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Clones?

Old 08-13-23, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Winfried
It the Brompton clones were legit, they'd be sold in the West…

Asian manufacturers know full well they're just copycats… so they stay away from Western markets, where their bikes would be held at customs and destroyed.
As long as they are not trying to pass off their bikes as being Bromptons, then they are legit. Western manufactures are trying to use copyright law to shield themselves from competition. To the extent that we have become corrupt, we let them get away with it, but at the expense of our citizens, whose choices are limited. Anyway, it appears that Igogomi is being sold in the west.
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Old 08-13-23, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Reddleman
The linear size (height plus width plus length) of the Vello at 165cm is surprisingly less than a standard bi-fold 20” wheeled folder - are there other folders with matching wheel size that beat that other than probably a Birdy with larger wheels?
Pacific Cycles claims that the folded size of the Birdy R20 11SP with 20"/ETRTO406 wheels is: 61cm(H) x 33cm(W) x 72cm(L) = 166cm linear.

But the folded sizes announced by manufacturers are just indicative because several adjustments like the saddle and seatpost and options (rear rack for instance) modify this folded size.

Sometimes these folded size are optimistic sometime pessimistic (look at the difference in announced folded size of the Birdy from Pacific Cycles that gives a naked Birdy folded size and Riese & Müller that gives a fully equipped with mudguards folded size with the seatpost turned in the setback position) !
Also with several folding bikes just removing the saddle+seatpost (which is sometime very easy+quick sometime like on the Brompton intentionally quite difficult) reduces significantly the folded size.

So if anybody needs a small linear size, the only solution is to measure its own bike and if needed try to reduce it with some quick dismounting like saddle+seatpost, different (folding or removable) pedals, removing some accessories like mudguards, rear rack...

Last edited by Jipe; 08-13-23 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 08-15-23, 08:10 AM
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Funny thread !
I know 2 people who worked for Rolex :
a swiss mechanical engineer : to sum up what he said, the "heritage" aura of swiss watches is total BS. Whenever a customer brings their grand grand pa's ol'timekeeper, for a repair, they simply swap a new mechanism inside, it's cheaper than repairing cogs.
As my brother, working for SAP, they hired him to study their production line to see if it was possible to gain a few pennies here and there. He spent 6 months in the factory and provided many advices.
In the end they decided not to change anything. Because in fact, the watchmaking is just a niche hobby for the family : they own almost the half of the Geneva aera real estate market.

To end this up : quite sometime ago, here in France one of our idiot ad moguls said "if you don't own your first Rolex before 50, you failed your life". I bought my first and probably last Brompton before 50, as for my watch it's an humble seiko scuba automatic, called "camel-toe" by the cognoscenties...

There's a major cultural gap around the pond :
in many european countries we used to have traditions as opposed to innovation : in France Charvet shirts, Fenestrier shoes, Hermes saddles, not to mention our many small businesses around bicycles : Idéal saddles, Stronglight, Simplex, Mafac ...
Tradition is based on the assumption that by small adjustments, the final product is totally fitted to the use of the customer.
Innovation is another beast : first you erase every historical knowledge, then you try to find new ideas. The result is a regular reinvention of the wheel (in french, it's the wire to cut butter) and at some very special moments there are spikes of extraordinairy innovations. What amazes me is that there are in the history of humanity these major spikes. It's still a puzzle : is it a manifestation of a God, some astrophysical unknowed event, or just plain randomness ?

As for the Brommie : it was a totally brilliant idea, but they stick to tradition in a world where innovation is the major drive for marketing. If only they tried to improve some of the flaws of the design and the quality....
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Old 08-15-23, 11:44 AM
  #79  
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This is Dahon's version of the Brompton and Dahon somehow managed to give it a "Hunchback of Notre Dame" look to it.
Several have commented on the 'unnatural' frame curve.





I wonder if the Curl has a rear shock.


The Curl does not have a rear spring. It is a hardtail. The way Andrew Ritchie design the Brompton rear suspension, the spring is compressed with each pedal stroke. I've noticed that over the last ~15 years the Brompton factory & Brompton riders have moved to progressively stiffer and stiffer springs to mitigate rear squat.

Apparently the Curl has jettisoned the front luggage block to get a narrower fold.
Many Dahons have a carrier block. The caliper brake Curl would have been problematic to fit a carrier block solely because of the design decisions Dahon made with the front brake.

I've posted several times how I safely and stably carry front loads on my Curl, but the presence of a carrier block is a near-religious item for many riders. Now with the disc brake version of the Curl, there's no discernable reason for the design not to incorporate a carrier block. Customers want what they want; why don't you give it to them, Dahon?


Fun fact: The Dahon Curl broke cover back in 2008 (with, quite frankly, originally a more innovative design) and has been available retail in markets around the globe for six years now.

I like my Curl quite a lot, but presently, with Dahon focusing its distribution, sales and marketing efforts in the Yuxi Circle, it's hard to recommend one to riders in Europe or North America.

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Old 08-15-23, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
Brompton, or Andrew Ritchie, was just more original than most.
I've praised Andrew Ritchie's design many times. He looked at the bicycle and inspirationally said 'anything that sticks out needs to fold in'. He then put in years of painstaking prototyping to make that happen.

He was of course inspired by and drew from the Bickerton, Moulton, Le Petit Bi and eventually incorporated Dr. Hon's patented 45º folding handlepost.

Last time I was in London, I went by mecca:

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Old 08-15-23, 12:47 PM
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New to the market (AFAIK) just last month, trifolds with 14" wheels.

Here's the Mint Bob3-14K:



It's sort of a 'meh' with me. Even with 14" wheels, it won't fold any smaller unless the wheelbase/rear triangle is shortened (which Mint did). A short wheelbase bike handles, charitably, 'different'. In the video, it didn't look like it folded any smaller than a bifold Dahon K3, but then that sort of thing is hard to judge by eye off a video. Derailleur gearing & 14" wheels will yield a very low top gear.

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Old 08-15-23, 02:11 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by tcs
The Curl does not have a rear spring. It is a hardtail. The way Andrew Ritchie design the Brompton rear suspension, the spring is compressed with each pedal stroke. I've noticed that over the last ~15 years the Brompton factory & Brompton riders have moved to progressively stiffer and stiffer springs to mitigate rear squat.
.
Can you comment on this difference in ride between the Brompton and the Curl? Is the Curl more harsh due to the lack of suspension and small tires?
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Old 08-15-23, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
New to the market (AFAIK) just last month, trifolds with 14" wheels.

Here's the Mint Bob3-14K:



It's sort of a 'meh' with me. Even with 14" wheels, it won't fold any smaller unless the wheelbase/rear triangle is shortened (which Mint did). A short wheelbase bike handles, charitably, 'different'. In the video, it didn't look like it folded any smaller than a bifold Dahon K3, but then that sort of thing is hard to judge by eye off a video. Derailleur gearing & 14" wheels will yield a very low top gear.
I'm with you on the "meh" part.
14" wheels is a hell of a compromise.
The tire selection must be limited.
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Old 08-15-23, 02:14 PM
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Cute

Looks like a kid's version of the Brompton (or look alikes). Seems like an alternative for an adult who owns a full size tri-fold to get their child on one.

Originally Posted by tcs
New to the market (AFAIK) just last month, trifolds with 14" wheels.

Here's the Mint Bob3-14K:



It's sort of a 'meh' with me. Even with 14" wheels, it won't fold any smaller unless the wheelbase/rear triangle is shortened (which Mint did). A short wheelbase bike handles, charitably, 'different'. In the video, it didn't look like it folded any smaller than a bifold Dahon K3, but then that sort of thing is hard to judge by eye off a video. Derailleur gearing & 14" wheels will yield a very low top gear.
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Old 08-16-23, 08:08 AM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
Can you comment on this difference in ride between the Brompton and the Curl? Is the Curl more harsh due to the lack of suspension and small tires?
I've owned a Curl for a bit now. I rode a rental Brompton on a bike+train tour in Scotland (oh, what fun!).

So, yeah, conventional wisdom says the Brompton, with a rudimentary suspension and a relatively smaller section steel frame and handlepost, rides smoother, and the Dahon, a hardtail with larger section aluminum frame and handlepost, is more efficient. Shrug. Riding the bikes weeks apart on different continents, I have no memory of any meaningful difference along those lines.

I'm more comfortable on my Curl than I was on the Brompton only because I've adjusted the Curl to fit me, and I just got what I could rent with that Brompton. If I owned a Brompton, I could use my favorite saddle and get the handlebar height just right.
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Old 08-16-23, 08:44 AM
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I own a Brompton superlight (steel main frame, titanium fork+rear triangle+titanium seatpost+titanium handlebar) with a Rohloff hub (upgrade done with Kinetics Glasgow) since many years and the Brompton is not a comfortable bike !

As long as the road is smooth, its OK but with a bad road, cobbles... the Brompton is not comfortable at all, even with a partly titanium frame.

I like my Brompton but I also own two Moulton and two Birdy, also small wheels bikes, the comfort (and performances) are a world apart from the one of the Brompton.
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Old 08-16-23, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs
II'm more comfortable on my Curl than I was on the Brompton only because I've adjusted the Curl to fit me, and I just got what I could rent with that Brompton. If I owned a Brompton, I could use my favorite saddle and get the handlebar height just right.
I am musing the possibility of getting the Curl Ei4, which is available in the US. It has a lot I like. I may contact Dahon and see if a test ride is possible. I don't like that a front bag option may be off the table due to its design. It has 48–305 tires as its source of suspension. That may be enough for me. I have never owned a bike with 305 tires.
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Old 08-16-23, 03:37 PM
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If those factory mounted 48x305 tires aren't good (brand-type ?), there are excellent and comfortable 50x305 Schwalbe Big Apple that should fit.
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Old 08-25-23, 01:58 AM
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Hey folks, there is a Birdy (mk2.5-ish) clone on the market since last month. Also branded MINT...

Does anyone knows the IP status of Birdy?



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Old 08-26-23, 08:03 PM
  #90  
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Clones seemingly without end, with a cameo by Will Butler-Adams (& ignore restaurant review from 0:59 to 1:34):

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Old 08-26-23, 08:05 PM
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Aluminum Brompton...rumor.

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Old 08-28-23, 01:02 PM
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The confusion might have something to do with that wretched hive of scum and villiany called "watch collecting."

Counterfeit, replica, knockoff - copies trademarked branding, illegal, bad, could have product rightfully confiscated by customs.
Copy, "homage" - pretty much a design copy, down to some details, but different branding. Legal; owners of the real-deal may think less of those who purchase them.
True homage - has details with a nod to something someone else did in the past, but visually different in any number of details.
"Re-issue" - when a Big Company copies one of their own designs.

Brompton won a copyright case, because some idiot vendor copied their sales copy. Not because they made a bike exactly like a Brompton. Since their patent has expired, they might have recourse over trade dress, if they can convince judge/jury that the shape or mechanism of their fold constitutes essentially a trademark, but they need to have registered that IP in order to make that claim. Design patents offer even less time for protected sale than regular patents, however. And really, they can go after official distributors in the US and Europe, but in most of the rest of the world, including mail order to US/EU, it would be expensive and pretty much tilting at windmills, to argue their case.

There are those who argue that copies are certainly unethical, borderline illegal. OTOH, copies are absolutely legal, and the ethics should be viewed in light of why there are limits on IP.
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Old 08-28-23, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx
Since their patent has expired, they might have recourse over trade dress, if they can convince judge/jury that the shape or mechanism of their fold constitutes essentially a trademark...
As noted in previous posts, they have tried to do this twice...and failed twice, in 2017 (Dahon) and 2019-2023 (Chedech).

The proliferation of Brompton clones out of Asia isn't going to fold up and go away any time soon. There are aluminum frame models, all-titanium models, trifolds with 20" wheels, titanium frame bikes with 20" wheels, and 6-, 7-, 8-, and 9-speed derailleur models. Right now the East is the Wild West of Brompton cloning.

I liked this all-titanium, 7-speed, 16" Leggero:




No promises about it helping you get a date, though.

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Old 08-29-23, 02:43 AM
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What is a pity with many of those clones is that even if the several weak points of the Brompton are very well known, their stupid manufacturers anyway copied everything even those weak points that a single man small factory like Kinetics Glasgow easily solved!

For the titanium frame clones, in most cases, unlike Brompton, their manufacturer just changed the material without doing any re-dimensioning of the frame to take into account the difference in material properties between steel and titanium.

At the end of the day, most clones manufacturers, just like Brompton (with the exception of the new T-line), do not innovate at all.

The only manufacturer who really tried to make the excellent Brompton trifiold concept evolve is Dahon with the Curl but the evolution is a little bit messy with features that appear and disappear from one iteration to the next.
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