A year (1500km) on a Brompton.

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
I have had my Brompton exactly a year and thought I would write a few lines about how I have got on.

Short version - 1500k covered, stunning around town, never had to lock it up, reliable LOVE it.

Long version Background is that after years of working from home I had to commute last year 3 days a week from Winchester to Chiswick. This involved changing trains at Clapham or Waterloo and getting to Kew Bridge, and although with a bit of planning I was able to run the route from the office to Clapham a few times, I could not see any easy way to involve my then folding bike (a lovely Dahon Speed p8) as the trains are very limited in space, and although technically permitted the Dahon doesn;t fold very small and is a bugger to lug around.

So after a few months in came the Brompton, on a bit of a whim really and not expecting to use it that much. An orange S3L (mudguards, 3 speed, and the flat bar). An Evans deal gave me £75 off by handing over ANY old bike, so a trip to the dump solved that!. So £835 all-in. Within a few days I had ditched the rucksack and added the £100 S-bag - very nicely made and a superb design that has the benefit of stabilising the front end

The bike came with standard Brompton Kevlar tyres. A puncture in about the second week had me swapping these for Schwalbe Marathons (more on this to come)

Immediately it became part of my life. Not once have I been refused entry to an office or restaurant and more often than not it has been a good talking point

I am about 5ft9 with a 31 leg and luckily the saddle height at full extension is perfect. The standard saddle is very comfy in cycling kit or jeans and has a hand grip in the front underside which makes carrying a little easier

Handling is twitchy and a little choppy and personally it would not be my choice for a bumpy long long ride. I switched the standard foam grips for some rubber ones, and the ping ping bell for a proper ring ring one, essential in London.

Other changes are that I like to spin more than grind are to replace the standard 50T with a 44T. Somewhere in between would have been ok too. That gearing means I am jumping form 2 to 3 on a faster flat route and only use gear 1 on steeper hills. But running out of gears when fast is far preferable to not having enough on the hills for me

The ride from Clapham is back roads and cycle paths and a lovely relaxing route. At the stations my style is to never carry the folded bike more than a few metres - much easier to wheel it unfolded and carrying on stairs is also much easier unfolded with the S-bag still in place. The little roller wheels as standard are not up to much and I replaced them with some unofficial Eazy Wheels which are ok without the bag on but not great with it mounted.

For lights I have a little Lezyne Femto permanently on the bars, a small Cateye LED in the bag and at the back a Smart 1W right under the saddle and a Trelock LS812 which fits in place of the reflector. I only ever cycle in street lit areas

I have looked at an SPD solution but the train needs them to be folded to get the bike in the place I sit and I cannot find any folding SPDs. The light grippy trainers or work shoes are absolutely fine and I have not missed the lack of cleats (even though all five other bikes have them)

Problems.? After the initial puncture on the stock tyres, I have had one front and one rear on the Schwalbes both rim tape related, The rim is more v shape than u shape and the tape seemed to slip sideways and not seat properly. After each one I used electrical tape to wrap round and fingers crossed all OK. Changing a tube is a long tough job. I would allow 45 minutes for the rear and 30 for the front if in a warm dry place with lighting! Getting a track pump on the valves is hard and I use an extension hose. ( have never used the onboard pump). I also have to video the rear mech system to be able to get it back together right.I carry a tube, a stubby 15mm spanner, a small multi tool and tyre levers, all in my S-Bag

Gears have needed a little adjustment but dead easy

As of this Feb I am now doing 4-5 days a week to London and using the bike more and more. Often now doing the beautiful Waterloo to Chiswick ride via St James Park and Hyde Park

A stunningly designed bit of kit that does the job pretty much perfectly and I would not be without it!
 

The Jogger

Legendary Member
Location
Chichester
Thanks for sharing, soon I will be doing the Waterloo to Hammersmith via SJP and Hyde Park in reverse. I usually get off at Clapham and cycle back streets (bar Fulham Palace Rd) to Hammersmith and cycle back to Waterloo.

I am going for the H6L 44T and might opt for the front bag which ever one I get. Just waiting on C2W voucher to be delivered.
 

Rustybucket

Veteran
Location
Staines
Nice review - Im thinking of getting a brompton to cycle Waterloo to Camden instead of getting the tube when I dont cycle in to work.
I currently commute 2 days a week on the bike (40 mile round trip).
 

Rustybucket

Veteran
Location
Staines
My current Train season ticket runs out in August. So I will make the decision then.
I think I save around £700 if I dont get an Underground travelcard - so will pay for itself over a couple of years.
Just need to convince the wife, as this would be my 5th bike....
 
OP
jay clock

jay clock

Massive member
Location
Hampshire UK
My current Train season ticket runs out in August. So I will make the decision then.
I think I save around £700 if I dont get an Underground travelcard - so will pay for itself over a couple of years.
Just need to convince the wife, as this would be my 5th bike....
where do you come in from? One thing to watch out for is that a neighbour had a Brompton nicked off a train at Woking. I keep a close eye on mine now, but always go on the same type of train so know exactly where the best storage spots are.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
where do you come in from? One thing to watch out for is that a neighbour had a Brompton nicked off a train at Woking. I keep a close eye on mine now, but always go on the same type of train so know exactly where the best storage spots are.
A swift train theft of a Brommie has happened a few times to my knowledge.

The bike will fit in the luggage space between the seats on some trains - if that space isn't occupied by a litter bin.

I've only taken mine on the tube a couple of times, but when I did I plonked it in the doorway and stood close behind it.

The risk is at stations when someone may try to grab the bike just as the train doors close.
 
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