Bromptons have changed very little since we’ve been riding them. Their latest release is perhaps the most significant upgrade in a while and is actually more of a refinement of the bike than a huge evolutionary step. Check out the video to see our ride impressions of the new changes.
For those that would prefer to read than watch, here is the executive summary:
The Brompton is an expensive bike. No doubt about it. For many new users, the experience of such an elegantly engineered frame is quickly ruined once you touch the wobbly, noisy shifters. For a long time, the touch points of the Brompton have seemed out of place with the rest of the bike. Until now.
The new shifters are pleasing aesthetically and function beautifully. The shifting pods themselves tell you the numbered gear you are in, as well as if you are in the high or low part of that range. In our opinion they are a welcome upgrade.
The brakes on the new model we test rode also seem more powerful. I’m not quite sure if that is a change in the lever or the brake caliper itself, but it is a noticeably stronger brake.
The stock foam grips are of nicer quality and removable with an allen head. The older grips were uninspired and glued on to the handlebar.
Overall, this iteration of the Brompton brings refinement to the components in the cockpit and rounds out the experience of a nice high end bike.
Related to this, all our recommendations of touring on a Brompton in our Unauthorized Touring Book still apply. There have been no major upgrades in terms of gearing, elastometer, etc.,
We just got home from Florida and had some special mail from our friends at Swift Industries.
UPDATED: For a full review, check out the vid below:
We just got back from Florida where we participated at the National Bicycle Tourism Conference. While we there, we tried our hand at vlogging with our new camera to give longtime readers a little behind the scenes look. Let us know what you think of this format!
A couple of months ago we did some filming for MeetMeInKlamath to promote bicycling in the area. The video is finally live! The shoot was ambitious and hectic since the area has so many bicycling assets. There is everything from mellow road rides at the Running Y Resort, mountain biking through a lunar landscape on the High Lakes Trail, epic gravel rides around Hagelstein County Park and newly built singletrack trails on Spence Mountain (you can find out specific route details at RideKlamathRide.com. For the shoot we worked with dedicated locals to scout locations as well as be talent for the video. It was an immense group effort where we got up at chilly predawn hours to get the best morning light and shot late to capture the sunset. All the while we were constantly adjusting our schedule to avoid wildfire smoke that was creeping into the area.
Looking back, it was a crazy week of long hours but we are really proud of the end result. Our clients were so pleased with the video that it’s going to run as a TV spot! Check out the video and let us know what you think. If you do take a bike vacation in Klamath County, be sure to bring all your bikes.
Winter is coming! With warm summery days behind us, I dug up our bag of winter cycling gear and filmed a video on our glove strategy that we’ve used the last couple of years. For those that would rather read than watch, here’s the executive summary.
After a lot of trial and error and lots of cash spent, we’ve found that there is no ONE perfect glove to cover the varying degrees of cold and wet here in the Pacific Northwest. It is a constant balance between breathability, warmth and affordability. A glove that is waterproof may be too hot or not warm enough in certain situations. Likewise a glove with lots of insulation will keep you warm when its dry, but will turn into a sponge when the sky opens up. This is our current setup for winter gloves.
Think of it as a baselayer for your hand. By itself, a liner glove is perfect for those early autumn days when it is crisp but not actively raining or snowing. On a spirited road ride or short commute this might be just the right amount of glove. A good liner glove also forms the base of a winter glove system. Liner gloves come in a range of materials from synthetic to wool. Our preference is for wool like this Ibex glove since it will still insulate when wet.
When it is cold and starting to rain, we reach for our waterproof gloves like the Pearl Izumi WXB. We will wear them by themselves if it is a “warm” rain or pair them with the liner glove when it is a cold rain. They also come in handy for long descents in the winter where you’ve built up a sweat climbing and now have to bundle up for the downhill. While the Pearl Izumi WXBs claim to be waterproof, I have managed to fully saturate them in a long enough deluge. Anything with seams will leak eventually so take waterproof claims with a grain of salt. That said, they are a winter staple.
Insualted Lobster Gloves
When the weather turns downright frigid BUT dry, we reach for our Planet Bike Borealis gloves. We’ve had these for years and they perform best on freezing days with no rain. The Borealis gloves also include a fleece liner glove which alone is pretty warm in its own right. These gloves are semi-lobster mitts with a bit more articulation than other mitts so you can still easily use brifters on your road bike. The downside is that they are not waterproof and will soak in a lot of water once the rain really starts coming down.
So those are our tips for keeping your hands warm in the winter. One way to simplify it is to think of it as if you were layering clothes for winter. You start with a wool baselayer and add a waterproof shell or down puffy jacket as the weather dictates.