My first foldie was the Strida 5.1 I bought in 2008. I sold it away in 2010 when I decided to quit my job and return back to Maesai. Fast forward to the beginning of March when I decided to come back to work. I started to miss riding a a bike in Singapore. After 3 weeks of bus rides to office. The excruciating pain of the bus system here compels me even more to get one. At first I plan to get a normal bike but my new flat (currently staying at my sis's new HDB flat) is just too small to house a full size bike.
As the idea of getting foldie comes back to me, I started to think about the Brompton folding bike and other brands such as Dahon and Birdy. I have a friend who is also using a Dahon and I asked for his opinion on his bike and he's quite pleased with it. I started to do more research about the bikes. I would prefer something that would folds neatly and perform better than my Strida.
Yesterday was my day off and I started a round island trip looking at the bikes from 3 different shops. I narrowed down to the Brompton and Dahon. I was leaning towards the Brompton as it really really folds up into a very small package (which is my 1st major citeria). Then I learnt about a Brompton clone called Flamingo Nex 7 which looks mightly similar of the Brompton fold and at least half the price point of the Brompton. Money was still a major issue, I'm willing to spend but I have a limit as I still have not earn enough OT to get such big ticket items yet. I was planning to go down to another bike shop in the West that has the Flamingo Nex 7 to take a peep but that silly old me went to the local bike forum togoparts.com. Itchy hand I went in and searched for a WTS (Want to Sell) thread for a Brompton. Bing! Returns 1 under utilised black Brompton M6R at a pretty good price. Still above my budget but out of curiosity and (trying my luck). I messaged the guy and asked for the best price (which is my budget). Took a minute and he replied he is willing to let it go at my price!! Whee... took a cab down and checked out the bike. Paid and left :P
My first encounter with the Brompton was actually in 2008, when I visited Diginexx to get my Strida. The owner of the shop showed the Brompton to me but the price tag was just too high for me to justify one at that time as I was only planning to use the bike mainly for commuting between my house and office. After riding on the Strida for a year plus, I found that the size of the folded Strida is not as elegant and also it's a bit big and cumbersome to carry around (I could only wheel it). Not the case for Brompton. It's slightly heavier but because of it's compact size, I could carry it easily when folded and even wheel it by just extending the seat post. The other thing is the 6 speed gear which means climbing a hill (around Bedok Reservoir Road) is no longer a pain the ass for me old fat arse. I always have a hard time along that stretch on my single speed Strida.
I bought the bike at Senkang near Hougang and there was a bike connector. I took out my handphone and was pleased to find out that the connector would lead me to Hougang Ave 10 which I could hitch a bus back to my office in Kaki Bukit. I unfolded the bike (many thanks to Gary who sold me the bike and provided some good tips in folding and using the bike) and took a short ride to the bus stop via the park connector. Its good! The initial acceleration is less then the Strida but much smoother ride. Even though its on 16" wheels. It was a 10 min ride to the bus stop. I was taking it easy as I was trying to get used to the gearing system.
I folded the bike and board the bus and dropped off at Ubi. I decided to take a test ride home on the bike. The whole journey was about 40mins. I was not speeding, just crusing along the pavement as I was really testing out the bike and looking out for a better path to get back home.
I think the current construction around the area meant I have to take a big detour to get back to Bedok Reservoir Road. There were a lot of rude speeding cyclists I met along the way and I don't really dare to cycle on the road as I did not have my helmet on with me. Moreover, I have not been cycling on SG's road for more than a year. All in all, I enjoyed the ride and the bike as well. Some people disliked the mustache handle bars but I kind of like it a lot. It allows me to have a much upstraight riding position. There are some minor peeves on the bike I wish it could be better. First are the cheap plasticky shifters for the gears, seriously, for this price I hope it could be better, it looks like it would snap easily. I think it would be difficult to swap them as I have read that most of their parts are proprietary. Another peeve is the umarked seatpost. Think I need to use a marker to mark my height. I stopped twice just to adjust the height of the seat. Other than that, its a good buy. Ride is really smooth and the frame is well formed and sexy. All in all, I love it. I planned to get a few upgrades. First, I need some lights!! Then a Brooks seat for my butt. The seat is good but those Brooks leather seats just look awesome!! Then a bag or luggage carrier! I guess I still need to spend a lot more than I expected :P
PS: Apologies for the lousy photos of the bike in my room, I was actually hiding it from my mum. Well, let's just say she still sees it in the end and immediately after that was followed by a barrage of nagging of how dangerous it is to commute with a bike on SG road.... :P