Saturday 3 July 2021

So why the Brompton over big wheels?

This is one question I get asked a great deal and it is territory I have covered many, many times. I will however answer the people who have contacted me asking variations of this question. 

Regular readers will know that when I was at university - which seems likes ages ago now - I was gifted a 1990 Brompton. I loved it and when my studies came to an end I tried to do the right thing and gifted it on to someone else. Before and after that I owned mountain bikes but I never really clicked with them in the same way I did the Brompton. Zoom forward to the start of this blog several years ago and I bought an Orange Brompton and have not looked back. 

I have also have a road bike and while I can appreciate that it is faster and allows you to cover the same or greater distances with less effort, when riding it I always wished I was on one of my Brompton bikes instead. There are lots of reasons but for me, living on London, a Brompton is a very easy choice. 

Personally, I hate public transport and always have. I am not a fan of crowded tube carriages, trains and buses just seem to take so long to get anywhere, I cannot see the point. The Brompton allows me to abandon public transport at will.

I go on all sorts of cycle rides and the Brompton works for all of them - speed, distance, sauntering around, errands, going to and from work, visiting family and friends... You can do all of these things on big wheels but it is just so much more fun on a Brompton.

The luggage system on a Brompton is for me better than those pannier bags sitting on racks on big wheels. The front carrier block works so well with a vast array of bags to choose from. For the most part, carrying a laptop, books, clothes, water bottle and lunch is so easy. 

The fun, factor already mentioned, is a big one. A Brompton just puts a smile on your face in the way big wheels (for me at least can't). I actually find larger wheeled bikes quite dull. There are so many different types of Brompton out there, all personalised to their owners taste, there is never a dull moment. 

I have no intentions of selling my Condor road bike but owning two Brompton bicycles does mean it is gathering dust. When I know there is a ride set in the calendar it is always earmarked for a Brompton.  I just know I will enjoy it that bit more!

Stay safe out there people! 


  1. i tend to think most buyers of brompton get one from a rather dull and practical commuter perspective. but once there and with correct trimming (for example replacing the older soft suspension block) the ride is a pleasant surprice.

    quick and fun!

    and there are other bonuses; one of the better is being able to bring it inside wherever you go, thus keeping your bike from being stolen.

    1. Fully agree with this... just having to buy a lock, and then figure out how to carry it, especially with smaller frame big wheeled bike, is pain, plus a good kilo of extra weight for a decent one. Brompton can carry more stuff conveniently, without ever needing a bike lock.

      That said, for certain rides recently, having nice 28mm tubeless road tyres at 60psi has been fantastic rolling, and great comfort for recovering from some broken bones, especially wrist.

      It's a tough call, although, while I'm still recovering from injury, the bigger wheels and choice of gear ratios is better for me, or maybe I've gone soft. But I do WAY prefer the practicality of a Brompton for touring as well.

      The enjoyment of riding either big or small wheels? I can't decide. They're both good! Passing roadies pushing their bikes up Ditchling beacon when just managing to get up on a Brommie can never be beat!


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