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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 09-10-17, 06:25 PM   #1
Yurdo
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Brompton vs. Tern Link D8

Hello,

I'm new to this forum and I have a dilemma. Need to decide between a 6-speed Brompton or a Tern, most probably Link D8. I've had this awesome opportunity to test a 6-speed Brommie for 2 months straight and still going – from a friend who's abroad for travel now. I use it daily for a work commute, shopping and short, sometimes even longer trips. I love it mostly for commuting and taking it to shops – it's very convenient. The fold cannot be beaten, that's for sure. I think I appreciate all of the well-known benefits, but there's this one thing that bothers me a lot...

Riding the bike sometimes seems kind of slow, takes a lot of effort to keep going and I often get kind of exhausted and tired riding it. Mind you, I'm not that unfit, quite the opposite! The root of this issue might be this particular Brompton, since my friend is a little rough with it and it wasn't properly taken care of during those 2-3 years he had it. Since I got it, I oiled the chain and cleaned the bike, but I don't know, maybe that chain needs to be replaced altogether? Or something else might be wrong with it?

I use only 1-2 higher gears and sometimes the ride feels like a little cardio exercise than a pleasant journey Yesterday I rode on a nice flat road against a stronger wind a that was a real struggle. It probably would be on any bicycle, but this seemed extreme. It almost felt like if I slowed down just a little, I could walk the bike instead, heh… Could it be that bike itself, or is it because of the small 16-inch wheels?

I probably need to test ride a new Brompton straight from the store, just to see if it’s any better or just get the Tern Link D8. I tried it once and it felt more like a real bike in terms of ride quality. Not sure about the fold though. It takes a lot more space than a Brommie, is more awkward in public transport, magnets can get undone, cannot roll easily etc. Not sure if those “minor” things wouldn't become a big deal after a few days of usage. I’m worried that even if I got the Link D8, I might realize that Brompton is the only way to go for me.

To sum it up – I love everything about the Brompton – the fold, the design is just beautiful, all the accessories, bags, etc. except the ride (?) and the Tern, well, I’m not in love with the bike, it just rides better and is almost half the price – but these things too might be crucial.

Any thoughts to help me decide? Thank you!

Last edited by Yurdo; 09-10-17 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 09-10-17, 06:47 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!

With the Brommie, probably more to do with high gearing than anything wrong with the bike. My M3L is geared way too high for my tastes.

Tern has had rather serious QC problems with frames breaking - see the expanded tern recall thread for details.

If your only complaint on the Brommie is the gearing, it's not a difficult fix - fitting a smaller chainring is probably the easiest solution. If you're near a Brommie dealer, go ahead and test ride a new one, but my suspicion is that it won't be that much different from what you're riding now.
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Old 09-10-17, 07:00 PM   #3
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My new M6L feels fast enough, and this is in comparison to a 650B-wheel ebike I ride most of the time. You really need to ride a new Brompton to see if there's something wrong with the old one; it might be something as simple as lousy old tires.
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Old 09-10-17, 09:09 PM   #4
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Are you limited to those two choices? As bargainguy mentioned, Tern has a poor reputation here (for a good reason, IMO).

Other bike models offer Brompton's compact fold with perhaps better rides, e.g. Dahon Curl, Tyrell Ive, Ahooga Bike.
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Old 09-11-17, 04:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Yurdo View Post
Riding the bike sometimes seems kind of slow, takes a lot of effort to keep going and I often get kind of exhausted and tired riding it.
This is the opposite of my experience. Sounds like there's something up with the bike.
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Old 09-11-17, 05:02 AM   #6
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This is the opposite of my experience. Sounds like there's something up with the bike.
Possibly it's just the tire pressure. On the Brompton Kevelar tire is written "pump up to 100 PSI" and they mean it. Makes a hell of a difference.
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Old 09-11-17, 06:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for your replies.

@bargainguy
Thank you I know about Tern's issues, but it seems they've somehow manage to make it right, or am I misinformed?
Good idea about a smaller chainring, might help!

@Joe Remi
Thanks for letting me know, it really might be just this bike.

@tmesis
Almost forgot about Tyrell Ive. This seems like a really nice option for me. Problem is it's not sold here in Slovakia/Czech Rep. Maybe I'll try it in person when I'm in Berlin. Really like the design and the fold also seems simple enough and compact.

@Odontites
Thanks for info, good to hear that it might be just my friend's bike.

@berlinonaut
Idk, I probably need to pump them again. They are actually Schwalbe Marathon tires – so slower then Brompton's Kevelar, but shouldn't be THAT noticeable, right?
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Old 09-11-17, 07:13 AM   #8
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Maybe a 2 speed Brompton would suit you? This would lose the weight and minor inefficiencies of the hub gearing. You can tailor the Brompton quite a lot to get a bike you will love. However always worth trying other bikes, enjoy the experience of shopping for a bike and see what else might suit you better. There are many other alternatives to the Brompton other than Tern.
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Old 09-11-17, 08:20 AM   #9
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I guess I'm in the minority. My M6L seems to take a bit of effort to maintain momentum. It's tough to go faster than 8-9 mph if there's a stiff headwind. Maybe it's the upright position since the tires are set to 100psi.

I still wouldn't buy a Term. The stories about failures are bad enough. The lack of transparency makes it a non starter.
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Old 09-11-17, 08:35 AM   #10
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New 017 Brompton has a 130 BCD demountable chain ring spider crank . and so if the 44t is too big a gear, you can fit a 130-39t.
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Old 09-11-17, 08:53 AM   #11
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Maybe a 2 speed Brompton would suit you? This would lose the weight and minor inefficiencies of the hub gearing. You can tailor the Brompton quite a lot to get a bike you will love. However always worth trying other bikes, enjoy the experience of shopping for a bike and see what else might suit you better. There are many other alternatives to the Brompton other than Tern.
Well, there are times when I get good use out of lower gears, since it's not all flat where I live. Maybe 3-speed would be better, but not sure if that would make a significant difference in speed and weight though. I'm moving to Prague soon, where I think it can get even more hilly then here in Bratislava. There's a very nice guy selling folding bikes, a Brompton owner too, and he highly recommends 6-speed especially for Prague conditions.

Other than Brompton, I've tried Tern Link D8 and Birdy (Comfort I think?). Birdy was a nice ride, but I'm not really a fan of the fold. Dahon bikes not a fan, I don't like the fold either, since their bikes don't have the N-fold like Terns do, which makes it more inconvenient to fold, imho.
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Old 09-11-17, 09:00 AM   #12
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The think the Brompton does feel slower.... but suggest that you time trial it on some fixed loops with another bike.

FWIW, I started doing some short touring on my '16 M6R with 349x35 Marathons. During my first tour I was convinced I was losing ~15% speed/efficiency to my 700x32 gravel bike. But then I ran a few time trials with a handheld GPS and was surprised to find the difference to actually be half what I originally thought or ~1mph/7%. Then I rigged an equivalent aero drop bar grip position in the bottom of the M bar's 'U,' and knocked the difference in half again to ~0.5mph/3.5%, and calculate ~1/3 of that is unfairly due to the weight difference (ie, I'd need 5lbs of locks for my gravel bike, and it still wouldn't half as safe as as taking my B inside). I figure at end of a 50 mile touring day, ~2% slower on the B would be a ~mile behind my gravel bike, or ~5 mins - that's well worth the folding advantages to me.

Also, with the aero drop position, bar ends, mini toe clips, and suspension block on Brompton, the two bikes are nearly equally comfortable for me to ride (both running 60psi) and I enjoy alternating between them for my exercise loops, even with no intentions to fold.
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Old 09-11-17, 01:17 PM   #13
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Marathons are notoriously sluggish-feeling tires. They're great for commuting slogs where getting a flat would really ruin your morning, but the stock Brompton tires on my new bike feel much zippier than the Marathons on my old M3R. Schwalbe Kojaks are the answer if you really want to get your speed up. You'll notice the difference in weight when lifting it folded, too.
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Old 09-11-17, 01:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yurdo View Post
I'm moving to Prague soon, where I think it can get even more hilly then here in Bratislava. There's a very nice guy selling folding bikes, a Brompton owner too, and he highly recommends 6-speed especially for Prague conditions.
I rode around Prague on a local rented MTB about a month ago and I suspect that the 6 standard Brompton gears will not be enough and on occasions you may be forced to walk.
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Old 09-11-17, 02:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Yurdo View Post
Hello,

I'm new to this forum and I have a dilemma. Need to decide between a 6-speed Brompton or a Tern, most probably Link D8. I've had this awesome opportunity to test a 6-speed Brommie for 2 months straight and still going from a friend who's abroad for travel now. I use it daily for a work commute, shopping and short, sometimes even longer trips. I love it mostly for commuting and taking it to shops it's very convenient. The fold cannot be beaten, that's for sure. I think I appreciate all of the well-known benefits, but there's this one thing that bothers me a lot...

Riding the bike sometimes seems kind of slow, takes a lot of effort to keep going and I often get kind of exhausted and tired riding it. Mind you, I'm not that unfit, quite the opposite! The root of this issue might be this particular Brompton, since my friend is a little rough with it and it wasn't properly taken care of during those 2-3 years he had it. Since I got it, I oiled the chain and cleaned the bike, but I don't know, maybe that chain needs to be replaced altogether? Or something else might be wrong with it?

I use only 1-2 higher gears and sometimes the ride feels like a little cardio exercise than a pleasant journey Yesterday I rode on a nice flat road against a stronger wind a that was a real struggle. It probably would be on any bicycle, but this seemed extreme. It almost felt like if I slowed down just a little, I could walk the bike instead, heh Could it be that bike itself, or is it because of the small 16-inch wheels?

I probably need to test ride a new Brompton straight from the store, just to see if its any better or just get the Tern Link D8. I tried it once and it felt more like a real bike in terms of ride quality. Not sure about the fold though. It takes a lot more space than a Brommie, is more awkward in public transport, magnets can get undone, cannot roll easily etc. Not sure if those minor things wouldn't become a big deal after a few days of usage. Im worried that even if I got the Link D8, I might realize that Brompton is the only way to go for me.

To sum it up I love everything about the Brompton the fold, the design is just beautiful, all the accessories, bags, etc. except the ride (?) and the Tern, well, Im not in love with the bike, it just rides better and is almost half the price but these things too might be crucial.

Any thoughts to help me decide? Thank you!
Hello,

I've tried Tern Verge P20 that has 20 speed with 55-42 crank and 11-36. After couple of hundred km, I've sold it since it was not practical enough to integrate with. After a few more city bike and electric bike, ended up with M3R with 44T. Simple and not quite comfortable under 5% slopes. And of course much more with rider thanks to smaller storage and better rolling when folded.

I would go for B (which I did already ) but it's you who'll call the shot
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Old 09-11-17, 08:59 PM   #16
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I tried my brother's Brompton and did not like the gearing.
The change between gears is too much.
The last gear was too hard on the flats and the lower 3 were too easy.
I ended up riding mostly on one gear (which was not really the right one either, just that it was the better of the 6).
I'd reckon that if the terrain one lives in is more undulating, the gearing range might be more welcome.
So YMMV.

I still prefer deraileurs as they feel to have less drag, compared to an IGH.


The Tern/Dahon fold bikes can be folded up and pushed around rather easily.
Don't rely on the magnets to hold the fold together.
Use a velcro strap and it will be much better.


The IVE is a good option (I settle for one).
Perhaps a Birdy with a rear rack (with castor wheels) is common enough in your area?
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Old 09-12-17, 07:52 AM   #17
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Schwalbe Kojaks are the answer if you really want to get your speed up.
Or Greenspeed Scorchers .. comfortable high volume slick that rolls easily .. I like them on the Brompton ..
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Old 09-12-17, 08:25 AM   #18
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I like the IVE, then Brompton.

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Old 09-12-17, 08:30 AM   #19
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The original post mentioned using the bike for shopping. One thing Bromptons excel at is carrying a lot of stuff. not only does weight in the front basket/pannier improve the handling but it is easy to carry large light items form the saddle/seat post. People have suspended a full pack form the saddle and rested the bottom on a rack. I believe my shopping basket (the cheapest bag from Brompton) holds 27 liters and I have carried abot 25 pounds of groceries in it. Change the gearing, get Ergon grips, go for some lighter tires and you will have a great little beast of burden. Or, keep the marathons and grow stronger.
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Old 09-12-17, 11:46 AM   #20
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Or Greenspeed Scorchers .. comfortable high volume slick that rolls easily .. I like them on the Brompton ..
Where do you get them in the US?
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Old 09-12-17, 11:55 AM   #21
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Can't remember exactly.. probably Hostel Shoppe or one of the other trike shops .. I had a bad one a few years ago and a free replacement came from Greenspeed rep.. still running the Scrorchers today.
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Old 09-12-17, 05:14 PM   #22
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Can't remember exactly.. probably Hostel Shoppe or one of the other trike shops .. I had a bad one a few years ago and a free replacement came from Greenspeed rep.. still running the Scrorchers today.
Thanks
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Old 09-13-17, 02:29 PM   #23
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Well, there are times when I get good use out of lower gears, since it's not all flat where I live. Maybe 3-speed would be better, but not sure if that would make a significant difference in speed and weight though. I'm moving to Prague soon, where I think it can get even more hilly then here in Bratislava. There's a very nice guy selling folding bikes, a Brompton owner too, and he highly recommends 6-speed especially for Prague conditions.

Other than Brompton, I've tried Tern Link D8 and Birdy (Comfort I think?). Birdy was a nice ride, but I'm not really a fan of the fold. Dahon bikes – not a fan, I don't like the fold either, since their bikes don't have the N-fold like Terns do, which makes it more inconvenient to fold, imho.
Fair enough I saw your comment 'I use only 1-2 higher gears' and thought you might get away with a simple 2 gear setup which would mean a lighter and slightly more efficient bike. However since, you have mentioned the move to Prague which by people's comments I'm guessing is a very hilly city.

Last edited by Bonzo Banana; 09-16-17 at 08:05 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 09-22-17, 04:10 PM   #24
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The Brompton is a fantastic bike. The shop I work out sells more Brompton bikes than any other bike. That said, they are pricy. I personally am a huge fan of the Tern Link D7i. Internal gearing, dynamo lights, rack and fenders, adjustable stem. It's got a great set of features at about half the price of a comparably equipped Brompton. It's a really great value. Yet, if I had to choose, I'd go with a Brompton. I'd pick a six speed and maybe just go for battery lights until I was ready to do my own lighting configuration. The options from Brompton don't do it for me. I'd want to use an SP hub and the B&M IQ-X headlight. One downside of the Tern is that you cannot upgrade the headlight, but the one it comes with is pretty good.
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Old 09-23-17, 10:06 AM   #25
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I got some Primo Comets , they're slick , light an lower priced than Kojaks, so I got 4.

My lighting : hub dynamo Schmidt new XS, a straight pull spoked hub with DB spokes..

B&M Eyc T, and toplight Line mounted on the M6L reflector bracked..

Mountain drive 2 speed crankset for 3 lower climbing gears..




....
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