My new Brompton foldable bike

The Brompton: On the Thursday I collected it, the haze had  broken and I had my first ride.

When my kids were little, I bought them bicycles. Now they bought me a Brompton foldable bike for my sixtieth birthday, several weeks in advance, before the clearance sale ended. They knew I wanted it because I had talked about it. They had also seen me searching for a pre-used Brompton at the togoparts website. The sale had gone on for several weeks but I was blessed to have a cobalt blue version which was available only in the H6R model, which was the model I had wanted. The H handle-bar enabled me to have a more comfortable upright posture when I ride. The handle bar looks like the M bar but is two inches taller.

When I ordered it the haze was thick. When I took delivery of the bicycle, it was a Thursday, 8 October 2015.  That day the sky was clear and I could ride the bike that day and the next few days. What a blessing it was, especially after almost a month of staying away from outdoor activities.

The Brompton in kneeling posture.

Compared to other foldable bikes the Brompton is not the clear winner. It is made of steel and quite heavy at over 10 kilograms. The parts are proprietary and modification is limited. The wheels are small at 16 inches. The basic body shape has remained the same and there are no other models or departures from this classic design. It is a good ride but a rather expensive one at $2,780 before discount.

A great compact fold that works for daily commute and storage.
A great compact fold that works for daily commute and storage.

What makes the Brompton a winner is the fold. The fold is the best ever for the kind of comfortable commuter or leisure ride that the average person would want. Its fold is compact with nothing sticking out. After folding it can stand stable and it can be placed in a luggage bag for travel. It is mobile and easily wheeled around. You can take it into your home or office without occupying much space. You can commute with it in the car boot, or take it into the MRT during off peak hours. You can push it around in the shopping mall too.
The marketing of Brompton is superb. It is made in Britain and nowhere else – the pride of British engineering with the bike joints skilfully welded by hand. In addition, the marketing helps the Brompton to exude the classy image of a British gentleman in his top hat.

Brompton bikes have a cult following in countries where they are sold. Brompton owners form clubs and participate regularly in cycling excursions and charity events. They have a kind of fellowship of the wheel. I have joined one such Facebook club, to trawl for pre-used accessories on their website. You don’t just buy a bike you buy an image, a fellowship and a good and highly portable ride.
The Brompton bicycle is like a good Pentecostal. He is modest the way the main body of the bike is low. However no matter how low a profile he keeps there is that bit of attention it cannot help but attract. The bike also has a kneeling position when it rests. I like this unique feature – it’s like the bike is praying on its knees, the way a good Pentecostal should. This is often a conversation starter with other cyclists and strangers. In addition, the Brompton is highly mobile and ready to go the way a good Pentecostal is ready to go with the the good news even to other cities and countries. The clearest evidence that the Brompton is pneumatically filled is the pleasant clickety-clack of the wheels in motion, a bicycle version of speaking in other tongues. I know quite a number of pastors that own a Brompton, and they are Pentecostals!

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  • Congrats Ps Kenny! Bromptons are indeed in a world-class of their own. Never had the luxury due to the costs but have tried before, and had colleagues who had some, indeed the folding method and mechanism is superior to a lot out there in the market. Used to have a entry-level Dahon, now using a Tonino Lambo Concetto (not true full foldie). Interesting to read about your friend’s Ubike (seems somewhere between Tonino and Java Fit, now new brand Crius out also) As I sometimes take part in races, been eyeing a racing type foldie (still prefer foldies due to home space constraints, and luxury of public commuting), something along the lines of Tyrell. The one I have my eye on is the Pacific Reach Racing, with a new model currently just out, R20. Costly though, between 3-4k, unlikely I will ever get it on my own accord.

    • Yes these high tech racing bikes can be more expensive than a Honda motorbike. Glad there are pastors who bike. It is a great exercise that doesn’t damage our precious knee. Just got some accessories from Brompton as they are having a Christmas sale.

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