Saturday 1 November 2014

Top 8 Brompton Noob Fails

You have a new Brompton! That is great but there are a new things you need to know if you are to avoid looking like a Brompton noob. Of course you might have had a Brompton bicycle for years so keep reading as you might need this too!

#1 The Fold

If you are to avoid looking like a total Brompton noob, mastering the fold is essential. The person in the shop may well ahem demonstrated this to you, but you were probably too excited in getting a new Brompton to listen or care.

Take the time to master the fold and unfold. There is an order and soon you will have it down to under 12 seconds - maybe even quicker. If all hope if lost, consult the handbook that came with your new bike  or have a look at YouTube.

Failure to do this may result in slight embarrassment as you haplessly try and fold/unfold with the general public looking on.

#2 What sort of Brompton?

When meeting other Bromptonians, conversation may turn to what sort of Brompton you have, they have, your work colleague or perhaps a friend. Do not betray your lack of knowledge and brush up on all the different types of Brompton. Know your M from your P...your H from your S. Be able engage in polite conversation about gearing and chainrings. It won't take long to brush up but failure to do this will make the more knowledgeable regard you as a Brompton noob.

#3 Locking it up

The joy of owning a Brompton is the fact you can fold and take it with you. You can of course lock it up to some inanimate object and there may be times when you feel that there is no other option. Be ready for shakings of the head, tutting, and mild wailing or combinations of all of these from hardened Brompton owners.

#4 Punctures

Brompton tyres are pretty tough but there will at some point be a time when you might have succumb to a puncture 'in the field.' You are therefore going to have to know how to do this. If you don't you might suffer the shame of carrying your Brompton on to a bus, train, taxi etc.., with a flat tyre. Worse still, wheeling it along in public with a flat!

When I first owned a Brompton I knew nothing of repairing a puncture. When it did happen 'in the field' I was like a faint lady from a Jane Austen novel, about to go if someone...anyone didn't come to my rescue there and then. Do you want that to happen to you?!

#5 It's just a bicycle

When you buy a Brompton strange and mystifying forces are at work that are best left unexplained. You will have fun when riding it. You might even take the long way home, just because. You might buy an item of clothing to colour coordinate with that of your Brompton. Uttering the phrase, 'it's just a bicycle' betrays that you are a Brompton noob. It's not just a bicycle, it is THE bicycle...your bicycle. At this point you might want to consider providing your new pride and joy with a name. This will instil in you the notion that it is, not, just a bicycle.

#6 Brompton World Championships...what is that?

Oh my days!!! If you actually said this you really are treading into Brompton noob territory. It is an event all Brompton owners need to take part in at least once. With World Championships in various countries around the world you will hopefully find one where you live.

#7 Photographs of landmarks

If you haven't got copious photos of your Brompton strategically positioned in front of a well known landmark you are straying into Brompton noob territory. You may well have visited St Paul's Cathedral for example but it is your Brompton that is more photogenic!

#8 Not making your Brompton your own

My view is that the Brompton is all but perfect as it is and requires little in the way of customisation. However, this has not stopped me from making small additions that provide a nob to my colour preference or where performance is enhanced. For example:

  • Orange dust caps to replace the standard black ones
  • Brooks saddle to replace the standard one

There is no rule that says you have to change your Brompton in any way but not to do nothing leaves you open to the noob label.

There you have it. Eight Brompton noob fails you can avoid if you wish. If you choose to ignore all or some of these it is perfectly okay! The fact you are a Brompton owner and riding it for fun or as a commuter hack is more than enough. Whatever you decide...just enjoy it!!


  1. Very perceptive and insightful Mr O! It has been noted (and shared!)

  2. Great .... it all true.

  3. About #2: never tell someone about price of your bikes, unless he (or she) is aware of non supermarket bikes prices. Lots of people do not even imagine that there are bikes at these prices levels, except for professionnal cyclists.

    #8: I don't accept a saddle change as customization mark !!!


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