A possible Brompton purchase

cisamcgu

Legendary Member
Location
Merseyside-ish
Aren't they just fab ! :wahhey:
I had an all too brief ride on a Brompton at lunch-time, courtesy of Evans and it was simply :wub:. I may be going to have to spend some money (although I can use the cyclescheme tax saving thingy). It was a little "twitchy" and rather "flexy" but so easy to fold and unfold, and such fun !!

What do people recommend with regard to :-
i) gears - 1, 2, 3 or 6 ?
ii) handlebars - flat, curved or the new really curvy ones ?
iii) rear rack - yes or no
iv) lights ?
and anything else I really need to think about

Thanks
Andrew
 

the_mikey

Legendary Member
The gear ratios on the 3 speed hub go from Hill climb, to cruising to Mark Cavendish's sprinting gear, having a 6 speed option adds a 2 speed derailleur to the hub, making 6 speeds, if the high gear is still too extreme then you could try and get a smaller front chain ring installed if you feel it's needed and if the bike shop is willing.
 

Sara_H

Guru
Gears - it depends, I start off with the standard six speed. I live at the top of a very big, long hill, I could get it up the hill it but it was hard work, so I've had it changed to the lower gearing.

As for the rack, I started off without, but missed it. (All my other bikes have a rack.) I had one installed with the eazy wheels, I find the rack very useful to strap things on, and it rolls much easier when folded with the rack too.

I have the M handlebars, which are ok for me but my OH who is 6'2" but with only a 32" inside leg (so has a very long torso) finds it too low, so if we get another one for him we would get the higher H bar.


Anyway, never mind all that, what colour are you getting?
 
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shouldbeinbed

Rollin' along
Location
Manchester way
Advising someone else what to have is like suggesting what their favourite colour or child should be.

My experience and set up for you to take what you want from:

I'm 5'11 & ride a standard seatpost and standard 3 speed with S type (flat bars) in the hilly bits around Manchester quite happily, others will tell you that you cant possibly do that and need lowered gearing for getting up a kerb (slight exaggeration but you get my drift)

Front luggage is better than a rack as a means of carrying stuff but the rack adds stability if you're going to be leaving it folded and standing on station platforms a lot, otherwise personally I wouldn't bother with the rack, its ugly, bulky and limited in what you can use it for and still fold the thing. Front luggage also damps any twitchiness you may feel without adversely affecting the ride quality at all. TBH tho even coming from a full size wheel bike, give it a week or so on the Brompton and you'll be being quite picky to notice much twitchiness.

Lights, depends on budget if you want to spec up a dyno hub, Shimano good, SON better but costly, bar mounted battery/USB lights (I use cateye volt or smart 700) work nicely & don't Interfere with the spokes when folded.

I've switched out the rear reflector for a reflector/light combo, be careful as some of these units are a bit tall and end up touching the ground when folded and the dropped seatpost catches the back of them.

Pedals, I'm completely happy using the standard ones, others will tell you I'm some weird heretic for saying that.

Saddle, the standard one is comfy enough and if you do multi-modal travel, the finger grips under the nose do help carrying comfort a touch more than gripping round the rails of a Brooks etc.

One change I would advise is getting rid of the sponge grips (glued on BTW) even a cheapo set of more conventional rubber ones are an improvement.

Tyres: I'm running on the standard Brommy ones and have no worries with punctures or rolling resistance, I've nothing to compare them to though e.g. Marathons at this wheel size so maybe am missing out on an even better feel. Others will be along who prefer the option tyres.

Its dead easy to do routine maintenence & keep clean, is a joy to live with as a utilitarian bike and is the bike out of many that I ride the most for day to day and commuting & have racked up some 30-40 mile journeys without any worry. It just works.
 
OP
cisamcgu

cisamcgu

Legendary Member
Location
Merseyside-ish
This is all superb advice, many, many thanks. It is my birthday in April - I think I know what my present is going to be :smile:

I'm 5'9" with a 29" leg, the quick test ride today seemed fine, the seat post was all the way up I think, and it felt perfect
 

Dirtyhanz

Veteran
Location
Cheshire
I have just picked up mine I went with 6speed s bars marathon tires Brooks saddle dynamo lights mudgards it's just perfect for me and the o bag on the front colour I got white body and black extremities the only downside is there are a bit heavier than I thought it would be but I am a wimp
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
I have six speeds, but if buying again would go for the simplicity of three.

The derailleur has been known to give problems, although mine has not.

There is a sliding mechanism that can stick, I've always kept mine lubed but with very light oil - a regular squirt of GT85 works for me.

I think you are wise to go for lower gears, Bromptons are quite highly geared anyway.

I have a rear carrier, but if buying again would not have one.

It does make the bike a bit more stable when parked, but is useless for carrying anything - too small and narrow.

I had a bottle dynamo on mine, it failed as many did because folding and unfolding the bike severed one of the cables.

This may be cured on hub dynamo Brommies, but I still doubt I would have one unless I was riding in the dark a lot.

LED lights can be cheap or dear, most of them work a treat, and running LEDs means you have a wide choice of lighting options.
 

Sara_H

Guru
I've swopped the rear reflector for a cateye reflex - fits perfectly.
Trying to work out if I can attach one on to the front reflector bracket but that doesn't see to be so simple.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
I've swopped the rear reflector for a cateye reflex - fits perfectly.
Trying to work out if I can attach one on to the front reflector bracket but that doesn't see to be so simple.
That's what I forgot to mention about lights - you can mount a decent battery one permanently in place of the rear reflector.

Not sure if you can do that without a carrier, but there's plenty of room on the seat post for a rubber band mounted one, which is what I use.

You just have to remember not to slam the seat all the way down when you fold.
 
OP
cisamcgu

cisamcgu

Legendary Member
Location
Merseyside-ish
Hmm. hadn't considered just running 3 gears .. simplicity is always a good idea I suppose.

My reasoning for having a dynamo-hub is that I aim to cycle to the train in the morning, then ride from the station to work (total around 2 miles) then in the evening either ride back via the train, or just ride home (around 7 miles). I think that having an always available, never running out, lighting source will encourage me to ride all the way home more often, rather than getting the train.

People seem very divided on the rear carrier, I rather think I want one, but it is around £100 which is pretty steep I suppose; but then nothing is cheap in Brompton-land :smile: Can they easily be retro-fitted if I decide against one ?

The bike I test-rode had the M-type handlebars - there were others with the S-type and P-type. I sat on a few and they all seemed OK - are there any drawbacks between one type or another, or is it just aesthetics and user-preference ?

I worry about the tyres, I know that small wheels are harder to change tyres than large wheels and that Schwalbe Marathon are bl**dy hard to get off at the best of times - is this an issue - should I go for the standard tyres ?
 

Sara_H

Guru
I have six speeds, but if buying again would go for the simplicity of three.

The derailleur has been known to give problems, although mine has not.

There is a sliding mechanism that can stick, I've always kept mine lubed but with very light oil - a regular squirt of GT85 works for me.

I think you are wise to go for lower gears, Bromptons are quite highly geared anyway.

I have a rear carrier, but if buying again would not have one.

It does make the bike a bit more stable when parked, but is useless for carrying anything - too small and narrow.

I had a bottle dynamo on mine, it failed as many did because folding and unfolding the bike severed one of the cables.

This may be cured on hub dynamo Brommies, but I still doubt I would have one unless I was riding in the dark a lot.

LED lights can be cheap or dear, most of them work a treat, and running LEDs means you have a wide choice of lighting options.
I've found the rear carrier quite useful for strapping bits to.
The rack also offers a bit of flexibility if you need to add more luggage than the front carrier can carry. Check out how they carried massive loads if touring luggage on the Path less pedalled website.
I also use the saddle loops to hang my handbag from (a basil shoulder bag that had hidden pannier fixings).
 

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
I have an S3L with no rack. Within a few days I changed the 50T to 44T and it is perfect for me. I stay in 2-3 much of the time, and probably run of gears at about 30-32kmh. The first gear is used occasionally but with the original gearing I struggled up short sharp hills. . Everyone is different so feel free to ignore my gear views as others say they can climb Everest on the standard gears. I can't

I replaced the Brompton tyres with Schwalbe Marathons within about 2 days due to a deflation event. Have now had two more such events but both caused by the poor rim tape moving. The rims have deep valleys so it will not seat flat. A few layers of elec tape are now holding the fort

The S bag is superb and it really helps handling.

I am tempted to try Eazy Wheels. My usual method in stations is to unfold, wheel normally (inc carrying up and downstairs) and then refold on the train.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Hmm. hadn't considered just running 3 gears .. simplicity is always a good idea I suppose.

My reasoning for having a dynamo-hub is that I aim to cycle to the train in the morning, then ride from the station to work (total around 2 miles) then in the evening either ride back via the train, or just ride home (around 7 miles). I think that having an always available, never running out, lighting source will encourage me to ride all the way home more often, rather than getting the train.

People seem very divided on the rear carrier, I rather think I want one, but it is around £100 which is pretty steep I suppose; but then nothing is cheap in Brompton-land :smile: Can they easily be retro-fitted if I decide against one ?

The bike I test-rode had the M-type handlebars - there were others with the S-type and P-type. I sat on a few and they all seemed OK - are there any drawbacks between one type or another, or is it just aesthetics and user-preference ?

I worry about the tyres, I know that small wheels are harder to change tyres than large wheels and that Schwalbe Marathon are bl**dy hard to get off at the best of times - is this an issue - should I go for the standard tyres ?
Retrofitting a rack is a right fiddle, so probably the worst of all options.

I never really got properly organised with mine, but as @Sara_H says, they can be made to work, so you may as well have one.

Marathon tyres are the best bet, you don't really want a puncture on a Brommy.

Removing the rear wheel is a fiddle, it's easy to lose track of how the gear bits go back together.

Removing the front is simpler, although you would still have to disconnect the dynamo.

Shimano use a cheap two-pin connector which is quite stiff and fiddly.

I have one on another bike and couldn't get the ruddy thing off with cold hands.

No quick release on a Brommy, so you would need to carry a spanner.

The other option, of course, is to patch the tube in situ,

I've never tried that, but it should be possible.

I've had two punctures, despite running Marathons.

I limped home on one, and took the bike in a taxi to a nearby Brommie dealer for the other.

The supplied pump isn't up to much, I think a lot of owners carry a decent one.

Going back to dynos for a moment, I believe the ridiculously expensive SON one might have a clever induction connection which means there's no wire to disconnect.

Worth checking if you decide to hang the expense and go for the ultimate Brompton.

There's some merit in that, it really is a bike you only need to buy once, so you may as well have it right.
 
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