Brompton or similar folding bikes?

Sep 17, 2017
1,362
2,078
Birmingham, UK
Funster No
50,575
MH
A-Class
Exp
2017
I wonder if any of those saying that Bromptons are unstable have actually been for a proper bike ride on one.
I can track-stand my Brompton nearly as well as my mountainbike. And they do get more stable at speed. Also, strangely, they get more stable when you add load to the front carrier. But they definitely feel more flighty than most bikes. I wouldn't dare ride mine no-handed. They require at least a light touch holding the bars all the time to keep them going in the intended direction. You need to provide very little input to produce quite drastic direction changes. They definitely aren't as stable as many bike designs.
 
Dec 1, 2019
12
8
Funster No
67,118
MH
Malibu 540DB (soon)
Exp
2019
Not sure where you’re located but if it’s anywhere near Surrey pop in and have a chat with Brilliant Bikes. They stock and sell Bromptons along with parts should you need any. They’ll also let you try one of their demonstration bikes, manual or electric.


My wife and I have one and think they’re great. We’ve cycled around the Isle of Wight on them in great comfort.
 
OP
PaulC70
May 8, 2021
116
182
Funster No
81,023
MH
Bailey Alliance SE
If you are looking for a light weight folding bike I may be able to help. I habe 2 in storage we haven’t added to our travels although we did use them when travelling but we upgraded our scooter and now have no space for them.
What make?

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Sep 10, 2017
286
544
Funster No
50,430
I can track-stand my Brompton nearly as well as my mountainbike. And they do get more stable at speed. Also, strangely, they get more stable when you add load to the front carrier. But they definitely feel more flighty than most bikes. I wouldn't dare ride mine no-handed. They require at least a light touch holding the bars all the time to keep them going in the intended direction. You need to provide very little input to produce quite drastic direction changes. They definitely aren't as stable as many bike designs.
We have quite a few at work as it’s one of the very few bikes you can take on commuter trains. They are definitely not as stable as normal bikes but once you are used to them absolutely fine. Until I read your post it have never occurred to me it’s the only bike I don’t ride no handed at some point.
Brilliant design, expensive but keep their value.
 
Jan 22, 2012
1,018
1,473
Wigan
Funster No
19,541
MH
Knaus Sun TI 2012
Exp
2010
I've told this story before but here goes...I was riding my Brompton through our town one lunch hour when I rode past my 14yr old son on his lunch break from school. He was with his mates and I shouted 'Hi Tim'. He completely ignored me and then I over heard one of his mates say. 'Hey Tim who's that fella who just rode past on a Clown Bike.

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Sep 17, 2017
1,362
2,078
Birmingham, UK
Funster No
50,575
MH
A-Class
Exp
2017
I've told this story before but here goes...I was riding my Brompton through our town one lunch hour when I rode past my 14yr old son on his lunch break from school. He was with his mates and I shouted 'Hi Tim'. He completely ignored me and then I over heard one of his mates say. 'Hey Tim who's that fella who just rode past on a Clown Bike.
I worked in the office of a factory in Liverpool, commuting from Birmingham. Rode the Brompton from the station to the plant every day. Getting it through the turnstiles was fun. I regularly got 'clown bike' comments, including from the lycra-clad road bike club that would ride in once per week. Although I got less stick when I left at the same time as them one day and had no issues keeping up with them.
 
OP
PaulC70
May 8, 2021
116
182
Funster No
81,023
MH
Bailey Alliance SE
Been and test rode one at my local independent cycle shop this morning, he's building up one today thats a different spec (taller bars) that I also want to ride to check I do or don't need it. So maybe by end of day will have another brompton on the road. :)
 
OP
PaulC70
May 8, 2021
116
182
Funster No
81,023
MH
Bailey Alliance SE
brompton.jpg

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Minxy Girl

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 22, 2007
25,637
40,850
E Yorks
Funster No
149
MH
Carthago Cmpct i-138
Exp
Since 1996 we've had Elddis, Swift, Rapido, Rimor, Chausson MHs and Autocruise & Globecar PVCs
We had 2 Bromptons, both 3 speed, a M3L (pink) and a M3R (black), fortunately we were able to get them together second hand so didn't have to pay the usual high price. They are very well engineered and easy to ride, ideal for tootling round towns/cities when looking at the attractions (much easier than walking!) and for short distances but if I wanted to do day-long treks then something with larger wheels would be better. If we had had the 'impetus' to use them more we'd likely have kept them but at the time we tended to take our dogs out rather than ride the bikes so eventually sold them. One thing that always concerned us was the risk of them being nicked but nowadays with the value of many bikes being well above the cost of the Bromptons they may not be so desirable.

You can flip them into their normal standing position but when I had mine I found it a nuisance so got a couple of cheap side stands of Ebay and fitted those, it meant that if I wanted to stop to take a quick photo for example I could do so easily and get straight back on again.

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OP
PaulC70
May 8, 2021
116
182
Funster No
81,023
MH
Bailey Alliance SE
My intention originally was only to use it for back up in the motorhome once pitched up, but more and more Im impressed by the ingeniousness of it. So I'll be keeping it at home and trying to use it to pop to town and back and the odd leisure ride but yes, definitely not a bike for a long ride.
 
Oct 10, 2009
428
716
Bishop's Stortford
Funster No
8,835
MH
Autotrail Delaware
Exp
Since 2011
I have ridden bikes all my life - over 50mph down hill on occasion. I have asked Brompton directly to provide thicker tyres. As with my other polite requests they ignored me. I can ride my non-electric Brompton on virtually any terrain But would not choose to. I cannot ride my Brompton “no handed”. My wife is very cautious and finds some badly maintained cycle paths difficult and finds riding one handed difficult so cannot adjust the electric settings when actually on the move. The small wheels and thin tyres do not help.
It might be more accurate to say Bromptons are not as stable as bikes with larger wheels and thicker tyres.
If I was “off roading“ I would not chose a Brompton.

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Minxy Girl

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 22, 2007
25,637
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E Yorks
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149
MH
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Exp
Since 1996 we've had Elddis, Swift, Rapido, Rimor, Chausson MHs and Autocruise & Globecar PVCs
It's more important to get the right bike for the riding that you're wanting to do than just because of the 'design', if a Brompton fits the bill then that's great, if not then perhaps getting a bike that is better for actually riding (which is what its for after all) is best and continue to keep drooling over a Brompton!

Hubby would love another but the Juicy electric bikes we've just bought will fit in our MH garage and be a better ride due to their 20" wheels and the power assistance ... no way would I or he pay the price for an electric Brompton.
 
Jan 22, 2012
1,018
1,473
Wigan
Funster No
19,541
MH
Knaus Sun TI 2012
Exp
2010
We had 2 Bromptons, both 3 speed, a M3L (pink) and a M3R (black), fortunately we were able to get them together second hand so didn't have to pay the usual high price. They are very well engineered and easy to ride, ideal for tootling round towns/cities when looking at the attractions (much easier than walking!) and for short distances but if I wanted to do day-long treks then something with larger wheels would be better. If we had had the 'impetus' to use them more we'd likely have kept them but at the time we tended to take our dogs out rather than ride the bikes so eventually sold them. One thing that always concerned us was the risk of them being nicked but nowadays with the value of many bikes being well above the cost of the Bromptons they may not be so desirable.

You can flip them into their normal standing position but when I had mine I found it a nuisance so got a couple of cheap side stands of Ebay and fitted those, it meant that if I wanted to stop to take a quick photo for example I could do so easily and get straight back on again.
We've got two and use good D locks on them. I also remove one of the two aluminium bracket things that you screw in to put the frame together. Makes it impossible to steal one and ride off. Just an extra precaution
 
OP
PaulC70
May 8, 2021
116
182
Funster No
81,023
MH
Bailey Alliance SE
We've got two and use good D locks on them. I also remove one of the two aluminium bracket things that you screw in to put the frame together. Makes it impossible to steal one and ride off. Just an extra precaution
removing the bracket is a great idea! Why didn't i think of that!

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Sep 19, 2013
33
53
Cabbunk Central
Funster No
28,187
MH
Dethleffs RT6844
Exp
Not long enough!
Hi, PaulC70, I did not fit the brake cut off switches when I fitted the throttle as I find that I can manage fine (like in an automatic car, it is either accelerate or brake rather than both on).
A really useful feature in the Swytch kits is that you can set the pedelec assistance to zero so that you pedal without help but then any time you need help you just add throttle.
Otherwise, I find the pedelec runs away with me!
 
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