by JACK on MARCH 19, 2013
On a typical Thursday, there are 7 of us working the shop, Izzy the mechanic, Jeffery in the back crunching numbers, pulling a little accounting magic out of his hat; Eric shipping like no man has shipped before, Peter answering three emails at a time while answering calls, starring in the next NYCeWheels folding bike video, and secretly planning the new custom bike rack he’s going to build out of balsa wood and cloth hangers. There’s Bert, the owner, making all the big decisions and tough calls, at least that’s what he says, I’ve never been entirely sure what he does… there’s me working sales on the floor and writing blogs, and then there’s Roberto, our shipping manager, order processor, and dear friend, making sure everything is running smoothly.
As you can imagine, all of us who work here are pretty nuts about bikes, and of the 7 of us, 3 commute to work on the Brompton Folding Bike. Bert rides the S1E, and both Peter and Roberto own the 2SL, a two speed with fenders and the flat handlebar. Today I was showing off Peter and Roberto’s Brompton Folding Bikes to a few customers was once again struck with admiration.
Folding bike in the raw
Let’s take a look at Roberto’s bike first. Roberto, used to riding mountain bikes and road bikes with beautiful craftsmanship, chose a flat S-bar fit withcomfortable Ergon Grips, set off by a raw lacquer frame. The combination of these components makes the bike look fast, sporty, and, in general, totally bad-ass. Seeing all the beautiful hand-welds in a glowing shinny brass is enough to make a grown man drool.
Roberto rides his folding bike in comfort and in style
The flat S-bar, raw lacquer finish, and ergon grips, make for a great look and also a very comfortable ride. Roberto is around 5′ 10″ and with the flat is bar, his Brompon is perfectly proportioned for him.
For anyone considering buying a Brompton bike of their own, I would seriously consider upgrading to the Ergon Comfort Grips. They’re much more comfortable, in my opinion, than the normal grips that come with the Brompton, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Plus they look great. I mean, come on.
Now that Roberto has got his Bromptonset up just the way he likes it, he’s started to gradually replace key parts with Titanium to shave off a few pounds. So far he’s replaced the front fork and the fender stays with Titanium, but has yet to change out the rear triangle. A work in progress.
Peter’s Brompton Mods
Originally, Peter went with a 6 speed Raw Lacquer Brompton Bike with a flat S-style handlebar. Like Roberto, he opted out of a rear rack to save the weight, but did want a folding bike with fenders. He also went with Ergon grips, but decided on the Touring Ergon Grips instead of the Comfort Grips seen on Roberto’s folding bike Peter is passionate about road bikes, and went with the 6 speed so that he would feel comfortable on the longer rides he had grown accustomed to. I mean seriously long rides. A few years ago he rode his Brompton Bike all the way to Philly, about 100 miles, which is about 80 miles more than I’ve ever ridden any folding bike. Many times I heard Peter talk about how glad he was to have gone with the 6-speed model.
Nevertheless, just a few months ago, I came in to the shop to find Peter removing the internal hub, converting his Brompton bike to a two speed. The change came in coincidence with Peter’s increased interest in amateur racing. When I asked him about it, he said that, since he was using his carbon fiber road bike for races, training sessions, and more serious rides, hisBrompton made more sense for shorter urban commutes… like to the bar. By converting his Brompton Bike to a two speed he shaved off almost two pounds, while preserving some gear inch range. A nice decision if you plan on mostly tooling around the city, taking your Brompton on trains or into cafes and theaters.
Over the last few years, Peter has also experimented with different modifications for his Brompton Bike. A few months back he replaced the hinge clips with special ordered spring loaded clips. The goal was to have clips that unscrew to a a fixed degree without rotating, making folding and unfolding the Brompton Folding bike even easier. But these clips turned out to be a pain in the end, and he went back to the original clips. Nice try Peter.
Most recently, he replaced the rear suspension with a creative custom spring that he found at a junk store. So far, it’s made for a firmer suspension, and he’s been really happy with it. Shows it to me every change he gets…
If you’re thinking of buying a Brompton folding bike for yourself but aren’t sure which model to go for, here’s two great examples. Take a hint from Roberto and Peter, buy a M2L Brompton Bike, or use our website to custom design the Brompton bike of your dreams.
Until next time,