Christopher Craig bought his Brompton years ago and called up NYCeWheels to order a new drivetrain. We were so happy to hear about all the fun he's been having with his bike that we asked him to write up a little review to share his experience with riders to be. Thanks Chris! -Peter, NYCeWheels
I bought my Brompton S6L new in 2010. Last week, I made an order with NYCEWheels: a new drivetrain for it. I've put thousands of miles on this bike, and I intend to put many thousands more.
I learned about Bromptons during a vacation in Amsterdam in the summer of 2009. In Amsterdam, there were all kinds of bikes, everywhere. But the Bromptons stood out, with their elegant, swooping design and zippy comportment. I saw them around town, but I didn't know what they were...until I was browsing a vintage guitar shop on Vijzelstraat. The owner had a discrete, tidy cube packaged up in the corner.... I said, "what is that?!" He said, "That's my Brompton!" Conversation about its ride quality naturally followed...and my interest began.
Fast forward to 2010. Last year's model is on sale. I pick it up. Happiness ensues.
On a cross-country trip to Oakland, CA, I put the bike in a bag and checked it through from the East Coast. At the airport, I unfolded it, packed it, got on the BART, and rode my bike to my destination.
In New Orleans, I took mid-day breaks from my week-long conference, spinning through town, easily touring the shiny commercial zones AND the still-suffering, post-Katrina neighborhoods.
In Portland, OR I've ridden in, through, around and outside of town, blissed out by the politeness of the bike culture.
In Denver, I explored much of the urban bike route encircling the city, busting out 45 miles of isolated, car-free desert touring in an easy afternoon.
In Miami Beach, I rode the triathlon bike course, and fixed flat tires for no less than 7 knucklehead competitors too zerked on endorphins to make their fingers work.
At a conference in Orlando two weeks ago, I parked my car day-one, and I rode the Brompton where I needed to go. It made me less crazy. It helped make a week sitting on my arse much more bearable.
Full generator-fueled B&M LED lights, Fenders, Bags, custom ABUS lock slot behind the seat pillar, etc. It is an urban assault swiss army knife. If I get a whim to go to lunch, and I don't want to carry a folded bike with me into a restaurant, I always have a way to lock it up. If it gets dark, it has fantastic lights that come on by themselves. If I go somewhere and I don't want to bike home, I can hop a ride with anybody and toss it into the trunk (even if my friend drives one of those tiny BMW convertibles). I even got so dorked on this bike a couple years ago that I made a leather briefcase for it, which pops readily into the front carrier block. See the pics.
My Brompton isn't precious, it isn't clean...but it is a well-tuned workhorse that just keeps on rolling and (because it is nearly pocket-sized) is super easy to keep around.
It is by far my favorite bike (and I've been a serial bike whore for many years). Bikes have always been an enduring source of joy. I know I'm not alone. The blood flows; adventure awaits. This bike makes it easy to enjoy and discover the world, on wheels, at a whim, under your own power, no matter where.
I've included a couple of photos of my boy riding the custom child's seat that expert bike builder David Johnson at Sarif Cycles built for him. My son loves it. I love it. We love it.
You can order your own Brompton folding bike here.