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Old 02-22-18, 06:48 PM   #1
Caliwild
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Brompton - CHPT3 vs. Black Lacquer

Hey gang,

Ok, I'm thinking of getting a Brompton. I'm a road bike nerd and love lightweight machines. But does weight really matter with a Brompton? Anyway, I'm thinking of going with a CHPT3 version (black edition components, cool color scheme, C17 saddle and sweet Schwalbe gum walls). But I'm kind of getting sticker shock ($2600+). I also REALLY like the new black lacquer edition (also has black edition components but is NOT titanium). The black lacquer (steel) is like $1875.

I know it's a personal decision, but just thought I'd get some opinions... Is the CHPT3 version really worth the $800 difference? Is titanium really worth the difference? Do I even need 6 speeds (I live in a somewhat hilly area but not sure I couldn't just get away with a 2 speed with the -18% gearing). Sorry, I'm just thinking out loud. Any guidance would be appreciated... And yes, I want a Brompton and not a Pakit or Tern or anything else. Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-22-18, 07:29 PM   #2
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Have owned roadbikes(Fuji, BMS, Scott, etc.), a raw lacquer Brompton and a titanium/super light Brompton.

Some of your questions will be answered by a test ride or two. 6 vs. 2 speed, lifting both standard & ti models, etc.

Since you have a multi geared bike; I'd suggest to go with a 6 speed. Around US$200 difference when buying new?
If you switch to 2 speed; simple enough - just buy a 2 speed wheel. Going from 2 to 6 will cost a lot more; wheel,
shifter, cable, der., etc. + labor. my first B was a 2012 raw lacquer 6 speed. Got it while on vacation:
Philly by 1nterceptor, on Flickr

I liked it so much; I sold it after 2 months. I figured the only thing better than a Brompton was a lighter one.
Got a 2013 titanium/superlight 6 speed. Can hold it's own. Been known to keep up and pass some roadies:
100 Miles(160 Km.) on a Brompton by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 02-22-18, 08:11 PM   #3
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I have a 1 speed SL, although I sometimes use a 177% ratio 3 speed and occasionally add a 38 T chainring so I am coming from the other end of the Brompton spectrum, so to speak. However, with your roadie background you may enjoy higher gear inches and you will need the wide ratio3 speed used in the 6 speed to get much above 84 or so. I do wish I had sprung for the TI fork and rear triangle since i plan to ride this bike for a while and it would be nice.p
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Old 02-22-18, 09:37 PM   #4
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Wow, I didn't know about the black lacquer, that looks amazing! Personally for my hilly area I'd go for the 6-speed, and I'd rather have the riser bars of the Black Edition bike. That color and bar would be more important to me than the titanium bits. Lighter is better for carrying the bike, but I don't think it's $800 better.
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Old 02-23-18, 01:10 AM   #5
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I have the 2SL 2017 Black Edition.

Lightweight. No need for titanium parts. 2 speed is enough for me since I live in a modest flat area. The gearing is for lack words-a big jump from 1 to 2, but since you’re a strong rider it wouldn’t matter much.

I can’t justify the chpt3 price difference, too much bling in my opinion.
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Old 02-23-18, 02:08 AM   #6
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Since you have a multi geared bike; I'd suggest to go with a 6 speed. Around US$200 difference when buying new?
If you switch to 2 speed; simple enough - just buy a 2 speed wheel. Going from 2 to 6 will cost a lot more; wheel,
shifter, cable, der., etc. + labor.
This probably depends a bit from the country you live in. Here in Germany the last time I checked (a couple of years ago) it was in the end the same price, no matter if you started with the two-speed or with the six-speed. Same in the uk. May however now or in your location be different.

2 speed vs. 6 speed: I've both and use both. Ridingwise I like the 2 speed more as it is lighter, simpler and more fun. But "hilly area" might be a killer. I you are a roadie it probably depends a bit from at which cadences you are used to ride. The 2 speed (stock) is pretty fine for most people - they use it as a single speed with the luxury of a lower gear (but it is not really suited for hills). If you go for the smaller chainwheel your top speed will suffer dramatically apart from if you are riding high cadences and it will still not be a MTB. A bunch of people I know have even changed the stock 54t for a 60t - very good in the flat, but you are quickly lost on a hill. Some added a granny gear to the 60t: a second chainwheel with ~39t (manual shifting with the heel of your foot). Works well and they are happy - problem solved.

6-speed overcompensates the weight advantage of the ti - so this might be worth considering as well. The 2 speed is often unterestimated - it is not only my favorite Brommi but many experienced Brompton riders find themselves in the same boat. Play with the relevations here (prefilled with Brompton gearing options) or - more generic - here and compare them with your existing road bike and the cadences you are used to ride. Give both versions a test ride and you'll probably quickly find your favorite.

Ti vs steel: Again I own both variants and highly favor ti. However: it is a steep price step for "just" ~750g of saved weight. The more as ~90g of this are the result of not delivering a pump. If you can afford it go for it - the price will quickly be forgotten while the weight-saving will last. 2 speed ti vs. 6 speed steel is between 1,5kg and close to 2 kg of difference - that is a lot. Over time possibly you may add bits (like ti-seatpost, bolts etc.) that save even more weight as with a folder weight is more of an issue as you'll carry it more often than a normal bike. And with a Brompton even more, as you'll rather take it with you all the time instead of locking it outside. If you go for steel you'll lock yourself out from these initial easy gain of 750g of savings and will have a hard time to compensate that through other ways and still always be those 750g behind in comparison to if you started with a ti version instead of steel.

CHPT3 vs black raw: Both look amazing. A shame that the black raw is not available in a ti-version. Personally of the two I'd probably go for a 2 speed CHPT3 (if you can live with an S-stem) for the reasons outlined above. Your mileage may vary.

Last edited by berlinonaut; 02-23-18 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 02-23-18, 03:07 AM   #7
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I would stick with the steel, for the reasons stated above. Also, go with the 6 gears, you won't regret it, and consider both the rack and the front bag attachment. They make both touring and local supermarket shopping much easier. Don't bother with the front dynamo lights, modern USB lights are much better.
Agreed with the hint to the front luggage - very important as non-Bromptonauts underestimate it's value dramatically. Not agreed with USB-lights - it is a matter of taste and "better" clearly is just opinion w/o any foundation given. I have Bromptons with battery lights, Shimano Dynamo, classic SON and the semiradial SON and clearly favor the combination SON/Edelux 2 as it is maintenance free, fool proof and gives the best light while not annoying other people in traffic and - other than the Shimano - has no noticable drag, is far lighter and a piece of craftsmanship that lasts forever. But it clearly depends from what the OP uses his bike for. Same goes for blades, rack and 6 speed. Personally I'd not want to have a Brompton w/o blades due to the weather conditons in Germany. I like the rack for it's stabilizing function when rolling the folded bike as well as for carrying stuff and hate it for optics and weight - what's best depends again from your needs. If the OP plans to do loaded touring I'd agree on the six-speed or rather a modified version of it or an alternative hub. If it is fiddling around town(s) it is the two speed and if it is unloaded touring again it depends. I've i.e. been touring in the German alps with a two-speed ti-brommi w/o a rack and with a trailer attached. Worked flawlessly. Or w/o a rack and with a Carradice Camper long flap on the saddle along with a touring bag on the front. Great combination. So it really depends to a degree on what the OP wants to do with his Brompton. Plus, in many cases a Brompton canibalizes an existing bike in the sense that the Brompton gets used far more than intended while the existing bike sits in the corner, eating dust.

From what the OP has offered regarding choice of models and information until now I'd stick with my statement "2-speed ti CHPT3".

Last edited by berlinonaut; 02-23-18 at 03:51 AM.
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Old 02-23-18, 06:39 AM   #8
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If it was me and rode hilly areas a 6spd ti, but since I live in flatlands the 2spd ti is perfect. Ti is key, it's a relatively economical weight savings by roadie standards.
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Old 02-23-18, 06:59 AM   #9
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Ok ... when you buy a Ti Brompton, the rear Ti triangle has no mounting for the pump. But you do get the pump thrown in right?
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Old 02-23-18, 07:53 AM   #10
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Ok ... when you buy a Ti Brompton, the rear Ti triangle has no mounting for the pump. But you do get the pump thrown in right?
Nope.
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Old 02-23-18, 08:28 AM   #11
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But does weight really matter with a Brompton?
Consider, as one would for any folding bike, how often it will be carried up&down stairs, lifted into public transport or the luggage compartment of an automobile, etc.
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Old 02-23-18, 10:46 AM   #12
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I don't think anyone has ever said "my bike is too light". The CHPT is drool worthy imo. Granted, I have a pakiT (and I'm not going to try to talk you into one) but when I bought it I spent money to get it lighter and fixed up the way I wanted, even though it seemed like overkill and a bit unnecessary in some ways. But the fact is, a year or two later, you won't be thinking about the extra money you spent but you WILL be enjoying the benefits of it. Pop for the bike you really want, you won't regret it. $800 may seem like a lot right now but amortized over the life of the bike (including resale value) it's not much and you won't be unhappy with a lighter bike.
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Old 02-23-18, 12:26 PM   #13
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...Ok, I'm thinking of getting a Brompton. I'm a road bike nerd and love lightweight machines. But does weight really matter with a Brompton?...
I wouldn't worry about weight too much, I've loaded every nook and cranny that didn't impact the fold, and she just weighed in at 35lbs on my luggage scale . With the rack and X-roller mod, most of the time I just wheel it in shopping cart mode. Then if you learn how to shoulder carry the bike (water container style), it's still the easiest bike I've ever carried due to its compact/locking fold. I must carry mine 1/4-1/2 mile per day while touring, mostly in/out wild camping spots, but also through multi-modal transport, and once I hike it up a 30 story staircase.

I'd vote for non-ti, 6speed, rack, and P bars. I don't find low bars, or high bars, to be particularly comfortable... rather it's the constant switching between two that is most comfortable - like drop bars on a road bike. The P bars maybe ugly, but function over form and you're riding a circus bike anyways .

Good luck.
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Old 02-23-18, 01:02 PM   #14
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To be fair, your comments about lights are also without any foundation given, and I made no comment about lights other than the Shimano, which for me isn't as bright as the aforementioned USB lighting, plus the lights don't flash, as all the usb I've seen do, though I understand this is banned in Germany.
You have to distinguish between the dynamo and the light(s). While the dynamos provide more or less similar power they are different in terms of price, weight, build quality and drag. The Shimano is cheaper but far worse in every other aspect.
Regarding the lights: The LytB that comes stock with the Shimano lightening is a cheapo - a very low end light that costs about 25€ when bought on the free market and offers way beyond average let alone decent light. You can however exchange it i.e. with the Schmidt Edelux 2 (for a price) and will have very decent light, still using the same dynamo.
The light that comes stock with the SON dynamo from brompton is also a BUM, one that was decent around 2009 when it got invented but is less decent today (but still ok). It costs around the 55€ mark when bought solo and not from Brompton. The SON option from Brompton is however hopelessly overpriced, at least in Germany.
Therefor I bought my SON dynamos wheels solo and not from Brompton - I ended up much cheaper and with far better lights in comparison to the stock option. Still saved about 100€ in comparison to buying from Brompton.
The stock rear light comes from Spanninga (both, battery and dynamo version) and is ok - there is not much difference regarding rear lights (in opposite to the front lights).

Thus saying battery lights are better than dynamo lights just because one component (the front light) of the stock option is uselessy cheap does not seem valid to me. There are a gazillion of options regarding battery lights in all flavors of price and quality - a good hub-dynamo option is just there when you need it, will never run out of battery power, offers very decent light w/o drag and effort, doesn't interfere with the fold, does not need readjustment and you cannot forget it at home. Plus with the SON the weight difference is minimal or even a plus on the side of the dynamo (same amount of light assumed). Therefore for me the hub-dynamo option is way more preferable than battery lights but this clearly depends from one's needs.

Regarding flashing lights: indeed they are illegal in Germany, still they get used. The problem with those is that they are annoying for anybody crossing your way or following you (like another cyclist) plus less secure as they make it massively harder to judge on the distance from you than constant light.

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Getting the six speed from the start does add flexibility, and probably works out cheaper than adding the hub later.
As I wrote above: Typically not, based on Brompton part-prices but it may depend from your location and in this special case from the fact that both are black edition wheels that may cost extra.

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If you do get the rack, also go for the bigger wheels on it, since it makes wheeling the folded Brompton much easier.
The wheels changed in 2016. The actual standard ones are in my opinion even better than the former Eazy wheels. Thus no need to go away from what's provided as a standard.
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Old 02-23-18, 01:06 PM   #15
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I'd vote for non-ti, 6speed, rack, and P bars.
You cannot get this with any of the versions the op put into the ring. No P option for the black edition and CHPT3 only comes as S.
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Old 02-23-18, 01:18 PM   #16
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berlinonaut, I'm not going to waste my time on this. Your original post re lights was as valid as mine was. You've now chosen to move the goalposts, which is in someways an acknowledgement of my point. Let this go. It's boring me, so who knows what other people must think.
I'd assume that other people can speak for themselves. If you get bored you do neither need to read nor post. It seems that you are stuck with your opinion and insist on it, even if it is obviously based on wrong assumptions and you do not even seem to have an interest in enhancing you own situation (i.e. regarding your front lights) as it may endanger your option that already has been written in stone. Your choice and fair enough but stop complaining then.
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Old 02-23-18, 01:41 PM   #17
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I don't know how you guys got wrapped up in a lighting conversation, the OP never mentioned them. Considering he's a roadie looking to go as light as possible on a Brompton that fits his riding style and budget, I assume he'll clip something onto the bars and seatpost if he uses any at all.
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Old 02-23-18, 02:05 PM   #18
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I don't know how you guys got wrapped up in a lighting conversation, the OP never mentioned them.
That was easy - Avole invented the topic and wrote here...

Quote:
Don't bother with the front dynamo lights, modern USB lights are much better.
... which may be the case for him and with his variant but as a general judgement is totally wrong and he wrote is as it would be a general truth.

What he has on his bike is the old halogen lamp that got invented in about 2005 and replaced by the LED Lyt B already back in 2013. The Lyt is not on a different planet but in a different universe as the former halogen lamp - and still one of the most low end LED-lights you can buy today. This is how bad the halogen lamp is and how little it has in common with the actual factory standard from Brompton.


(grabbed from here)

Indeed his light is a nightmare. But how useful is it to give advice to a buyer of a new Brompton and do a total judgement about dynamo lightening based on experiences with the low cost variant only and even an old, several years outdated variant of it that has been replaced on stock bikes already six years ago (and still years too late)? And w/o even mentioning this fact? Let alone that the even the current low-cost factory standard (Shimano with BuM LytB) is way below what is possible today with dynamo-powered lights.

Seems as useful as if you'd say "the fuel economy of a Ford Mustang is traumatic - I know this from experience" to someone thinking about buying a brand new one in 2018 with your experience based on a Mach1 model from 1969.

Avole could dramatically enhance his light by simply exchanging the outdated halogen front light with a modern LED variant for as little as 20€ (or even bring it to current first class standard for ~75€ upwards). Instead he prefers to complain and to insist on his opinion that all dynamo lights are rubbish. Well, everyone to his own taste.

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Considering he's a roadie looking to go as light as possible on a Brompton that fits his riding style and budget, I assume he'll clip something onto the bars and seatpost if he uses any at all.
That's what I'd assume and that's totally fine. However - we don't know and furthermore threads get read by many people, sometimes years later and thus a wrong statement as the one from avole may lead a lot of people in the wrong direction and, even worse, enhance itself as they will say "USB lights are better than dynamo lights, I read it in an expert's forum and nobody was in doubt" and others will listen and so on and so on. That's why I wrote a correction for people to be able to have a better foundation for judgement. Maybe it even helps the OP, too.

Last edited by berlinonaut; 02-23-18 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 02-23-18, 02:28 PM   #19
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You cannot get this with any of the versions the op put into the ring. No P option for the black edition and CHPT3 only comes as S.
Yeah, I know.... I'm suggesting to skip the lipstick on a pig and go for function over form .
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Old 02-23-18, 04:09 PM   #20
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I'm actually with berlino, I don't think the weight saving is worth the premium for the titanium.
Just for the record: Actually I said the opposite. Lightness is important for a folder and especially for a Brompton. The price will quickly be forgotten while the low weight lasts. If you can afford it go for it.
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Old 02-23-18, 04:23 PM   #21
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not my decision as to worth it.. throw more and SEA has more Titanium Aftermarket stuff

Ti Seatposts, a 3 cog cluster to replace the 2, etc etc.








...

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-24-18 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 02-23-18, 05:02 PM   #22
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Schlumpf Brompton variant of their mountain drive crank , on my M3L gives me a 2nd run through of the 3 BSR gears in Low range.
Costs a fortune, adds a fortune to the weight of the Brommi. Possibly not the first choice for someone who thinks about a 2speed ti bike and struggles with the price...
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Old 02-23-18, 05:30 PM   #23
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To each their own , I have taller hills .. It will last a lifetime..

there is a 28 hole hubshell on S-A 4 speed IGH & narrow Axle .. , but its not in a factory option.. that would be a custom wheel

glad to get away from a derailleur drive train which is the 2 speed .. and how their BWR hub gets 6 speeds.

shifting down while stopped is great.. when you hit a stoplight in high gear

I initially bought a Custom made FD adapter-Mount, they are light, adds a bigger difference of gear ranges.. than 1 chainring..

New , gloss Black powdercoat, , will sell uses any Braze on Road FD.. U$D 90..

Run a double crank, without 'Greasy Finger' Shifting it.


..
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Old 02-23-18, 08:03 PM   #24
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...threads get read by many people, sometimes years later and thus a wrong statement as the one from avole may lead a lot of people in the wrong direction and, even worse, enhance itself as they will say "USB lights are better than dynamo lights, I read it in an expert's forum and nobody was in doubt" and others will listen and so on and so on. That's why I wrote a correction for people to be able to have a better foundation for judgement. Maybe it even helps the OP, too.
Yeah, I've heard this "recording for posterity for future generations" excuse for your walls of texts before. Nobody's going to make a lighting decision years from now based on this information because everything you've mentioned will be obsolete. It's all just noise.
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Old 02-25-18, 08:48 PM   #25
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Hi again... OP here...

Thanks for all the advice! OK, so I rode a few of them and think the 6 speeds are pretty darn useful, but I still can't get over the weight penalty of going with a 6 speed vs. a 2 speed. Unfortunately, the only CHPT3 one available is a 6 speed, not a 2-speed. The titanium bikes definitely feel lighter to pick up but honestly I don't notice a difference while riding them. I really love the black lacquer look but the CHPT3 bike is a looker too (maybe too blingy)? If the difference between the black lacquer 6 speed steel bike (black edition) and the CHPT3 was actually $900 due to pricing differences, would you go for it? I'm leaning towards saying no and just going with the black lacquer. Although I'm tempted to just go simple and get a titanium 2 speed (not black edition) so I have something super light weight. So from these, which would you choose?

1. Titanium 2 speed (not black edition) with fenders
2. Steel black lacquer Black edition 6 speed with fenders
3. CHPT3 bike (titanium) with no fenders

Also, I feel like the bike folds and stays put much better with the fenders. Thanks!
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