The B75 – review

The B75 – review

My's son's Brompton was stolen in London last week. It's his main mode of transport, and was a gift to him nearly 5 years ago when he left for Uni. It's a very unique bike - converted to an Alfine 8 speed hub, with 32 spokes in the rear wheel.       If you come across it, look for the frame number: 436821 Thankfully the bike was insured - but how to replace something quite so unique? I decided to buy the stripped down version of the Brompton - the B75 - and use this as the basis to recreate the old bike. The B75 first came on the market at £750 - pretty reasonable for a three-speed Brompton - but has since gone up to £850. (Pandemic? Brexit? More people cycling?) At the same time, other Brompton versions have also shot up in price. I bought my M6L 4 years ago through cycle to work, and the shop price was around £1000. Today, a typical price...
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When the best way forward is back – an Alfine 11 conversion

When the best way forward is back – an Alfine 11 conversion

When I saw an Alfine 11 hub online for less than half price, I couldn't resist. I had hoped to do an Alfine 11 Brompton conversion at some point, and the opportunity to buy a cheaper Brompton through cycle-to-work brought hub and bike together. I used the bike as a commuter for 18 months, getting used to the Brompton 6-speed set-up. I knew that Bromptons had been converted to Alfine 11 hubs by others, but in one case with a seriously modified rear triangle. Perhaps that should have been a warning sign. My Alfine 8 conversions had gone like a dream, and I hadn't anticipated that the 11 would be much different. So I set about working out my gear ratios using the magnificent Brompton Gear Calculator coming up with an ideal spread (for me) using a 16T rear sprocket, and a 40T front chainwheel - made by Stronglight, but Brompton compatible. For the Alfine hubs, the over-locknut width between the rear dropouts...
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Downsizing for half term

This half term trying something a bit different - for several years we have crammed 5 bikes on the roof of the car for family holidays. Now we are 4, two Bromptons in the boot and a couple of borrowed bikes on arrival should do it. Once again I marvel at the very modest space requirements of the folded Brompton, and even set up in the porch, they hardly take up any space. Without the drag of bikes on the roof also meant the car could get above 45mph on the uphill stretches of the A9!    ...
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Service with a smile

My car was in  for a service over the weekend - a technical fault that meant only the dealer could fix it - 6 miles away. As ever the Brompton came up trumps, delivering me there, then folding humbly into the small boot of my hatchback for the journey home. A beautiful, mild evening complemented an off-road route from Blackhall all the way to Seafield, with just one set of dodgy cobbles near the Leith Shore. Ahh......
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Getting Beti back on the road.

Back in May, this was the sad sight that greeted me when I took a closer look at my frame. I'd ridden through Edinburgh and thought I could feel the bike responding weirdly - luckily I spotted this crack before the bike gave way whilst riding. I'd heard that this was an issue with the older, short-wheelbase Bromptons, and that a 1% failure rate had sent the designers back to the drawing board. If so, I was one of the lucky one in a hundred! I put out feelers on the internet, but this part is simply unobtainable (except by buying an ancient bike that will still cost more than a complete new frame - c £265). So having already spent far too much on the renovation job, there was only one thing for it - repair. Once again, Henderson's came up trumps. Having taken the bike back to Biketrax to have the hinge pins removed, I was able to take...
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Worth its weight in … veg

I'm loving this second hand Brompton basket, which is as simple as it is effective. It's just a canvas bag that folds flat when closed. Carrying fruit and veg back from the allotment, you can hardly feel the extra weight on the bike. I was interested to know just how much the bike was carrying, and plonked it in the scales when I got home. Answer​: 12kg, which is heavier than many models of Brompton bike!...
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