I now own a Brompton. I wanted this bike for over a decade but never had a chance to actually get my hands on one. Mid-COVID and I land at a Brompton dealer. I approach the sales person. “How hard is it to get one these days?” I asked. “A needle in a haystack,” she said. “But what exactly are you looking for?” she inquired. “A flame lacquer, six-speed, s-bar, black edition,” I said. “Well,” she said. “We did get a shipment this morning.” Seconds later she returns pushing a box. “I have that exact bike,” she said. “I’ll take it,” I said. “You don’t want to ride it? she asked. “Nope, done.”
There are many brands of folding bike but Brompton is unique and comes with a cult-like following. Due to the 16-inch wheels and ingenious design, the Brompton fold and experience is like no other. There are Brompton clubs scattered around the world and the exploits of Brompton owners are legendary. Even some of the professional bike channels, like GCN, are hitting the Brompton craze. There is no one right bike for all but if you are in need of a folder then this brand should be on your list.
Think about that. Backpack, bike, fly. That is our plan for these bikes. Yes, my wife went crazy when I purchased mine. She came flying into the store and said “Hey, what about MEEEEEEEE?” Seconds later she had her Turkish Green, six-speed, H-bar, black edition. And yes, this was another bike they received just that morning.
I’ve done some tweaking. Seat and pedals. A new rear shock. And I do need to get a piece of luggage for the front so I can actually carry enough to be on the road for a while. (Am secretly lusting after one of these but they are so pricy. My connection to this brand comes from a trip to Amsterdam with the founder of Blurb. I had some horrible backpack and she looked up and noticed a guy with a Freitag satchel and said “You should get one of those.”)This summer I plan on boarding Amtrak in Maine before venturing to New York, Boston and D.C. with nothing but my pack and this bike. The wheels are small but the bike pedals and rides incredibly well. In fact, this is one of the most entertaining bikes I’ve ever ridden. And no need to lock it up. Just fold it up and take it with you. Restaurants, trains, flights or even kung-fu studios if that is your thing. (I’ll roundhouse your ass!)
As you can see, this thing folds up TINY. And it does so in a matter of seconds. One of the easiest, slickest folds I’ve seen. Brompton has been around for over fifty years, so the build, the materials and options are well ironed out. This bike DOES have limits, however. You aren’t trail riding anytime soon. It’s a bit on the heavy side. The small wheels mean you feel every wrinkle in the pavement, and they are pricy although a base model isn’t bad at all considering what you get. And remember, it’s a blast to ride.