One of my ulterior motives in coming to Glasgow was the opportunity to visit Kinetics, which is a shop specializing in folders and recumbents, and is specifically known for its custom builds of Bromptons. A quick ride northwest from the centre of town, and here we are.
Parked out front is an 8-freight, a Mike Burrows designed cargobike that looks like the lovechild of a longtail and a long John.
This one has e assist.
The monoblade fork that is typical of a Burrows design.
The rear is also one sided.
Once you step inside, there are an overwhelming number of things to look at packed into a very small space. Up front is a fully equipped machine shop. Ben is busy working on a Rohloff equipped Brompton.
Fitting either a Rohloff or an Alfine hub to a Brompton requires a new rear triangle with wider dropout spacing, and these are made right here. Here are three pairs of triangles and forks. Custom forks allow for the installation of a front disc brake.
A closer look at the copper plated frame in the corner that was a special request.
This is as close to a smile that I could get out of Ben.
This bike has the version of the rear triangle with an integral rack. It is stronger and lighter than the original.
This particular bike was also being built with components from the Brompton black edition.
The back room is filled with a variety of folders and recumbents.
On the floor, an Alleweder, and on the wall, various HP Velotechnik bikes, a Birdy, and a bright blue Brompton that is his demonstrator.
On the opposite wall, a Moulton, and some other bikes nearer the ceiling.
The demonstrator has a Rohloff rear hub and front and rear disc brakes. Ben is now partial to this hybrid front brake that is cable actuated, but has the hydraulic advantage of being self adjusting as the pads wear.
The rear triangle with Rohloff, and an Avid disc brake. There is not enough space in the back for the hybrid. On the green bike, there was a TRP mechanical disc that is better than the Avid since the pads are actuated on both sides of the disc.
This plaque is a nice touch.
Do I look happy riding the bike?
Overall impression was very good. I haven’t had that much time on a regular Brompton, but compared against my Tikit, I would say that the stem is much stiffer on the Brompton, and the gearing and brakes were terrific. What I thought was the rear brake was particularly strong; I almost lifted the rear wheel the first time I used them, but upon further reflection, what I was using must have been the front brake. I forgot that the brake levers are reversed in the UK. Both brakes were much better than on my Tikit. First time on a Rohloff equipped bike, so all I can say is that the shifting was reliable. My Alfine is a bit out of adjustment after many times of folding and unfolding the bike, although nothing I can’t put up with even on a long ride. Ben explained that the indexing on the Rohloff is in the hub, so it can’t get out of adjustment due to a change in cable length.
The new rear triangle makes the folded bike about an inch wider than the regular bike, and it still ships in the regular cardboard box. It will still fit in the hardcase if a little foam is carved out.
For a more comprehensive review of the bike, see this link to Velovision.
My visit came to a close as another customer rolled up with a Nexus equipped Brompton that needed some attention.
Thanks to Ben for all the explanations. You’ve given me much food for thought…..