The Ultimate Urban Vehicle

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Folding bikes are perhaps the ultimate urban vehicles. Consider the following:

  • Zero emissions
  • Compatible with public transit
  • Nimble
  • Compact
  • Lightweight

The Brompton is perhaps my favorite folding bike. Consider the following:

  • Compact & clean fold
  • Easy to carry
  • Rugged
  • Quick
  • Quintessentially British

Look for a full review on this amazing tool within the next week or so.

21 Responses to “The Ultimate Urban Vehicle”

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    I love the idea of a Brompton and could see one in my future, but I am worried about the handlebar positions. I think that I would need to get the touring model, because I can’t keep my hands in the “straight in front of you” position of the other bikes.

    Also, a number of the women I have talked to find it more difficult to wield and fold than some other folding bikes – like Dahon or Bike Friday. I am not attracted to those other options at all, but I wonder why they feel that way.

  • Logan says:

    Fantastic to hear! We are looking forward to it! :)

  • Alan says:

    @Lovely Bicycle!

    Hi!

    I’m not a big fan of the flat bar position either, but for how I use this bike (quick jaunts around the city, usually under 10 miles), it’s not an issue (for me). The multiple hand positions provided by the touring handlebar would definitely be advantageous for longer rides.

    In my opinion, the Brompton is the easiest of what I’d consider “real” folding bikes to carry and maneuver when folded. The Dahons, and even the Bike Friday Tikit, are definitely more unwieldy when folded. The Brompton’s is a more involved fold than the Tikit’s, but the folded package is super tidy and balanced. With a slip cover over it, the Brompton resembles a small suitcase more than it resembles a folded bicycle.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • mitchell connell says:

    I’m graduating high school this spring, and I am thinking about saving up for a Brompton for college. It seems like a perfect tool for weekend tours, urban commuting, and college. I do have a question though. I’m 6’0, and have pretty long legs (about an 88 1/2 PBH). Would this put me in a hunched over position because of the nonadjustable handlebars?

    They really are amazing pieces of industrial design.

  • Teddy says:

    Now this is the best kind of UAV =D

  • Alan says:

    @mitchell

    Hi Mitchell,

    You and I have exactly the same height and PBH. With your PBH, you’re just slightly over-tall for the standard seatpost, so you’ll need the telescopic seat post to achieve your recommended 30.75″- 30.875″ saddle height. The bike in the above photo is set-up for my height, and as you can see, the bars are about level with the saddle. The bars are just a touch lower than I usually prefer, but because the Brompton is short from front to back, I find the reach perfectly comfortable for riding in the city.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • todd says:

    @Lovely Bicycle, I love Bromptons, but consider Ergon (or similar) aftermarket grips with bar ends an essential upgrade to permit a wrists-in riding position. For my summer Portland->SF Brompton camping tour (best 2 weeks of my life!), I opted for Ergon GC3’s whose bar ends are so ample as to impede the fold: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/4961363522/in/set-72157624997246932/ . Compromise without regret.

  • Acoustic Motorbike says:

    Mitchell,

    You may want to check out the P-type handlebars as they’re close to an inch higher than the standard M-type bars. I keep my saddle height at 31.75″ and find the riding position is perfect for me. The P-type also give you the option of multiple hand positions.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    todd – the trouble with both the Ergon grips and the touring bars, is that I still have to hold the handlebars in the “bad” position while braking – and in city traffic that can mean a lot of the time. My hands have gotten so bad, that even that is unadvisable. So I would definitely have to resolve this problem if I were to get a Brompton. Looking at the touring handlebars, it seems that the brake levers could be moved to the sides, so I hope that might be possible. I would have to re-wrap the bars, but I wouldn’t mind.

  • Neily says:

    I love the idea of folding bikes but……the ride, it is awful. I have never ridden a folding bike that I have actually enjoyed riding.

  • Ali B says:

    I’m a recent convert to a brompton and has revolutionized how I get about. It’s great when meeting friends for a meal as I just fold it up in the corner of the restaurant, no stress on getting it stolen. I even used it on a 90 mile charity ride, with no mods, and it was surprisingly comfortable.

    My wife also got one this year and uses it on her commute. Cycle to station, hop on train, cycle to the office on the other side. It has taken 30 min off her journey to work and really makes her day. Of course, being able to get it in her personal colour choice was a bonus!

    Both bikes fit side by side, folded up, in the cupboard, a real win in a small one bedroom apartment.

  • qx87 says:

    as a regular reader of your site I know you guys like good looks, so consider my two favorite folders the first is a golden classic, the vintage Mifa (old eastern german brand) folder (klapprad). The other one is the super cool futuristic looking full suspension Riese & Müller Frog

    http://www.r-m.de/produkte/produktfinder/faltgenie/frog/

    greetings

  • Crosius says:

    I have a Tikit and I completely agree that folding bikes are perfect for the city.

    I work in a building with no bike-parking, but there’s enough room under my desk in the cube-farm to stow my Tikit. Local transit is rolling out bike-racks on the busses, but they are still too rare to rely on them for mixed-mode commuting.

    When I was shopping, I considered the Brompton, but I didn’t like that the seat-post had to be collapsed when folding – the idea of “losing” my saddle-height settings every time I folded & unfolded the bike didn’t appeal to me. I assume there is a trick Brompton riders use to solve this issue, but none was apparent to me while I was shopping.

    I also preferred the idea of rolling the bike to carrying it, and having few “folder-specific” parts on my bike. I think Bromptons have improved on this last point since I last looked at them.

  • A V Lowe says:

    Lightweight folding bike owner since 1980 Bromptons since 1989 – Suggested lists Brompton-Talk@yahoogroups.com but sometimes you need to filter long & tedius threads. Some topics can get very long way off the wall.

    Nascent Bromptonites Group in Meetups listings – slightly biased at present to velos Ecossais. Your bike colours are very Leprachaun (sp?) and evoke thoughts of Eireann.

  • Jeff says:

    Alan,

    What a wonderful way to enjoy The Fountains shopping center. I was lucky enough to ride a Brompton in Santa Barbara this past summer. The crew at The Bicycle Garage really know thier stuff.

    Enjoy the ride!
    Jeff

  • kanishka token folding reader says:

    @mitchell

    good choice. i started using a brompton in the setting your are considering (but grad school, not undergrad). i had actually thought the bus front bike racks woudl fill up, so it would be nice to be able to fold up when needed and still catch the bus to school. turned out, the bike rack rarely filled up.

    for regular subway riding, or folding more than 1 time a day, i probably wouldn’t consider much besides a brompton. maybe a tikit.

    position / handlebar adaptability…i feel like i repeat this too much, but consider the swift folder, if you want to be able to completely customize to your liking over time, and are only looking to fold for car trunks or dorm rooms. (my current ride – 6 mile trips, 7 times/week, commuting to grad school. another 10+ trips with bike in front of a bus or on an amtrak per week)

    most of the other folding brands, take the “we design/customize this once perfectly upfront” approach. but i feel like a bike should be an evolving object. as you discover and change your needs.

    -kanishka

  • Stuart says:

    In the past I have disparaged folding bikes; I live in Sac where it’s easy to get on the light rail or bus with a bike, and well, they just look a little goofy to me. But a recent BART ride from Oakland to SF where I was forced to stand my bike vertical and hug it to my chest had me wishing for a goofy little luggage sized bike

  • Paul says:

    love the shape and color! great combination!

    paul

  • Chris says:

    I’m 6’1″, my wife is 5’5″; we are each perfectly comfortable on our (ergon and Brooks equipped) Bromptons. We are one bike folks; we held on to our 650B Walnut Creek bikes until we thoroughly tested the folders. It has been over a year now, no regrets selling the big bikes! Our riding frequency has increased, and it is especially nice to toss the bikes in a car trunk, or in a canvas bag for the airline, and have them on our vacations (San Francisco, Sun Valley, Napa, San Diego). I think we did forty miles in Napa, no challenge.
    Absent from the discussion is the Brompton’s ability to work as a shopping cart, whether in the supermarket, the library, or pushing it in my office building, they evoke wide eyed smiles. Another nice feature of most folders: no top tube. It’s a U-frame, but doesn’t give it away. First time in thirty years of (significant) cycling I’m not wistful for the next bike.
    Biggest problem with the B: You will demonstrate it often for folks. If you ride in an area where they’re uncommon, figure one extra fold and unfold a day.

    Cheers,

    Chris

  • edgar atkins says:

    Hi, I live in Madrid (Spain) and love bicycles and cycling in my city. Congratulations for the blog, it is really superb!

    Regarding folding bikes I observe Brompton has become a sort of mythical brand. They are not bad, of course, but in my opinion there are much better folding bikes: for instance, the German Birdy: aluminium, 18″ wheels instead of 16″, suspension through two elastomers that are at the same time the way to fold the bike (the frame doesn’t fold) and many other advantages.

    I bought it two years ago and use it very often. Not a complaint to make and lots of satisfaction riding it going to the job or during the weekends. I wish I could send you some pictures.

  • Alan says:

    Hi Edgar,

    I’d love to see some photos of your Birdy. Feel free to send some photos for our Gallery if you’d like.

    Regards,
    Alan

 
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