Brompton advice

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Pinky, Jan 26, 2003.

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  1. Pinky

    Pinky Guest

    Hello,

    I'm just about to order a Brompton, and have a few questions about the spec. First, what gearing
    should I get? Is the six speed necessary? Second, what saddle post should I get. I am 1.90m - do I
    need the telescopic seat post? What tyres would people recommend? Any other tips appreciated.

    Thankks Pinky.
     
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  2. Trog Woolley

    Trog Woolley Guest

    While stranded on the hard shoulder of the information super highway [email protected] typed:
    > Hello,
    >
    > I'm just about to order a Brompton, and have a few questions about the spec. First, what gearing
    > should I get? Is the six speed necessary? Second, what saddle post should I get. I am 1.90m - do I
    > need the telescopic seat post? What tyres would people recommend? Any other tips appreciated.
    >
    > Thankks Pinky.

    I find the six speed a vast improvement over the three speed. I don't have the 18% reduction; it's
    pretty flat around Brum so I don't need it. I guess if I lived somewhere very hilly I'd get it. As
    for tyres, get the kevlar ones. The 42FT (green) reduces the risk of punctures. The Schwalbe
    Marathon is heavier and not as free running, but is very robust. Must be fitted the right way
    around. I'm 175cm and find the standard seat post right for me; I guess tall people might need the
    extended post. You can always add this later, so if you can't try before you buy, I would suggest
    ording without the extension.

    Mine is the T model. Even though the rear carrier is almost useless for carrying stuff (the front
    carrier is the way to go) I don't mind carrying the extra weight of the rear carrier. It means that
    you always have a carrier with you should you need one.

    Mods made to mine are :- -lock nuts fitted to longer clamp bolts. It stops them vibrating out when
    the bike is in the boot of the cage; cross drilling for pins is a better option if you have the
    facility. -turn the little cone shaped wheels around so you don't catch your heels on them. -MKS
    ARS2 pedals and toe clips fitted. These come off so the overall folded size is no bigger. I like toe
    clips and I couldn't see an effective way of fitting them to the folding pedal. Also the right hand
    pedal is decidedly cheap and nasty, so it was a pleasure to chuck it away. -front carry block
    fitted. I have the touring pannier which I use for large loads and I made a bracket to fit a handle
    bar bag onto said block for day trips. -short bar ends fitted.

    Possible mods to come :- Skateboard wheels on the rear carrier. I am toying with the idea of fitting
    the standlights.

    Check out the Brompton group available via yahoo groups; there are a lot of very friendly and
    knowledgeable Brommie owners to be found.

    --
    Trog Woolley | trog at trog hyphen oz dot demon dot co dot uk (A Croweater back residing in Pommie
    Land with Linux) Isis Astarte Diana Hecate Demeter Kali Inanna
     
  3. Richt

    Richt Guest

    "Pinky" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Hello,
    >
    > I'm just about to order a Brompton, and have a few questions about the
    spec.
    > First, what gearing should I get? Is the six speed necessary?

    Don't whatever you do get the "standard" gearing. It is way too high unless you happen to use the
    Brompton uniquely to go downhill. I don't know why Brompton claim that the standard gearing is
    "standard". I expect a lot of customers feel vaguely cheated by this description - well I did
    anyway. I ended up having to shell out for a Schlumpf speed drive and a smaller front cog to get
    reasonable ratios on my "standard" T6 (it is now a T12). I know I could have bought just a bigger
    front cog, but I thought if I were going to have to spend more money I would rather gain something
    than just rectify a fault. If buying again, I would just get a T6 with optional "lower" gearing.

    Second, what
    > saddle post should I get. I am 1.90m - do I need the telescopic seat post?

    If you can get away with just an extended standard or carbon seat, then take that option. The
    telescopic seat is a really poor piece of engineering. It is heavy, the folding/unfolding process is
    encumbered by having two levers to fumble with, and as the inner tube rotates in the outer, and
    there is no way to default it to a standard height it all gets very annoying if you are in a hurry.
    I binned the telescopic seat post pretty quickly and replaced it with a carbon spring strut out of
    an Airbus (I work in aerospace). It took a bit of adjustment to get it to work, but it is fantastic.
    It is released by a little paddle under the seat, which causes it to pop up correctly aligned to my
    correct seat height. To reset it, I just push down until it clicks in place - and it still hold
    together the folded package. It is far lighter and more rigid than the useless telescopic thing too.
    Don't ask me how much it would cost if you had to buy one though!

    > What tyres would people recommend?

    I have the Schwalbes. I have Schwalbe kevlars on all my bikes - they are long-lasting, virtually
    puncture-proof tyres. I've heard that they have more rolling resistance than some others, but I
    can't say I have noticed it.

    Any other tips appreciated.

    The standard Brompton is a fantastic bike. You will not be disappointed with
    it. But to my mind, there is still a lot of room for improvement. The folding and unfolding process
    is very neat and head and shoulders above all the competition, but it could be made much much
    better with a bit of attention to the fiddliness of the various clamps. I've already described
    my pop-up seat, which dealt with the fiddly seat clamps. But I also replaced those silly fiddly
    hinge-clamps on the frame and handlebar stem with a couple of spring-clamps that are used to
    lock down the nosewheel undercarriage on a Dassault bizjet. They just snap together when the
    bike is unfolded, and are more rigid than the standard clamps. They add a little weight, but
    less than I gained by binning the telescopic junk seat pillar.

    With the above modifications, to unfold my Brompton, I just put my left hand on the lh handlebar, my
    right hand on the seat, squeeze up the seat release paddle, then sort of flip my left hand wrist,
    and the whole bike unfolds and snaps together in the time it takes to stand up straight. Unfolding
    the standard Brompton in public is a crowd stopper, but people just stop and gawp astounded when
    they see mine. It is really magic. Last time I took it to Paris, two CRS riot cops (who normally
    beat you up if you so much as ask them the time) had me folding it and unfolding while they giggled
    like little kids outside the French interior ministry. Folding it back together is a little more
    work as I have to squeeze the hinge-clamps to release and prime them for the next snap-together, and
    I have to push down the seat until it locks down - but it is still way quicker than folding the
    standard bike. I'm still working on improving it further I've even got a couple of elastomers from
    work which I am trying to figure out how to mount inside the frame and handlebar stem so that it
    will pull itself together without me even having to flip my left hand, and also find a better way to
    release the handlebar-fork clip. Then I could just release the saddle one handed, and everything
    would jump into place in the parked position - that would be coool!

    There are a couple of other mods you can make. The handlebars are rather poor and wobble about, so I
    am getting some of the apprentices at work to make me some nice one piece carbon-fibre ones. I saw
    on the internet that you can also buy some decent replacement jobs from SP engineering. The brakes
    too are only B+. I found an article in German about fitting disc brakes to a Brompton. But I think
    that is perhaps going a bit far. But if you wanted to really throw the book at it a Rohloff-Brompton
    would be the ultimate. Has anybody done that yet?
     
  4. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    RichT wrote:
    > "Pinky" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Don't whatever you do get the "standard" gearing. It is way too high unless you happen to use the
    > Brompton uniquely to go downhill.

    It's not *quite* that bad, but it is bad... I've got the -18% on an L3, and it sees me around Dundee
    fine. I've ridden the standard gearing on the same patch, and it involved a fair bit of walking!
    Dundee has some good sizes of hills, both for length and steepness, so I think that's an indication
    the -18% will get you round most places okay. I've tried the 6 and it works nicely, but faced with
    the knowledge that I don't need it and it complicates matters I left well alone. If I was using a
    Brommie as my main bike, rather than just one of them (have a tourer for heavy loads and/or
    distance) I'd want the 6 (probably at -12%), otherwise I'd be happy (as indeed I am) with a 3 plus
    gear reduction.

    >>saddle post should I get. I am 1.90m - do I need the telescopic seat post?

    You're probably up for a longer one of some description: I'm 1.73 and have a standard post as high
    as it'll go, and that's just nice for me. OTOH I seem to have saddles higher than most people of
    equivalent leg length, but if you're near the "heel on pedal with leg almost but not quite fully
    extended with pedal at the bottom" rule of thumb, you'll most likely want a longer one of some
    description.

    > I have the Schwalbes. I have Schwalbe kevlars on all my bikes - they are long-lasting, virtually
    > puncture-proof tyres. I've heard that they have more rolling resistance than some others, but I
    > can't say I have noticed it.

    This point seconded. I got Marathons on my tourer and was sufficiently impressed that it was a
    no-brainer to go for the option. A friend uses B's own, which he's happy with on the whole but
    reports as "a bit skittery in the wet", where I find the Schwalbe's fine. Also seem to do light off
    road commendably well.

    > There are a couple of other mods you can make. The handlebars are rather poor and wobble about

    "Yes, but..." The "but" being that it's only going to be a problem if your riding style involves
    hauling hard on the bars. In practice I find that the upright riding position means I just use the
    bars to steer the bike and I keep a very light touch on them, even up steep hills, so as a
    consequence they don't wobble at all. But if you like getting out of the seat and/or giving the bars
    a heave some attention may well be worth spending on them. Or of auditioning a Birdy and seeing if
    you like it better: though it doesn't fold as well, in terms of riding just like a "normal" bike the
    Birdy is the better machine IMHO judging from test rides I did.

    > But if you wanted to really throw the book at it a Rohloff-Brompton would be the ultimate. Has
    > anybody done that yet?

    Yes, there was a picture in Velovision a couple of issues back. I think it's one of Steve Parry's
    jobs, and "involved considerable modification of the rear triangle"... Again, if you want this
    sort of thing it might be easier to start with a Birdy as the Grey has the Rohloff as standard
    from the factory.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  5. Richt

    Richt Guest

    "Ben Tansley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:aumpln$pih$1> Which way is that? At
    the bottom, should the blunt end be pointing forward
    > (to enhance braking) or back (to enhance traction)?

    The front and rears go on in different directions. Rear orientated for traction, front for braking.
    There are "back" and "front" arrows on the sidewalls to explain.
     
  6. Dave Watkins

    Dave Watkins Guest

    Yes there is a directional arrow on the sidewall.

    --
    Dave Watkins http://www.davewatkins.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk "Trog Woolley" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message news:[email protected]...
    > While stranded on the hard shoulder of the information
    super highway [email protected] typed:
    > >
    > > "Trog Woolley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > [snipped]
    > >> As for tyres, get the kevlar ones. The 42FT (green)
    reduces the risk
    > >> of punctures. The Schwalbe Marathon is heavier and not
    as free
    > >> running, but is very robust. Must be fitted the right
    way around.
    > > [snipped]
    > >
    > > Which way is that? At the bottom, should the blunt end
    be pointing forward
    > > (to enhance braking) or back (to enhance traction)?
    >
    > Dunno! I don't have Marathons on mine. I recall reading
    that there
    > is a directional arrow on them somewhere. Perhaps on the
    sidewall?
    > I do know the answer may be found on the Brompton yahoo
    group archive.
    >
    > --
     
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