Friday, August 20, 2010

Something different from Brompton

The bike shown may look just like all the other Bromptons you've seen here or elsewhere, but this new M6R has a feature we haven't had in the store before - the new-for-2010 Brompton-specific Shimano Dynohub! This little beauty, show here to the left, generates power for the front and rear lights as you roll along.

Some of you may remember the old "bottle" style dynamos that had a little roller that rubbed on your tire, making an annoying noise and adding a fair amount of rolling resistance. Until this year, that was the most affordable dynamo option for a Brompton, and it left a lot to be desired.

Well, this new system is a vast improvement. The hub is silent, and the resistance caused by the dynamo action is remarkably low. The headlight is a halogen lamp in a large, bright reflector, and the tail light is a very bright LED unit. In addition, the tail light is equipped with a "standlight" feature, a capacitor that charges up as you ride, so when you stop, the tail light still glows. The stock Busch & Mueller Lumotec Oval headlight doesn't have this feature, but there are after market options that both have a standlight and are even brighter.

So how much does this setup add to the cost of a new Brompton? That's the really good news... it's only a $113 upgrade from a bike with no lights at all, and only $52 more than the battery powered lighting package offered by Brompton.

Now the real dynohub aficionados are no doubt thinking "but it can't possibly compare to the excellent German SON dynohub!" Well, you're in luck, because Brompton also offers that option, which also comes with a higher quality headlight to boot. The price? Well, that option adds $503 to the base cost of a Brompton!

So for now, I think this is probably the best "bang for the buck" lighting system available from Brompton. You get a good, solid, reliable system.. all the components have a proven track record (I've had several different bikes with Shimano dynohubs and B&M lights for a number of years, and have never had any problems with any of them), and the price is right.

Come on in and take a look... and take it for a test ride, to see if you can feel any significant drag with the light switched on. I think you'll be surprised.

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