Monday, June 19, 2017

Brompton 2017 Model Review - Buying My 3rd Brompton

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(Disclaimer - all prices mentioned are approximate prices and rounded up. For more accurate pricing please contact the relevant people. All opinions expressed are my own based on my riding expereince, and on my 3rd Brompton)
One fine May day, I got a call from Vans Urban. It's a call that made me an offer that I found hard to refuse. They were having some 2017 Bromptons coming in at a reduced price; it was a batch of limited units only; so decisions had to be made fast. I wanted a P6R but they only had two colours available - gray and red. I had alway thought that the Red was more for ladies (Haha... this old man is a bit of a male chauvinist) BUT grey wasn't one of my favourite colour; so Red it is then!
And within a few days I confirmed my order.... no deposits required, just my honourable word (see, it's good to be friendly with people).

AND when I went to collect the bike.... I was in for a surprise.
The red was a new red, it was a BRIGHT FERRARI RED; a very masculine red that will bring out the macho manliness in most guys.
(and new love don't come easy for a person of my age 😎😎😎)

Okay, enough of the ramblings; let's have a look at the bike:
The first thing that caught my eyes were the gear shifters. Gone are the rabbit ears that stuck out conspicously above the handle. The new shifters were below the handle bar, giving the bike a clean, sleek look.
Like the 2016 model, the ring brackets neatly terminates the foam handle grips, thus also give some protection to the grip ends. The difference here being that the ring brackets not only hold the brake levers but also the shifters; so there is not separate brackets making things all the more neater.
At the front of the right shifter, almost un-noticeable, is a small bell which we will come to later.

Now for a bit of pros and cons.
PRO: The shifter works smoothly, just a small click and the gear changes. The levers work the same way, shift outwards away from center mean going into a lower gear.
CON (or could be PRO if one likes everything neat): The shifter lever springs back to centre position, so one cannot see which gear the bike is in just by sighting the levers (unlike the rabbit ears of old).

No worries though, there are indicating numbers on the right shifter stating which gear the bike is in for the hub gear. On the left, there are "+" and "-" signs to show high and low gear. This works well during the day, but at night the numbers could not be seen.
A suggestion here, perhaps instead of numbers use bright green, amber and red colour bands (luminous if possilble) as colours are easier to see and differentiate.

The small bell (about an inch across) will be the major source of complains.

A plastic spring striker with a metal stud at one end strikes the bell. The ring is slightly high pitch and resonate for a short while, BUT it is too soft and traffic ambient noise will probably drown it out.
Perhaps I will try to add a washer on the inside and see whether that helps.

The intergrated brake lever and shifter set up, looks cool especially with the folding Brompton icons.

The front crank is similar to the 2016 model; and is bolted to five radial arms. This make changing to cranks of different size very, very much easier.

Another GROOVY feature - the new rack which is of a more streamlined design and have recessed grooves in which the bungee cords can neatly run into.

See? I like this, for the older models I frequently put the cords below the rack so that they won't rub against the ground when pushing the folded Brompton. Now there is no necessity to fiddle with the cords this way.

This photo shows how neatly the cords fit into the grooves, staying clear of the ground.

Also the newer Eazy wheels are larger thus giving an added clearance of 2-3mm.

This plastic wrap round the bottom of the rear triangle is located where the nylon hook fits onto the frame. No more scatches here!

Like later models, the 2017 folding hinge does not over-fold and hit the main horizontal tube.

The pedal of my 2012 model, shows this overfold that can happen at certain angles.

Now for some basic mods:
A black Brooks B17 Special leather seats that comes with brass studs.
(Notice the Brompton logo at the top of seat post 😁)

The seat was installed with a slight tilt downwards, this will help reduce crotch pain on long rides.

A Kamoya suspension block to replace the stock FIRM block.

A strip of hi-tech looking carbon tape stuck onto the main horizontal tube to prevent scrathes when mounting or dismounting.

Other accessories which I got from My Bicycle Shop:
A Cat Eye rear light with screw type holding brackets. This was mounted under the seat.

Swivel-able round rear mirror, with elastic rubber strap and screw down lock-in.

Maching red rear side of the mirror.

A Minoura kick-stand, with matching red padded restrain.

The Minoura kick-stand in a folded up position. The red padding with black (cable-tie) strips looks great.

And now for some personalisation:
A striking "Thundercat" logo at the front of the horizontal tube.

Name stickers which also shows the Jalur Gemilang, the national flag of Malaysia.
The flag comes in handy when on overseas tours.
The sticker is put at a position to prevent cable scratch.

:"Brompton" decals on the handle post, also at a position to prevent cable scratch.

The bright red is really striking and stands out even in front of a rubble wall...

..... or a planter box ....

..... at the predestrian bridge over the Klang River in Klang Town.

We are a good match the "Red Baron" and me 😈.

My stable of Brompton bicycles... it's one happy family.

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