Recently, on the way to work, I began to wonder where in my life I turned in the wrong direction. Because here I am, a man who used to go to the university through the center of the capital city with MTB bike, in jeans tucked into ski socks (so they would not get dirty). Here I am, the same Maciek, several years later. With a beard, I ride through fany Świętokrzyski brige, to work in fancy district of Powiśle, with a computer with an apple in the logo, with the knowledge that soon I will go with my friends for lunch - vegan falafels. I, on folding bike, for wagan, on the path - what the ....? Only Magda M is missing (??????? - note: Panda) Here is a text about Brompton, a piece of equipment that changed my life a bit.
This story begins with
Before you listen to me, do not laugh.
Our adventure with folding bikes dates back to 2017, when we borrowed decathlon bikes and visited Berlin. We had the best times, which is why after more than a year we decided to start searching for such bike. We, unfortunately, removed Decathlon bikes from the wish list very quickly, as the ride was perfect, but the folding system left a lot to be desired. We went to Warsaw's iVelo - a Bromptom distributor.
Do you know a feeling when you walk into an unknown store and find out that you've come to the wrong place? For example, are you looking for the first cycling jersey and you landed in Rapha or the first bike and you landed in Veloart? It's us, at iVelo. This is the awkward situation, when you ask on what you want to buy, begin to talk, you are totally excited, then you look at the price and wonder if the comma is in the right place? It's us, at iVelo. Because Brompton is expensive, really expensive - we'll come back to that later.
In this post, I wanted to make a list of famous people on Bromptons (Owen Wilson, Hugh Jackman, Prince Harry and William), so I searched Google for "famous people brompton". It took me a while to find out that I was watching a list of people buried in Brompton Cementery
Brompton vs Dahon
There are more dilemmas here than you might think. The difference is not only in the brand, but in principle in everything.
For start, you have to answer two very important questions:
What wheel size?
Brompton is 16", Dahon is mostly 20". On one hand, 20" gives incomparably greater comfort, on the other - bigger wheels make bike bigger.
Internal or external derailleur?
Inner is nice, but the external one gives so many tuning possibilities and inserting up to 11 gears! I can already see how I pack Sram Red there and build an 8kg bike ...
So we write a list of requirements:
After folding, bike MUST be less than 158 cm in total size, as this is max allowed size by most airlines as registered luggage.
We do not want an external derailleur, because not only can I bet that we will bend it the first time we transport it, but another cassette will be dirty. I know that the derailleur during the trip can be unscrewed, but I do not buy a folding bike to do so.
Folding has to be fast, convenient and effective.
And it quite quickly leaves us with two models. All the great 20 "Terny road trucks weighing 10kg, all Dahon (except one) and so on.
Dahon cleverly used the situation that Brompton's patents expired and he made his copy of this bike, only a bit more modern: Dahon Curl i7. It turns out that it costs more or less as much as its equivalent in Brompton PLN 6,000 and does not weigh less.
Since Panda has Brompton, she is late everywhere. Like an Amway dealer, she presents every day to random people, how to fold and unfold her bike.
To think about it, the choice between Brompton and his biggest competitor is somewhat like the choice between Apple and Android-based phones. You write down the pros and cons of each solution on the sheet and it comes out to you that Android is better in general in every category and is also cheaper. What's more, thanks to the fact that there are one hundred thousand different models, and Apple offers only iPhones, you can choose it much better. Then you go to the Appl store, touch their equipment and on the disadvantages list of Androidyou enter it's not from Apple and you buy an iPhone. Mainly because it is an iPhone.
And really, I'd like to write something wise, why the choice ultimately fell on Brompton, but I can not. The choice fell on it, because from the day we saw him, nothing else was Brompton... after a month of stormy thoughts, we came back to iVelo.
NONE, AS THE PRICE ...
No bicycle purchase was so difficult for me. I understand that you can spend 10, 20, 40 thousand PLN on a road bike. I understand that shorts can cost a thousand. I do not despise the trainer for 5,000 and a fan for cooling the rider for a thousand. I can justify all this in some way. BUT DAMN:
Folding bike, which in a reasonable configuration now starts from PLN 5,835 !?
... for comparison, a few months earlier, for 4999 PLN we bought a new road bike with Aksium wheels and Di2
How to live? How to justify it? After all, when you buy two .... oh, hell.
The most beautiful thing in my Brompton is that everyone thinks that it is very cheap. "Nice bike, at least you're not afraid to leave it by the shop"- this is the most common opinion. It suits me very well, that's why this entry is very uncomfortable for me. I liked this state.
Digression about versions:
Brompton is easy to choose, because there is one model, it costs about 5000 PLN and then you start to choose things and pay extra.
First gears: to choose one, two, three or six (single, two sprockets in the rear, 3 gears in the hub, or a combination of 2 × 3). It is not difficult to guess that we choose the most expensive option, ie 6. It is not only about the ease of overcoming the climbs and descents, but also about graduation. A man accustomed to 22 runs on the road, would like to naturally adjust the cadence to his speed, not the speed to the term.
... and I will tell you that - running in the hub is something wonderful. The ability to change gear when stopping at traffic lights is like driving an automaton in a car. You try once, you do not want to go back.
You can also choose slightly lighter or harder gear ratios, but this is necessary in my opinion only in unusual, individual cases.
Then the steering wheel and the bridge, versions S, M, H and P, which means respectively: sports, medium, high and bent, which in theory can do for everything, but it is also heavy. Here is a shock, because instead of sports, we choose the average. Until today, I can not judge if the decision is good. I'm riding well, but whether sports would not be easier? Would the conventions not be risked? Would a lighter bike be easier? Well, mounting lamps and meters - on the straight would be easier. On the other hand, my back enjoys this decision, every time I go to work, and it's easier for me to use my cameras while driving.
seatpost - ordinary, or telescopic, that is, one that can be broken up double. We take ordinary and if it is reasonable for Panda, I do not necessarily need it anymore. At 188cm the seatpost is close enough for me, and if I put SPDa, it could even be too short. But that's not all - my seatpost is so long, that to put the bike in my suitcase, unfortunately I have to unscrew the saddle with an imbibe - the millimeter is missing. The telescopic seat post is heavier and, in my opinion, uglier, so the choice is obvious.
I would say that I am proud of the fact that my bike was entirely made in Europe (because in the UK it's all right to me), but:
Then additions, or trunks, fenders, etc. Fenders are a duty for me in such a bike, I order trunks like an onion with friends (and it is not cheap there at all!). I also checked with the rest whether they have counterfeit or cheaper versions of folders - not very good.
It is beautiful that all these extra things are so well thought out and fit so well. The front bag for this example is mounted to the "bridge" instead of the steering wheel. This means that it does not move during turning. Nothing, but if we pack a few kilos into it, it does not adversely affect the control (it does not overload us in any direction). It's a small thing, and it's nice when you think about it.
The Internet claims that it gives 16,000,000 possibilities.
At the end the simplest, but not the cheapest, i.e. color. You can configure the colors yourself and it is a bit like buying a new car when you hear that there is a 6,000 surcharge for metallic. Because the same bike can cost nearly 6,000, as well as close to 9, if you want to have, for example, editing nickel. Black seatpost, pedal and pedals? Please, pay extra for a few pennies. So we take the colors of the poorest (and Panda adds black additions, who will stop Panda ...).
Expenses start afterwards ;-)
Everything is beautiful to the Bromptons ... and expensive. The front boot holder - over a hundred. Luggage to the back - a few stakes. Bag - a few stakes. And so coins are flying.
The standard parking place has 42 complex Bromptons.
Of course, there are also limited versions, superlight (lighter by 700g) and so on. Talk about prices does not make sense here, because before a man decides on them, they are sold out a long time ago. The sports version of Chpt3 is currently exceedingly at the auction auctions (currently one, on an English scale) PLN 10,000, and the yellow Sally Edition, I saw it approaching PLN 20,000.
Making the decision to buy Brompton was the most difficult and the best decision in my cycling life.
And of course, just like everyone I always say: If you are not sure if the bike is a good decision, take your used one - so we wanted to buy a stimulant. It turns out that these bikes do not lose their value. When ordering two, several years, in the most reasonable condition, at the English auctions, we would be less than a thousand. A guarantee, service on site and the smell of new products.
So we came back to this unfortunate iVelo, many times. We asked questions, asked random people who were coming to the site with their Brompts. We read on the internet, watched people riding ultramarathons, trekking, mountain trips and across continents, conquering Stelvio and commuters. It was like a sect. I was afraid that once again I am buying dreams and a vision instead of equipment. As with GoPro, when you discover that you do not do extreme sports, despite having an extreme camera. But I said YOLO and it happened. We were the owners of folding bikes.
Jesus Christ, Nazarene, how great it is.
Panda is practically sitting by the shoulder at the moment and is controlling whether I am writing bad things about Brompton.
Because imagine that you are riding a bike and everyone is smiling at you. The children are jealous, passers-by ask, the lady from the shop lets you in - the same in the office, the lady in the cinema, the lady in the clinic, the lady in the theater and every other. If you did not let in or believe that it does not fall out, you leave the bike in the locker room. We have already entered a lot of places with a bicycle and there have never been any problems.
I went to work during the season with various bicycles. Aero, light, expensive, extremely expensive (over 40k), ugly etc. Nobody has ever paid attention to it. Brompton can not be commented on. That it's cool, that it's ridiculous, that why, when I'm normal?
Is Brompton riding?
He has wheels that goes, what is not to go. Flat slightly slower, uphill and downhill a lot slower, but it goes. My independent research carried out in the methodology "let us assume that pi is 4" show that driving Brompton is about 20-30% slower than the road. This means that in the case of a long and relatively flat route (say 500m / 100km), the average speed will oscillate around 25km / h. The road would probably be a few over 30km / h. It's a bit harder uphill, but the incredible maneuverability of the bike makes it possible to be narrowed so much that with a slope of 15% it gets 2%.
How has my travel time changed to work? Well, it turned out that he was more dependent on the arrangement of lights and wind than the type of a bicycle, so the test had to be very large. After analyzing about a year of data, it turns out that Bromptom is slower by about 30-40 sec during 13 minute drive. It's as much as it gains later on the fact that I do not have to pick SPDs. It also turned out that on Mondays I drive much slower than on Fridays, and commuting (especially Monday) is definitely longer than the return (especially Friday).
I traveled Brompton in 3 days after Portugal over 500 km. It went quite well, except for typical walls, but it was enough to be patient. It seems to me that an average physically active person is able to safely beat several dozen kilometers by bike, and an amateur rider somewhere within 120-150km without compromising on health and the psyche.
There is no rose without a fire.
I would not be myself if I did not point out a few flaws:
First, a seatpost - it would be good to have an incision that does not allow it to be turned sideways. Perhaps his lack has any justification, but I do not see him. Every time I unfold my bike, I need to focus on making the saddle straight.
pedals - exactly this folded. The folding mechanism makes the pedals not symmetrical. Just like in a normal foot, it protrudes slightly inwards, there it can not protrude over the axis of the pedal, so in the other. I have the impression that the temporary discomfort of the knee after the trip to Faro was caused by this one, but I do not have evidence. I doubt also that someone planned to go that far without SPDs. Panda also says something about slipping his foot, but it can just be through bad shoes. Anyway, the pedals are going to replace, if only because of the weight.
Weight. This is a big pain because the bike is heavy. My weight is somehow over 12kg. This makes even when it is raised by an outsider, uninitiated in the secret knowledge of bicycles, it feels its weight. In riding it does not bother, but in wearing it anyway. Similarly as when trying to pack a suitcase in a suitcase and not exceed 20kg in cheap lines (suitcase is about 4kg). Competition, however, is not lighter, so I assume you can not. That is, we all know that it is possible, but not at a reasonable price.
Rear wheel - the biggest pain of this bike in my opinion. Removing the rear wheel is magic. If I catch my slippers on the route, I'll eat and cry (and then I'll catch my foot, which will not be difficult with this bike). Removing requires a few steps, which probably are simple for most average people, but not for me. All "Brompton's Rear Wheel Removal" videos burn on youtube for a few minutes and require a custom (for me) key and removal of several parts. Maybe I will go to some accelerated disassembly course? For now, I drive with Vittoria spray, hoping to fix potential holes.
At the end, however, you would like to add these 16 "wheelsbut it's not a flaw, it's a feature. You just need to remember that running into puddles may result in serious damage to the face, if it turns out that it was too deep, and the collision with the chestnut can actually be a collision ;-)
Meat, or riding
Normal riding Brompton is usually around 25km / h, it can be faster, it can be slower (especially with the scale). Only what for?
Being ridiculous has never been so pleasant.
Paradoxically, the biggest advantage of driving is, in my opinion, that you are not a cyclist. Maybe it's because of the lack of SPDs, maybe by the position, or maybe simply by the lack of a lajra. Coming Brompton, I am a human being. I do not bother people on the pavement, no one challenges me, I walk in (I would enter if I did not despise) without a problem to the subway or tram. The only thing that can be tiring in the long run is people who look and ask. They ask how it goes, where it is bought, how it folds and how it folds. And children who are shouting "what a small bike!".
The fact that I'm not a cyclist has many other advantages. With time, I learned to completely ignore the checking with which I drive speed - in the end I will reach the goal anyway. There is also a much better thing: I am going in such a position and with such an attitude that stopping for a photo or just to see something, does not cause me any problems. I do not know, maybe it's this position - when I stand it is almost the same as when I am going. Just like on the road, something happened "very often because I do not want to get in", so here I have no problem. It makes the average gross speed from a long route usually fall to around 22km / h. Whatever ...
He drives perfectly. Good acceleration, incredible maneuverability and decent speed. Of course, if you remember about such inconveniences as bypassing EVERY bigger hole and the fact that driving under the curb is extremely difficult (this is by combining the weight - just between 1.5x and 2x good road and the size of the wheel - almost 2x smaller). It's like an attempt to run under a curb 2x twice larger than normal with a few-kilo pannier.
Do NOT try to ride on the sand. Experience is somewhat reminiscent of our first encounter with fatbikes when we pulled in the snow and the bike stopped in place. It is OK on even gravels, but as soon as the surface becomes loose, the bike stays in place. It is also problematic on the slippery surface - the wet Lisbon paving made the bike run instead of driving it.
As for the second situation in which the bike could potentially have problems - descents. It is very different - it depends on the teacher. My maximum speed is just over 60km / h. Most of the quick descents can be covered in the vicinity of 50-55km / h and there also ends the reason for me in the average cyclist. This is primarily about small surprises on the road, through which you can easily lose control of the machine. Remembering that small circles forgive a lot less, it requires a lot of concentration. Most of the dangerous situations I had already after being released to about 30km / h and the expansion phase, when thoughts are running away somewhere and suddenly a small pothole or pebble restores you to reality.
Folding and operating
I know that there should not be a big difference between a bike that folds 15 seconds and a minute ... but it is.
The bike consists of a dozen or so seconds (and if you like hit on youtube it's rather 5 seconds). This is a pleasant and uncomplicated operation that says "I do not want to" appears very sporadically. When handling a bicycle, it makes such a pleasant impression that everything has been thought out here. And the fact, the British since 1979, did not change much in this bike. The constant preservation of backward compatibility brings many consequences - good and bad.
Since that day,
if I was going somewhere,
I was going there
Living with Bromptom is difficult. Never in my life have I had so many things to do in places so far away from me. Already on the first day of having them, we felt that we urgently need to visit the IKEA store. We did not have too much to buy, but we had to go.
Since that time, I had to arrange many things in places that are far too far from me. I drive him to Panda for work, I go in front of Panda, visit shops and settle things, choosing places as far away from me as possible. I even come back from a job by a circuitous route. Like a child who has just learned to keep balance on the bicycle and the world stood in front of him (the front one).
Small and large trips.
Traveling with Bromptom is very simple.
Chances to catch hitchhiking with Bromptom instead of the classic 28 "increase by about 980% (I estimate).
Drivers of buses, both urban and long-distance ones, do not understand why I ask them about the possibility of putting a bicycle in the hatch, since it is the size of ordinary luggage.
There are two sensible options on the plane:
Buy a dedicated suitcase / bag. After a week of careful analysis of the Internet, all possible forums and films, I decided on the brand vincit. I recommend, not only because I wrote to men in Thailand, and they not only sent me a parcel in a week, but they also gave a blogging discount;) It's just a very good suitcase, exactly:SIGHTSEER II SET. It meets all my requirements, the kit also comes with a three-part bag, which pushes clothes and throws on a folded bicycle, so it is effectively secured on all sides.
The bag has a rigid floor, 4 detachable wheels (if VERY heavily depends on the weight) and folds into a size where it can be carried on the rear trunk.
There are probably other good ones (eg the original Brompton), but this one seemed the best.
The second is much more interesting and cheaper, but only for the brave.
It turns out that the ideal bag for Brompton is Dimpa bag from IKEA. For PLN 10 we get a perfectly fitted and practically indestructible bag for our bike, which I rarely part with. People push her clothes, or maybe some cardboard, mat and fly into the world. It's so much better that you do not need to carry your suitcases on the spot, and Dimpa is even folded into a large pocket (very large). How will I test - I will let you know. Until then, quoting the classic - I'm racing a bit.
Who is it?
I would be lying to say that I can recommend Brompton to anyone. Definitely not.
Riding him over curbs and uneven roads does not bring any joy. If your bike infrastructure consists of crumbling paving stones or pavement tiles, forget about the topic. Similarly with the rest if you plan to go with your friends in the surrounding forest. While driving on paved paths can be successful, overcoming roots or sand is not necessarily the case.
However, if you live in a civilized place, it annoys you that the bikes take you half a flat, you do not have an indoor parking for two-wheelers at work or you often travel by plane or in foreign cars - this is the solution to all your problems.
Tomorrow is today.
It may sound very lofty, but it seems to me that the bunker is the next stage in the cycling / cycling culture of society.
Just as when one day people discovered that the famous "highlander" is not the best type of bicycle for everything, and it is better to go on a trekking or a township to work. Or when electric bikes appeared and life became easier. It will probably be the same with composers that break popularity records in Asia, and for some time they have also been arriving very quickly in major European cities. I think that with the development of bicycle infrastructure also in Poland, it will start to come.
Do you know what would be beautiful? If one of the Polish companies managed to embrace it and create a ORDERED, steel folding bicycle.
And for the proof that I'm not lying - tomorrow we're going to a fairly long tour around the west coast of the USA (about which will be next entries). Guess which bike was the easiest to transport by plane and rented cars, what is the easiest to store in a hotel and what is best visited cities and the surrounding area ...