This article is part of a series written to help you build the perfect custom Brompton folding bike. You might also be interested in our articles on Brompton folding bike tires, Brompton folding bike handlebars, Brompton folding bike fenders and racks, and Brompton folding bike lighting. Just like this article, each one walks you though the options so you can quickly make an informed decision. But that's for later. For now, read on! Pretty soon we'll have narrowed down the choices and found the right gearing for you!
Brompton folding bikes come in 1, 2, 3, and 6 speed gearing options. It is important to select the right Brompton folding bike gearing if you want to get the most from your Brompton. Let's start by laying out the criteria on which you will make your decision.
Keeping in mind your thoughts on these three criteria, consider the following paragraphs as a guide to each gearing option.
The lightest and simplest option for Brompton folding bike gearing, a single speed Brompton is also the least expensive. With only one speed on a high quality hub you will never have to think about gears and will benefit from a very clean looking bike with fewer cables running from the handlebars. This gearing is not appropriate for riders who will frequent hills but is very well suited to a purist who deals with mostly flat ground.
A two speed Brompton folding bike gearing is great for city riding and areas with fewer hills. With two speeds you have one gear for cruising and one gear for starting up and for hills. Our sales guy Mark commutes from Brooklyn with a 2 speed Brompton. It is a great option for commuters who will have to carry their bikes up and down stairs and into public transit as it only adds about .4 lbs to the bike. Thanks to an excellent Brompton proprietary shifter design you also get near perfect chain alignment all of the time. This reduces long term wear on the drive train and makes the power transfer from your legs to the wheel more efficient. Two speeds is definitely the best option for people looking for a multi gear option which is also light weight.
The three speed Brompton folding bike gearing uses an 3 speed gear hub to provide 3 well spaced gears. Because Brompton only uses top of the line gear hubs from Sturmey Archer and SRAM, you get an efficient and maintenance free multi-gear system that will last for years without issue. There are so many advantages to gear hubs we can't go into too much detail here, but if you want to learn more read our article on Brompton hub gears.
Three speed is the ideal Brompton folding bike gearing for commuters who have to deal with longer distances and more hills. There lowest gear on the three speed is lower than that of the two speed. That means it can more easily climb hills and is a bit easier to start up. Three gears also give you the ability to adjust your gearing a bit depending on how tired you are. Gear hubs are by nature a bit heavier than derailleurs (the three speed is about 1.5 lbs heavier than a single speed) but in return you get a simple to use and maintenance free multi-gear system. Three speed Brompton folding bike gearing is the best bet for everyday commuters in mildly hilly areas, city commuters who deal with hills regularly, people want to take a Brompton folding bike yachting, and leisure riders who want a bike for all occasions.
If you plan on riding long distances or in very hilly areas the 6 speed Brompton folding bike gearing is for you. The combination of a specially engineered Brompton Wide Range gear hub and Brompton's own two speed derailleur system will give you 6 evenly spaced gears. That means enough low end to get up most hills, the high end to cruise at speed over long distances, and 4 intermediate gears for everything in between. The 6 speed Brompton folding bike gearing option has all you need to tackle any terrain. It is a perfect Brompton folding travel bike.
If there is a gearing option which doesn't quite meet your needs you can have it lowered to make pedaling easier and, in some cases, raised to go faster. These adjustments cost a bit extra are well worth it if you feel they are necessary. Each adjustment can also be made after purchase.
So now you're pretty much an expert on Brompton folding bike gearing. Ready to come apply for a job here at NYCeWheels? You can be our Brompton gearing specialist. But seriously, take the time to figure out which gearing option is right for you. Be sure to take all 3 criteria into account: Terrain, Range of gears, and weight. Once you know what you want use our custom Brompton folding bike tool to build the Brompton folding bike of your dreams.