Brompton Folding Bike

A schematic of how the Brompton folds down.

Schematic diagram of the Brompton folding action.

open brommie

The Brompton has a cult following worldwide for its quintessentially English characteristics of practicality and rather sensible looks.

I have just taken delivery of a second-hand Brompton from a Trade-me seller who very kindly brought it to Auckland from Wellington.

This is the fourth bike that I currently own. I have a Trek aluminium alloy and carbon road bike, an Avanti Super Sprint steel-framed converted to a single speed/fixed gear and a Gazelle Tour Populair classic city bike. The Gazelle is the only one I have purchased new.

I’ve just ridden it home on under-inflated tyres and the 5-speed Sturmey-Archer hub gears (the ideal English-origin complement, at least historically)  clearly need a bit of adjustment but it rides and handles surprisingly well. It also comes with a well broken-in, special edition Brooks of England saddle embossed with ‘Made for Brompton’.

How many Bromptons can you fit in a standard carpark? 42!

How many Bromptons can you fit in a standard carpark? 42!

One of the great things about bicycles is that they are affordable and have very low ongoing costs. This means that rather than trying to purchase an all-purpose machine that doesn’t perform any function as well as one designed specifically for it, you can have the right tool for the job in any number of circumstances. The road bike is wonderfully fast and light but I can’t leave it anywhere without it (or at least parts of it) being stolen and it has no luggage capacity. The fixie/single speed is great fun but doesn’t deal with Auckland’s many hills so well. The Gazelle is my favourite most of the time; beautifully detailed, she gets lots of comments and is comfortable and smooth but is also heavy and an uncommonly long wheelbase makes her unwieldy when negotiating stairs and lifts.

The Brompton folds down to a compact package with dimensions of

The Brompton folds down to a compact package with dimensions of 585mm high x 545 long x 270mm wide.

I often travel inter-city and as I don’t own a car I use a lot of public transport. Public transport in Auckland is still a long way from being integrated so it’s very handy to be able to ride shorter distances between connections. I have been looking for a bike that is easy to carry and can fold into a compact package but that also offers a decent ride and can carry luggage. The Brompton is that bike.

You may think that four bikes is enough for one person to own but there is also a popular adage that the ideal number of bikes is n+1 where n is the number of bikes currently owned. Come to think of it, it would be very nice to have a touring bike. I have always dreamed of taking a long bike tour through the South Island of New Zealand …

About Vernon Tava

Barrister. Lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
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