Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Tangled Metal
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Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby Tangled Metal » 6 Oct 2020, 9:12am

Ok, planning on switching to bike, train, bike commuting and a Brompton makes sense. Which is the best option for that, rack or just the mudguard spec?

I've heard the lower weight of the L spec is best and the stability of the R spec when wheeling it folded in the station and elsewhere or just standing it up.

There's really not much difference in price when you're looking at £1100 or £1200 or so. So which argument is most right or important?

It's £65 for the rack as part of the R spec or £90 aftermarket upgrade, if it is really an upgrade.

johnjo
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby johnjo » 6 Oct 2020, 9:49am

I bought the rack version last year but it's not much good for carrying stuff. Too low for panniers and you need a very narrow bag if you want to attach it to the top of the rack and avoid catching your heels. My advice for your commute would be to buy a used bag for the front block on an auction site or elsewhere ( they are very expensive otherwise as with most Brompton accessories). This will allow you to carry everything you need on a daily basis and is easily detachable when folding. It's handy as well for light shopping and even extended overnight rides. I'm currently considering touring round Ireland on mine but I bought a trailer for the camping gear etc.

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simonineaston
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby simonineaston » 6 Oct 2020, 9:58am

I commuted - the context: a fairly standard, short distance route, consisting of a 2 mile cycle at each end and a local train journey in between - for a few years. Prior to that, I commuted by train between Oxford and Bristol weekly.
I started off with a 6 speed M model with a rack, which I hated - it just felt all wrong. I moved to a 2 speed S model, without a rack, which suddenly felt completely right. I never missed that rack once! I use a 20 litre water-proof daysac, from Alpkit, as well as standard Brompton front bags, an S with the M model and a smaller O bag, on the new one. Along with the daysac, there's always been plenty enough room for everything I've needed to carry. Rack / extra gears etc. etc. just made the M version too unwieldy for me.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

Ant...
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby Ant... » 6 Oct 2020, 10:39am

Probably depends if you are left or right handed. :lol:

Tangled Metal
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby Tangled Metal » 6 Oct 2020, 11:23am

My commute will be half a mile, 20 minute train journey then mile and a bit ride to work. I'm only getting the brompton to save time. My train gets in too close to when I need to get into work. I can possibly make it walking but I am not certain. Plus bike might give me a chance of making earlier train home which saves me 50 minutes over walking on its own.

I've got an alpkit Gordon, third one now. It's my work bag already and needs replacing as not waterproof anymore.

Mind if I ask what your heights are? I'm 6'5" tall. I like the Idea of a more sporty position but suspect the s bar is too low for me. I heard with tall people it gets a bit twitchy. Since small wheels are more responsive anyway I'm thinking m bar might be needed.

I'm thinking the rack might only be good for stability when standing or wheeling when folded. You can't use panniers with iit.Not ortlieb ones. Brompton do rack bag but not very big. Most retailers supplying with three front block these days that's good.

I'm thinking rucksack for that speed if dismount and setting off at either end. For me it's about saving every time I can. I currently get everything into 20 litre pannier.

Btw it's for when I move to a new house two stops down the train line. It's got fewer trains because it's after the Leeds/skipton train turns off the same line. Too far to ride and I'm hoping to use car less such that we could sell it and just use the camper van and bikes instead.

Any recommendations on other spec features gratefully received. Also height based advice too.

Learnt last night it folds on one side such that your stand on the left to open or fold it. Im a real ignorant cyclist when it comes to folding bikes.

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NUKe
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby NUKe » 6 Oct 2020, 11:50am

depends on what you need to carry.
If you went for the R you could use a trunk bag such as the Ortlieb 12 ltr.Clips on and off quickly I can fit my laptop in mine at push most days though its just Lunch phone wallet glasses and a clean shirt.
. https://www.ortlieb.com/uk/products/bik ... trunk-bags
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_____________________________________

rogerzilla
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby rogerzilla » 6 Oct 2020, 12:09pm

L and a messenger bag.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby Tangled Metal » 6 Oct 2020, 12:14pm

My current cycling kit uses a 20 litre ortlieb pannier that is full at times.

I really can't leave anything behind other than safety kit. That means a complete change of clothes there and back with everything else I need to carry.

Work stuff plus personal stuff, lunch, thermos flask, etc. Our works canteen closed due to covid 19 risk assessment. All drinks for the day I need to carry with me. Long story but it's not the great and I do not trust the water supply for drinking due to historical events involving a dead rat where it ought not to be.

Needless to say my kit is not light and when going by car it's in a rucksack which feels heavy to carry by hand but ok once on my back with both straps. I would prefer panniers but they're not possible with small wheels. Not sure I fancy this weight out front. Will possibly get the front bag one day but not yet.

I might find I can cycle in work clothes at times but that'll be a change after I've started this commute. It'll save weight and bulk. Plus if I get three brompton pump and toolkit that'll reduce bag weight and bulk. My current toolkit is perhaps a little bulky compared to everything in or on the frame like brompton can manage. Even inner tube inside main frame sounds good.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby Tangled Metal » 6 Oct 2020, 12:14pm

What's your view on bars and height?

rmurphy195
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby rmurphy195 » 6 Oct 2020, 12:54pm

I have the R spec, and find that the Carradice Carradura rack pack fits nicely, with sarnies, small flask etc. tucked inside. I've also used small panniers (front ones). Will dig out some piccies later and add them to this post.

The brompton rack comes with a couple of elatics straps - I keep these UNDER the rack when not in use, otherwise they rub on the ground when opulling the bike around folded!

Update - Piccies attached. Can't find one with the small panniers on, but I swopped for the Rack bag which is easier to handle - remove rack bag, put over shoulder (it has a shoulder strap), then you have 2 hands free for the bike!
Image Attachments
Photo0724rs.jpg
IMGP1414rs.JPG
Last edited by rmurphy195 on 6 Oct 2020, 1:57pm, edited 2 times in total.
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
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rfryer
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby rfryer » 6 Oct 2020, 1:44pm

I have an S6R, and have made extensive use of both front (Brompton S Bag) and rear (Brompton Rack Pack) luggage options.

If you can get away with a single item of luggage, I would recommend the front bag. You can squeeze plenty in, it fits on the folded bike, and there are no issues with catching the bag with your heels.

However, I'd use the rack pack for carrying additional luggage in preference to carrying a bag on my person. It detatches quickly for folding, and can carry a surprising amount. Also, the rack has been handy on a number of occasions for carrying other objects.

In short, I wouldn't trade my bike with Rack+Pack for one without. However, whether it's worth the additional cost rather depends on how much use you'd expect to make of it!

JakobW
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby JakobW » 6 Oct 2020, 2:11pm

I went for an L; sometimes I wish I'd gone for an R, not so much for load carrying, but it makes the bike more stable when folded and with the extra set of wheels makes it easier to wheel along semi-folded. You can get aftermarket lightweight racks that do this, which are a couple of hundred grams lighter than the Brompton ones, but with the extra easy wheels are no cheaper than just speccing the R option when buying the bike. I would say for an all-year commuter it's worth getting the dynamo option; depending on the shop you're buying from I'd see if you can switch out the lights. The standard front is a B+M Lyt, so fine as a be-seen, but there are better lights for dark lanes. The rear light is fine, except that it doesn't have a button to short out the standlight. For a bike that is likely to be rolled into a station and onto a platform, where red lights are verboten, this is a big oversight...

For luggage, either a rucksack or one of the front bags. Alas, Brompton's recent moves to control parts and accessories supply have meant that you can't buy the carrier frames from them to use third party bags; however you can get pattern parts from eBay (or AliExpress). I've got a Carradice City Folder M, which is pretty cavernous; enough for laptop, papers, lunch, and toiletries/change of clothes when working away overnight. The T bag (or whatever Brompton are calling it now - their biggest bag) is of a similar size.

simonhill
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby simonhill » 6 Oct 2020, 5:37pm

A few of points raised by you.

The rack does seem to give a good base, but I have rarely pushed the bike on its rack wheels. It's OK for moving in an absolutely straight line, but difficult for any turns. I find it easier to carry it.

The rack is made of rectangular alloy and I don't think regular pannier hooks will fit. Others can say what they do.

Marathon Greenguards are an option and reduce chances of a puncture. Personally, I am not too worried about any tools when riding. If commuting, there's always a bus or taxi for the very odd failure.

drossall
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby drossall » 6 Oct 2020, 6:10pm

I have always used a front bag for my daily luggage, but I value the rack. As above, it helps with stability when parking the bike. I've read that it protects the mudguards as well. It's handy for occasional things, such as when I've collected a parcel or some shopping and so have something additional or bulky to take home.

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simonineaston
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Re: Brompton L or R spec, which is best?

Postby simonineaston » 6 Oct 2020, 6:20pm

As for moving the bike, I've always taken the view that it easiest done unfolded. That way, it rolls along very nicely indeed. I'll leave folding it until the last moment, whether boarding a train or for any other reason.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)