Thursday 3 January 2013

Comparing a Road Bike to a Brompton!

My neighbour a few doors up was before Christmas bemoaning - quite rightly - the fact that his season tube ticket was too expensive, would probably go up even more and that he had had enough. Now this enough was not an angry or reached the end of his tether, 'I've had enough.' No, it was more a calling cry of frustration.

At the time I remember offering him a solution in the form of all that is Brompton. I even asked him if he wanted to test mine out, but he declined - I was glad at this as I did not really want him to ride it in the first place even though I had offered. He was quite clear in his mind that he wanted a road bike and today after a few weeks of 'Cycle to Work Scheme' paperwork he collected his new road bike.

It is a 'Specilaized Tarmac' and is super lightweight. It's very nice looking bike with all the mod cons. My neighbour, perhaps remembering my kind offer, returned the favour and allowed me to have a go, which I did.

Going round the block - at the insistence of my neighbour - I shifted through the gears with ease. I could feel on the flats that I was going considerably faster than I could on my Brompton. It felt lighter than my Brompton but I didn't like it. Riding on it felt strange. I cannot put my finger on why I wasn't enjoying it was but I will give it a go.

My Brompton, is unique to me. I picked the colour, gearing, tyres, suspension, saddle. Whether or not to have a rear carrier, eazy wheels or any other number of choices making my Brompton bespoke to me. My neighbours bike is off the peg and just doesn't have personality. How can a bike or any inanimate object have one? Well, I can tell you Brompton bikes do. His road bike cannot be folded down and carried. Can't be taken on other forms of public transport. It certainly won't induce people to say, 'oh it's a Brompton' as you simply go about your normal day to day business. This road bike just didn't seem as comfortable, nippy or manoeuvrable and I knew pretty quickly that I preferred my Brompton bikes.

I am very pleased that my neighbour saw the light and will try and cycle to work at least twice a week. I supposed all cyclists are on the same team really, but I left thinking...should have got a Brompton!


  1. Hi Mr O,
    Enjoying your posts, your lastest gave me quite a chuckle too! and reminded me of a rather old saying" You can take an arse to water but you cannot make it think!"
    All Bromptons are unique as are their riders.

    The Brompton Blog Roll.

  2. I love my Brommie! You are right there is something very special about it. I bought mine secondhand off eBay, so did not have the joy of putting all the bits and pieces together (that is one of the sad results of Brompton UK not allowing Internet sales. People like me who live far away from the UK or US have to settle for secondhand bikes).

    Still, there is something very special about my Doris! I have a very expensive full suspension, top of the line, Mountainbike in my garage which I use for long cross country races. It has every feature a serious cyclist could ever want, but it doesn't compare to Doris!

    1. Thanks for your comment. It is the same here in Europe with regards internet sales. If you want a Brompton you need to go to a dealer. This isn't such a bad thing, especially if you want to choose from the many options to make it a truly bespoke bike.

      There does seem to be a Brompton dealership almost everywhere and it is growing, so when if you ever get a new one, you hopefully won't have to travel too far.

  3. Interesting OB man and especially so after my published musings tonight, any thoughts you have on the subject would be appreciated.


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