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Brompton Questions

notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
edited April 2017 in Commuting chat
Hi Guys,

Due to a potential Hove commute I'm looking into getting a Brompton for my N+1. I understand a few of you guys have Bromptons, and as a constituency that likes to ride in general I'd like to pick your brains!

I'm looking at a custom build, and the two options I'm umming and ahhing about are the gears and the handlebars.

Has anyone used the P-Type handlebars? I'm used to drops and a fairly forward position. Would the P-Type offer a similar range of grips? Or will the standard work fine?

Most of the riding I'll be doing will be pretty flat, so I'm going for the 3speed gears. Was wondering at what speed you'd spin out at with the +8% ratio.

Cheers!

Posts

  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    I had a two speed and made the mistake of gearing it to ride around at 20mph. Neither gear was any good.
    With three gears you can get away with this, pick a middle gear that is easy for riding around at 15-17mph because its a Brompton and you probably aren't getting lycra-ed up.

    And covert it to GI, not a clue what +8% means!
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    edited September 2014
    Clearly you need some bull horns or pursuit bars on there.

    4F991758-515E-4FF2-B072-956C6D1937E4_zpsxojqlkri.jpg

    I've got an S2L. I found it very upright and I found there seat post too short for someone with a 33" inside leg. For th distances I generally cover on it, the standard S grips were fine, until I moved to pursuit bars.

    Gearing on the S2L is very short, the bottom gear is pointless and the 12t with a 54t is also low. I'm going to move to a 56t at the front and I'm attempting to make an 11t for the rear. Ideally I want a 14t/11t at the rear.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • cambscambs Posts: 235
    I have the P-type bars but in ten years have spent no more than a few minutes riding in the lower position (the upper grips are worn through though); feels too far from the brakes to be safe.
    I'd go for the S- types if i was buying again, and probably the 3-speed (6 at the moment but the extra sprocket just adds to things that can go wrong IMO).
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    I sometimes steal the wife's S3L and find the gearing fine and the position from the S bars just right. Shame that the saddle is so far forward that I find it tricky to get comfy but then my wife is (barely) 5'1" and I am a strapping 5'9"! ;)
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • KoncordskiKoncordski Posts: 1,009
    If you get the S-Bars then get the ergon GP1 (small - gripshift) grips, the tiny narrow round bars are weird as standard.

    #1 Brompton S2L Raw Lacquer, Leather Mudflaps
    #2 Boeris Italia race steel
    #3 Scott CR1 SL
    #4 Trek 1.1 commuter
    #5 Peugeot Grand Tourer (Tandem)
  • I have a Brompton with 3 gears (never sure what model it is) and the ratios are more than fine for the flat lands of NL. I've never got close to spinning out on the flat - the 3rd gear is a good fast cruising gear. That said, I don't much like the bike. The seat post is too short for my 33" inside leg and, despite being the later longer frame with the seat pushed right back, I find it too short - give me a proper bike any day!
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Coach HCoach H Posts: 1,287
    S3L here as a runabout. S bars fine with Ergon Gp2's on, although I have never really used the bar ends. I spin out about 17-18mph in 2nd and very rarely bother with 3rd. I also modified an S-Rack and Ortlieb City Roller Front pannier (12 1/2 ltr capacity) for a luggage option less than 1/2 the price of any Brompton branded equivalent and still looks like I bought it like that.

    Really good fun to ride and well please with it even though it only gets used for riding with the kids and going to the local shop/takeaway

    Edit: Actually the only thing wrong with mine is the squeaking from the Firm block. There is no end of grease on every mating surface and it still wont stop. Drives you crazy!
    Coach H. (Dont ask me for training advice - 'It's not about the bike')
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    Thanks for the replies, chaps.

    Those of you who said its a bit small, do you have the extended seatpost? Or just the default one?
  • notsoblue wrote:
    Thanks for the replies, chaps.

    Those of you who said its a bit small, do you have the extended seatpost? Or just the default one?

    The default one. If I had the extended one, it wouldn't fit between the seats on the train as the seatpost already dictates the folded height.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    notsoblue wrote:
    Thanks for the replies, chaps.

    Those of you who said its a bit small, do you have the extended seatpost? Or just the default one?

    The default one. If I had the extended one, it wouldn't fit between the seats on the train as the seatpost already dictates the folded height.

    Would the telescopic seat tube solve that problem?
  • notsoblue wrote:
    notsoblue wrote:
    Thanks for the replies, chaps.

    Those of you who said its a bit small, do you have the extended seatpost? Or just the default one?

    The default one. If I had the extended one, it wouldn't fit between the seats on the train as the seatpost already dictates the folded height.

    Would the telescopic seat tube solve that problem?

    Possibly - I don't know. Honestly, though, as the bike's too short anyway, I kinda feel like I'd be throwing "good money after bad"
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,320
    Straight bars for me; a little bit lower overall.

    I have 6 gears. The only downside apart from it being a little heavier is having to change both selections to go up or down "one" gear. The other only downside is the extra fiddling having to unscrew the gear selector chain from the hub gear when fixing a rear p*ncture.

    I put SPDs on mine. Makes pedalling nicer, but it doesn't fold down as compactly (since the pedal itself doesn't fold away).

    I'm a short-censored (29" inside leg IIRC), so the bike is just right with the standard seat post all the way up.

    Get the more solid suspension bung IMO, as even that's too soft.
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    I got a titanium seatpost from eBay for about £60. It's lighter and longer and gives me the saddle height I need.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • I have one with P brompton with 6 gears.

    I bought a 6 speed after I had hired a 3 speed for a couple of months and needed higher and lower gears than this, this was 4 years ago.

    I find now that I only use gears 4 and 6 almost all the time.

    The P handle bar novely has worn off, I now use the lower bars only when there is a clear road for a couple of hundred meters and I am familiar with the area.

    I couldn't recommend a brompton highly enough, it's been one of the best purchase I've made these last couple of years.
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    ZoomZoom wrote:
    I have one with P brompton with 6 gears.

    Is it possible to rotate the P bars forward to give you a longer reach?
  • cambscambs Posts: 235
    Not much, it would compromise the fold.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    notsoblue wrote:
    ZoomZoom wrote:
    I have one with P brompton with 6 gears.

    Is it possible to rotate the P bars forward to give you a longer reach?

    Considerations of changing Brompton bar position:
    1. Will it effect the fold?
    2. Do I need to recable and will that effect the fold?
    3. Do I want to use the front luggage block?
    4. Will it effect the fold?

    You can swap out the stem bolt that holds the bars in place for a QR from a seat post clamp but if you've adjusted the positions of the levers that might only solve half a problem.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    asprilla wrote:
    notsoblue wrote:
    ZoomZoom wrote:
    I have one with P brompton with 6 gears.

    Is it possible to rotate the P bars forward to give you a longer reach?

    Considerations of changing Brompton bar position:
    1. Will it effect the fold?
    2. Do I need to recable and will that effect the fold?
    3. Do I want to use the front luggage block?
    4. Will it effect the fold?

    You can swap out the stem bolt that holds the bars in place for a QR from a seat post clamp but if you've adjusted the positions of the levers that might only solve half a problem.
    Mini rant, affect vs effect. It's unlikely to effect the fold. It would be dangerous when riding if so :wink:
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    dhope wrote:
    asprilla wrote:
    notsoblue wrote:
    ZoomZoom wrote:
    I have one with P brompton with 6 gears.

    Is it possible to rotate the P bars forward to give you a longer reach?

    Considerations of changing Brompton bar position:
    1. Will it effect the fold?
    2. Do I need to recable and will that effect the fold?
    3. Do I want to use the front luggage block?
    4. Will it effect the fold?

    You can swap out the stem bolt that holds the bars in place for a QR from a seat post clamp but if you've adjusted the positions of the levers that might only solve half a problem.
    Mini rant, affect vs effect. It's unlikely to effect the fold. It would be dangerous when riding if so :wink:

    I knew I should have gone back and changed it but after sticking my tongue between by bottom lip and teeth and making a 'murghhhhhh' sound I got distracted by a shiny thing.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    S type bars give most bike like feel,
    I have titinanium extended seat post - perfect for 32" inside leg - could do 32.5" at a push.
    3 gears are good - I used to run 54X13 (+8%) when I lived flat-ish - I switched to 50X13 (standard) when I moved to halfway up a hill. I rarely spin out with 50X13 and if i do then I'm at a speed i'm happy to be free wheeling at.

    I also have so micro bar ends which I find very useful for alternat hand position and extending the reach slightly.


    Bloody great bikes, i wouldnt be without mine.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    After gazing in wonder at these beasts for so long - I'm just about to add one to my stable. I don't have any massive need for it - so now I'll be looking for excuses to ride the thing.

    I've gone for the S bars and 6 speeds. It's hilly round here.

    Are there any things I should look for from the off ? Helicopter Tape any bits of the frame ? Those cables look long.

    Any essentials to get or avoid ?

    Cheers
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I'm really not a fan and I was really glad to see the back of mine. The only good thing is that they hold their value and I sold mine for somewhere close to what I paid for it.

    I hated the OEM dynamo so I'd avoid that. I had the rear rack too which I bought the bag for but never used. The front bag was useful but you do need the mounting block on the frame.

    If you really must have a folding bike, the Brompton might be the best option but I would never get another unless I had absolutely no choice.

    Ooh - post 11111
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    fenix wrote:
    After gazing in wonder at these beasts for so long - I'm just about to add one to my stable. I don't have any massive need for it - so now I'll be looking for excuses to ride the thing.

    I've gone for the S bars and 6 speeds. It's hilly round here.

    Are there any things I should look for from the off ? Helicopter Tape any bits of the frame ? Those cables look long.

    Any essentials to get or avoid ?

    Cheers

    Bit of exhaust hose and some jubillee clips around the suspension block for when you lay down teh megawattz.

    Also, tyre choice. Punctures are the biggest ball ache on a Brompton, it's generally easier to fold it up and get a cab than fix it by the side of the road. Marathon+ are puncture proof but not very grippy (I had the fron wheel slip out from under me and I smashed my helmet) Kojaks are much lighter, feel better but have thin side walls. Tannus do a solid tyre you might want to look at.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Thanks MRS - good of you to use such a significant post on me !
    Cheers Asprilla - yes I'll go with the Kojaks to begin and see how they go - love my marathons for winter anyway so I do have my eye on them.

    I think the front basket thing is going to be the most useful thing from what i've seen. Some crazy prices for luggage there.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    asprilla wrote:
    but not very grippy (I had the fron wheel slip out from under me and I smashed my helmet)

    Yes - I crashed on mine on cobbles - hateful bike :twisted:
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Coach HCoach H Posts: 1,287
    fenix wrote:
    I think the front basket thing is going to be the most useful thing from what i've seen. Some crazy prices for luggage there.

    Forget the Brompton options. Look out for offers on Ortlieb City front paniers. Get an S-Type front bag carrier.
    Cut down frame and re-rivet then move pannier fixing down to fit and cover holed with Duck Tape. Sell 2nd pannier in classifieds to pay for Brompton carrier.

    Voila, waterproof front bag for half the price of Brompton options.

    See my post below from a couple of years ago. Bag still going strong
    Coach H wrote:
    Its been done before but;

    Frustrated by the price premium of Brompton specific luggage, I modified an Ortlieb Front Roller City to fit a Brompton S-Type Carrier

    Top fixings lowered about 3 1/2 inches to fit carrier. Original fixing holes covered with Heavy Duty Duck Tape (looks like a re-enforcing strip on the original material). Top of internal backing plate secured in place inside pannier with Duck tape (as fixings are no longer at top of plate). Drill out rivets of side bars on carrier. Cut down side bars to match width of bag (about 2 inches or so, but making sure there is still enough straight section for R&K fixings to hook onto) and re-rivet. 1hr, max.

    Hey presto a 12.5l fully waterproof Ortlieb Brompton bag plus carrier at a far lower price than any other Brompton S-Type front luggage option which looks like it was shop bought (and you even get an extra Front Roller to sell on or use for commuting).

    Still too much money for my primary use though...........................carrying fish and chips from the chippy!

    Sorry, terrible photo's but all I have available

    IMG_01101.jpg
    IMG_01111.jpg
    IMG_01081.jpg
    Coach H. (Dont ask me for training advice - 'It's not about the bike')
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    asprilla wrote:
    Also, tyre choice. Punctures are the biggest ball ache on a Brompton, it's generally easier to fold it up and get a cab than fix it by the side of the road. Marathon+ are puncture proof but not very grippy (I had the fron wheel slip out from under me and I smashed my helmet) Kojaks are much lighter, feel better but have thin side walls. Tannus do a solid tyre you might want to look at.
    There's something about a Brompton (I'm guessing the small wheels) that makes it much less forgiving of tyres with poor grip; I nearly stacked mine a few times when it still had Marathon Plus tyres. Whereas you can generally recover if you've push the tyres a bit too far on a road bike, the Brompton seems to be rather more unforgiving.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Weak spot on mine seems to be rust. It's from folding it - the rear wheel folds under and sits agains the frame. I've got a bad patch of rust on the bottom bracket and a smaller patch on the underside of the cross tube. I've sprayed some clear lacquer on it and I try not to leave it folded when stored now so the wheel isn't sitting against the frame.

    Other than that, I love it. I particularly like a bit of SCR on it - it's always a pleasure to pass roadies who then very (unconvincingly) casually bust a gut getting back past me.

    I got lowered gearing (S3L) as I live in a hilly area. So gears 2 and 3 are the same as on a S2L, but I have gear 1 for when I need it (particularly in a suit with a heavy bag on the front block). It does mean I spin out sometimes, but I figure it's a Brompton so it's not meant to go really quick. The front block is definitely worth it - such a convenient way of carrying a bag and there's a good selection of bags. I've got a Bromton bag but it's looking a little tired now - I'm probably going to get a Carradice one to replace it.

    I've just got the regular Brompton tyres and they have been fine - just one puncture in 6 years (I know, I know, ...) which I put down to keeping them well inflated. They seem to grip well and have lasted well.

    A Knog light front and back does the job - bright enough for around town, weight very little, don't get in the way of the fold.

    I wouldn't call it a "hateful" ride, but I do have to pull a little wheely over things which I would just glide over on a normal bike. The expansion gaps on London Bridge are a good example.
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    tgotb wrote:
    asprilla wrote:
    Also, tyre choice. Punctures are the biggest ball ache on a Brompton, it's generally easier to fold it up and get a cab than fix it by the side of the road. Marathon+ are puncture proof but not very grippy (I had the fron wheel slip out from under me and I smashed my helmet) Kojaks are much lighter, feel better but have thin side walls. Tannus do a solid tyre you might want to look at.
    There's something about a Brompton (I'm guessing the small wheels) that makes it much less forgiving of tyres with poor grip; I nearly stacked mine a few times when it still had Marathon Plus tyres. Whereas you can generally recover if you've push the tyres a bit too far on a road bike, the Brompton seems to be rather more unforgiving.

    Yup - reading this I do remember the guy at the LBS in Amsterdam told me to be very careful because you get no warning (low gyroscopic forces and very short wheelbase) of disaster. I was lucky I was wearing dark jeans that day so the evidence of my slide on my side wasn't so easy to spot. Being AMS, I wasn't wearing a lid.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Thanks chaps - I shall bear all this in mind. I've also ordered some copter tape to put on all the places that may get impact/cable rub. That should work to prevent the rust patches too I think Mr Idiot ?
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