Brompton M3L Extended Test

Get your Brompton on. This great folding bike is right at home in the city, the open road, or in out-of-the-way places.

I had the great thrill to spend three long months this year with a brand new Brompton M3L.   Thanks to my friends at NYCeWheels in New York, I got  a chance to wring-out this top-end folding bike in all types of conditions.   They sent me the bike to see how I liked it, and with my promise to write several articles about it, they let me keep it for quite a while.   Check the link at the bottom of this page to see all twelve articles, and some general folding bike pieces I added to their blog site.   Also is a link to their website that shows the bike and all the options it offers.

The Brompton comes in some different configurations, but the one I had was the M3L.   That refers to a three-speed, fendered folding bike.   It has the ‘M’ style handlebars, one of three types they offer.   It was in a great finish called ‘Raw Laquer’.   Included was a ‘C’ bag that slides onto the head tube and a custom fit lighting package.   The bag is a great addition to this little hot-rod.   If I was ordering the bike, the bag would be on the list.   There are different bags available, along with several cool options.   One is a dynamo front hub, with a LED headlamp.   Another ‘must have’, I would think.

The Brompton is getting more popular in the world of city living and public transportation.   It is very light and folds smaller that any other bike of its kind.   It’s rock-solid performance makes riding it very comfortable and secure.   If you could only have one bike, this would be a very good choice.   It shifts and stops well.   Even though it has small 16″ tires and rims, the maneuverability and handling are exceptional.   And the convenience of keeping the bike at the ready was the best part.

I took the bike on many, many short rides, and a lot of much longer ones.   I rode at night and with groups.   I took cruises along the water and used it for transportation to meetings.   I used it to ride the trolley and kept it in my car for fun rides at a moments notice.   I was able to carry it inside with me to give it 100% security at many places.   I let dozens of people give it a go, with never a negative word mentioned.   A folding bike this nice is a great companion.

If you are on Facebook, you may have come across the ‘The Path Less Pedaled’ page.   Russ and Laura have been bike touring in many places throughout the years.   They recently set aside their full-sized bikes in favor of a couple of Bromptons.   They have made several modifications and ladened them down with all the gear they need for the road.   Part of their plan is to use rail travel to make the major distances easy for their bike touring venues.   So far from what I’ve seen, the Bromptons are a big success for their trips.   Have a look, and ‘like’ their page to follow along on the fun.

So, in addition to being a great around town bike, they are perfect for the open road.   The Brompton Facebook page has many stories and photos  of long-distance travelers who ride them.   It also tells of the races Brompton promotes.   They are an English company and hand-make their bikes in-house.   That allows them to adhere to very high-quality standards.   This is just one of many reasons Brompton followers are so smitten with them.   I can attest to the quality and strength of the bike I rode.

The basic story here is that I really like this bike.   I did have the chance to keep it.   I decided against it for many reasons.   One, is that we would need two of them to make it all come together.   Two, we already have several great bikes. And three, it is a pricey little gem.   It today’s world you normally get what you pay for, and the higher priced items are usually worth it.   I still have dreams of having this bike to fulfill a need inside me.

I could go on about how I felt about this folding bike, but it would be easier to just refer you to the multi-part story already published on the blog pages of NYCeWheels.   While you are there, link to the ‘Build your Brompton’ feature.   It outlines each different option, has videos to explain them in detail, and chronicles the weight and cost issues with each.   They even have the new E-bike Brompton to drool over.   I hope to give a full report on that light-weight folding E-bike in the future.

Bert, Peter, Mark, Harrison, and Izzy (and don’t forget Mr Bailey, the shop’s four-legged mascot has been seen sporting a Brompton on the streets of New York) over at NYCeWheels recently put together one great custom Brompton.   The beautiful leather pieces from Brooks, include a saddle, matching saddle bag and a cool set of grips.   The installed natural wood fenders sport a similar finish.   A front wheel dynamo and light illuminate the road.   All this on a lustrous sage green Brompton make for a desirable set of wheels.   This one is sold, but with the wide variety of colors and custom pieces on their menu, they can make you one even cooler.

If the thought of having one of these speedsters interests you, them by all means, look into it.   With the rising use of bikes, a folding bike can fit right into your needs.   It is the perfect way to thwart small storage space issues for your bike.   Elevators and stairs don’t scare it.   Public transportation welcomes it.   Security problems will fade into nothing.   Many of the reasons you might avoid using a bike are solved with just one purchase.   Your future could be improved with the ownership of this English wonder.   To say I am enthralled with this bike, would be right on the money.

Get your Brompton on, Turbo Bob.

“You want to ride like silk gliding on soft air.   Think slow and smooth and one day you’ll discover you’re riding so easy you’ll laugh out loud at the joy of it all.   You’ll also discover you’re moving fast, probably faster than you ever imagined riding.   Don’t panic.   The speed flowed out of the silk.”—Hank Barlow.

Link to the ‘Boy Gets Brompton’ 12 part story. You can see them all if you start here and cycle through them with the guides at the bottom of each article

http://folding-bike.us/blog/2010/10/29/boy-gets-brompton-part-1/

Links to other Brompton articles I have written.

http://folding-bike.us/blog/2011/02/24/give-a-hoot-ride-a-brompton/

http://folding-bike.us/blog/2011/12/08/brompton-building-blocks-a-visit-to-the-brompton-factory/

Link to the NYCeWheels website.

http://www.nycewheels.com

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About Turbo Bob's Bicycle Blog

E-bike Enthusiast Vintage Bike Enthusiast
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4 Responses to Brompton M3L Extended Test

  1. You’re quickly becoming one of the champions of the Brompton, Bob. I know well the feeling of the new found Brompton bike and how fun it is to ride. Glad to have you part of our community.

    -Peter

    • Thanks Peter, you and the crew at NYCeWheels have a lot to do with my new found love of all things Brompton. When a bike is this nice, it is hard not to go nuts over it. I hope the day will come when Barbara and I can have a pair for our own. Maybe when our E-Zips get old and crusty, we can step-up to a couple of Brompton E-bikes.

  2. Cliff says:

    I wish you would post the MSRPs of the bikes you review. The only price I found was the one where you bought the e zips on sale @ walmart.

    Good blog, though.

    • Hey Cliff, thanks for the good words.
      As far as prices go, they can be so many differences. Where you buy, sale prices, options, and the such. I did think that the article on our E-Zips needed cost info, but normally it is not something that I want to post. I will point out things that are kind of pricey.
      The web is full of that kind of stuff. If you see something you are interested in, prices shouldn’t be too hard to locate online.
      Have some fun out there on your bike.

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