Brompton M3L Features:
The M3L is our most popular and versatile model. The three speeds are contained in an internal hub shifter, which is largely maintenance free. We have the largest selection of colors in this model than any other Brompton.
All of our Brompton models are equipped with Schwalbe Marathon Tires, with a better grip and flat resistance than the standard Brompton tire. These tires are ideal for city riding.
The Brompton M3L is great for city riding. It is durable, lightweight, and can be stowed easily in small places. Finally, a bike that will fit into a small apartment without the awkward shape and hassle!
|Frame||Brompton Chromoly Steel|
|Folded Dimensions||22.2 inches high x 21.5 inches long x 10.6 inches wide|
|Folding Time||10-15 Seconds|
|Tires||Schwalbe Marathon tires|
|Maximum Load||The bike is designed to carry a maximum load of 250 lbs plus 50 lbs of luggage.|
|Maximum Rider Height|
Brompton standard seat, brooks saddle, steel seat post, extended seat post, and titanium seat posts.
Lighting sets, folding pedals, mudguard sets, and everything else.
Brompton bags to hold the bike, to hold groceries, to hold just about anything. Also hard cases for airline travel and covers to protect the bikes shine.
Standard Yellow tag tires, Kevlar, Schwalbe Marathon, Stelvio, and tubes.
I learned about the Brompton folding bikes when I first started working with Bert at NYCeWheels. The compact size, the weight, the convenience, it all seemed too good to be true. After a few days on the job, I took one home for a test ride.
My first test was how well the Brompton could handle New York City roads. I took it from 85th Street down to Houston on 2nd Avenue, one of the less desirable roads to ride on a bike in Manhattan due to its potholes and heavy traffic. To my surprise, the Brompton handled extremely well! The suspension was great, the bike absorbed a lot of shock from rough patches, and I didn't have any problems with the tires. Using an M3L, I was also impressed at how well the Brompton seamlessly shifted between the gears. I had no trouble getting up and down the slight hills.
At 5'11" I was worried that the seat post would not be tall enough for me. Using the telescopic seat post extension, this was quickly remedied. It was a very comfortable ride, and actually felt like a full size bicycle after a few blocks.
When I reached my destination, dinner at Piano's in the Lower East Side, my party was astonished as I quickly folded up the package and stowed it under the table. I didn't want to leave the bike outside, but it wasn't even a question. The Brompton can be stored almost anywhere. After dinner, I caught a cab with them and placed the bike between my legs while we rode. The sheer compact size of the Brompton is the best aspect of the bike.
The only drawback I noticed was the speed. Due to the 16" tires, the Brompton is not a speed demon. Since I was riding a 3-speed, however, I was limited. Brompton offers models with up to 6 speeds for a much better range of power. Although the Brompton is not a performance bicycle, it compensates by being a smooth, comfortable ride in addition to having a convenient fold-up package.
If you're looking for a city bike to use for your daily commute, the Brompton folding bike is the way to go. It's so easy to take this bike anywhere without a hassle and it will save so much space with storage. For New York City riding, this bike really can't be beat.
Back in March 2006. I bought a Brompton folding bike. I wanted a bicycle so that I could ride from my apartment on 90th Street down to the Greenmarket at Union Square. I did my research and decided on a folding bike so that it could easily fit in my New York apartment, and I decided on the Brompton - it seemed to be the best. Conveniently, I live just a few blocks away from Nycewheels - a specialist in folding bikes! I had extensive discussions with Bert Cebular, the owner, and bought my Brompton M6R-Plus folding bike. I bought mine with Eazy-wheels for rolling the Brompton when half-folded as well as the huge touring pannier accessory.
Let me just say that the Brompton is the greatest thing - BUY IT and make sure you get the Eazy-wheels and the big Touring bag. And get yourself a small camera and tripod to always take along.
The Brompton folds up very small. In fact, I keep it at home in a bookcase.
On most days, I have been riding my Brompton bike to work. I work across the street from the Staten Island Ferry at the very bottom tip of Manhattan. It is about 7.5 miles each way. I started commuting at the end of March, and, in the first seven months, I have completed 99 round trips. As I was taking an express bus each way at $5 a trip, I have saved $990 in these seven months.
The commute has been pretty wonderful. The Brompton easily handles the 7.5 miles in comfort and is pretty darn fast. It takes me about 40 minutes each way, and I ride mostly along a bicycle path on the East River. I always have my cute little orange Casio Exilim S500 camera with me as well as my cute little Joby Gorillapod 1.6 ounce tripod.
The light is always different on the river and the bridges can be quite beautiful. Here are some river pictures:
I carry my work clothes in my bicycle bag and sometimes my computer. When I get to my office building. I half unfold the bicycle so that it rests and rolls on its Eazy wheels (4 inline skate wheels connected to the rack over the rear wheel). With handlebars still upright, the half-folded bicycle is more like a shopping cart. I push it right into my office building (though unfolded bicycles are not allowed) and take it right to my desk.
I then complete the fold up and keep the bike behind my desk:
Below is a picture of me in my riding regalia with the Brompton loaded and unfurled. Note my helmet which I always wear when I ride.
The greatest thing again is the Eazy-wheels and the big touring pannier. I can ride across town to the Fairway market, half-fold the bike in seconds, push it through the store using the bag as a shopping cart, checkout, roll out of the store, unfold in seconds, and ride off into the horizon. The bicycle is terrific. I thank you Brompton and I thank you NYCewheels.
It's been 16 months and I am still riding the 15-mile roundtrip to work about every day and have completed 220 roundtrips. The bike has held up wonderfully after more than 3,500 miles. I take it shopping all the time, and I have been even known to push it the one block to the supermarket and back, just to use it as a shopping cart.
I am still amazed at how great this bike is. Buy it - with the easy-wheels and the big bag. It's the kind of terrific thing you would expect in a Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue, i.e., the amazing folding bicycle / shopping cart. But they don't have it.
Thank goodness that NYCeWheels does!!!
Yup, I'm still riding, and it's now been about 5.5 years of commuting the 15-mile roundtrip to work. (I now have 915 roundtrips under my belt.) I have put 14,300 miles on the Brompton through very rough and tough NYC streets; but yeah to improved & improving NYC bike lanes and the East River Greenway. I still pack my camera every day and am still thrilled to watch the sun come up over the East River. People still go slack-jawed when I push the Brompton in shopping-cart mode out of Fairway, unfold the bike, and ride off into the sunset. The only difference now is that there is a Fairway on the Eastside. The Brompton continues to ride like a dream. Once again, thank you Brompton; thank you NYCeWheels.
April 25, 2013 - My 20,000 Mile Brompton Update
A month ago, I celebrated my 7th year of Brompton ownership and "Bromptonphilia." It was also my 7th anniversary of almost daily commutes from 89th Street on the Eastside to the bottom tip of Manhattan across from Battery Park. Yesterday, I had another celebration, my little, incredible, wonder-folding Brompton clocked in its twenty-thousandth mile! Count them, that's 20,000 miles of pounding the famous NYC streets.
That's riding over the famous NYC pot-marked and pot-holed streets, through bumper-to-bumper traffic, and through all sorts of NYC weather. All of this while carrying huge loads in my large pannier - my computer, change of clothes and, when I shop, maybe a case of wine, maybe a six pack of beer. With my Eazy-wheel setup, I'm forever using the half-folded Brompton as a shopping cart - loading up bushels of kohlrabi, jars of pickles, and gallons of milk, in addition to that wine and beer. My Brompton has stood the test of time and the test of miles as well as the ultimate test of NYC riding.
Yes, I have had to replace a tire or two or three and a wheel, and have brought the bike in for a number of NYCeWheels tune-ups. But, I will tell you, my little Brompton still rides and folds like a dream.
- Steve Boss
Oh the places I shall go. I've been riding around the last week on a Brompton folding bike and I have to say the most impressive thing about it is the fact that the whole concept works. You really can have a bicycle that folds down to about the size of a briefcase and is still comfortable to ride. In fact, the bicycle's a lot more than just comfortable. I keep looking for excuses to ride it around longer even after I get to where I'm going.
First off, for a commuter, the Brompton folding bike is a true dream. The company offers gearing options from one to six speeds and thanks to a snappy internal hub shifter, those 16" wheels really move. Those smaller wheels also help the bike fold down to one of the smallest packages around. Not only can you keep pace with most full sized bikes, but once you get to your office the Brompton will completely stow under your desk. I don't mean it "kinda" fits under your desk with a handlebar here or wheel poking out there. The entire bike will slip under your desk and virtually disappear until you're ready to head home... or get drawn in for another lunchtime ride.
The Brompton even comes with a built in handle for carrying ease. The company finishes the underside of the seat and even includes finger grooves to create the perfect handle. It's this kind of attention to detail that continually sets the Brompton apart from other folding bikes.
It may feel small, but it also feels solid and responsive on the road. I felt instantly at ease riding through the city. The 16" wheels accelerated quickly and the smart gearing gave me everything I needed to compete with taxi cabs. The Brompton offered just as much performance and fun on a trip around Central Park where it was able to easily compete with full sized bikes.
The Brompton is a whole lot more than just a commuter bike, though. It's a go anywhere bike. I've been riding one around for a week and loving every moment of it. The real test came, however, when some friends called me at my office in Manhattan's Hells Kitchen and asked if I wanted to come out to Park Slope in Brooklyn for the evening. If I was stuck lugging around a larger bike (even a larger folder) I would have had to pass. I didn't miss a beat knowing I had the Brompton in tow. I was even excited about the prospect of riding it all the way until I realized I wouldn't have the time. Thanks to its convenient folding size and carrying ease I was able to pack it onto a crowded train without any trouble and then unfold it Brooklyn to ride the 10 or so blocks to my friend's apartment, a stretch I usually end up hoofing in the 90+ degree heat.
The daydream factor is yet another category where Brompton folding bikes are a real winner. Folding bikes in general open up a lot of travel possibilities, but the Brompton trumps most everything out there. You're quickly left to imagine all the places you can take it and where it can take you. Take it on the subway or bus without worrying about the bulk since it folds down to the size of a small piece of luggage. Hop a ferry to Staten Island or somewhere new and then ride to your heart's content. Then let your imagination shift into high gear by realizing how easy it would be to check your Brompton onto a flight and explore a whole new country, bouncing back and forth between pedal power and public transportation. The possibilities really do start to feel endless!
It works! I have to admit, that to my initial surprise, a very slightly modified Brompton S-type is performing beautifully as my one-way 32 mile commuter bike from Upper Montclair NJ to Midtown New York City. For approximate route to the GWB
Since I've benefited from tips posted on Yahoo's Brompton message board, I hope some observations about my recent Brompton commuting experience are in turn useful to those of you wondering about the feasibility of somewhat longer commutes on your Brompton.
Ok, the Brompton folding bike provides a unique solution, but what kind of Brompton is needed and specifically what kind of modifications are necessary for longer-than-average commutes?
Similarly my choice of the superlight titanium frame option and a titanium seat post is driven by a desire to reduce the bike's weight both for riding efficiency and for ease of carrying. Yes, titanium saves weight but may be less than you think. If the added expense is not an issue and/or you can convince yourself you need a little retail therapy, well then by all means get the titanium package. But otherwise I think you're not really worse off with a standard all-steel frame and certainly a lot wealthier for it. That said, no matter which option you choose, you need a certain base level of upper body strength to comfortably carry a Brompton through a train station and on and off trains. In short, my current configuration works for me, but I can easily see being interested in upgrading should Brompton come out with a bike built with new materials that result in the bike only weighing - say fourteen pounds [hint hint].
Now my choice of a six gear model with the optional 8% higher gearing was the feature of the bike that I was most concerned about. My instinct was to lean toward the simpler and lighter option - that is, the two gear model. But I also know the frustration of riding with gearing that is too widely spaced such that the ideal gear at any given time feels like it should be somewhere between two existing gears. In this case, I am very happy with my choice of the six gears as it has allowed me to consistently find a comfortable gear. Yes, even with the optional 8% higher gearing, I still topped out periodically. And yes, I do have to get out of the seat and grind it out when I have to climb particularly steep hills. In the case of the former, it's not a big deal, I ease off. In the case of the latter, it's also not a big deal, as I often get out of my seat and grind it out even in my other bikes. In short, my choice of the number of gears and the gearing range has suited me well, but you might need different number of gears and gearing range depending on both the terrain you ride and your fitness level. That said, considering Brompton's relatively high price point, I think their shifters have notable room for improvement in a world where DuraAce and/or XTR shifters now set high standards for crisp and flawless shifting.
As for tires, I opted for the Schwalbe Stelvio narrow section tires, again driven by desire for the lightest and fastest tires I could find. So far, they've worked out well. I admit that on my other commuting bikes, I've gone overboard with Kevlar tires, tire liners, and puncture-resistant tubes. In other words, for these other bikes I tolerate heavier tires in exchange for presumably lower risk of getting a flat.
Last but not least, I don't use any Brompton lights. If I begin my ride at dawn, I just rely on front and rear flashers that seem to work well enough to alert car drivers and pedestrians of my presence. But if I begin my ride in the dark, I supplement these flashers with a helmet-mounted Nite Rider Flight light and rear flasher which I've used successfully year-round on early morning rides.
While I don?t want to oversell the Brompton folding bike as the ultimate long-distance commuting machine, I do want to convey how surprisingly well it can work for this purpose (not to mention how much fun they are to ride) albeit at some cost in terms of speed relative to full size road bikes.
In any case, I hope these observations are useful data points for those of you assessing the feasibility of somewhat longer commutes on your Brompton folding bike.