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Suggestions for Brompton for 3F walkup?

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Suggestions for Brompton for 3F walkup?

Old 01-21-21, 04:33 AM
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ericeric
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Suggestions for Brompton for 3F walkup?

My wife and I have two standard 2006 M3Ls. Not used much recently but we keep them in good shape. We're planning to move them to a third floor walkup apartment in El Born, Barcelona. BCN is relatively bike friendly. It has some upslopes - not too bad but my wife can get tired. I would like to spiffy them up, add an ebike wheel and battery pack (3kg) and get lighter components to compensate for the additional weight. We'd mostly use them to extend our range going around the city. The bike shares are useful but there are restrictions on time and sometimes there's no bike or no parking. We're in our mid50s relatively healthy.

Would like to request for best suggestions to cut weight or improve the bikes. I'm willing to spend $500 per bike (plus 700 for the ebike kit). I can spend a bit more if it makes sense. I would have loved to do a full ultralight set up like Raxel's. But business is bad so this is not the time. Anyway would appreciate comments and suggestions. TIA!
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Old 01-21-21, 05:41 AM
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First, you say get lighter components to compensate for the additional weight, i.e. saving 3kg. This is very difficult and would mean replacing a lot of components, almost all including fork and rear triangle for the titanium version.

What of course would cost much more than 500$. In average, one gram saving cost one €.

So, you won't be able to keep the weight as it is even with a lightweight, 3kg, electric assist. Your bikes will become more heavy with their electric assist.

The "cheap" components that allow to save weight are, first the tires but lightweight tires are also more puncture sensitive. The amount of weight saving depends of the tires you currently have.

Then, the pedals, using one side removable pedals (better with titanium axle) save a lot compared to the original pedals.

Next, the saddle, using a full carbon saddle weighting less tan 100g saves a lot even more if you have a Brooks saddle.

Then the seatpost. A titanium without pentaclip seatpost (Brompfication type) saves also a lot.

With the electric assist, you can also consider to convert to an external 2s (or 3s) without the 3s internal gear hub. If you do this, you can use 11s compatible sprocket and use a lightweight KMC 11s chain.

You can also either remove the mudguards or use the titanium parts of the superlight Brompton for those mudguards.

Further weight saving are possible but save less (front wheel, brakes, brake levers, bottom bracket, hinge bolts, all bolts for titanium...)
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Old 01-21-21, 08:41 AM
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Thanks that's pretty useful in terms of what saves weight. The alternative is to forget the ebike upgrade and spend the extra to make it as light as possible. And get into better shape. I talked to a bike store here. If i have them import the parts and install for me it would cost about $1.5k per bike if include a Ti fork and triangle.

Could you suggest a good source for Brompton parts? Should I just source from ebay?

Thanks
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Old 01-21-21, 09:39 AM
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Interesting thread topic between cost, weight saving and usefulness of a Brompton. Tricky balancing act and one I am curious to follow. I found this chart from a previous thread which might give some info as a starting point.


unfortunately, Brexit and Covid is going to complicate the acquisition effort.
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Old 01-21-21, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ericeric View Post
Thanks that's pretty useful in terms of what saves weight. The alternative is to forget the ebike upgrade and spend the extra to make it as light as possible. And get into better shape. I talked to a bike store here. If i have them import the parts and install for me it would cost about $1.5k per bike if include a Ti fork and triangle.

Could you suggest a good source for Brompton parts? Should I just source from ebay?

Thanks
There are several suppliers for the custom Brompton components.

For the Brompton parts, in UE: titanium rear triangle titanium fork this shop has normally these parts in stock, but the Brexit and covid that increased the sales of Brompton made that parts and bikes are difficult to obtain from Brompton !

For the saddle, I recommend the AX-lightness Leaf: very comfortable, strong (riders up to 100kg) and only 78g.

This is the type of seatpost that provides the biggest weight saving. because its not only titanium but you also do not need and save the weight of the original pentaclip.

If you want to keep your mudguards of your L version, titanium stays.
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Old 01-21-21, 10:27 AM
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I haul my Bike Friday pakiT up many levels of stairs. For that reason, I purchased the Onemotor electric assist kit, which weighs 4.5lbs and comes off in 30 seconds. When I get to my destination, I pop off the motor and battery and stick them in my sling bag. Then I'm not hefting any added weight up the stairs with my arms. Depending on where you live you might see if there are some systems that detach easily (friction drives) and don't add the weigh of a hub motor to the bike. European brands include Add-e, Go-E, and Rubbee. Now my BF is only 19 lbs and I know Bromptons weigh more. The obvious ways to drop weight are super light saddle and pedals. Everything else with a Brommie is gonna cost you $$$. Maybe invest in some hand weights for the house and keep them by the tv watching chair and just do bicep curls while you watch tv. Drop a pound with the saddle and pedals and bulk up the biceps and maybe that will be good enough.
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Old 01-21-21, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ericeric View Post
My wife and I have two standard 2006 M3Ls. Not used much recently but we keep them in good shape. We're planning to move them to a third floor walkup apartment in El Born, Barcelona. BCN is relatively bike friendly. It has some upslopes - not too bad but my wife can get tired. I would like to spiffy them up, add an ebike wheel and battery pack (3kg) and get lighter components to compensate for the additional weight. We'd mostly use them to extend our range going around the city.
Two cheaper options:
  • For smaller gear inches, install a double chainring (total ~€150); A 50/34T with the original 14T gives 30.1 - 78.8" (261%)
  • To haul the bike up the three floors, fold the bike, and carry it with a shoulder strap (Original)
If you need help:

Last edited by Winfried; 01-21-21 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 01-21-21, 10:47 AM
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Before I spent a lot of money on lightening the bike I would consider lowering the the gearing. A 2003 probably has the one piece crankarm/chainring set up. You may still have the original bottom bracket. I would consider getting a decent cartridge bearing bottom bracket, such as a Shimano UN 55 and either a 130 or 110 BCD crank set up which will allow you to change chain rings. if you need to, you might look at Sheldon Brown's gear inch calculator which makes it easy to see the effect of different gear combos. An even cheaper way could be to use a larger sprocket on the hub.
For the last 5 years or so I have used 2 chain rings which has given me extra low gears plus a high range. If I am going up a grade too steep for the normal range I take maybe 15 seconds to manually shift to the small chain ring and reverse this when I want the higher range. The only flies in this ointment is it is better to keep the chain on the big chain ring when folding and your fingers can get greasy when you change the chain.
I will second the idea that the most effective weight loss is in the tires. I can live with Schwalbe Marathons, but the Marathon Pluses are even heavier and feel a lot more dragging to me. There are lighter Schwalbes than Marathons, but may cost a lot more. I have also lost almost a pound by using a regular 1/2 speed hub instead of the 3 speed Sturmey Archer, but that weight loss wasn't nearly as important in climbing as lower gearing.
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Old 01-21-21, 11:25 AM
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Hence a derailleur.

https://i.pinimg.com/564x/61/8d/57/6...347c342dee.jpg
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Old 01-21-21, 01:13 PM
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Brompton is easier to carry over stairs when it is not folded, than folded, but you then use both hands to grab it. It is best to have the rest of any load on your back as counterbalance. Within this perspective, my most important investment into Brompton's portability was a handle for the main tube.

The market of light parts for Brompton is a swamp. Many of those parts are next to unusable. They are purchased by lovers of their Bromptons to adorn them with jewelry, show them to friends and shoot photos on a scale for FB. As a minimum I suggest strongly lowering the expectations regarding the possibilities in lowering the weight with the aftermarket parts. Getting a front derailleur for a hilly area makes much sense but making it work well requires mechanical skills.
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Old 01-21-21, 03:47 PM
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An even easier way to carry the Brompton, also folded, is to use a shoulder strap.

I use the shoulder strap of the Radical Design transport bag


There are also main tube attached shoulder strap.
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Old 01-21-21, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
Brompton is easier to carry over stairs when it is not folded, than folded, but you then use both hands to grab it
Provided the hall is wide enough so that the bike doesn't hit the walls,or the neighbors won't be happy.
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Old 01-21-21, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
Provided the hall is wide enough so that the bike doesn't hit the walls,or the neighbors won't be happy.
Sure, but when it gets narrow, i.e., around turns, you can tilt the bike more, so it occupies less horizontal space. I've been in a situation where I needed to carry a full-size bike 3F up on a regular basis and Brompton, or another folder, is quite a bit easier. As to the neighbors, you wait on the landings for them to pass and you do it in an exaggerated fashion, so they get impressed by your manners . You greet them as they pass.
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Old 01-21-21, 06:40 PM
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Bike weight 8.1 kg, a bit more than €500.

https://eu.dahon.com/bikes/k3/
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Old 01-21-21, 09:51 PM
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Thanks for all the responses.

1) Am wondering whether it's cheaper to sell the M3Ls and buy the superlight brompton. Maybe not.
2) Ebike kit - that onemotor is $1.2k but yes lighter. Am pretty amazed u bike in SFO, I guess you really need the ebike attachment. SFO is one of favorite cities (and my son lives/works there) but has become even more expensive and pretty grungy of late.
3) My wife and I exercise almost daily. TBH i feel i can handle the weight of brompton + ebike (I can now do 4 pullups from zero a year back). And groceries. My wife can but will struggle a bit. Our staircase is pretty narrow, most of the old buildings in El Born are like that but we really like the area and our place there.
4) Looks like am totally underbudgeted if I try to take off 3-4lbs. Talking to two LBS here, I feel their markups are so high vs navigating the ebay parts jungle myself then bringing to them to install.
5) Philosophically I want to be practical about this and not spend $2k+/bike. Maybe when times are better. Also I tend to recycle (resole shoes, etc, reuse plastic bags) so I'd prefer not to buy new bikes. I do like the bromptons because seems you can resell for close to what you paid for it.
6) So far it seems 1) replace brooks seats 2) pedals 3) seat post - are the carbon fiber ones any good? 4) will check out lighter wheels & two speed but would like to keep marathons for puncture resistance 5) better ez wheels 6) strap worth considering
7) Our bromptons have lower gearing but will check out single speed or 2spd if we get the e-assist.
8) For parts is ebay the best source or amazon? Specialty brompton bike stores here seem to charge 50+% over ebay, much more over aliexpress etc. Anyway would appreciate more store suggestions.

Thanks to all, appreciate the time responding to my questions. Cheers!
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Old 01-22-21, 03:49 AM
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Carbon seatpost on a folder that is often folded/unfolded is not a good option because carbon is easily scratched by dirt deposit on the seatpost and carbon doesn't like the compression/decompression cycles that occur at each fold/unfold.

I would recommend the new Continental Contact Urban tire: they are as strong/puncture resistant as the Marathon, roll better, grip better and weight less. And.. they aren't expensive.
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Old 01-22-21, 04:52 AM
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When I returned to riding it was hard work, but I persisted and even though I am pushing 60 and have arthritus I am resisting the urge to buy things to make it easier - but more fun instead
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Old 01-22-21, 08:09 AM
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Oh that's a good point on carbon seat post. The Ti seatposts are expensive. I should have bought the Ti bromptons when they were $1.3k. Money is becoming worthless.

Will check the continental tire, though i actually have spare marathons
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Old 01-22-21, 08:17 AM
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ericeric
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
When I returned to riding it was hard work, but I persisted and even though I am pushing 60 and have arthritus I am resisting the urge to buy things to make it easier - but more fun instead
We're trying our best to get really healthy. 80% plant based food, almost daily exercise and some weights and stretching. Really have to be serious about health whatever your age. i'm still maybe 15lbs away from normal BMI. But I feel good. I slowly climb 14 floors to my office without a break. The problem is we all enjoy wine and good food.

My wife will struggle a bit up the stairs with a 25-30lb brompton though she is more fit than I am. Perhaps lower gearing and lighter is a better approach. I am intrigued by having an ebike though. My other son (based in Los Angeles) was telling me an ebike rental in San Francisco was really fun.
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Old 01-22-21, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ericeric View Post
Will check the continental tire, though i actually have spare marathons
Marathon weight 420g per piece in 35x349.

The Continental Contact Urban weight 265g in 35x349.

That's 155g per tire, 310g savings and better tires in any aspects for 40€, that's an incredible deal !
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Old 01-22-21, 11:04 AM
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Since you're in Spain (well, Catalonia…), you might consider an Oribike, either C8 or M10, whose only retailer in Europe is in the Murcia area (Cartagena, of all places.)

It folds pretty much like the Brompton, is cheaper, and lighter. I bought a second-one recently, and was pleasantly surprised.

The only drawback is that its stem prevents a frame-mounted bag ŕ la Brompton: It only takes a small stem-mounted bag, and/or a trunk bag on the rear rack.

For just a little bit of money, I would ask the company to replace the transmission for either a Nexus/Alfine 8 or 11 speeds. Those bikes used to be available with a Nexus 8, but for some reason, Oribikes only sells them with derailleurs nowadays.


https://www.pivotpro.es/es/39-ori-bikes

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Old 01-22-21, 05:03 PM
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I carry my Brompton quite a bit, ~1/4 mile per day while touring (most of it to/from wild camping spots). With all the accessories, tools, lock, water, etc, my MR6 weighs ~34lbs, plus another ~15-20lbs (of camping gear, food, water) in the T-bag carried in a backpack mode. Once even hiked the whole set-up up a 30-story staircase.... and I’m a 155lb retiree .

My advice for a 3 story walk-up is to learn/practice how to carry the bike on top of your shoulder. For example, if you request delivery of a 5gal water cooler jug (~40lbs) to a 3rd floor apt., I can virtually guarantee the delivery guy will becarrying that jug on top of his shoulder.... and never carry it like a suitcase down by his leg - you know, like how most folks carry Bromptons.

For even longer distances you can also carry the bike, folded or unfolded, across both shoulders - like carrying 2 water buckets with a pole. The Brompton is unique to these carry methods being so compact and with a tight locking fold. Just watch your ceiling/doorway clearance if you are a tall person.

Just my $0.02, YMMV and all.
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Old 01-22-21, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by reppans View Post
I carry my Brompton quite a bit, ~1/4 mile per day while touring (most of it to/from wild camping spots). With all the accessories, tools, lock, water, etc, my MR6 weighs ~34lbs, plus another ~15-20lbs (of camping gear, food, water) in the T-bag carried in a backpack mode. Once even hiked the whole set-up up a 30-story staircase.... and I’m a 155lb retiree .

My advice for a 3 story walk-up is to learn/practice how to carry the bike on top of your shoulder. For example, if you request delivery of a 5gal water cooler jug (~40lbs) to a 3rd floor apt., I can virtually guarantee the delivery guy will becarrying that jug on top of his shoulder.... and never carry it like a suitcase down by his leg - you know, like how most folks carry Bromptons.

For even longer distances you can also carry the bike, folded or unfolded, across both shoulders - like carrying 2 water buckets with a pole. The Brompton is unique to these carry methods being so compact and with a tight locking fold. Just watch your ceiling/doorway clearance if you are a tall person.

Just my $0.02, YMMV and all.
This is a spectacularly useful suggestion. Thank you. So carry like a snatched kettle bell? That way I can carry the shopping basket in my other hand (not so loaded as yours). I'll have to get my wife to try it out or i can carry both and she'll carry the other stuff. In reality three floors is not bad.

I'll do just the most sensible bling/lightening up upgrades and then add the ebike attachment. There's a company that does it in BCN on indiegogo. They replace the wheel and add a small battery pack. Still in semi startup mode so I'll wait till they iron out the kinks.
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Old 01-22-21, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ericeric View Post
This is a spectacularly useful suggestion. Thank you. So carry like a snatched kettle bell? That way I can carry the shopping basket in my other hand (not so loaded as yours). I'll have to get my wife to try it out or i can carry both and she'll carry the other stuff. In reality three floors is not bad..
Hey my pleasure, hope it helps. For me shoulder carry is like cutting the weight in half from suitcase carry.

I need to use 2 hands to lift up - I stand behind the folded bike, seat pointing forward, grab the seat tube with my right hand, thumb pointing downward. Then use my left hand to grab the rear rack legs near the axle. Both hands lift and rotate the bike upside down, where I then rest the main tube on my right shoulder (I have a grippy pad attached to main tube for my shoulder). Then to walk, my right hand still has a firm grip on the seat tube, lean a bit left to align the bike weight with my CoG, left crank resting on my head - left hand is free to open/close doors. Be aware of ceiling, staircase, and doorway height clearance though. Doubt I can shoulder carry two bikes at the same time, but one bike on shoulder does counter-balance a second carried suitcase style better than one (or two) bike(s) carried suitcase style.

For the longer-distance/two-shoulder method, I leave the seat post extended with left arm wrapped around it and left hand holding seat (Velcro back wheel to frame tube to lock fold). The CoG is better with the bike unfolded, if you have the room for it. Both carry methods are shown here and this is the backpack mode for my T-bag.

Good luck.
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Old 01-23-21, 08:59 AM
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Wow, thanks reppans. Never even knew or thought to carry the Brompton that way.
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