Archive for August, 2010
Have got my Brompton up and running and am now officially in training for the World Championships. I am riding for the Barnsley Hospice A Team. It has not been explained to me whether the ‘A’ stands for Ancient or Ace. If you feel so inclined you can find more about the team and sponsor us here
One of the things I so like about riding a bike is that it is a personal experience but at the same time inherently sociable in a way that driving a car never could be. Arriving at Sheffield Station yesterday morning I was asked by another cyclist what I thought about the Brompton. Tim, a fellow member of Cycle Sheffield, told me he was thinking about getting a folding bike and had narrowed it down to a Brompton or a Bike Friday Tikit and what did I think?
Now given I have two and a half years of riding Tikits and over 2000 miles in the legs and one afternoon (25 miles) and yesterday (8 miles) on the Brompton there is no way I could make an even handed comparison, but I have already spotted a number of differences, advantages and disadvantages.
Focusing on the positives:
Folds smaller and the head tube feels more secure than the hyperfold Tikit
Is potentially lighter than the lightest Tikit
Is less expensive than the Tikit (in the UK at least)
Folds faster (but there is not a lot in it) and doesn’t move the saddle height or alignment when it folds
Rides better – in part this is down to the fact it is available 3 sizes and the fact that you can adjust handlebar height and stem length to get an optimal position
Uses more standard components, so is more readily upgradable – the Tikit’s choice of 8 speed Alfine hub and 8 speed derailleur are markedly better than the Brompton 6 speed set up
Are these differences significant? On balance I favour the Tikit and if buying new today would probably go for the impulse fold (which uses a twiddly knob to secure the headtube) rather than the hyperfold. However if space was at a premium I could see a strong argument for the Brompton and if I lived somewhere flat(ish) I could understand the attractions of the Brompton 2 speed model. In the end however, if you are using a folding bike as a means of commuting, I believe it is reliability which trumps all other measures. And there, I cannot make direct comparisons at this stage.
Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset is famous for being the location of this Hovis advert from the 1970′s. It is the first ride listed in the excellent 50 Quirky Bike Rides by Rob Ainsley. Rob suggests cycling down Gold Hill as in the advert, I wouldn’t recommend it. Far less risky to try cycling up. If you do try, I suggest:
1. Attack the hill on the tarmac section, so you have enough speed to keep going on the cobbles – this is where I think I went wrong
2. Aim to put more than 23 mm of rubber on the road – this also did not help
Anyway, chapeau to Tim who made it despite a wrong turn near the top.
Of the 50 rides in Rob Ainsley’s book I have done only two others: cycling across the Humber Bridge (boing boing) and through the Ashbourne tunnel on the Tissington Trail (echo echo). But I will be trying some of the others. A book well worth getting.