In my blog post yesterday CLICK HERE I wrote about the new integrated brake/gear/derailleur levers. Since then I have been inundated quite literally with one or two emails requesting that I let you know what I thought of them.
It didn't actually take that long to replace everything on my P-type and once done I took my bike out for a quick spin. (As I managed to do this pretty much trouble free I decided to replace the levers and cables on my S-type as well with the new version).
Well, the all important question what do I think of them and are they better than those they replace? The simple answer is yes. It does take a little getting used to but after a few minutes I had the hang of it. There isn't that rattle, so familiar from the old ones and aesthetically they are a big improvement. They are neater and you don't have them just sticking up on the handlebar like some sort of agricultural device you'd expect to see on the inside of a tractor.
Another good thing is that your hands do not have to stray too far from the brake levers in order to change gear and apply the brakes. I also like that the bell - although still quite pathetic in terms of its audible volume - can be happily used with just the flick of an index finger. The little windows that tell you gear 1, 2 or 3 and + and - is good but if you were a new owner I doubt you'd need to look after fives minutes. All in all the new integrated levers have brought Brompton to at least 2004 which can only be a good thing.
If I had an M-type or H-type would I go to the bother and expense of replacing the handlebar and stem into order to fit to my existing bicycle? Absolutely not! The old gear and derailleur shifters are fine, cheap to replace if they do die on you and are functional in every way.
Look at it tis way. I suppose it is good that Brompton are still continuing to refine an already great design with updates to components like this. For me at least this has more value than the yawn announcements of yet another 'special edition.'