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Zipping up a Brompton M3L

ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 24,380
edited November 2018 in Commuting chat
Predictably, my wife no longer uses her Brompton, as her new commute can be done by train.
I am thinking of using it in the cold season, maybe Bus in the morning and Brompton on the way home, to avoid morning ice.

I find it very sluggish and I wonder if there's anything I can do to make it a bit zippier. I could fit SPD pedals, maybe a non padded saddle, which seem the obvious thing to do... anything else that doesn't cost money?

I seem to recall removing mudguards will affect folding or something... can't remember what the problem was there
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  • Sounds like you need to start doing some Vo2 max intervals again Ugo
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    Aero is everything.

    570C34C9-6D2C-4F64-A36A-9C248220F89B_zpse9desq43.jpg
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,283
    Schwalbe Kojak slick tyres pumped up correctly ?

    It's not mudguards slowing you down....

    I find the standard Brompton saddle fine - but maybe yours is an older one.

    Clipless pedals will help too - but check out the Brompton World Champ videos - these bikes can shift.
  • fenix wrote:
    Schwalbe Kojak slick tyres pumped up correctly ?

    It's not mudguards slowing you down....

    I find the standard Brompton saddle fine - but maybe yours is an older one.

    Clipless pedals will help too - but check out the Brompton World Champ videos - these bikes can shift.

    Yes, on the flat it's fine (The worlds are on a flat course), but the undulations seem to kill the momentum. Do Kojaks really make a massive difference? I have the standard Brompton tyres, which are quite puncture resistant and I would avoid a puncture if possible
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,283
    I've only had one puncture on the Kojaks when i hit something nasty. Otherwise they're pretty good. Got to be better than the standard tyres but I've not compared the two.
  • paul64paul64 Posts: 278
    I know what you mean about sluggish Ugo compared with all of my other bikes. I have the same bike and same tyres and have found high pressure makes a big difference, the tyres say 100psi and I do go for 95-100 with the track pump and check them regularly.

    After one ride I checked the bike weight at circa 12kg (with lights and a couple of other bits) and the Brompton bag with laptop and a a few bits another 8kg! No wonder with it's limited gearing it felt slow compared with even my winter bikes and their traditional-type groupsets (hardtail 15kg, gravel bike 12kg).

    I still love the Brommie though!
  • I might need the longer seat tube... that might be the issue going uphill... 5'10" on a good day... seems to be the limit for the normal one
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,283
    Something like this would save you a chunk of weight - https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/seat-posts/ ... n/?geoc=US

    But a lot more weight from the wallet.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    fenix wrote:
    Something like this would save you a chunk of weight - https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/seat-posts/ ... n/?geoc=US

    But a lot more weight from the wallet.

    I got mine on eBay. Exactly the same, but was about £50 and didn't have a brand etched into the side.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • I guess the only upgrade I would be prepared to pay for is tyres if they were really life changing... not bothered about the 3 Watts... but if it turned out to be 20, then I'd want them
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 2,118
    I don't think Zipp do Brompton wheels...
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame ??
    Tall....
  • I think I need a longer seat pin.

    Even with the clamp done as high up as it's safe to do and flipped to provide a more rear-ward sitting position, I am still about an inch lower than I would be normally. Typically I keep a top of the saddle to pedal spindle distance of 93 cm, and here I barely make 91.

    20 quid for a longer pin might well solve all my woes
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    There's the long version and also the extendable version that Dave Miller uses. Might be worth looking at that.
  • A lot more money though
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I looked at the extended seat post but, with it, the “bike” wouldn’t have fitted between Dutch train seats. Added to which, my CofG would have been even further back.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • I looked at the extended seat post but, with it, the “bike” wouldn’t have fitted between Dutch train seats. Added to which, my CofG would have been even further back.

    Luckily, I don't need to take trains... I might need to take it on a bus on icy mornings, but I don't think it will make a great deal of difference there... it's also a rather non-busy bus route.

    Alternatives would be to use a "taller" saddle, although there aren't many taller than a Brooks and normally they are only taller because of padding that gets squashed once I sit.

    It's a £ 20 upgrade, which might make a significant difference to whether I use the Brompton or not... so really keen to give it a go.

    Worst case scenario, I have a £ 20 steel bar in my rucksack to persuade motorists to behave... :mrgreen:
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    I did a shedload of Brompton pimping a while back, and extending the seatpost was probably the single most effective change (followed by changing the bars, which moved the C of G, but that was a far bigger exercise).

    I did it by cutting off the tapered top of the tube, cutting a short vertical slot, and then fitting a "normal" seatpost clamp and seatpost, as if it was a frame tube; that also allowed me to fit a normal saddle with rails. That said, it probably cost me more than £20.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • tgotb wrote:
    I did a shedload of Brompton pimping a while back, and extending the seatpost was probably the single most effective change (followed by changing the bars, which moved the C of G, but that was a far bigger exercise).

    I did it by cutting off the tapered top of the tube, cutting a short vertical slot, and then fitting a "normal" seatpost clamp and seatpost, as if it was a frame tube; that also allowed me to fit a normal saddle with rails. That said, it probably cost me more than £20.

    I'd love the S type bars... it was my initial gripe, but my wife was adamant on the M... there is no way back, as a new stem would cost me an absolute fortune.

    I also have the feeling with a better sitting position I could put down so much more power...
  • mtb-idlemtb-idle Posts: 2,176
    Can you do anything with the rear rubber suspension bung* in terms of stiffening it up? Whenever I follow a Brompton rider the flex that thing allows is ridiculous and is of course lost energy that is not being put down on the road.

    *I appreciate this may not be your exact model but you know the thing I mean.
    FCN = 4
  • I did think about it, but it doesn't seem a massive loss... anyway, for 8 quid it's worth trying...
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    I'd love the S type bars... it was my initial gripe, but my wife was adamant on the M... there is no way back, as a new stem would cost me an absolute fortune.

    I also have the feeling with a better sitting position I could put down so much more power...
    My starting point was an M-type (shorter stem, I think) - I put a set of bullhorn bars on that, and it gives me a very similar position to my road bike (a bit lower than hoods, but not as low as drops). However that also needed a different shifter and different brake levers, so rather a big exercise.

    I stiffened up the bung by strapping a jubilee clip around it. Don't know how much difference it made, but was very cheap!
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    I also did the jubilee clip trick, but I sheathed the bung in exhaust hose first to avoid the clip damaging it.

    If anyone needs the right sized hose I have 1m of it, less the length of a Brompton suspension bung.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • I ordered a bung from Brompton... 8 quid delivered
  • Extended seat tube makes all the difference.. finally I can pedal properly!
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    You're not hanging around on it are you ? :D
  • cougie wrote:
    You're not hanging around on it are you ? :D

    Rode it like I stole it... :mrgreen:
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  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Also very speedy ! Most of my rides are in work kit so that'll be why mine are so slow. Yes. That's why.....
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