They don't climb steep hills very well but tightening a hose-clip around the suspension elastomer improves this. They don't bunny-hop very well as this makes the rear wheel tries to fold up under the bike.
Actually Graham, the new (post 2005?) rear 'firm' elastomer is much tighter and they now come with a clip that holds the rear wheel in place whilst being ridden, both of these items are widely available and you can retro-fit them to almost any Brompton.
Rob Atkin wrote:
Cheapest one is £790 - 3 speed, no racks or guards, that's it. The components on the bike are very basic so the lions share of the price is in the frame - probably £500. Are the frames worth that? Not on my close inspection of them. Globby welds, very unrefined folding hinges and clamps. The handlebars slip easily as there is only one tiny bolt on the stem holding them in, looks like a clamp from a Tesco BSO. Hubs not very well sealed, very basic headset. The caliper brakes are like ones you'd find on a kids BSO, not like proper road calipers. The brake levers and the grips are extremely basic, the grips very hard and not grippy, the levers a poor flat shape and very flimsy. Saddle is a £10 job, seatpost is a massively heavy steel thing, gear shifters are look old fashioned, hard to use comfortably and feel flimsy. Very difficult to get rear wheel out if you get a puncture, basic cranks, slippy pedals.
Google problems with them and a whole host of small issues crop up with a tendency towards small parts on them not being up to the job. Plastic catches, guard mounts, chainring covers cracking, rack wheels breaking almost immediately. And if you need to replace anything then it has to be a Brompton part as nothing else fits!!
Sigh, I'll try and tackle this one misinformed point at a time:
No, the 'cheapest' Brompton is £700, that is a single speed with no mudguards or rack, however, for that amount of money you get 4 choices of bar, 4 choices of colour (64 combinations), a choice of normal or extended seat post, a bike built in England and the smallest folded bike available to buy. And before anyone says 'why would you buy a single speed folding bike?', Kansai have just released one, as have Dahon in the past. (Incidentally, list price on a 3 speed Kansi is £725, it comes in one colour, and with one bar type, and does not include a rack or mudguards.)
For £810 you also
get 2 or 3 speed, and mudguards, for £860 you get 6 speed and for £870 you get 2 or 3 speed, with mudguards and a huge number of colour choices.
The unrefined folding hinges are actually nicely engineered and do nothing more than they are designed to, that is fold and clamp time after time with very little maintenance.
The handlebars do not slip easily, or rather, that is the first time I have ever heard that accusation.
Hubs are cup and cone variety on the front, you know, like a Shimano M900, they along with the headset are designed to be rebuildable and serviceable, rears tend to be Sturmey Archer, they were designed in about 1753 and are frankly awesome.
A proper road caliper would mean you would not be able to route the cable from the bottom, hence metres of spare cable outer lolling around and getting in the way, they come as standard with 2 piece brake pads that take a slot in replacement pad too.
The grips are not to everyones liking, I would probably spend a whopping £7 and put some ODI Attacks on there, some people do like them though, just like they like the grips on a million other bikes similarly priced that are regarded as inferior.
The saddle is not on a par with a Brooks, or a Flite Ti, but its equally as good quality as the highly-regarded-round-these-here-parts Charge Spoon, and its also just as good as the saddle you will get with an £800-£1000 Marin/Trek/Ridgeback/Scott these days.
The seatpost is steel, you can get an aluminium one or a titanium one too, but the steel one is nice and stiff, cos its quite long.
Difficult to get the rear wheel out if you get a puncture? No, maybe if you don't know what you are doing, but its a damn sight easier than sorting out a flat on the back of a fixed gear bike, and definitely easier than a Nexus or Alfine drive.
Cranks are square taper, like what we all ride? Pedals are OK, one of them folds, which is very clever, have you seen the pedals that come with a £5k Trek Madone? The Brompton ones are better.
Yes, obviously you have to replace things with Brompton parts (well, with the exception of: BB, headset, cranks, brake blocks, tubes, tyres, cables, pedals, saddle, chain, sprocket, grips, brake levers, shifters) - they designed it in a certain way, and protected the money and their intellectual property with patents, thats why no other folding bike can actually fold as small. The good news however is that the parts are very readily available, and not expensive. You can get everything from a spare rear wheel and shifter to convert to 6 speed to touch-up paint - now, go and buy a Dahon with a problem and come back to me with a list of spare you manager to sort out (good luck!).
Rob Atkin wrote:
Sorry, I can't see, apart from the small fold, the name and resale value, why anyone would buy one.
So, to summarise, we have (thanks to Rob for the first 3, and I thought he didn't like them!):
Small fold (actually the smallest
folded size of any proper bike)
The name (meh, it means a bit)
The resale value - pretty good, you should be able to get 60-75% on a 18 month old bike
Four choices of bar type to fit any height
Huge number of colour choices (shouldn't matter, but it does)
Choice of single, 2, 3 or 6 speed
Made and designed in England
Great dealer support network and spares availability
A whole host of accessories and bags etc to suit
Possible to do a lot of the wrenching work at home as they are reasonably simple
I don't own one mind, I've been thinking about getting a Moulton TSR2 though.[/quote]