As I write this in September 2012 the best selling model of all the Brompton folding bikes is the Brompton M3L. This is the classic Brompton with the distinctive shape of the M Type handlebars. The M type handlebars have been used on Brompton folding bikes since they first went into production. This gives quite an upright riding position which is very comfortable and I think it just seem the most stylish too.It’s no wonder the M3L has become a classic and has won so many prestigious design awards.
As well as the ingenious Brompton fold and small dimensions once folded, it comes into it’s own once you unfold it. This is a really lovely bike to ride and it looks fantastic too. If you have never ridden a bike with small wheels before you might find the steering a little odd at first, but really after about 20 mins it feels fine. In fact if you go back to a bicycle with big wheels they feel unresponsive, something which a Brompton isn’t. There is plenty of room for luggage on the front of the bike with the addition of various Brompton luggage accessories.
This bike has 3 gears which are provided by the light weight Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub. These gears are wide spaced and will give you a good cadence on most terrains. If you require more gears then you should look at the Brompton M6L which has an extra derailleur gear which gives you a half step between the gears. Similarly if you live somewhere very flat, then it might be sufficient to opt for the 2 speed M2L.
The M3L weighs in at 11.71kg, which is not much at all, but if you need to go lighter there is a M3L-X which has the titanium rear triangle and forks. The best price I can find for a new 2012 model of the Brompton M3L is £810 from Evans Cycles. I’ve said before that Bromptons aren’t cheap, but I do honestly think they are good value for money and the price of their second hand folding bikes echoes this.