Saturday, 1 December 2012

Brompton upgrade

I have been in a dilema for a while. 

My S2L Brompton is over 2 years old and has covered approximately 5,000 commuter miles and about 25 race miles with little fettling required and certainly no upgrades. I have been considering whether to embark on some changes or buy a new bike.

Possible upgrades (with a focus on improving the bike for racing - clearly the priority):
  • Gearing - I contacted Graham at Tiller Cycles about his 8-speed conversion and Graham even kindly offered to lend me his demo bike to race at the BWC.  Sadly it was set up with a small chainring and I wanted a longer race gear, so I declined his offer and deferred making a decision on the £275 upgrade which would also add about 1.5Kg to the bike weight.
  • Handlebar grips - purely cosmetic and the Tiller 8-speed kit comes with new grips, although I still like the idea of having a matching Brooks saddle and grips (collar and cuffs, so to speak).
  • Brake levers - the Brompton brake levers are cheap and nasty. I'm lusting over a set of Paul Components Love levers
  • Titanium replacement parts: I love titanium bikes and components! In no particular order I was thinking of replacing the handlebar, the seatpost and then one by one swap the Brompton frame extremeties for the (-X) available titanium extremeties (2nd hand).  All of these might offset the 1.5Kg incremental gearing weight.
I suspect all of the above might cost me nearly £1,000 before I even start to look at a Chris King headset, Velocity wheel rims and any Brompfication goodies.

Alternatively a new bike (with a more practical consideration for my ongoing commute and a little bit of racing)...

Brompton's marketing department started teasing would be buyers with pictures of their planned 2013 upgrades as early as August this year.  The brake lever and chainset got a complete makeover and I began to think about a new bike, possibly a 6 speed, maybe titanium and a change of colour.  Brompton had increased the price of the 2013 bicycles by about £55 and a casual look at a bike with the specification I dreamt about revealed a price tag approaching £1,500. Ouch - that would take nearly 2 years to be cost effective over the price of using public transport for my part commute.

Then my firm's annual cycle scheme came around and the provider confirmed they could offer me a Brompton :-)  It was a no-brainer, I could choose a bespoke 2013 Brompton providing it was under the £1,111.11 price limit.

I have gone ahead and ordered a bespoke S6L at a cost of £970.  The cycle scheme operates so that I make 12 monthly repayments out of my gross salary and my firm have confirmed they will gift the bike to me at the end of the year (sometimes there is a final payment).  I will end up making a saving of about £460 when you consider the tax.

And the colour...I've chosen Black extremeties with Turkish Green (which looks very much like Bianchi celeste).
 The downside:
  • I will have to wait approximately 12 weeks for the new Brompton to be built and delivered.
  • Brompton are reporting supply issues with the new chainset, so there is a risk that my bike will not have it.  This will be a huge disappointment so I have asked for the order to state that I'm prepared to wait and I have also sent an email to Brompton marketing.
  • I will also have to sell my current S2L Brompton :-(



  1. Hello Mr Beds,

    How much are you selling your current bike for, when you come to sell it?

    The Brompton Badger.
    Aka: The inner tube pincher.

  2. Hello Mr Beds,

    What will you be doing with your current B when you get the new one?

    The Brompton Badger.
    Aka: The Inner Tube Pincher.

  3. Mr Beds will sell the black S2L once the new S6L arrives.

    I have no idea how much to sell it for but it will have a full service (complete with new saddle, new brake pads, new cables and new pedals) before selling.