Tuesday 2 July 2019

Your new Brompton - Expectation vs Reality Part II

Back in 2014 I wrote a blog post titled 'Your new Brompton - Expectation vs Reality.' CLICK HERE A great deal has happened in the almost five years since this post was written and I thought I would write a part II.

Expectation #1

To make your Brompton unique, you customise it in some small way. This might be fitting a new Brooks saddle or new grips. You don't need to go too far.

Reality #1 

Customising your Brompton is a trip down the rabbit hole! Before you know it you'll be looking for upgrades sourced from the Far East offering exotic materials such as titanium or carbon fibre!

Expectation #2 

Brompton bikes rarely get punctures and if you do, you'll get your Brompton Toolkit out of the frame and have your Marathon Plus tyres off in next to no time. I mean how hard can to be?!

Reality #2

Unless someone has told you how to fix a puncture or you have had a practice run beforehand or are just mechanically minded, you stare at your rear wheel puncture first in disbelief and then horror. You all but become a character from a Jane Austen novel, ready to faint at any moment. With the wheel off - eventually - you get the tyre levers out of your Brompton Toolkit (that you bought at the same time as your Brompton but never thought you'd actually use for its intended purpose). Onlookers think that you are perhaps in training for 'Worlds Strongest Man' as much wrestling and effort ensues. As you attempt to get the type off the rim, the only thought in your head is that this must look like you are competing in 'Worlds Strongest Man!' At this point you seriously consider whether your AA, RAC or Greenflag breakdown cover will stretch to Brompton punctures!!

Expectation #3 

You have bought your new Black Special Edition. To match your new Brompton you buy one or two colour coordinated items of clothing. When choosing Brompton luggage you  opt for more of the same. It is only one or two items - just to compliment your bike.

Reality #3

Along with Reality #1 this is a rabbit hole. Before you know it you are head to foot in black and anything not black, you want black. Heaven forbid, but you might actually become know by the colour of your Brompton!!

Expectation #4

Your Brompton is built like a tank and able to cope with the grind of a daily commute in whatever weather. Nothing will stop you...nothing!!!

Reality #4

You seek out and install several weather apps on your phone and pay more attention to meteorological matters. For the first few weeks of ownership you dare not take your Brompton outside if there is even the slightest chance of precipitation. In fact you consider a second Brompton for such an occasion, justifying it by the notion of you needing a summer and winter Brompton.

Out on your Brompton your worst fear is realised as a bead of water hits your head and then...your Brompton. You pedal faster as the rain starts to fall. Tat least the rain will help to mask the tears!!

Expectation #5 

You buy your Brompton and with it or soon after a Mini O-bag. You find this great to carry your essentials.

Reality #5

It's another rabbit hole. Along with #3 your look for ones that colour coordinate your Brompton. Next it is bigger bags. After that ones finished in different materials. Before you know it you have more bags than you can use!

If any ion these ever applied to you please leave a comment and let me know. Just remember, you are not alone!


  1. Respect for repairing a rear wheel flat on a Brompton. Doesn't get much harder than that.
    Brompton ARE amazing in the wet btw. Those mudguards are excellent.
    Top tip: nitrile gloves in toolkit.

  2. i am unfortunately also into several of these rabbit holes, but as i use three different brommies black, neon yellow or raw, color coordination is not one of them:)
    as for punctures on the rear these are somewhat easier to fix it you leave the wheel mounted in the bike. and cleaner! just get the section of innertube out where the puncture is, fix it, get the torn out of the tyre, and off you go. its a 5-10 minute affair.

    1. You are of course right. I wouldn't be any worried about a puncture on a Brompton any more. It is simple once you have been shown or had a practice a few times.

  3. Love your posts. And your passion for Brompton bikes. Yes, I have 3 units, plus a swag of bags, including adapted Carradice bags. Some bags have come and gone, but I really don't see a need to part with any of my current Brommies in considering a new M6L-X. And I have other bikes, but invariably I reach for a B. After many years in the saddle I feel it is the character of the ride and luggage option adaptation.
    Your post are admired from afar. Mark -Sydney -Australia
    M6L-X & 2 x M6Ls


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