New segment to our blog today. It's called Picture me Rollin and this is where we will be talking about some of the products we are carrying in the store. We hope to do some in depth reviews and start some discussions about how certain products can fit into your cycling lifestyle. The first product I wanted to discuss is the Brompton folding bikes we are so excited to be carrying. At first glance these little wonders can seem like odd bike shaped novelties. It can be difficult to think something so small and strange can be an effective commuting or recreational tool. This is why, to be a Brompton dealer, you are required to carry a demo. The idea being that these bikes need to be ridden to be truly understood and appreciated. I thought that it would be a good idea to take the Brompton on my normal commute to and from work for a few days to get a better idea of how this bike performs on a familiar route and how it might affect my preconceptions about what a bike should be.
As advertised they fold up pretty small. Pics of the bike in the back seat of the car. Brianne really likes how the Brompton takes up less space in our dining room in comparison to the full size bikes I normally park there.
Our Demo Brompton is pretty kitted out. We thought that if we were gonna buy a bike to put customers on we might as well put some goodies on it. When buying a brompton the build process is very customizable. You can choose from 4 different handlebar types. Ours has the most gearing of any of the brompton options with a three speed sturmey archer hub coupled to a two speed external derailleur giving us six speeds. We added a brooks saddle because a hand built British bike deserves a hand built British saddle. The best addition by far is the dynamo lighting system. The practicality of a folding bike is only expanded with built in safety lighting. No worrying about forgetting blinkies or batteries going bad.
The major concern with folding bikes is that they compromise actual ride ability in lieu of easy portability and storage. The first night I rode the brompton home I decided a good test would be to climb up Stanton ave from Butler. Battling the initial steepness, the gearing was adequate. If I had a lower gear I might have used it but I was pretty happy with the overall range. There was definitely enough high gearing to power me down the other side of the hill. As it was dark and I was flying down the other side of Stanton into highland park I was trying hard to dodge potholes. I was fearful of the smaller wheels getting caught up the broken up road. Although I managed to dodge most of the obstacles I hit a few really hard. I was immediately surprised at how well the bike managed to rebound and maintain stability. The best explanation for the bikes sure-footedness has to be the elastomer rear suspension. It really does a great job keeping the bike planted in rough conditions.
It turns out I am having a great time commuting on the Brompton. If you're used to riding a fast cross bike or road bike you might need to alter you mindset a slight bit. You will sit a little more upright so take your time and enjoy the ride. My normal 25 minute commute takes just about 5 minutes longer on the Brompton. If your curiosity gets the better of you come down and give this little guy a spin. I'm sure it will put a smile on your face.