A Cheap Brompton in Paris
I’m always looking at different ways to get Brompton bikes cheaply and I think I might have stumbled across something. This won’t be for everyone, but having lived in France for 12 years I know that they are really useless at some things. Sure they make great food, have superb campsites, breed champion athletes, have more types of cheese than any other country, but….they are useless at marketing! Look at this bike here on Ebay.fr – as I write it has 3 days to go and has only had 3 bids. The current price is 604€ which seems very good. I’m not entirely sure what bike it is, but I would guess it is something like an M3L and it looks in amazing condition. But what can you tell from the ebay ad?
Title – Velo Brompton
Ok sure that’s what it is, but no mention of the model, not even ‘pliable’ (folding). There is of course the one slightly fuzzy photo which indicates it seems to have a Zefal bike pump and the luggage carrying block, but really would any would be Brompton owner notice that? Surely the description would tell us all that:
Description – Vélo Brompton état neuf , à venir récupérer sur place paris 17 Em étoile
Brilliant! As new Brompton, collect from the center of Paris.
Imagine if this was for sale in the UK, the ad would read something like this:
“My lovely Brompton, no longer needed as I no longer have to commute. Nearly perfect, but well maintained with new chain & almost new brake blocks. Three Speed with M series Handlebars. Can be viewed & tested in Paris, Can be collected from any Paris airport or Metro station. I can arrange delivery at your cost, you will need to tell me how & when you want it delivered. I will get you a quote, expect to pay between £10-20 dependant on service required”
That would be fairly typical I reckon. If you are in the market for a newish Brompton, do keep an eye on this one and similar ones. It might be worth setting up an Ebay alert so that you will be automatically notified when Bromptons are up for sale in strange places.
I just had an email from Eden Fowler who lives in France and is the proud owner of a 1990 Brompton M3R that he has just done a 3 to 6 speed conversion on. Eden seems to have found a nice solution in his search for a Brompton rear view mirror. Here is the email:
“I’m writing to tell you of a splendid rear-view mirror I recently came accross that fits the left-hand end of a Brompton’s handlebar. It’s called the ZEFAL DOOBACK (really!) and it’s made in France. I bought it on line from Probikeshop (also French) for just under 11 Euros including delivery by Mondial Relay to a collection point in a nearby town for just 1Euro!
The mirror is all plastic and flips out on a clicking pivot, and doesn’t affect the fold adversely. My gyroscope is a bit dicky these days, and trying to pivot my head enough for a good view behind tends to provoke a potentially dangerous swerve. Now a thing of the past I’m very pleased to say.”
All done with camping gaz torch!
Up in the top corner of France Eden Fowler has been bodgineering away, improving his Brompton by doubling the number of gears. I knew this was on his mind because when he first got in touch in May this year he said (in this blog post about his 1990 Brompton),
“I can’t help wondering if anyone out there who has titaniumised their Brompton’s back end may have a steel back end with the 2-speed derailleur and wheel with BWR hub gear to dispose of at a reasonable price? That would get me a higher top gear to replace the one I’m losing with the chainwheel change. Or am I dreaming?”
Well, dreaming or not he has gone ahead and done it – have a look here at his Brompton 3 to 6 speed conversion…
I had this great email from Eden Fowler a couple of days ago, another Brompton fan living in France like myself. Eden had read my Brompton Folding Bike Guide and said:
“I also, am happily ensconced in a part of France (25 years, now) with my newly acquired Brompton with S.A. 3-speed which I presume from the frame N° 2901 is a 1990 model. What fun I’ve had bonding with her and sorting things.The original front wire basket has been removed and is replaced by a 40-litre orange bag from Decathlon mounted on a piece of 6mm marine ply. This allows me to do our shopping in the county town of Quimper some 25 kms distant for two Euro each way on the bus . The basket is available free to anyone who wants it.
I’ve been through the same process as you on gearing and am awaiting the arrival of a Brompton 44-tooth chainwheel from Brilliant Bikes, which was substantially cheaper than Evans.
I can’t help wondering if anyone out there who has titaniumised their Brompton’s back end may have a steel back end with the 2-speed derailleur and wheel with BWR hub gear to dispose of at a reasonable price? That would get me a higher top gear to replace the one I’m losing with the chainwheel change. Or am I dreaming?”
I had to reply saying,
“Hi Eden, interesting idea about the swapping of the back end. Maybe I should set up a forum or something or even some kind of swap shop type area….hmm? In a similar way, because my Brompton was second hand I have a telescopic seat post that I’d happily swap for a standard one.”
Later on I added, “I reckon if you could send me a photo of your bike (preferably with the decathlon bag attached) – it would make a great page in the reader’s bikes section. Are you up for that?”
Eden was and here is the page about Eden’s 1990 Brompton M3R. Thank you so much.
I’m sorry if anyone is slightly offended by this, but when I was writing my post earlier on today about the Evans Cycles bike trade in offer I had a little search around the internet for an image to use with it. Whilst having a search on Google images I found this, which I thought was quite amusing. I believe the actual image is by Tony Mottram who does a nice range of T Shirts on Amazon featuring famous rock stars.
I’m not sure how many Motorhead fans are going to interested in the Evans Cycles £100 ‘trade in your old bike’ offer, but if they are, here’s the link you need:
Evans Cycles are doing an offer at the moment where you can get £100 for your old bike, whatever the condition of it is. Admittedly this is on a sliding scale, so you can’t buy a £200 bike and get £100 off, but I guess that is fair enough. The scale goes like this:
- If you are buying a bike between £200 and £400, you get £30 for your old bike
- If you are buying a bike between £400 and £600, you get £50 for your old bike
- If you are buying a bike between £600 and £1000, you get £80 for your old bike
- If you are buying a bike over £1000 you get the full £100 for your old bike
Obviously you don’t want to trade in the bike you use everyday at the moment, but I know for certain that I have a couple of bikes that are really worth nothing at all that would be perfect for trading in.
I have been looking at these handmade Brompton bags for quite a while now. The particular Ebay seller (dieselheaters4u) seems to be based in Turkey and sells lots of parts for diesel heaters, but as well these hand made Brompton bags that seem to get delivered from Turkey for no charge. I really am not quite sure what is going on there, but I scoured through the feedback which seems very good. Some feedback said that it was better than the Brompton B Bag. If this is true I’ll be very happy.
I want a bag for my Brompton so I can take it on a plane and go and visit some friends in Spain, my Mum and Dad in England and some friends in the United States too. As well as this I’d love to take my Brompton on tour with me and my band next spring in England, I did this this year (actually when I bought my Brompton) but it got loaded in with the bands gear in a trailer behind a motorhome and it did suffer. Mainly a few scratches and nasty scuff on the saddle, nothing life threatening but still not nice.
I’m just going to order the bag now, as is customary in my household, I buy everyone’s Christmas presents including my own, so I will let you know how I get on. It’s the 8th December today, so hopefully it will arive before Christmas.
Thank you to Charlie (from Chesham) who just alerted me to an article in The Guardian today about Brompton Bikes. The article, by Zoe Woods, stated that Brompton had reported a jump in annual sales and profits as commuters in crowded asian cities such as Seoul and Tokyo were finally getting into the wonderful world of folding bikes. Brompton’s profits leapt nearly 50% to £1.6m in Q1 while sales rose by a quarter to £16.7m.
William Butler-Adams, the company’s managing director said:
“Brompton had clocked up growth of more than 20% in South Korea and Japan as frustrated city-dwellers sought ways to beat traffic jams.”
The company’s founder, Andrew Ritchie, could see from the window of his flat as he worked on the prototype in the early 1980s.
Since William Butler-Adams took charge of Brompton over 10 years ago, the company has been expanding rapidly in the overseas markets. Brompton are expecting production to rise from 31,000 to 36,000 units in the current financial year.
I find it absolutely stunning that 75% of Brompton’s turnover is from international sales, but they are not happy with that and would like it to be 80%! Brompton recently opened their first shop in mainland China. So now the wealthy residents of Shanghai have a British product to spend their money on.
Brompton M6R at Le Casset
Here is my Brompton M6R at Le Casset near Le Monêtier Les Bains in the Hautes Alpes. You would think that it would be all downhill from here to the town of Briançon, but oddly enough there is quite a bit of uphill too. Perfectly Bromptonable though.
The photo is looking up towards the Col du Lautaret which is a mountain pass at more than 2000m altitude. I should aim to get up there on my Brompton.