Yesterday I managed to get a brief test run on an SL2. Today a fellow Bromptionian allowed the chance to have a near two hour ride on his month old SL2 while tea rode my beloved Orange Brompton.
There are no pictures from my test ride as I didn't bother to bring camera or iPhone - I was too excited for that. The SL2 in question was a steel frame, all Turkish Green in colour, extended seat pillar, Brooks saddle, firm suspension and Marathon tyres. (All in all very sound set up).
The first thing to say is that coming from my 6 speed, there was a discernible difference in the weight by not having the gear hub on the back wheel. When I tested the 2 speed I hired it had a front light hub dynamo. I could still detect it was a lighter package than my 6 speed but this was quite a shock to notice such a difference. I suspect in full racing trim with Kojaks etc.., things would be lighter still.
The ride again surprised me. Yes, further forward and lower but I liked it a lot. The handling was very firm, precise and stable. I rode this bike for getting on two hours and did not suffer any back strain. My arms were not in any way fatigued from the lower and more forward position either. I loved it!
The thing I liked best about the whole SL2 set up is that the S Type with 2 gears seem to be made for each other. I felt that I could go hell for leather if I wanted to but at the same time ride safely on the daily commute. Visibility was very good and my neck suffered no strain.
Again I have to report that I loved the gearing of this 2 speed. The starting off gear was perfect and when I reached a sustained incline there wasn't a problem. I certainly didn't fell I needed anything else to make things easier. The cruising gear was again bordering on perfection. Coming down a steep hill on 6th gear means that I can start peddling sooner but the free wheeling didn't bother me at all.
I was rather sad to part with it. Many thanks to the very kind Bromptonian who let me borrow their pride and joy. For those of you tinkering with the idea of buying your first Brompton I have possibly thrown a huge spanner in the works. I can hear you saying, do I go for an M Type or and S Type? The should it be a 2, 3 or 6 speed? I love my 6 speed M Type, but if I was doing it all again...I'm not sure that is what I'd get???