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The Brompton Folding Bike Guide

I wrote this document in April 2013 to provide some useful information for people wanting to buy a Brompton, because that is exactly what I had done 12 months before. I also wanted to use the guide to get to know some of the readers of Folding Bike Guide, so I was very pleased to get these comments about the guide.

Andy Mayson, April 2013

I was looking because I may get a job in London and need to go up by train. If decide to get one I’d look at Brompton first. Although the Tern I looked up on a US site looked good I think the wheelbase is shorter because the distance from the crank to the rear wheel is fixed. I used to have a Brompton before… I bought it in 1982 when the factory was in a shed near Kew Gardens. I think I paid £201 for it! The frame cracked around the seat post and they replaced it under warranty. It cracked again but I drilled the end of the crack and that stopped it. I only sold it a couple of years ago as it had been in the garage unused for about 20 years! It was pretty clunky and heavy compared with the current versions. Your document was great in giving me the back-ground as to what to look out for.”

Andy also provided all the information needed to produce the first page of the ‘Reader’s Bikes‘ section, about his 1982 Brompton Bicycle.

Mark Ward, April 2013

I found your guide really helpful. I was looking, and then ultimately bought a second hand Brompton on ebay (unfortunately not in a position to buy new). The big issue I had was deciding on gearing – your guide really helped me making that decision. I was worried about the potential of buying a stolen bike. But advice on looking for serial nos etc was useful. As it happens I bought a bike to the spec that I wanted – the seller was genuine and it seems an enthusiastic owner, so much as he kept sending me emails about how to fold and look after his bike. (it was clear Brompton owners are so passionate about their bikes – they want to make sure they get a good home). In conclusion, a great guide.

The Legg Family, April 2013

Complete folding bike novice so don’t feel able to add any critical comment. I can say that your guide was much more complete and informative than the Bromton brochure, and more helpful to someone like me who is still undecided about going the folding bike route. Thanks.

Rgemelga, April 2013

I’ve been making reviews on folding bikes here on the Philippines. Since its getting very popular here.

Boyspot, April 2013

The book was good but a few more illustrations might have been helpful. Descriptions of the options were good but a few times I found myself thinking that a photo would have helped a lot. I was also interested in the bags for carrying the bike. Not sure whether there was more that could have been said on that but it was relevant to what I was looking at. Thanks for creating this.

Rob, May 2013

I really liked the downloadable Brompton folding bike guide you produced. Would note that the X models (the titanium) also have the extra light front wheel but you didn’t mention them in the guide against this upgrade path (as in, choose the titanium model and you get the extra light front wheel too!)

Derek, May 2013

I enjoyed reading your guide, though I think I would’ve preferred more first person exposition of what it’s like to ride, live with and use a Brompton on a daily basis.

When I was looking around for my first folding bike in 2010, the brand did cross my radar but then promptly fell off it for some reason! I ended up getting an Amiiva Quartz (aluminium frame, five speed Sturmey Archer, rear air shock, 20″ alloy wheels, Schwalbe Marathon tyres, height indexed seatpost, adjustable handlebar stem, rear drum brake and front carbon fork – all for the princely sum of £1200).

The fold is very fast (around 10 seconds) and the bike does ride very smoothly, but I’m not entirely happy with first gear (it’s too high) and the bike doesn’t lock together once folded, plus it really doesn’t wheel around too well once folded too.

No folder is perfect though, they are always a compromise between various abilities, and I’m still in the process of saving for a Brommie (I did a B-Spoke calculation yesterday: it should cost me £1600 all in!). Luckily, there is a dealer here in Brighton who has sold the bike for years, has demonstration models I can try and is very experienced in answering any queries.

Ian, May 2013

Excellent summary of Brompton bikes, I have been reading various articles on the bikes and this certainly added to my knowledge.

Vaughn, May 2013

I read the guide today and enjoyed it very much. This was very informative and I appreciate you taking time to prepare this for those of us who know absolutely nothing about these bikes other than that they are very expensive. Thank you very much.