On our Saturday Brompton Bike Tour we get all different kinds of people with all different types of questions. Many who join the ride have never ridden a Brompton Bike before, or indeed, any folding bike, and want to know how a folding bike compares to a regular road-bike or a mountain bike. Others are more experienced on folding bikes and have more specific questions about gearing, weight, and the differences between Bromptons with different features.
I thought I would take the opportunity to go over a few of these questions here:
1. Do the Brompton’s small wheels make it harder to pedal?
The smaller 16 inch wheels on the Brompton Bike will not affect your speed or require more work. Many people worry that because the wheels have a shorter circumference, they will cover less distance per pedal, and therefore require more work. In fact, the relationship between how much you pedal and how much distance you cover has more to do with gearing than it does wheel size. The Brompton Bikes have enough range in their gearing to go as fast as you want down hills, and their easiest gears will take you up any hill.
2. So how will the Brompton’s smaller wheels affect my ride?
Small wheels will be more sensitive to rougher terrain. This means that when you go over bumps in the road, you’ll feel it a bit more than with a bike with larger tires. The smaller wheels also turn faster, so you want to keep a sharp focus at high speeds, and not take your hands off the bars as road bikers are wont to do.
3. What are the different “types” of Brompton?
The Brompton Bikes come with 1, 2, 3 or 6 gears, can be fitted with several different styles of handlebars and come with a variety of accessories. The M type handlebar curves up and out to either side (Actually more like the letter “Y”) giving you a more upright riding position. The H type handlebar is like the M type but about 4 inches taller.
The S-type is a flat handlebar, allowing you to get into a more horizontal riding position.
Finally, the P type handlebars look more like a road-bike’s bars.
Bromptons come with a variety of different features depending on what type you get. The Type R brompton bikes come with fenders and a rear rack, the type L bromptons come with just fenders, and the type E Bromptons come just as they are.
To summarize if you wanted a Brompton bike with an upright handlebar, 6 gears, and a rear rack, you would order an M6R Brompton, “M” for handlebars, 6 for the gears, and “R” for the rear rack.
4. Are Brompton’s a good choice for everyday commutes?
The Brompton Bikes are ideal as everyday commuters. They fold up smaller than virtually any other folding bike we sell, are light weight, and will last you for life. If you’re not interesting in a super high performance, speed demon like the Tern verge X30h, and just want a bike that is simple, dependable, and easy, Brompton’s the way to go hands down.
That’s all I have time for now, but I hope that it was helpful. Come by and join the tour sometime, or stop by the shop and test ride the Brompton Bike for yourself, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.