The IT Chair for Brompton

The IT chair pronounced “EYE TEA” not “it” is possibly the most expensive piece of aluminum you will ever buy. It is incredible simple in design and I cannot fault it.

What is worrying and does not feel you with a great deal of confidence is the fact that they are rather hard to find. And with over 4000 people on the London Brompton group there is little mention of them.

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Where I brought it

In the UK I found one stockist and luck for me there was also a rather good youtube video which helped in my decision to invest in one.

The stockist was www.bikefix.co.uk/it-chair

And the video can be found here http://documentally.com/2011/08/20/a-child-seat-for-a-brompton-folding-bike-review/

Please note the video is not a good reflection of the most recent moel of the IT chair.

After parting with a huge amount of money I did not receive any automated emails or notifications of the order, a few days later, nothing, no notification of delivery. I was forced to phone them only to be told they had no record of my order despite me looking at the huge dent in my pay pal account.

Turn out that my order had been processed and shipped and there was nothing to worry about after all!

The Design

The design has changed a bit from the video in the fact that there now no folding foot pegs. They are just solid there all the time. And that there is only one “hook” towards the frame hinge.

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There is a nice bit of padding where the IT chair sits on the frame of the Brompton and the clamp to the seat post is rather self-explanatory and easy to use.

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I opted for the shop supply saddle, this is of unknown make and its some sort of solid but soft foam and was a lot better than what I was expecting.

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Getting Boy on and off

This is still work in progress. I have found that so far the only option is get on the bike first then lift him on.

As he is quite a lump and I like my saddle quite high this is incredibly hard work but the only one to work at the moment.

Getting him off is a bit easier as using one arm I can just swing him off.

I have stood the bike in park mode put him on it then instructed him to “Hold on!” while I swing the rear wheel out. This is a bit risky and hard work to get the wheel up with the weight of him on it.

I have tried leaning the bike against myself and tried to put him on it. This only resulted in the bike falling to the ground with many disappointing glares from the very populated outdoor dining space at Smith and Western Crawley. All of them must have been through bread Crawlites as no one came to my rescue with any form of assistance.

I’ve yet to try and lean the bike up against something solid like a wall or tree.

Hand space

I have the M type handle bars this does not leave a lot of room for an extra pair of little hands.

I invested in some Ergo GP2. (I wanted brown to match the saddle but my husband said I was being ridiculous and brown handle bars would look hideous on a black bike).

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This made a bit more space for my son’s hands as I could hold on to the “horns” of the handle bar. However when it came to breaking some negation was required before my son was willing to offer up the handlebars again which of course would be disastrous in the event of an emergency stop.

So what with myself and the husband being engineers we came up with a solution.

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1x aluminium bar

2x homemade brackets

1 x reel of grip tape

8 x countersunk self-tapping screws later we have the “Boy Bar”

Yes a little bit unsightly however, works a treat.

It also makes for a convenient companion holder

babbit

Later my husband admitted that maybe the Brown grips would look nicer. *Slaps head*

Handling

One thing that bugs me about the IT chair is that it looks so solid whenever I’m moving the bike around without my son on it I’m grabbing it and pulling on it to manoeuvre the bike and of course it’s only physically attached at the seat post so it comes off the frame then you have to fuss around to get it back on. I’m sure I will get used to it soon and learn not to use it as a lifting aid!

Folding and unfolding

You can fold and unfold the bike with it on but it can be quite fussy the IT chair once its cushion cup is off the frame will just annoyingly swing around while you are trying to fold down your bike. And when this is happening in a public area full of Crawlites and you have one excited toddler and another hyper active pre-teen running around it can become rather stressful but do-able.

As space is tight in my car I take the IT Chair off completely which turns out to be easier then folding the bike down with it on. I’m sure I would leave it on if I could stand my bike up in my boot, as I have to lay the bike down and I like putting the bike in the car bar side up I remove it all together.

Crash Test

There was an unfortunate incident whilst riding where my front wheel got jammed all of a sudden in a rut like pot hole stopping me dead, and doing an “Endo” where the rear wheel lifts off the ground. I slid right of my new supper slippery brooks saddle and caught both tops of my thighs on my son’s saddle which was in front of me. All I know is that my son managed to stay on the bike and wanted me to do it again! If he had not had the solid hand hold that we made for him I’m sure he would have of gone over the bars!

This incident could have been avoided if I had kept my distance from the rider in front so I should see clearly the approaching pot hole, Something I rarely have to worry about when riding on a mounting bike. The small wheels really make the rider quite venerable to faults in the road.

Road Saftey

Annoying in my area due to an increasing amount of inconsiderate teenagers and grumpy old people with Shiatsu’s with hairbands and prams there is a local campaign where we are no longer allowed to use common sense and use the pavements in areas of high risk and there are signs going up everywhere stating that we cannot cycle on the pavements despite not having much of a safe cycle route around the narrow streets of the town.

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With the IT chair having the child behind you it is not obvious from behind that you have a small person on board.

With my rear mounted seat for the mountain bike I notice a complete change of attitude with regards to the car rider behind me when I have the seat and when I do not have the seat fitted. I got creative and made this from a car sign ordered off Ebay with free P&P so naturally I had to join the 15 minute que at the post office to pay for the insufficient postage they put on which I was eventually refunded

 

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It doesn’t have the same instantly recognizable diamond shape that are hung in the back of every SUV you have seen but at least its better than nothing.

It fixes on to my Brooks saddle using a Velcro strip.

It did not stop the ageing man behind me in the ford fiesta behind me from honking his horn when I was giving parked cars a wide berth. I must have of really pissed him off from delaying his day by 3.7 seconds. Most likely a visiting Crawlite who couldn’t read sideways.

OFF Road

We did a bit of this and it was no different to on road.

Solid!

Yet to be fully explored

Little fingers

Be prepared for your gear to change with no warning and the page on your satnav to be reprogrammed. Little fingers love to tinker. He loves the bell and I have trained him do ring it on command.

 

 

CrawlitesA type of person who is loud, rude, ignorant, a bit of a narcissist and goes out of their way to be as unhelpful and impatient as possible and from Crawley.

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