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England Bike Tour 2018, on a Brompton Folder

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England Bike Tour 2018, on a Brompton Folder

Old 06-25-18, 11:15 AM
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England Bike Tour 2018, on a Brompton Folder

Hi All, just returned from my first tour on the new Brompton. Basically it was a complete success and I'm very impressed by the capabilities of the bike. This was "credit card" touring, no camping or cooking.

Route: England, Chester to Worcester, through the Shropshire Hills. Short train transfer, then 3 day loop through the Cotswalds. About 50% on Sustrans national cycling routes.
Typical day: 38 miles
Longest day: 64 miles

Bike: Brompton M6L.
Mods: 39t chainring. Left (folding) pedal drilled and right pedal replaced for toe clips.
Luggage: Brompton T-bag
Lock: Kryptonite Evolution 7 with cable.
(also posted this in folding bikes forum, but I think it makes sense here too)








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Old 06-28-18, 04:27 AM
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very nice. I haven't been tempted yet to try a light tour on my Brompton. Although it is only a M3L so I would be walking most hills.
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Old 06-28-18, 06:42 AM
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I have a Dahon Smooth Hound with moustachio bars. I must say I find it hard to ride anything more than 10km or so compared to my LHT. You must be fit!
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Old 06-28-18, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by waddo
I have a Dahon Smooth Hound with moustachio bars. I must say I find it hard to ride anything more than 10km or so compared to my LHT. You must be fit!
A Dahon Smooth Hound should be at least as capable for CC Touring as a Brompton. You can gear it wider, it runs more plush 406 wheels with a lot more tire selection, it has no flex due to its design, etc. I've done hundreds of km in a similar Dahon Dash.
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Old 06-28-18, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by waddo
I have a Dahon Smooth Hound with moustachio bars. I must say I find it hard to ride anything more than 10km or so compared to my LHT. You must be fit!
Im reasonably fit but certainly not fast. In fact my pace was rather slow. The Dahon looks like a very capable bike.

Last edited by dgodave; 06-29-18 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 06-29-18, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo
I have a Dahon Smooth Hound with moustachio bars. I must say I find it hard to ride anything more than 10km or so compared to my LHT. You must be fit!
Curious what you find so 'inefficient' about it? IME (although admittedly, I'm no roadie/racer) small-wheeled folders are only marginally less efficient / comfortable that equiv. tire full-sized bikes on decent asphalt. I have an ~equally priced/tire-width gravel bike and Brompton and when I'm in shape enough to run my 15mile exercise loop at a 15mph moving avg, I can do 14.5mph on the Brompton, or ~3% slower/less efficient. Easiest/best mod being an equivalent drop aero position on my Brompton M bars, which also slows the quick steering and provides different riding positions for comfort. The suspension offsets the harshness of the small wheels so that I'm basically indifferent to riding either bike for exercise rides (i.e., no folding).

Biggest limitations for me are rough road/off-road riding and mountainous terrain (gearing and brakes), but it's worth it (for me) for the small folded/rolling options it has. Course, IMHO and YMMV and all.

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Old 07-06-18, 06:00 AM
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Maybe it's just me. The small wheels seem to make everything slightly unpleasant and hard work. I have a feeling people try to convince themselves that these kinds of bikes are good.
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Old 07-06-18, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo
Maybe it's just me. The small wheels seem to make everything slightly unpleasant and hard work. I have a feeling people try to convince themselves that these kinds of bikes are good.
Your feelings are misguided. I think it's you or the state of the bike. Quit making excuses for your own failings. Here's a Dahon Dash on tour across Taiwan. Nothing unpleasant about or hard work due to the bike. Good grief.
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Old 07-06-18, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo
Maybe it's just me. The small wheels seem to make everything slightly unpleasant and hard work. I have a feeling people try to convince themselves that these kinds of bikes are good.
Even if it is just you, its still valid if that's been your experience.

My experience was that the little folder was not just incredibly convenient but also quite fun to ride. Maybe I was just playing mind games and "convincing myself". But I dont think I could keep that up for like 10 days of riding.

EDIT: by far the biggest performance disadvantage compared to my "regular" bikes is the lack of SPD pedals.

Last edited by dgodave; 07-06-18 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 07-06-18, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave
...
EDIT: by far the biggest performance disadvantage compared to my "regular" bikes is the lack of SPD pedals.
Why can you not install clip pedals?
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Old 07-06-18, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra
Why can you not install clip pedals?
Oh I certainly could have. But I made a choice to ride in regular walking shoes, and use toe clips. As you know, this is a touring issue, not a folding bike issue.

I probably could have found some good SPD walking shoes.... but I literally ran out of time to plan properly. Heck I didnt even know what city I would start in until like 2 days before flying to LHR.
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Old 07-06-18, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave
Oh I certainly could have. But I made a choice to ride in regular walking shoes, and use toe clips. As you know, this is a touring issue, not a folding bike issue.
Ok, got it.
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Old 07-06-18, 07:44 AM
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Here's a few more pics:
Now this was quite convenient. I think I locked it to the rack after taking this pic.

There was beer.


Some of the most beautiful riding I've ever done was on this trip.
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Old 07-06-18, 08:48 AM
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I wish I had the guts to pull the trigger on a good folding bike for touring. I think I'm averse to the idea because the one folder I have is a junky old Tomos 20" single-speed that I bought for $5 at a garage sale. It really rides horribly and I can't imagine taking it around the block, let alone out of state. I know a few people who tour on Bromptons and Dahons, though, and they have almost convinced me that my doubts and fears are misguided.

If I were to buy a folder and ship it over the pond from here in New York, my first ride would be to Liverpool.
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Old 07-06-18, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom
I wish I had the guts to pull the trigger on a good folding bike for touring. I think I'm averse to the idea because the one folder I have is a junky old Tomos 20" single-speed that I bought for $5 at a garage sale. It really rides horribly and I can't imagine taking it around the block, let alone out of state. I know a few people who tour on Bromptons and Dahons, though, and they have almost convinced me that my doubts and fears are misguided.

If I were to buy a folder and ship it over the pond from here in New York, my first ride would be to Liverpool.
Well a Brompton does ride differently than a full size bike. You really must get a couple good test rides on any folding bike before buying. I dont think it should require so much guts.
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Old 07-06-18, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave
Well a Brompton does ride differently than a full size bike. You really must get a couple good test rides on any folding bike before buying. I dont think it should require so much guts.
The "guts" part is more about spending the money than attempting to tour on one. I am always put off by the price of "real" folders because they never look that much better than the ones advertised for $199. I am also a guy who is riding a 1996 GT Outpost that cost $300 back then, so the thought of spending more than that on ANY bike doesn't ever sit well with me!
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Old 07-06-18, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom
The "guts" part is more about spending the money than attempting to tour on one. I am always put off by the price of "real" folders because they never look that much better than the ones advertised for $199. I am also a guy who is riding a 1996 GT Outpost that cost $300 back then, so the thought of spending more than that on ANY bike doesn't ever sit well with me!
Nice. I'm all for cheaping out. Old rigid mtbs make excellent bikes for just about everything except actual mtb'ing (in which case they often handle poorly and beat the hell out of you, imo).

My main reason for touring on a folder is so I can take it on buses, trains, etc, and jump around from here to there on a whim. In England you had to reserve ahead for a bike space on a train, unless its a folder in which case you just put it on the luggage rack.
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Old 07-06-18, 02:24 PM
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I started a thread about folders a while back when I was thinking about getting one for exactly those reasons. There are certain rides I'd like to do within the NY region that I'd need to get to by either car or train first. A folder would free me up to use a service here in the states called AMTRAK, which allows bikes, but not always "walk-ons" unless they are folders. I almost bought an inexpensive folder just for these trips, but people talked me out of it.

Anyway, I don't want to hijack this thread about touring in England. Back on topic...
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Old 07-06-18, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave
Here's a few more pics:
Now this was quite convenient. I think I locked it to the rack after taking this pic.
...
Plenty of space in that luggage rack/area. Don't truly need a bike that folds as small as a Brompton, do you?
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Old 07-06-18, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra
Plenty of space in that luggage rack/area. Don't truly need a bike that folds as small as a Brompton, do you?
Not in that rack. But on other trains space was tighter. Then there was fitting it in checked luggage, under pub tables, etc. For me smaller is better so long as the cycling functionality feels good.
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Old 07-06-18, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave
Not in that rack. But on other trains space was tighter. Then there was fitting it in checked luggage, under pub tables, etc. For me smaller is better so long as the cycling functionality feels good.
You folks in the West have it tough. We here in Asia-Pacific don't suffer such restrictive volume limitations on flights and trains. Here is my 20" wheel FSIR that requires no proprietary parts about to board a bullet train in South Korea.


To fly in from home in Indonesia to Korea, an eight hour flight, i folded it, packed it in a soft canvass bag, and checked it in. No questions asked, no fees, no damage. Public security conditions are also much better, with bike theft very low. All of this translates to lower costs to cyclists, meaning that one does not have to buy a bicycle as extravagantly priced, or compromised in function (wheel size, fit, proprietary parts) as a Brompton. An FSIR costs one-third the price of a Brompton, and weighs 9.6kg out of the box.

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Old 07-06-18, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra
You folks in the West have it tough. We here in Asia-Pacific don't suffer such restrictive volume limitations on flights and trains. Here is my 20" wheel FSIR that requires no proprietary parts about to board a bullet train in South Korea.


To fly in from home in Indonesia to Korea, an eight hour flight, i folded it, packed it in a soft canvass bag, and checked it in. No questions asked, no fees, no damage. Public security conditions are also much better, with bike theft very low. All of this translates to lower costs to cyclists, meaning that one does not have to buy a bicycle as extravagantly priced, or compromised in function (wheel size, fit, proprietary parts) as a Brompton. An FSIR costs one-third the price of a Brompton, and weighs 9.6kg out of the box.
Sounds like you made the exact right choice for the conditions you encounter.
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Old 07-06-18, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave
Sounds like you made the exact right choice for the conditions you encounter.
May the Fold be with you, always.

Just switched to Desktop, I see you have a Krampus. I've been toying with the idea of one...
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Old 07-06-18, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra
May the Fold be with you, always.

Just switched to Desktop, I see you have a Krampus. I've been toying with the idea of one...
I love the Krampus. Run it almost entirely stock except I put a double up front. I need the low gears. No susp fork. No dropper. No hydr brakes. Basically no fluids beside my water bottles.
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Old 07-06-18, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave
I love the Krampus. Run it almost entirely stock except I put a double up front. I need the low gears. No susp fork. No dropper. No hydr brakes. Basically no fluids beside my water bottles.
I'd probably outfit it with a 36/26T crank. It's volcano country here. In fact, I've got a whole MTB drivetrain--a mix of SLX7000 and XT8000--and Velocity Blunt 35 rims squirreled away already, in wait of a frame. Either a (2018) Krampus, or a Troll that does double Touring/MTB duty...


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