The Bromptons

Photo by Calhoun Cycle

In the summer of 2012 we had the pleasure of watching the local bike shop, Calhoun Cycle, host the 2012 Brompton National Championship Race. We had no idea of the magnitude of the race, nor the effect it would have on our lives. A week later, we visited the store and tried them out for ourselves.

What sells everyone on this bike is the fold. It’s not the smallest folding bike, but it is the most durable, rollable and most easily carried folder. I spent the next week researching the Brompton online, watching videos, learning about its cultish appeal. The exactly seven days later, I deposited a downpayment and made up my mind to buy one. I was torn between the red 6spd and the pretty raw steel & brass version—which would set me back a few more (a lot more) dollars.

After reading about chipping of the clear coating on the raw, I decided on the red H6L. The hubby followed suit the week after, placing his order for the Turkish Green M6L with generator hub  & integrated lighting system. We both purchased the Radical Designs folding basket.

Outside the Gion Machiya in Kyoto

Outside the Gion Machiya in Kyoto

After it was decided we were going to do some extensive traveling with the bikes, (and after I tried rolling it over carpet) we both chose to swap out the rear fender for the rear cargo rack. This effectively makes the whole package roll as if on a skateboard.

Other additions to the bikes we found helpful are the MKS EZY removable pedals. These also add a level of security if we remove them from the bike. The original pedals fold in, and are somewhat sharp. I was wary of scratching the paint— and I did so within the first few minutes of ownership.

Another upgrade included the Touring bag, this was my husband’s purchase and he is able to pack 2 weeks worth of (summer) vacation gear into it. See photo below. I, on the other hand, use the front basket with the largest size Lonchamp travel bag and a 60L Granite Gear Crown VC Backpack. The front bag carries my camera & food. The rear bag had my travel gear. We now pack much lighter, Nate still uses the Brompton Touring bag. I now use a Masterpiece backpack/suitcase from Japan that straps to the basket and frame.

These little bikes are the most used in our bike collection. Where ever we go, they go– including planes, trains and into the pubs. We have no regrets, these are very well our favorite bikes. They have more nicks and scratches but carry with them a good story to tell.

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