Brompton vs. Bike Friday

Kell

Über Member
My original commute involved:

Starting with a FOLDED bike that I carried to the car and driving my daughter to the child-minder, then parking somewhere near the train station for free.
UNFOLDING the bike to ride to the station.
FOLDING the bike to put on the train.
UNFOLDING the bike to ride to work (I was lucky that we had a secure, underground car park so no need to fold it again to take in.
Riding back to the Station.
FOLDING the bike to put on the train.
UNFOLDING the bike to ride to the car.
FOLDING the bike to put in the car.
Removing the bike to put in garage.

The car I used for this is a convertible Mini. So being able to fold very small and reasonably quickly were the two deciding factors for me. And even then, with the extended seatpost, my Brompton only just goes in the boot of the Mini.

Other people will have a different set of criteria for choosing their bike.

For example, when I had the 26" wheeled Dahon, we lived somewhere where I could take my daughter to the childminder and return to the house before setting off for work. So no need to put it in a car.

Over the years of commuting, I've seen lots of people on my train with all sorts of different folders from full-size to 14" wheeled. None of them have that combination that folds as small or as neatly. Or remain as stable when folded - many fall over and cause obstructions on the train.

Some of the full size ones (Swissbike, Airnimal) require the front wheel to come off to fold, which might be ok in the dry, in the summer, but didn't look like much fun when the front wheel is covered with the sort of grime they pick up from wet London streets. Plus it's time consuming.

Sometimes with my Dahon, I'd arrive late to the train and not be able to get on due to the size of the bike and the fact that the train was full. Once, all the trains were cancelled and the only option was a replacement bus service that woudn't take my Dahon. So I had a choice of asking my wife to make a 60-mile round trip to come pick me up or paying £150 for a cab. Luckily my wife came to get me (and didn't charge quite as much :laugh:).

All in all, from what I've observed, the Brompton does make the most sense for commuting. Though I've often wondered if it would be possible to make a Brompton that folds into a larger package with 20" wheels to add a little comfort and I'd still like to see disc brakes as a factory option.
 
Last edited:

berlinonaut

Senior Member
Location
Berlin Germany
this is a US vs UK thing.
I live neither in the US nor in the UK :ohmy:, own both brands and prefer the Brompton.
Unless you commute on a mixed cycle / train commute (there are other appealing factors) you won't "get" the Brompton, particularly London centric.
Given the fact that many 100.000 Bromptons have been sold outside London and the majority of Bromtons even outside the UK I doubt that.
We don't "get" the bike Friday as its isn't readily sold in the UK, if we did it would be a Dahon etc 20" competitor and potentially do quite well.
It used to. BF had dealers in various countries in the past (and maybe still has some) including in the UK and in Germany. Did not achieve huge sales numbers.
 

Rusty Rocket

Active Member
My original commute involved:

Starting with a FOLDED bike that I carried to the car and driving my daughter to the child-minder, then parking somewhere near the train station for free.
UNFOLDING the bike to ride to the station.
FOLDING the bike to put on the train.
UNFOLDING the bike to ride to work (I was lucky that we had a secure, underground car park so no need to fold it again to take in.
Riding back to the Station.
FOLDING the bike to put on the train.
UNFOLDING the bike to ride to the car.
FOLDING the bike to put in the car.
Removing the bike to put in garage.

The car I used for this is a convertible Mini. So being able to fold very small and reasonably quickly were the two deciding factors for me. And even then, with the extended seatpost, my Brompton only just goes in the boot of the Mini.

Other people will have a different set of criteria for choosing their bike.

For example, when I had the 26" wheeled Dahon, we lived somewhere where I could take my daughter to the childminder and return to the house before setting off for work. So no need to put it in a car.

Over the years of commuting, I've seen lots of people on my train with all sorts of different folders from full-size to 14" wheeled. None of them have that combination that folds as small or as neatly. Or remain as stable when folded - many fall over and cause obstructions on the train.

Some of the full size ones (Swissbike, Airnimal) require the front wheel to come off to fold, which might be ok in the dry, in the summer, but didn't look like much fun when the front wheel is covered with the sort of grime they pick up from wet London streets. Plus it's time consuming.

Sometimes with my Dahon, I'd arrive late to the train and not be able to get on due to the size of the bike and the fact that the train was full. Once, all the trains were cancelled and the only option was a replacement bus service that woudn't take my Dahon. So I had a choice of asking my wife to make a 60-mile round trip to come pick me up or paying £150 for a cab. Luckily my wife came to get me (and didn't charge quite as much :laugh:).

All in all, from what I've observed, the Brompton does make the most sense for commuting. Though I've often wondered if it would be possible to make a Brompton that folds into a larger package with 20" wheels to add a little comfort and I'd still like to see disc brakes as a factory option.
That sort of journey makes perfect sense for a Brompton (sounds like a bit of a faff!).
When I started looking at folders I was surprised there isn’t a 20” option for Brommies. They clearly do what they do very well and aren’t complicating their production by introducing different sizes that (probably) wont sell as well.
 

T4tomo

Veteran
meant in the nicest possible sense, good to see the German reputation for precision is not diminished. :laugh::laugh:

German/ European in general has more in common with UK than US, particularly its commuting habits and use of trains / public transport over private cars. Good to hear you prefer the brommie!:okay:
 
I live neither in the US nor in the UK :ohmy:, own both brands and prefer the Brompton.
I own a Bike Friday NWT and ride a Brompton now and then too. I honestly think comparing them is like comparing a road bike with an MTB, in that they're good at entirely different things. I wouldn't commute every day with my NWT; I wouldn't go on a 60 (hilly) miles per day tour on a Brompton.

(Which is why I don't really see the point of a Tikit or a Pakit - if you want a compact folder predominantly for urban/flat use, a Brompton will do you better than either of those.)
 

cougie uk

Über Member
That sort of journey makes perfect sense for a Brompton (sounds like a bit of a faff!).
When I started looking at folders I was surprised there isn’t a 20” option for Brommies. They clearly do what they do very well and aren’t complicating their production by introducing different sizes that (probably) wont sell as well.
It's not a faff. Bromptons take about 15 seconds to fold and unfold.
 

chriscross1966

Über Member
Location
Swindon
That sort of journey makes perfect sense for a Brompton (sounds like a bit of a faff!).
When I started looking at folders I was surprised there isn’t a 20” option for Brommies. They clearly do what they do very well and aren’t complicating their production by introducing different sizes that (probably) wont sell as well.
There is a 20" option for the Brompton now, Kinetics in Glasgow make one. Price is about equivalent to buying an extra Brompton though your original wheels, forks and triangle would have some resale value.
 
I still lust after a Brompton, I still watch the David Millar youtube videos and the recent one of his wife's Brompton story. I still think they are cool and dont know why and all this despite just buying a new bike.... had I managed to secure a Chpt3 then I would have gone that way rather than a Mason Resolution.
I dont know why, 🤷‍♂️ I just like the little clown bikes
 

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
So what is the appeal of the Brompton?
The appeal to me was purely the fold. We lived in a very small flat.

DXZ2Of7.jpg
Sacred folding cow
is what I later called it. A very nice cow, just not for me. That said, for a while I did lust after the titanium version.

I also had a Pocket Llama. Enjoyed it for years. Oddly enough didn’t pack it up that often. Eventually it no longer fit me, or rather me, it. Finally landed at the tip. I know that might seem like a waste, but the employees sell bikes on as a little side earner, and I’m not an eBayer. Someone with a discerning eye might have appreciated it.

ESd0jmn.jpg


I now have a Dahon Presto Lite, which isn't as neat a package as a Brommie but does fold faster (go ahead, time us). It's a rocketship on city streets, which is the only place I use it.

BxpHXyH.jpg
 
Last edited:

12boy

Veteran
Location
Casper WY USA
Bozone, I am in Casper Wy and probably have the only Brompton in the state. Before I bought it I tried a BF and didn't like it at all.. I also have a Xootr Swift and Bikesdirect minivelo, so I have some small wheel experience. When I needed a repair I couldn't do I mailed it to Minneapolis but that was only once.
If I am riding on dry pavement the Brompton is one of my two most favorite bikes, the other being a Steamroller. It fits me perfectly and when I see family in Albuquerque or Denver it takes almost no room in the car. The front luggage block allows me to carry a couple of grocery bags worth, and the more weight the better it rides, since the weight is one the head tube, not the forks. It is not a snow bike, though.
The thing is, in my opinion, that different bikes feel good or bad to different people. You may love a BF, while it felt awkward and weird to me, and hate a Brompton. What I know for sure is I ain't buying any bikes until I have ridden them. I've always listed after a Moulton, but I wouldn't buy one without a ride. Same goes for a Catrike.
 
Top Bottom