Someone recently sent an email to Bike Austin inquiring about Bromptons, and we remembered that one of our phone banking volunteers Sherry Mason rides into our office on her foldable bike. Sherry wrote this great response that we thought others might find useful. We love that our Bike Austin members can be resources for each other in the bike community. And shoutout to Cycleast as our local Brompton dealer!
I love when people ask about Bromptons. I bought mine about four years ago in Houston. It’s a two-speed and quite simple to fold/unfold once you do it a few times. The ride itself is great BUT at first it can feel a bit odd. Hard to pinpoint this subjective feeling but it only lasted briefly. The two speed is good for flat to slight hills especially if you are fit and ride a lot. Perhaps in Austin with our somewhat hilly terrain, a three speed or higher may be a better choice. Keep in mind that more gears add more weight. My “sport” version is the lightest (except for the titanium$$$). Around 22 lbs. Great for me because I don’t do heavy lifting.
Bromptons are tough. I take it on car trips all the time and it fits great in my Mini Cooper. Once I went with friends to the coast and we took their cavernous SUV. When we arrived at our destination the Brompton fell out of their vehicle as they opened the hatch. It was at the top of all our equipment so it fell probably 5 feet to the cement. Yikes. Not an issue, except for a tiny scratch.
I can recommend this site (nycewheels.com) because they have lots of videos (well done) about choosing gearing, handlebars, seats etc. You can essentially design your own or buy from their stock. The bike is pricey compared to other folding bikes but you will probably only buy one. Terns are suppose to be good, too. But, nothing comes close to the compactness and engineering of the Brompton. It’s like origami!
Cycleast on Cesar Chavez is an authorized Brompton dealer here in Austin. Russell has been very helpful in answering my questions about gearing. He even offered to customized my bike so that I could have a lower climbing gear. They don’t carry a large stock but can order exactly what you need. Before I purchased my bike, they even offered to loan me one to try over the weekend. Really.
Here is mine when I was at Barton Springs. You can ride this bike on a well compacted hike and bike trail but mostly it’s best for the city streets. Happy Cycling and GO BIKE AUSTIN!!!
Sherry (Bike Austin member)