Warning, the following content may contain rants of frustration and annoyance this is mostly due to my lack of understanding and not having enough patience!
Hello I’m Jo and I’m very new to Brompton and with all things new people are trending to write a blog about it, so here we are!
I’ve almost on a whim brought a Brompton. The initial Idea was on how to bond with my very much a Daddy’s Boy 3 year old.
He loves coming out in the child seat on the back of the mountain bike but I’m finding it hard to do it alone.
My mountain bike is a male frame with for some strange reason the brake and both gear cables running along the top tube, I’m getting on a bit I do not do Yoga like all the so called mental health “experts” advise me (I will elaborate on that no doubt in a follow up post) So I can’t contort myself on and off the bike with my son onboard, without smacking him in the face with a SPD laden shoe!
So when I saw a photo of my Dad and his partner on their new Bromptons and then after a bit of research finding out about the IT chair the next thing I knew I was buying one with absolutely no Idea what I was letting my self in for!
Brompton First impressions from the perspective of a rusty Mountain Biker
After just missing an ex-display 2016 ML6 at Evans, and being outbid on the same on ebay, after a little thought about maybe I only need 3 gears I and settled for a new to me 2010 ML3 which I was secretly hoping I would get outbid on… But I didn’t!
In Brompton speak M is the type of handle bar L means it has mudguards and the 3 denotes the fat that it has 3 gears.
I had a rather informative instructions from the previous owners girlfriend on how to fold and unfold it how she instructed me gave me the impression she was either a Color Sargent in the British Army or a Secondary School teacher for wayward teenagers. Her rater bossy and lecture like tone conflicted with the unease she had with handling the bike.
I could see it was solid no wobbles or squeaks or buckles, the tires were original and were on their way out the brakes functional but a lot of give in the cable and the pads could do with replacing. Of course I but what was this on the rear? I was promised 3 gears yet there was only one clog at the rear.
Turns out unlike every bike I have owned a ridden this had an unusual gearing system called a Sturmey–Archer. Which I’m sure I will be exploring in the future.
Of course, seeing all this I didn’t have the nerve to knock the price down, I have not yet worked out the art of haggling. I slapped down the cash and put it into the boot of my car and drove the whole hour home with that nice buzzy feeling of having spent a lot of money.
Because I’m a miserable git I’m going to start with all the negatives first!
Epic Fail No.1
I’m glad to report that the first Fail has nothing to do with the bike!
It won’t fit in my boot standing up! I’m about 5mm short of shutting the boot. This is a huge setback because with it laying down I’ve lost a lot of room for other things you need when you go out with a youngster such as a
- Change of clothes
- Another change of clothes
- Picnic blanket
The list can go on forever. Plus I have the secret hope that the husband might jump onboard the Brompton band wagon, and then if so I’ve lost the boot totally!
Short from getting a hammer and banning out the chassis of the boot it looks like I need to get a new car!
Epic Fail No.2
First thing I did after trying various position in the boot of my car is that I got my bike maintaince stand out to give it a good going over. The stand is an Aldi special and being a German supermarket I guess it was not designed for the use with a solid British bike.
Trying to find the balance point was hard work, when I did find the magic position I couldn’t rotate the crank around a full turn without it smashing against the arm of the stand. GGGrrrrrr. Sod it I lay it upside down on the ground. Nope can’t do that either, the dodgy shifter would be buried in the ground and would more than likely snap.
Epic Fail No.3
The grips are extremely disappointing. For what looks like a most awesome bike grips are a bit of an after thought. After all your hands is a major interface with the machine and says a lot about quality
Fail No. 4
The wheels for “trollying it around are also bare minimum, they serve a purpose for the folding and unfolding just fine but again, feel its poor show having to upgrade because of basement bargain manufacture. This was just a fail as I don’t feel it will impact my life too much.
Accessories are so expensive! Saddles, bags, Saddle Bags! But I need them, I need them All!
Under foot one pedal feel different to the other this could be due to mental programming because you know one folds and the other doesn’t. Again 1 of 3 interfaces with the bike
I also noted that one of the reflectors had been smashed off. Luky for me no MOT due. I think the saddle is great however, as Im using this as a leasure bike I’m thinking of going for a brooks arm chair.
Bloody hell! Not looking forward to navigating the weight in its folded state around. I have supper week wrists I can sprain them just by thinking about pushing a shopping trolly! For such a little thing its heavy, possibly double the weight of my once was state of the art (2001) Alumilium Mountain bike. Out comes my power ball to help me build up some strength. Considering what you can load these little things up with its not surprising they are heavy. It also took me back to the bike weight obsession I used to have when racing. I once refused to carry cable ties once during a race because they would weigh me down! How embarrassing. I see the weight obsession is here all parts are shown with their weights and sometime pictures of them on scales! Can completely understand if you have to throw one around London weight would be an obsession.
After a rather reliving moan up here comes the positives
I LOVE IT!
It does fit in my car (despite not the way I hoped)
I can see it going in a bag and into the hold of a budget airline but I have a little frown like face that I would have to cut down on other things I would wish to take with me if I was to fly with it
It has inspired me to have a look at a cycle tour around London which I hope to do in August and now the grumpy anti Brompton husband is now rubbing his chin thinking—”I could get into that too!”
This was what committed me to investing in a Brompton. My son would be upfront having fun “Faster mummy faster!”. It fits on lovely with little fuss the bike can fold down around it and my son loves it. However with only 3 gears and with living in a hilly environment its hard work!
Need to also get used to riding knees out!
So far we have only done around the block which was rather disastrous as no matter what way you turn there is an up hill! The weekend is fast approaching and we will be out for our first adventure (somewhere preferable flat and close to home!)
I have of course a few more moans but to be honest these could have been avoided if I gave myself more time and more thought prior to purchasing.
I defiantly wish I’d gone for 6 gears instead of 3.
I should have been a bit more patent on ebay and waited for one to come up with some luggage.