New Bike Day – Brompton M3L

Can there be anyone out there who doesn’t love a Brompton?

Pig

In pure bike nerd terms, Bromptons make no sense. For my £1065, I’ve got a flexible, creaking, heavy lump of pig iron which is too small for me and which has three inappropriate speeds with which I’m supposed to heft its bulk up a hill.

But look at it this way. Most bikes are great at being bikes but fairly crap at folding. Well, unless you count Dudd’s bike, which did try to fold itself in half by snapping the welds. Or Edd’s bike, which he tried to fold in half by leaving on the roof of his car and going under a height restriction. Neither of them were much good at folding back to the correct shape afterwards, though.

Bluebottle

Whereas the Brompton is so superb at folding (even a total spanner like myself can figure it out within a couple of goes) that the fact it even functions as a bike at all is to be celebrated.

And actually it seems very good fun to ride. The steering is direct to the point of twitchiness because all of your weight is over the tiny caster at the front, and this makes for an amusing, bluebottle-like experience as you bounce between potholes, lamp posts, and errant pedestrians.

Mine is an M3L which means it comes with the medium-rise bars, three speeds, and guards but no racks. And it’s in a colourway to match my Cervelo, obviously. The only upgrade I made to the base spec was a Brooks C17 saddle because 1) I’ve always wanted to try one, 2) it was cheap, and 3) I think it suits the upright, old-fashioned Brompton rather well.

As the first in a line of four Cyclescheme bikes that I might actually stand a chance of riding to work (shhh), I’ll give the Brompton a trial run on the train next week. Let’s see if it can earn its keep.

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