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Old 02-06-18, 02:20 AM   #26
Bonzo Banana
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I think Brompton's choice of the 3 speed hub is purely for strength and reliability. They are simple hubs that outlast other geared hubs with more gears (maybe not rohloff) and it doesn't even matter which brand you go for it seems, Sturmey, Shimano or Sach's they all seem very reliable. The 6 speed setup means even if the hub shifter cable goes out of adjustment or breaks you still have the derailleur to give 2 gears. I've got a Carrera Subway 8 with premium Nexus 8 hub and while great, a couple gears are noisy and feel less efficient it feels like engineering that is slightly compromised to achieve that number of gears. At the time I remember it was recommended to buy the 8 speed over the 7 speed which had some reliability issues. I don't think you hear about such issues for the Nexus 7 now.

I think Brompton have gone with the 3 speed hub purely to reinforce the quality aspect of the bike, it's strength and reliability even if it slightly compromises the range of gears. It would be nice to see a Rohloff factory option though but the retail price for such a model is probably the reason it hasn't happened.
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Old 02-06-18, 04:10 AM   #27
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I think Brompton have gone with the 3 speed hub purely to reinforce the quality aspect of the bike, it's strength and reliability even if it slightly compromises the range of gears. It would be nice to see a Rohloff factory option though but the retail price for such a model is probably the reason it hasn't happened.
It is simpler than that. The Brompton's rear end has just 112mm OLD. This means that most hubs simply won't fit. Being a child of the 70ies Brompton used 3-speed hubs from the very beginning, later offering 5-speed hubs as well. And being British those came from S/A. When S/A went bust in 2000 they were in trouble. They managed to fit the Sachs 3-speed hub to the Brompton but their 5-speed (called pentasport) was to wide and could not made a fit. Not a big loss in my opinion as this hub is a nightmare of it's own. Lacking alternatives they developed the half-step 6-speed that they still use today - it got invented in 2002, at this time based on a Sachs Torpedo/Spectro hub. Until it was ready Brompton offered Schlumpf drives to enhange the limited spread of the 3-speed hub. Heavy and expensive, but mechanically very sound.
Sachs had a halfstep-kit for it's hubs on the market already back in the 1980ies (I had one of those back then), therefor the hubside was not a big issui. In 2005 they went back to S/A for the 3-speed, the 6-speed remained Sachs (now being SRAM) until the invention of the BWR in 2009 that finally offered gear-spreading equivalent to a modern 8-speed hub.

While Shimano 7-speeds have been fitted to the Brompton as early as the late 90ies this has always been a custom build as it needed spreading the rear frame. Same goes for the Nexus (which indeed is better than the 7-speed and not that much more expensive). Juliane Neuss from Germany offers the fitting of the Nexus commercially and has done several hundred conversions as far as I know. Works reliably but as said before: Fitting is a bit tricky and you have to know what you are doing.

Brompton does not like Shimano (the only japanese part they fit is the Shimano hub dynamo and this is not a very good product - they went for it due to lack of alternatives back in 2010 as a cheaper alternative to the SON). The 1 kg weight penalty through the 8-speed as well as the necessary wider rear frame (spread to ~124mm necessary) are both prohibitive for a factory option from Brompton. The more for the Rohloff which is wider and cannot made slimmer. Over the last years a range of options showed up for those who really want a Rohloff in their Brompton: First was Steve Parry, then there is Ben Cooper/Kinetics with his custom rear frames and lately the guys from Russia (Vostok) made a 135mm rear-traingele out of titanium for the Brompton.

I know people that own a Rohloff Brompton and they love it but - despite living in hilly areas - say it is a bit overdone and not really necessary on a Brompton.

One could also go for the Alfine 11 but again it is a hefty penalty in weight pus massive spreading of the rear frame. Plus it is a Nexus 8 on stereoids with a very short first gear and to additional ones at the top end and unfortunately very prone to exact shifting cable friction and tension - not optimal for a folder like the Brompton. The e-Version exists but is even more expensive.

So in the end it is weight, compatibility, reliability variability and price that lets Brompton step back. I'd assume they possibly tested every single possibility over the years. They could however easily use the S/A SRF5w - basically a more modern version of the Sprinter that they used to fit in the 90ies, basically as robust as the 3-speeds it is based on, and would get rid of the dual-shifter setup by doing so. But as they have their six-speed they do not seem to see the need for that.
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Old 02-06-18, 04:40 AM   #28
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Rhenning, you are probably right. It was my first time riding one and at Performance Bike. They probably didn't pay the bike much attention. My Xootr Swift is great.

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These are my 2 Boardwalks. Both are 2002 bikes and came as 6 speeds. Both are now 7 speeds and the only difference is one bike has 1.75 tires and the other has 1.50 tires. BikeLite if the steering was loose it is 2 minutes of time to adjust the clamps to remove that. The frame has a diamond triangle in front of the bottom of the seat post and the bike carries perfectly balanced if you lift there. My concern is they are a bit heavy to carry up and down stairs. I will try to remember to weigh one but the way they sit they are probably 25+ pounds. Roger
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Old 02-06-18, 04:59 AM   #29
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It is simpler than that. The Brompton's rear end has just 112mm OLD. This means that most hubs simply won't fit. Being a child of the 70ies Brompton used 3-speed hubs from the very beginning, later offering 5-speed hubs as well. And being British those came from S/A. When S/A went bust in 2000 they were in trouble. They managed to fit the Sachs 3-speed hub to the Brompton but their 5-speed (called pentasport) was to wide and could not made a fit. Not a big loss in my opinion as this hub is a nightmare of it's own. Lacking alternatives they developed the half-step 6-speed that they still use today - it got invented in 2002, at this time based on a Sachs Torpedo/Spectro hub. Until it was ready Brompton offered Schlumpf drives to enhange the limited spread of the 3-speed hub. Heavy and expensive, but mechanically very sound.
Sachs had a halfstep-kit for it's hubs on the market already back in the 1980ies (I had one of those back then), therefor the hubside was not a big issui. In 2005 they went back to S/A for the 3-speed, the 6-speed remained Sachs (now being SRAM) until the invention of the BWR in 2009 that finally offered gear-spreading equivalent to a modern 8-speed hub.

While Shimano 7-speeds have been fitted to the Brompton as early as the late 90ies this has always been a custom build as it needed spreading the rear frame. Same goes for the Nexus (which indeed is better than the 7-speed and not that much more expensive). Juliane Neuss from Germany offers the fitting of the Nexus commercially and has done several hundred conversions as far as I know. Works reliably but as said before: Fitting is a bit tricky and you have to know what you are doing.

Brompton does not like Shimano (the only japanese part they fit is the Shimano hub dynamo and this is not a very good product - they went for it due to lack of alternatives back in 2010 as a cheaper alternative to the SON). The 1 kg weight penalty through the 8-speed as well as the necessary wider rear frame (spread to ~124mm necessary) are both prohibitive for a factory option from Brompton. The more for the Rohloff which is wider and cannot made slimmer. Over the last years a range of options showed up for those who really want a Rohloff in their Brompton: First was Steve Parry, then there is Ben Cooper/Kinetics with his custom rear frames and lately the guys from Russia (Vostok) made a 135mm rear-traingele out of titanium for the Brompton.

I know people that own a Rohloff Brompton and they love it but - despite living in hilly areas - say it is a bit overdone and not really necessary on a Brompton.

One could also go for the Alfine 11 but again it is a hefty penalty in weight pus massive spreading of the rear frame. Plus it is a Nexus 8 on stereoids with a very short first gear and to additional ones at the top end and unfortunately very prone to exact shifting cable friction and tension - not optimal for a folder like the Brompton. The e-Version exists but is even more expensive.

So in the end it is weight, compatibility, reliability variability and price that lets Brompton step back. I'd assume they possibly tested every single possibility over the years. They could however easily use the S/A SRF5w - basically a more modern version of the Sprinter that they used to fit in the 90ies, basically as robust as the 3-speeds it is based on, and would get rid of the dual-shifter setup by doing so. But as they have their six-speed they do not seem to see the need for that.
I thought I'd actually read that Brompton used the 3 speed hub because of its reliability but can't find the quote/info now. I guess as that is what they are using now I guess they are going to recommend it but I've seen many comments on forums and elsewhere about the greater reliability of the 3 speed hubs. I guess my last point would be about the frame though. The frames are made in-house and could be adapted for wider hubs if necessary. The third party conversions do they compromise folding or other issues by using such hubs, maybe that is the issue. It amazes me that some of the old SA 3 speed hubs on very ancient bikes are still working well and admit to a bias in favour of them. I was bought up with SA 3 speed hubs, Choppers, Grifters, Twenties and numerous other bikes featuring them. Even when my old Chopper was in a distressed state and much abused the hub gears were still working.
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Old 02-06-18, 05:18 AM   #30
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I thought I'd actually read that Brompton used the 3 speed hub because of its reliability but can't find the quote/info now.
Clearly that is a strong point as well. Those hubs exist for roughly 100 years now, they are simple and robust. And if something goes wrong after 50 years they are easy to repair. And they are pretty efficient - far more than modern 8-speed hubs due to far less mechanical transmission inside. And they are dead cheap. All strong arguments for using them. The only (but massive) downside is the limited range that they offer.


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The frames are made in-house and could be adapted for wider hubs if necessary. The third party conversions do they compromise folding or other issues by using such hubs, maybe that is the issue.
Changing the rear frame would mean loosing backwards compatibility - a strong issue for Brompton. Spreading obviously influences the folded size. With an 8-speed Nexus turning the cranks in folded state can (but will not always) be an issue. Wider rear frames (as for the Rohloff) will influence folded size and possibly not only produce the same issue with the cranks (just worse) but also possibly not work with accessories like the clapton case. It would simply add a level of complexity to the lineup that is not preferrable (gear upgrades would become far more complicated and the necessary level of parts-stock in the factory and bikes at the dealers would go up) and add to weight and folded size - possibly outweighting the advantages of such a solution at least for the factory. The majority of Bromptons is probably used in a way that the current gear-choices are more than sufficient. And weight is always an issue, the more as the Brompton even today is not totally light. The six-speed offers the range of an 8-gear while being cheaper, more efficient, with more tolerance for failure and saving 1 kg of weight. Pretty clever if you ask me...
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Old 02-06-18, 11:54 AM   #31
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Thanks for everyones sugestions I went to my Brompton dealer today I test rode a brompton I didn't really like it so I guess I'm still looking.
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Old 02-06-18, 12:03 PM   #32
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If you tell us what you don't like about the Brompton, we might be able to help you zero in on the folder you want.

I have a Brompton M3L, and here's what I don't like:

--Wonky riding position, for me at least

--Limited gearing and way overgeared (at least for me) in stock configuration

--Fairly heavy

--Narrow rear triangle spacing (112mm OLD) limits internally geared hub choices for upgrades

...so it's not my preferred folder unless I'm doing short multimodal commuting runs where the compact fold trumps everything else, say a crowded train.

I took a stock Bike Friday Tikit, switched from flat bars and trigger shifters to drop bars and brifters. This is my go-to bike when I need a folder that's a lot more comfortable than my Brommie, better gearing, and the folded size is not as much a concern.
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Old 02-06-18, 02:15 PM   #33
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Thanks for everyones sugestions I went to my Brompton dealer today I test rode a brompton I didn't really like it so I guess I'm still looking.
It might take some getting used to. Right after I got my Dahon, I thought I didn't like how it doesn't ride like my big wheel bikes. But after a few times ...it is just fine. It's like my brain has to rewire for small wheels.
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Old 02-06-18, 03:46 PM   #34
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My 1st

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Old 02-06-18, 03:47 PM   #35
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It might take some getting used to. Right after I got my Dahon, I thought I didn't like how it doesn't ride like my big wheel bikes. But after a few times ...it is just fine. It's like my brain has to rewire for small wheels.
If the OP can rent one for a day or two, that would be ideal as a test. But the idea of plunking down big money (for most people) on a bike that doesn't fit or feel good out the door is sub-optimal to say the least. It may never get comfortable (or it might) and that's a lot of money to gamble with. And, at least in my area, there are always tons of bromptons for sale on craigslist so selling one that doesn't work out isn't a given.
Maybe the OP will share with us whether it's the small wheels/steering or the fit or whatever the issues are...
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Old 02-06-18, 07:11 PM   #36
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I found the wheels to small and the riding postion just didn't feel right to me I didn't feel at home on the bike if I was only going to use the bike for 15 to 20 minute rides I could look past it but I want something that if I want to go out for a longer ride I can go and feel comfortable with it.


It also felt kinda cheap witch for the price point of the bike I am surprised at.


I'm looking more at a reguler bikes now I have the room to store one I have a neighbor that carry's his 10 speed road bike steel frame up the stairs all the time he's not allowed to use the elvator when he has his bike with him and we live on the 6th floor.

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Old 02-06-18, 11:32 PM   #37
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I found the wheels to small and the riding postion just didn't feel right to me I didn't feel at home on the bike if I was only going to use the bike for 15 to 20 minute rides I could look past it but I want something that if I want to go out for a longer ride I can go and feel comfortable with it.


It also felt kinda cheap witch for the price point of the bike I am surprised at.


I'm looking more at a reguler bikes now I have the room to store one I have a neighbor that carry's his 10 speed road bike steel frame up the stairs all the time he's not allowed to use the elvator when he has his bike with him and we live on the 6th floor.
If you've got the space and enough cash you can easily get a full size bike sub 20 lbs. My son takes his up 3 full flights every evening, and often he has panniers full of beer on it as well, lol. The riding position on the Brompton has some adjustment but it doesn't fit everyone. Small wheels aren't for everyone, either, although I would suggest you would become more comfortable with time; there's a period of acclimation required. If you ever decide you want to give it another go, see if you can get your hands on a Bike Friday. The riding experience is quite different from the Brompton, many think it is almost identical to a full sized bike. Or a used Xootr Swift. Or a Pacific Reach Birdy.
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Old 02-07-18, 11:56 AM   #38
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I went to another bike store today to look at more bikes and they happened to have a kick bike so I asked about it. It wasn't badly priced at $599.99 + tax as it was on sale was $999.99+ tax I asked if I could give it a test ride and it has a very smooth ride and almost no effert at all to make it move and it handles great in the snow.


It also shimano roller brakes witch I've never had on any bike and they stop way better then v brakes.


I ended up buying it and it is a bit heavy for a very basic design but not to bad I can carry it upstairs
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Old 02-07-18, 02:55 PM   #39
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...


It also shimano roller brakes witch I've never had on any bike and they stop way better then v brakes.
...
Really? I can lock and skid on v-brakes (the good Avid ones)...

The Guru on roller brakes:
Disadvantages? Only Shimano Nexus (internal-gear) and Nexave (cassette) hubs have fittings for Rollerbrakes. Only large Rollerbrakes with large cooling fins have enough heat dissipation for speed control on long downgrades...There have been reports of grease's catching on fire during long descents! Overheating to this degree will require replacement of the brake, and rebuilding of the adjacent hub bearing...Because Rollerbrakes are grease-lubricated like coaster brakes, they add a bit of drag even when not applied.
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Old 02-07-18, 04:26 PM   #40
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I went to another bike store today to look at more bikes and they happened to have a kick bike so I asked about it. It wasn't badly priced at $599.99 + tax as it was on sale was $999.99+ tax I asked if I could give it a test ride and it has a very smooth ride and almost no effert at all to make it move and it handles great in the snow.


It also shimano roller brakes witch I've never had on any bike and they stop way better then v brakes.


I ended up buying it and it is a bit heavy for a very basic design but not to bad I can carry it upstairs
kick bike? Is that one of those large scooter type things where you kick rather than pedal? This sort of thing?

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Old 02-07-18, 05:41 PM   #41
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I went to another bike store today to look at more bikes and they happened to have a kick bike so I asked about it. It wasn't badly priced at $599.99 + tax as it was on sale was $999.99+ tax I asked if I could give it a test ride and it has a very smooth ride and almost no effert at all to make it move and it handles great in the snow.


It also shimano roller brakes witch I've never had on any bike and they stop way better then v brakes.


I ended up buying it and it is a bit heavy for a very basic design but not to bad I can carry it upstairs
What is the make & model of kickbike/scooter?
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Old 02-07-18, 11:15 PM   #42
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Yes it's one of those big wheel scooters bike thing.


The make is Amigo Hondenstep.


I've never had a bike with good V brakes but I've also never spent more then $100 on a bike then I wonder why I need one every year or I take them back in a week cause something broke.


I've had a couple stolen witch I don't understand they were both dirt cheap bikes nothing good about them at all.


I don't think any one would steel a foot bike thats just my opinion I could be very wrong.

It can have a front carry added to it but that was an extra $200.

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Old 02-08-18, 10:40 AM   #43
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Well that's certainly quite a switch from a folding bike . Curious what kind of distances you will be 'riding' it?
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Old 02-08-18, 12:11 PM   #44
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It's a big change from a bike it's just until I can get alittle bit more money saved up then I will get either a Bike friday Pakit witch I like the frame style of or maybe rent a Brompton for a week or to and see if I get used to it and mybe order one if I do like it.


I will be riding it 30-40km one way once my body gets used to it.


It gives the leg muscles a completly different work out then what the bike dose.
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Old 02-08-18, 01:05 PM   #45
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If you're going to cycle that distance regularly, then you'd be much more comfortable on a road bike. Even in the best of circumstances, folding bikes are heavily compromised.
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Old 02-08-18, 01:23 PM   #46
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If you're going to cycle that distance regularly, then you'd be much more comfortable on a road bike. Even in the best of circumstances, folding bikes are heavily compromised.
I don't find this to be the case.
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Old 02-08-18, 01:23 PM   #47
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I will be riding it 30-40km one way once my body gets used to it.
How often do you plan to do that? While the Brompton can be a fairly good touring bike (with the bonus to switch to public transport easily if the weather turns bad or the rider lacks power inexpectedly) and 40km is no challenging distance for riding the Brommi I'd probably not feel comfortable to do this twice a day to get to and from work. With 200+ workdays a year this would add mileage and wear quickly - a small wheeler like the Brommi or the Packit will suffer from rim wear, on the Brompton specifically the hinge of the rear frame has a limited lifetime until it has to be maintained. Not saying this amount of mileage would not be possible but when doing this on a daily basis I'd rather rather target at a quick recumbent or a velomobile.
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Old 02-08-18, 01:47 PM   #48
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I don't find this to be the case.
There's always an exception. Don't get me wrong, I've done a lot of touring on my Brompton and the clone, but it is nowhere near my first choice. In fact, it's only because they're so easy to take on aircraft and trains I take them at all. Mind you, I like speed, comfort, and load carrying ability, which may well be the difference.
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Old 02-08-18, 04:37 PM   #49
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Well that's certainly quite a switch from a folding bike . Curious what kind of distances you will be 'riding' it?
It sure will make quick work of those MTB trails he was talking about. Babyheads, roots, rock gardens, off-camber ruts, piece of cake with a kick bike...
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Old 02-08-18, 04:39 PM   #50
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... Even in the best of circumstances, folding bikes are heavily compromised.
Hyperbole
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