Our Leeds store have become big fans of the wonderful British Brompton since we first became a dealer five years ago. Store manager Graham is a particular fan who owns two and uses them to follow cycle races or commute up to head office. We gave our demo Brompton M6R to co-op friend (and former mechanic and weekend salesperson) Mark Blount, who moved back into the engineering business last year. Would his new peripatetic life benefit from having a Brompton in it?
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Brompton M6R 2019 Review – My extended test ride
I’ve always liked the “idea” of a Brompton; its quirky, Its British, it’s mind bogglingly clever in how it’s been designed and above all its incredibly practical.
So, I was delighted to have the offer of an extended test ride of the 2019 model from my former colleagues at Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative in Chapel Allerton. I collected the bike from the North Leeds store and after a quick refresher on how she folded up, I was away! Firstly – folding and unfolding is pretty straightforward, follow the same four step process and you’re good to go, but I would practice a this a few times so you get it.
The model I was loaned had 6 speed gearing – which was a combination of 2 speed derailleur and a 3 speed hub gear with a shifter by each grip. The rest of the drive is a very large single chain ring which when combined with the small wheels; gives a first riding impression of incredible acceleration. Nippy just doesn’t cover it at all! You find yourself going for the next gears in quick succession, and in no time you are rolling along in tune with city traffic. This quick, nippy responsive acceleration makes it perfect for its natural habitat – Urban traffic.
Gear shifting has its little quirks – the 2x derailleur requires you to keep pedalling to shift; while with the 3 x hub gear, you need to stop pedalling to change gear. Which gives it a 2 x 3 speed feel, rather than a 1 through to 6 speed shift. Just a bit different but after 15 minutes or so I was shifting and not thinking.
The ride, well I’ve already covered the gears – so on to the most important bit – the brakes! The side pull cable rim brakes stop the bike really well… and that’s really well! It may be that smaller wheels have less inertia, and so stop quicker, but these brakes are comparative to some hydraulic discs that I’ve ridden!
A very minor comment about the ride its self, is that the small wheels are really responsive and hardly any steering is required it’s quite snappy; but as with the shift differences – after a short while riding you become used to this; in fact it becomes enjoyable, quick & responsive and just that: snappy!
So, I now come to the major advantage of a folding bike…. It folds… Simple I know but until you have one you just don’t get it! It’s not that you can just take it on a train, or put it in the boot or your car, or carry it, or roll it behind you… All massive benefits but it’s not just that.
There are other major advantages that don’t, at first, spring to mind. Security. My first outing on the Brompton was to a not too local, local to watch the rugby, it was packed. Nowhere to lock the bike up… So I just folded it up and put it under the table all safe as I watched England’s dismal display. That is a massive benefit.
All in all, did I enjoy the Brompton M6R? I really did, it’s fun, convenient and practical. Would I buy one? Definitely… Just as soon as I sell one of my other six bikes!