Unlike full sized bicycles, folding bikes usually come in a single size. Most allow a rider to adjust the seatpost height. In some models, the handlebar height is adjustable as well. In some bikes, such as the Brompton, you have a choice of three handlebar options but none of the them can be adjusted afterwards. Standard M-type Bromptons are optimized for people who are at least 5’7″ or around 1.7m.
Imagine the case for short people such as myself, barely standing at 5″ or 1.5m. It’s highly frustrating to ride a bikes such as most 20″ Dahon models and realize that you can never align the handlebar and the saddle to the same height because the front stem doesn’t go that low. One has to learn to ride upright all the time.
The Brompton and I have a love/hate relationship. I love the bike, but whenever I would ride longer distances on it, I would get wrist pain. The brake levers on Bromptons face downwards so they don’t affect the fold. If you’re short and need to ride upright, your wrists need to bend downwards in order for you to brake properly.
Here’s a shot of where my hip level / saddle is pulled up. Can you see the brake levers in relation to the handlebar height?
The proprietary handlebar had to go! There was a need to find a lower handlebar. I toyed with the idea of using MTB riser bars, but couldn’t find any that were silver in color or not made from carbon. This is a ride for pootlers, what’s the point of getting carbon stuff?
Settled on getting regular flat handlebars instead. FYI, the Brompton’s handlebar clamp size is 25.4mm, just like most models available out there. The change lifted the handlebar from the floor when folded, giving more clearance.
It’s a relief to be able to ride in a more recreational/touring position.
The stock foam grips were cut in order to change the handlebars. Replaced them with Ergon GX2′s. The bar-ends give additional hand positions while riding and provide a hook for me to hang bags on, LOL.
Here’s a topview of the cockpit. In hindsight, shorter grips than the GX2′s would be better. There’s a bit of black plastic wedge on the Brompton’s brake levers that distance it around a half-inch away from the grip. The first metal band next to the grip should lie next to it, rather than where it is now. The grips could be cut shorter (oh no!), or the brake levers can be changed to something non-stock. I’m probably going to do the latter.