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Brompton on hard packed dirt/gravel

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Brompton on hard packed dirt/gravel

Old 03-24-24, 08:09 AM
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Brompton on hard packed dirt/gravel

Hello everyone. I was wondering if people could share their experiences and advice about taking a Brompton onto trails of packed dirt/gravel with very few loose rocks and roots. My Brompton is a M6L with standard Brompton tires, and when I bought it I asked if I could take it off road and I asked about one specific trail in the vicinity, and the sales people gave me an unequivocal no to both questions. But I have taken my Brompton on that exact packed dirt/gravel trail that I asked about and I found its performance to be acceptable. One important background fact about me is that I am the sort of cyclist who is 30% into exercise and high performance and 70% into relaxation and communing with scenery. I did notice that the Brompton didn't perform as well as an off-road bicycle, but I had a great time, plus at the end of the bike ride I took my Brompton onto a bus back home, which can't be beat. I of course hosed it down as soon as I got home. I was hoping that others could share their experiences taking a Brompton off road, and don't be afraid to tell me it's a bad idea if that is what you think.

(The trail is the Walkill Valley Rail Trail but lets try not digress into discussions of how wonderful that trail is.)

Thanks.
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Old 03-24-24, 10:17 AM
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I much prefer to ride my Brompton on the road but I have taken it down crushed gravel, hard packed roads. It does okay. Stay away from sand!

All riding was done on the factory tires.
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Old 03-24-24, 04:08 PM
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I also use my Brompton off-road.

It can do it but there are two problems:
- if the trail is rocky with stones and holes, its pretty uncomfortable due to the high pressure and relatively narrow tire + very rigid small diameter wheels. BTW, its also very uncomfortable on bad cobbles.
- soft surface is a no go. Sand off course but also mud.
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Old 03-25-24, 12:19 AM
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If the surface is firm and not too bumpy, it'll work. Smaller and skinnier tires have a poor "cone index", they sink in more on soft surfaces than larger tires, so perform poorly, as others have related.

Be careful hosing off the bike, try to keep concentrated water stream away from the sides of the rear hub, to prevent water intrusion. A local bike shop that specializes in Internal Gear Hubs like the Brompton, recommend additional lube from new, using marine wheel bearing grease for the outer bearings, both as a barrier against water getting in, and keeping liquid gear lube inside. They also recommend an annual teardown and lube, if you ride in rain (or perhaps also frequently hose off), to prevent permanent damage to the hub internals.
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