Brompton World Championship series coming to U.S.


Get your suit jacket and tie ready, the Brompton World Championship USA is coming to the UCI road world championship September 25, 2015. Hosted by Brompton, the iconic folding bike manufacturer from London, the Brompton World Championship series is part sporting-event, part sartorial spectacle. Contestants wear suit jackets along with shirts and ties and run, Le Mans style, to their folded Bromptons. The fastest man and woman to unfold their bicycle and race the one-lap, ten-mile circuit of the UCI “Worlds” course will take winners titles and will be sent to the Brompton World Championship final in London, next year.


Rules for the Brompton World Championship USA are simple. Contestants dress in suit jackets and ties and all Lycra must be hidden. They then run Le Mans style to their folded Brompton bikes and unfold them before speeding off round one lap of the UCI Road World Championships course in Richmond, Virginia. The race starts 6.45 p.m., Friday September 25 and is expected to last one hour with the first entrants completing a circuit in as little as 25 minutes.


The best and worst of NAHBS in photos


Being around the industry as long as I have I know a lot of people, many of whom congregate once a year in a different location to look at the fashionshow we call The North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Where artisan framebuilders show off their latest and greatest creations, which are judged and given giant plastic bowling trophies. Fun fun fun with my favorite people. While totally distracted the whole time, talking to old friends and new,I did manage to get a few random shots off which I will now share with you.

See what I mean? First guy I run into walking in the door is this guy. Ted Wojcik, who I have not seen in maybe 20 years. He’s been makin bikes closer to 30. Might have been the first custom builder to work with Dirt Rag. Now he’s working with Fiefield to bring out some E-bikes.


This happens a lot. Makes it hard to look at bikes sometimes, but thankfully I like people better than bikes. Geoffrey Halaburt is everywhere, we shake hands quite often. He’s here representing maybe the nicest guy in the world, Steve Potts, who I did not get a photo of because we were busy talking about life and family.


Then there’s this guy. Contrary to popular belief, and the sentiment of this photo, I do have a lot of respect for Zap despite him having bigger holes in his ears than I do. As you can see, the feeling is mutual.


OK, Bikes. Black Sheep brought some amazing creations as usual, and while awesome, I couldn’t help but just zoom in on this rad head badge by Jen Green.


Another cool Titanium purveyor is Moonmen. I was fortunate enough to ride with these guys and try these bars, they fell right into my hands and I want to get a hold of a pair for myself.


Back to humans. Here’s the boss of the show, Don Walker. I don’t care what anyone says about Don, I have a metric ass-ton of respect for him and what he’s done for our community. Be thankful.


Sometimes bike porn comes in the ogling of a bare frame. Here Jeff Archer of MOMBAT checks out the work of DiNucci Cycle’s best lugs winning frame. Perfection!


Another one of my favorite people, Erik Noren of Peacock Groove. Note that Shimano provided a bunch of their STePS electric drivetrains for builders to have at it. Each found a different way to attach the STePS unit to the frame.


Here’s another example from Sycip.


Yes, there were many E-bikes, and many fatbikes. On the other side of the spectrum was this carbon fiber something. The Signorina from Abbott Cycles takes the objectification of women to a new level. Definetly sucks that this is how women are represented here. Especially since this object was one of about 10 women I saw at the whole show.


Subtle. Which leads me to this human down the aisle. Look! A living! Female! Framebuilder! Yes, they do exist. Her name is Julie Ann Pedalino and she’s from Lenexa, Kansas and she’s just getting started in this building thing and I’d sure like to see a lot more real women at shows like this and less old boy network. Fer sure (Ok there was Cayley Baird at The Rille booth and Karen Brooks journalizing and Anna Schwinn and Kristen Legan but I am not going to run out of fingers any time soon).


Here’s something from Rody over at Groovy Cycle Works. Another one of his bikes won best of show, but I am all about funk, so take a look at this.


Ok, so here’s one more gift. For Sarah Prater’s wedding. This Shamrock Cycles cross bike was hand painted by Kate Oberreich with 585 individual paper airplanes representing the 585 days of Sarah and Josh’s courtship. Now if that ain’t love.


Well that’s all I have for today, hope you got some enjoyment looking here. There’s plenty of bike porn out the on the web, so feel free to look some up. NAHBS was awesome as usual, it really is the best this bike business has, and I’m glad I was there. Next year, Sacramento, CA! Oh wait, I have one more geezer pic….




Black Edition Bromptons available in April


Brompton, the U.K.’s iconic folding bike company, introduces its limited-production Brompton Black Edition this April. Limited to just 5,000 bikes worldwide, the Black Edition features exclusive black componentry as well as Brompton’s famous design detailing.

“From frame to accessory, the Brompton is probably the most customizable bike on the market,” said Katharine Horsman, Brompton general manager for North America. “Since introducing Brompton to U.S. customers a few years ago, we’ve become famous for our color combinations. This year we wanted to add something extra, so we came up with the Black Edition, a tribute to urban city night rides and all weather commutes.”

Available at a starting MSRP of $1,458, the Brompton Black Edition is available this April from select U.S. dealers and comes in S (flat), M (upright) and H (more upright) style handlebars with either two- or six-speed gear options. Several key components are matt black with main frame choices available in Black, White, Berry Crush, Lime Green and Lagoon Blue.


“I’m lucky that my job enables me to travel to many cities around the world,” said Brompton CEO Will Butler-Adams. “One of my favorite things to do is to cycle through cities at night, when the roads are often quieter and you see a different side to city life, lit up against the backdrop of the dark sky.

“City life at night was the inspiration behind the Black Edition; we were keen to try a sleek matt black Brompton mixed with pops of bright color, as well as the full black effect.”

Like all Brompton bicycles, the limited Black Edition model is hand made in Brompton’s London factory, brazed and made to exacting specifications and standards.

“We’ve already had enquiries from all over the world for the much anticipated Black Edition,” said Horsman. “It will be available only while supplies last.”

Read more about Brompton from previous reports here.


First Impression: Brompton S6L


There are several adventurous traveling cyclists on our staff, and many own or have tested folding bikes. Me? I’ve tested and owned several folders as well, and even sold them at my shop in Dayton, Ohio ten years ago. That’s why I volunteered to take delivery of a new Brompton S6L to test and review, knowing full well Brompton doesn’t change anything unless it’s absolutely necessary.

After discussing my intended use and sharing personal stats like height and weight with a Brompton U.S. representative, a 26-pound S (straight bar) 6 (speeds) L (fenders) model arrived, fully assembled from the factory, courtesy of Calhoun Cycles in Minneapolis. All I had to do was unfold the non-drive side pedal, raise the seat, flip up the rear wheel, and tighten the clamped collars on the ‘top tube’ and ‘stem’. Voila! Ready for business in 12 seconds (it most likely will take newbies two to three times longer, but the process becomes quickly intuitive):


All Bromptons have been designed for 16-inch wheels and made from steel since the early production days dating back to 1981. A titanium version is available (the rear triangle, fork and folding pedal spindle are made of titanium; everything else remains steel) to save some weight (in some cases, a few pounds), both on the bike and in your wallet (nearly $1,000 more).


The Schwalbe Kojak tires are bald (hence the name, a reference to the Telly Savalas television character from the `70s), have a Kevlar bead for puncture protection, and can take up to 115psi for smooth rolling.

The Straight-Bar option sets my grip height at 935 millimeter/36.8 inches, which has been ideal for all the street and bike path riding I’ve done so far. The thumb shifters take a little getting used to because most of my riding is on drop bars with integrated brake/shift levers. This all levels out after a mile or so.


Specs and such

Here’s a spec and price breakdown of my S6L: the base price of the S model is $1,255. Adding a 6-speed drivetrain is $212; fenders is $89; Turkish Green main frame color is $49; Arctic Blue rear triangle, fork and stem is $49; telescopic seatpost for saddle heights over 35 inches is $62; upgrading to Schwalbe Kojak tires is $33; and a front carrier block is $24, for a grand total of $1,773.


The Brompton saddle is standard, and the rear suspension choices are Standard (lightweight folks who ride and pedal smoothly, according to Brompton), and Firm (riders over 170 pounds who don’t mind sacrificing a softer ride for durability and a more responsive ride). I weigh close to 185 pounds fully dressed, so Firm it was.


The ride

After a few pedal strokes I didn’t feel like I was riding a bike with small wheels, let alone a folding bike with small wheels. The 41.2-inch wheelbase mirrors that of most commuting bike with standard 700c wheels, and the smaller rear triangle and steel ‘stem’ keep traction in check; the bike never felt squirrely in corners or tight-radius turns. My personal 2004 Brompton T6 model’s wheelbase is nearly three inches shorter, so the difference was noticeable.


I have a few trips on CalTrain to San Francisco planned, so I’ll be testing out the Brompton’s portability in its native environment, both on the train and on the mean streets of the City by the Bay. Stay tuned for a complete review in Issue #33, on sale February 17.



Love folding bikes? Apply to become a Dahon Explorer

Since 1982 Dahon has been designing and building folding bicycles that have taken people on two wheels to places that they never thought possible. Now the brand is looking for a few of those Explorers to become ambassadors of the folding bike lifestyle to inspire others to take a trip short or far. Now through August 20 anyone is welcome to apply. Those selected will receive Dahon products to promote online.

Print Learn how to apply here.

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