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Brompton for an upright rider

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Brompton for an upright rider

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Old 03-18-18, 11:59 PM
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smalltalk
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Brompton for an upright rider

I already have a folding bike, a Dahon Mu P8, but have an itch to scratch for a Brompton. I'm considering taking the train to work after 4 years commuting over an hour each way in LA traffic. The Brompton appeals to me because of its smaller fold and ease of rolling when folded. Also I like the assortment of carriers.

So I did a test ride yesterday at Electric Bikes LA. It didn't go very well. I did a test ride there about 3 years or so ago. But this time I have bad chronic neck pain. I had pain during the earlier test ride, but now it's much worse. I can't lean forward much at all. I'm still an avid cyclist, but must ride a very upright bike. My regular bike has a fairing to partially compensate for the extra wind loading. I don't expect to use a fairing on a folding of course. But I do expect reasonable comfort.

I'm 5'10" and have longer legs roughly those of someone at least 6' tall. I extend the seat post on the Brompton almost all the way up minus an inch or so. I tested both the M type and H type. I focused more on the H type because of the more upright riding position I desire. But afterwards I read the H type is slightly more forward. So wonder if I should have also focused on the M type a little more. I even tested with the seat all the way forward

Bottom line: I'd like to make the Brompton work. The bike shop is one of there better dealers. Yet I didn't get the sense they understood how to work with my special needs. I can't help but wonder if there's a work around for someone with my physical limitations.

My other option is to make the Dahon Mu P8 work for me. I find it's ride at least tolerable pain wise and handles much better. I'm over extending the riser higher than Dahon recommends. But it still feels solid enough. I've also read where the Brompton is more often tolerated in stores, restaurants, etc. than larger folders. But that could also be hype.

Any help or ideas will be appreciated!
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Old 03-19-18, 12:27 AM
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Have a look at this Brompton upgrades

The video covers the details.

This shows results and the fold Brompton mods finally complete

Note I had the shorter S stem, so the cables may need to be lengthened further. I used Brompton’s own H cables, but you can make up your own.

I don’t have your problem, but, though in daily use, always found the Brompton a tiring ride as it always felt cramped over any more than 10km. Much better now, but memory says still not as good as the Brompton copy I have in Thailand, which allows much more freedom of adjustment to the saddle and handlebars. However, the fold isn’t as good as the Brompton.

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Old 03-19-18, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by smalltalk View Post
I don't expect to use a fairing on a folding of course. But I do expect reasonable comfort.

I'm 5'10" and have longer legs roughly those of someone at least 6' tall. I extend the seat post on the Brompton almost all the way up minus an inch or so.
Are you using the standard or the extended seat post?


Originally Posted by smalltalk View Post
I tested both the M type and H type. I focused more on the H type because of the more upright riding position I desire. But afterwards I read the H type is slightly more forward. So wonder if I should have also focused on the M type a little more. I even tested with the seat all the way forward
There is an accessory from Brompton to bring the seat even more forward. You could bring the bars a bit back on the H-type. And I would seriously recommend looking at the P-model. Less reach but almost as high as H. And a variety of possible positions.

Originally Posted by smalltalk View Post
I'm over extending the riser higher than Dahon recommends.
This sounds like a very bad idea.

Originally Posted by smalltalk View Post
I've also read where the Brompton is more often tolerated in stores, restaurants, etc. than larger folders. But that could also be hype.
It is not. I take mine with me all the time to all kinds of locations and never ever got thrown out. Do not know how it would have went with a Dahon but do know that space in i.e. restaurants is often limitated, so something bigger than a Brompton would not work (and I would not even try). And when i.e. leaving it at the cloakroom sometimes instead of taking inside with me it helps that with the Brompton the chain is inside the folded package - no danger to make anything greasy and oily. With a Dahon (or most other folders) it would be the other way round.

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Old 03-19-18, 06:30 AM
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You want the H. You can adjust the handlebar angle back a bit.
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Old 03-19-18, 09:33 AM
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I don't know if this would help you. https://www.perennialcycle.com/shopc...-better-s-bar/ You have 2 issues to deal with: reach (since you have long legs and shorter upper body) and KOPS. Rather than pushing the saddle all the way forward with a clip (which may alter your knee to pedal position and potentially cause knee issues) you need to get the bars up and back as much as possible without messing with the fold or the basic geometry of the bike, as that will mess with the handling.

Extended seat post for the legs. Get your knees in the right spot. Then - look for answers to the reach issue. It was suggested to me a while back to consider an Aber Hallo stem adjuster to gain some additional height; you might look at that.

I couldn't make it work but i hope you have better luck!
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Old 03-19-18, 11:29 AM
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Visually from that 4 bar type comparison picture the similar center clamp height of H &S are close, but the hinge on the H,

allows clearance to the ground so M bar wont hit.. if you use the above S+ type set up on an H mast, it will benefit as well from that..
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Old 03-19-18, 04:55 PM
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[IMG][/IMG]I am a lot like you. I have back and neck issues. I ride H type Brompton that I modified. I have the extended seat post to which I added a brompton seat adapter pin that has quick release to allow quick removal. This allows setting the seat closer to the handlebars. I also added a quick release to the handlebars, allowing me to pull the handlebars back a bit which effects the fold. The quick releases allow me to quickly fold and place the bike into the B&W hard case for airline flights. These two mods make for a more upright position. Hopefully I can post a picture that you can enlarge.

Last edited by Schwinnsta; 03-19-18 at 04:58 PM. Reason: picture
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Old 03-20-18, 03:25 AM
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Great suggestions already but if all else fails you could get some chopper handlebars..haha. Actually with the quick release stem idea it could work.
https://www.google.co.th/search?q=bi...HPcwEhBRh3X7M:
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Old 03-20-18, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Visually from that 4 bar type comparison picture the similar center clamp height of H &S are close, but the hinge on the H, allows clearance to the ground so M bar wont hit.. if you use the above S+ type set up on an H mast, it will benefit as well from that..
As already said numerous times whenever you posted this statement: This is no longer true. From 2017 on Brompton changed the M bars to be slightly lower and the masts of M and H to be slightly higher, thus now the H mast is considerably higher than the S, but still M and H stock models have the same height as before. Looking forward to the day when you recognize that and stop posting outdated information...

With an S mast and a riser bar of maximum possible height you end up with about the height of an M Brompton. Does not seem to make much sense for the OP.

Personally I am using the old H mast (2012-2017) in combination with the new M bars (2017-), delivering about the height of the P model (in between M and H) but with more reach. Not what the OP intends.
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Old 03-20-18, 07:26 AM
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Away from the pedantry and back to the OP, I think you may have trouble with any of the Brompton bars, and, even if you fit risers, you still may not be as upright as required. I have fitted risers, but they don't give me much more than the H bars (sorry, don't know whether new or old model, and not as much as my Brompton clone does.

Which is a long way of saying you may need to look elsewhere. The Brompton is a cycling classic, but the shoe doesn't appear to fit, so go out and try other folders until you find one that suits.
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Old 03-20-18, 08:56 AM
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OK How many CM of difference exactly ? berlinonaut .. I like real measurements.. go from the headset upwards to bar center clamp.
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Old 03-20-18, 09:25 AM
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Replying to berlinonaut:

I tried the standard seat post. Again maybe only about an inch less than fully extended.

I'll have to ask the shop about the seat forward extender. I tried tilting the H bars back a little. But the shop did NOT recommend it because of reduced folding. I asked about the P bars, but the sales guy thought I'd be worse off.

About the Dahon riser over-extension. I asked the folks at ThorUSA and it appears I barely over-extended by a half inch as the most, so I lowered it back. I'm looking into the Hallo stem or perhaps different handlebars.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 03-20-18, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I don't know if this would help you. https://www.perennialcycle.com/shopc...-better-s-bar/ You have 2 issues to deal with: reach (since you have long legs and shorter upper body) and KOPS.
I wouldn't say my legs / torso ratio is way off from the norm. I'm guessing about 2 inches from the norm for my height. Also wouldn't the shorter torso offset the longer legs?

Sorry I shouldn't bring the ratio up and then dismiss it, LOL!
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Old 03-20-18, 09:41 AM
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Thanks for the many replies! I see it started a lively discussion. I'm the type who likes to scratch an itch. The problem is I have a garage of itches I've scratched before and I never end up riding them. So I need to sell off my unused bikes.

I really want to think this through before pulling the trigger on another ride. I started a different topic about the new Dahon Curl as an alternative to the Brompton. It looks intriguing. But unless I actually ride one, it's all academic. And then it's also a Dahon, which raises questions about quality.

I come from a recumbent background. My earlier reasons for recumbents were back support, as I also have lower back issues. But as my neck grew worse, I found the recumbents made it harder to turn my torso to look over my shoulders. My current full size bike is the RANS Zenetik. It is a crank forward bike with a very upright position, with the seat tube at 45 degrees, meaning the crank is forward from the seat. It's like the Electra Townie, only the geometry is more exaggerated, and much lighter too. It can NOT be ridden easily in an aero position. And I have a fairing to compensate for the wind load.
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Old 03-20-18, 09:50 AM
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Yea mirrors on your head* are vital on recumbents..

* helmet, glasses, etc..
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Old 03-20-18, 09:50 AM
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Your reach isn't related to your leg length. When you're seated, it's how far you can comfortably bend and reach forward with your arms. If you are "Da Vinci" proportional, then standard bikes should fit you pretty well out of the box. Longer legs typically mean you are going to be sitting further back in the saddle (the higher it goes, the further back it moves - and shifting it way forward so you can reach the bars could create issues with your knee position). So that usually means if your arms are not quite as long, you need a shorter stem or some other means of adjusting the length of your reach. My understanding is that you never want to compromise the vertical - your saddle height is critical and fore-aft follows, then you set up your reach. It is like considering a road bike with the correct stand over height but too long a top tube....you either have to find a way to adjust it properly or get a different bike. And with bike fit, mm make a difference so 2" is no small matter, lol. There are limits to how much you can adjust the reach before it starts to affect steering and get really squirrely.
I'd try to find a shop that can help you figure it out before you buy (if you can). Or maybe buy an Aber Hallo and have a shop pop it on for a test ride. They aren't super expensive and it's better to find out if you can make it work before you buy.
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Old 03-20-18, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
OK How many CM of difference exactly ? berlinonaut .. I like real measurements.. go from the headset upwards to bar center clamp.
Should be about 3cm.



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Old 03-20-18, 11:54 AM
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...and that applies to the M and H bar-mast? do the bars end up at exactly the same height on the finished bike, as before ?
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Old 03-20-18, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by smalltalk View Post
Replying to berlinonaut:

I tried the standard seat post. Again maybe only about an inch less than fully extended.
Hm, hard to tell from remote, but at your size of 178cm this sounds unusual, especially if you say you have long legs. 1 inch is ~2,5 cm. Roughly I'd say the standard seatpost fits people up to 1,80 at most. And this is a bit on the optimistic side. Brompton says:

Standard Ė adequate for those with an inside leg measurement of 32 inches, or 33 inches with a rail saddle.
Again this is a bit optimistic and dependent from the size of your feet as well. At your size I would have assumed that you would have extended the standard post fully or even need the extended one if you have long legs. So possibly your saddle currently might be a bit too low from an ergonomic perspective. Typically for that saddle height the H bars would be far too high, giving you more or less the shape of an (oversized) dutch bike, but w/o the dutch bike bars that face to the rider (thus your problems in reach with the H). If you have the possibility I'd recommend visiting an experienced bike fitter and do a checkup of your riding position - often back problems get worse with too upright riding despite the position feeling better for the rider - you deliver every bump directly into your backbone that way and let the muscles of you back untrained, that with a healty position would compensate those.

Originally Posted by smalltalk View Post
I'll have to ask the shop about the seat forward extender. I tried tilting the H bars back a little. But the shop did NOT recommend it because of reduced folding. I asked about the P bars, but the sales guy thought I'd be worse off.
Not so sure about how competent that shop is. If you pull the bars backwards the fold will get a little wider after a certain point, that's all. If you want to avoid that you can simply replace the bolt on the stem with a quick release to tighten the fold whenever it is necessary.
Regarding the P: It looks a bit awkward, but functionwise you might be better off with it due to less reah, a height in between M and H and multiple grip positions. Chances are that the shop guy maybe never saw them personally as the P is as to my knowledge the worst selling bar-option Brompton offers, mainly due to optics.
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Old 03-20-18, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
...and that applies to the M and H bar-mast? do the bars end up at exactly the same height on the finished bike, as before ?
Yes and yes.
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Old 03-20-18, 12:36 PM
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Useful .. the S+ mod, used a low rise MTB bar, in place of the flat/straight bar.. so starting with the H new mast , and doing that bar substitute

offers a similar fit option.. not as high as leaving the M bar in place..





seat forward adapter is their Saddle Adapter Pin in Brompton speak ...

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Old 03-20-18, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
Should be about 3cm.

Thanks for posting this. So with a 2017 or newer H Brompton I could gain 3 cms is good to know.
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Old 03-20-18, 03:33 PM
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Yes, if .. you fit the prior 2016 M bar on a 2018 H bike's, steering mast, then you will gain the 3cm.
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Old 03-20-18, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Yes, if .. you fit the prior 2016 M bar on a 2018 H bike's, steering mast, then you will gain the 3cm.
....but probably hit the ground when folding. The new H mast it more of interest for people that want a slightly higher S-model. Exchange the stock bar with an S bar and there you are w/o using an aberhallo or something similar.
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Old 03-21-18, 11:39 AM
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I found a white Brompton on Craigslist locally. Sent an email to see if itís still available. Itís white and single speed for $1000.

The seller didnít give any details about which type or itís age. I wonder if itís worth the trouble to upgrade to 6 speeds. Iíve already been told by the LBS, that changing from a type M to H can cost around $500.

So Iím keeping an eye out for a used Brompton. Donít see very many...
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