Brompton Folder Highlighted On ChainLink Forum


Background Reading

As if on cue this thread appeared following my rant of yesterday about the lack of understanding of folders by the ChainLink Forum crowd:

Thank You Rapid Transit.
Posted by Joza 7 miles on January 10, 2013

I just wanted to let would be Brompton buyers know that Rapid Transit staff was wonderful to deal with. I had a few thousand questions to ask about all things Brompton before I decided to buy. All questions were answered with no attitude and hints and helpful tips were given freely.
So if you are thinking of a Brompton buy local if you can, I am more than happy that I did.
Jonathan Zalkin

A staffer from Rapid Transit wrote back in reply:

Reply by notoriousDUG 4 hours ago
We were glad we could help and that you had a positive buying experience!
Everybody at the shop loves bikes and love talking about bike; it makes answering questions a joy.

A Dahon owner wrote back with a reply about his experiences with the Rapid Transit bike shop and his particular brand of folder:

Reply by Dan Allison 14.5 mi 3 hours ago
i bought my dahon folder (a steel Speed P-8) at rapid transit back in 2007. in 2009 it developed small frame cracks around the seat tube.

Rapid transit sorted out the whole issue and got dahon to ship a new frame and they swapped everything over to the new frame for me. tip-top service.

just last night i was giving my dahon some TLC and noticed a similar small frame crack starting to develop around the seat tube in the exact same place that occurred on my old frame. WTF?

i don’t blame rapid transit, they’re a completely solid operation, but form my experiences it seems that dahon makes a sub-par product, which is perhaps why rapid transit is no longer a dahon dealer and has instead switched to tern. probably a good move on their part, but now i’ve got another cracked dahon frame. aggravating.

you were probably smart to spend the money and get a brompton. i’ll never cheap-out on a folder again. hell i may just not deal with folders anymore. they seem inherently fragile.

For those not familiar with folders they have tiny stunted frames and very long seat posts. The extra torque at the hole into which the seat post fits is the cause of the aggravation for this rider. Here is a video demonstrating how fragile the Brompton bike is:

Ok. That remark was a bit tongue in cheek. But you get the idea. These bikes (Bromptons) are tough!

Now there is always the prevailing misunderstanding about the need for a folder when traveling in the city:

Reply by Tony Adams 6.6 mi 3 hours ago
I’m very glad and grateful that my life is such (commute, housing situation etc) that I have no need for a folder.

Which of course is usually dispensed just before you read the next thread where the same guy is whining about his stolen bike. But sometimes “a sense of what is possible” prevails as it does here:

Reply by Dan Allison 14.5 mi 2 hours ago
^ my life situation is such that i don’t “need” a folder either, but they can be remarkably versatile and convenient little devices to have at times.

take today for instance, my fiance and i are going up to milwaukee after work. i work in downtown evanston, she works on the southside and drives to work. the plan is to have her drive up the edens after work and i’ll rendezvous with her at a spot out at demepster and the edens because getting from the edens into downtown evanston and back again can take 40+ minutes at rush hour.

so i rode my folder to work this morning, and after work i’ll ride out to the rendezvous point and then fold-up my bike and throw it her trunk and then we’ll cruise up 94 to milwaukee. this could of course all be accomplished with a regular bike and a car rack, but that would then mean futzing around with a car rack. a folding bike just makes the whole operation simpler and easier.

it’s not a necessity, but that doesn’t mean it’s not nice to have one at times.

but never again would i buy a dahon. never. i’ll just have to ride my current one into the ground until the small frame crack becomes serious.

i’ve heard and read lots of good things about bike fridays…………… but they’re spendy……… probably because they’re worth it……….

Reply by notoriousDUG 2 hours ago
I have no need but I really want one; a folding bike can offer all sorts of options when it comes to getting places. The idea of being able to take Metra out to my parents house with no regard to rush hours or black out dates is a pretty nice thing. It would also be super easy to travel with a bike compared to boxing and shipping a bike.

I think that two things keep most people from truly realizing how great a folder is.

  1. They look ridiculous; it is impossible, especially for taller people, to ride one without looking just a little bit stupid. Get over it, you look silly on a bike in the first place.
  2. Many of them ride terribly, suck to fold or are cumbersome to carry when folded. Buy a good one and it should ride, fold and carry well.

Reply by notoriousDUG 1 hour ago
I believe that Brompton is hands down the best out there; it folds smaller easier than any other and it rides quite nicely.

Outside of that I think Tern is the next best choice. There isn’t really much else out there that isn’t sort of junky or not very good at being a folder.

The issue with Bike Friday for me is that they don’t really fold all that well and there always seems to be some kind of recall or issue with them. From a design standpoint I cannot stand them because they are the definition of a solution without a problem. They seem to often do things in a new and ‘innovative’ way when what is already there works perfectly.

Reply by Joza 7 miles 14 minutes ago
I looked At Tern, Bike Friday, Brompton.

I had no problem deciding which brand would best fit my needs. Brompton.

I needed a folder for use in conjunction with a bus leg in my commute. Knowing that space would be
very limited during rush hour. Simply put the Brompton was the only real choice. It has the smallest
fold, hides the chain between the wheels and can fold in a seconds. ( I would say it takes me about 30-40 seconds but I just got the bike last night.) Bonus is I can now take a bike with me on vacations with out any of the full sized headaches.

I shouldn’t have gotten the telescopic seat post though. Need to return that.

Ignoring The Dahon Negatives – When Do I Need A Brompton?

Brompton folding bikes are in a word “old school“. It is not flashy and has had the same design since Methuselah was in high pants.

You need a Brompton if:

  • You have to lock your bike outdoors in the weather while working or at home.
  • You want a bike that can come onto the bus or the train rather than riding outdoors in the rain and snow.
  • You want a bike than can come onto the elevated trains with you and take you that last 5 blocks to your office and back.
  • You want to go to a movie or the museum or a concert and avoid having to lock the bike outdoors at night.
  • You want a bike that can come into the bank or the restaurant or the coffee shop with you and avoid being stolen.
  • You want a bike that has independent rear suspension and great brakes.
  • You want a bike with a hub generator option and a great place to stow your gear on the front stem.
  • You want a bike that you can configure yourself with all the options imaginable.
  • You want a bike that has a built-in kickstand, solid fenders and a rear rack.

Take a look at this video on how to configure your Brompton from NYCeWheels (my favorite dealer of Bromptons).

Here are some videos that might be of interest to you: