The Curbside Brompton
Posted on 15 February 2017
As the oldest and largest Brompton retailer in Canada we've learned what our customers want and need from their Brompton. This set of needs is represented with our own Curbside Brompton, which we like to think checks every box for 90% of our customers. (Still not sure why Brompton is the best? Click here).
So, what makes a Brompton custom? You can investigate every option on our Brompton Buying Guide (we recommend reading this no matter what), but here we're going to create a strong argument for our Curbside Brompton based on our many years of experience. We hope this will also help sort out what makes a custom Brompton a custom Brompton, and thus why you may opt for a custom bike. Not sure why Brompton is the best folding bike? Then start here. So, ready? Here goes!
Buying a Brompton always begins with the handlebar. This is because the handlebar is tied to fit (which has to do with your height) and your riding preference (upright versus sporty). While we explain the difference in handlebar heights here, we are starting our discussion with handlebars because every Curbside Brompton follows the same spec across each handlebar type. Which is to say: no matter how tall you are or what riding position you prefer each Curbside Brompton is otherwise the same.
The joy of six: more range, more opportunity, more fun!!
When we first started selling Brompton's years ago we were daunted by the price and sold a simple one-speed bike that customers could upgrade. That was the wrong approach. Upgrading a bike after-the-fact is always a very expensive proposition, especially when it comes to gearing.
Many customers buying a Brompton often have a strict set of needs that they want the bike to answer. Thus, to save money they will often opt for a three speed because at least in Toronto, it can handle most short-haul hops from work to home and etc.. But, as we've seen time and time again, a Brompton opens far more worlds than you might expect. Those who buy the bike as a strict commuter discover that the bike is so much fun to ride that they take it on holidays, whether travelling overseas, camping, or long train trips. Suddenly, a one, two, or three speed doesn't cut it - and the after-the-fact upgrade cost to a six speed is nearly $850.
That's why we build every bike as a six speed. It may cost $100 more than a three speed at the point-of-sale, but you'll never find any reason to regret it.
3. FENDERS & RACKS
Walking? Towing is lighter than lifting.
All of our bikes come equipped with fenders, because fenders keep you dry - and it seems very difficult to argue with the virtues of that!
However, many of our customers get stuck on the question of a rack. That's because you tend to think that having a rack is an obvious thing, maybe because your last bike had a rack, maybe because you used that rack all the time. However, the more you get to know Brompton the more you realize they challenge you to think a bit differently.
The problem with a rack on a Brompton is that you need to take the luggage off the rack every time you fold the bike. That's a real hassle. Plus, you're buying the most engineered bike on the planet, do you really want to use bungee cords to strap stuff down? Ghastly!
Brompton asks you to consider taking the money you'd spend on rack and shifting that to a bag that mounts on the front. Now, whether you mount weight on the front of the bike or the back of a bike (a rear rack) it makes no difference to the bikes handling if and only if the weight is mounted to the frame, not the steering. And, the Brompton bags do just that, they mount to the frame and do not have anything to do with the steering whatsoever.
The great thing about this is that your luggage can stay on the bike even while folded, and, when you have the bike in towing mode (above) the bike literally turns into a shopping cart.
Marathon tires for a puncture-free life
Toronto is a city that doesn't clean its streets very often and that's why we put Schwalbe Marathon on all of our Curbside Bromptons, full stop. They feature a thick layer of Kevlar that keeps glass, thorns and other nasty stuff out. They add a touch of weight and arguably slow the bike down the tiniest wee bit, but we feel they're worth it. And, if you use the bike for travel or touring, you never have that background anxiety about getting a flat tire. If you have the Schwalbe Marathons, it just won't happen.
Brompton offers an extra-light option that features a Titanium fork and rear swingarm but we don't use this for our Curbside Bromptons. Our bikes are all the default steel option. Partly because the surcharge for extralight is a hefty $1125 and partly because many people who opt for the extralight frame opt for other custom features as well. Customers buying extralight frames are often customers that are travelling long distances on their bikes and want something lighter as well as something that absorbs more shock. And, that's what Titanium does.
Because Brompton can usually turn around a custom bike in 4-8 weeks the ability to get something totally dialled to your spec is much easier than us carrying a bike that attempts to best-guess what you want. After all, four to eight weeks is a short time to wait for a bike that you'll have for a lifetime!
Brompton's new Cateye Volt is light, bright, and doesn't break the bank.
Lighting is another area where we see a lot of customers opt for a custom solution. Brompton owners who live in areas that aren't well lit at night are such customers, as are customers who might go touring on their Bromptons and may find themselves in the country after sunset.
While any battery light is simple to attach to a Brompton, including their own recent collaboration with Cateye, a dynamo system requires wiring the bike and this takes time and adds too much upgrade cost after-the-fact. So, this is another custom option. Since most of our customers opt for the Brompton Cateye light or a cheap set of Bookmans, we just make sure our Curbside Brompton has a set of reflectors.
Every Curbside Brompton comes in every colour Brompton makes, but as a general rule we do not colour mix (we couldn't possibly guess what you want!!). If you want to make the frame one colour and the stem, fork and swingarm another you're looking at ordering the bike custom. The only reason to order the bike custom is because we've sold out the colour you want and the custom turnaround is faster than our next delivery allocation (we generally have x12 Bromptons arrive each month, but can't guarantee its the one you want!).
7. OTHER STUFF
The front carrier block. Let's you carry stuff!
Brompton allows for a bunch other options, all of which are easy to interchange and don't require customization. These include options like different suspension blocks for different weights of riders, different seatposts for different heights of riders, and different saddles to dial in comfort.
However, one thing our bikes always have is the Front Carrier Block. This is the gizmo that lets you attach any and all Brompton bags to the front of your bike.
8. IN SUM
What you see when you walk into Curbside. Always lots in stock!
In sum, our Curbside Brompton is a bike packed with everything you actually need - puncture proof tires, fenders, carrying capacity - without any frills that you may not need. If you're after a lighter frame, a dynamo lighting set, or a mix-and-match colour that you feel strongly about, we can easily get this in your hands within a short lead time. The best thing is to call or email us and ask us questions! We'd love to help!