Brompton because you need a small compact fold and need to carry a bunch of stuff. But it's not a particularly fun bike to ride unless the ergonomics and gearing happen to fit you well or you make a bunch of modifications.

When we moved, the need to carry a bunch of stuff and the tiny fold the bike went away. That is, a bike with a slightly larger fold but much better ergonomics and ride was more than satisfactory. A Brompton is not bad on the metro/subway/bus but it's a relatively heavy bike. On our metro system, I see folks carrying their Bromptons all of the time rather than rolling it while folded.

Anyway, it's a useful bike. We might get another set in the future. But it's worthwhile to test ride and test fold any bike to see if it fits your purpose.

Good luck.
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Old 06-09-17, 11:14 AM   #22
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Also plastic shifters that feel and look like they were made in China in the 1950's.
I understand Bromptons has upgraded the shifters for 2017.


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Old 06-09-17, 11:19 AM   #23
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Blakcloud, I have a hyperfold Tikit, and it's about the same fold/unfold time as my Brommie.
Seriously? You can do this:


with your Brompton? We are unworthy.
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Old 06-09-17, 11:20 AM   #24
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Why did you buy a Brompton, and why did you get rid of it? What didn't you like about it
I did the opposite: I had other folders before the Brompton (Oyama, Tern, Birdy). Obviously, there are better touring bikes than the Brompton with 20" wheels and a more rigid frame, but the reason I tour with a Brompton is that 1) it's good enough to ride 80-120km/day without being an athlete, 2) gear range is enough by adding a double-chainring to the six-speed B*, and 3) sticking a bag in the front on the frame and a second bag on the rear rack.

The B is so compact that I know I will never get stuck. I remember a few occasions where another folder would have been a serious block during trips (eg. having to hitchhike for lack of alternatives.)

It's a compromise: More rigid frame vs. more compact fold.

However, there's a folder that you might want to look at that looks a lot like the B but supposedly rides a bit better and is a bit cheaper: Ori/Mezzo (M10).

* although this means using three shifters; In practice, it's no big a deal

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Old 06-09-17, 11:33 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
The best thing about the Brompton is the fold. It is the most elegant fold that is so quick, I don't think any other folder can beat this.
All bike designs represent compromise; folding bike designs especially so.

Once Mr. Ritchie replaced the Le Petit Bi handlebars with the patented Dahon side-folding handle post (~1981?) IMHO he had what was and remains all these years later the most impressive fold in the business - chapeau! I'm not surprised the basic Brompton layout has been adopted on various models by Beiou, Burke, Chedech, Dahon, Flamingo, KHS, MIT, Neo, Nyfti, Oyama, Pico, Sanye and probably others.

I don't understand why Brompton has clung to those twiddly knobs for forty years instead of moving to latches, though.

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