Hardcore Hardware: The Brompton S6L is the ultimate folding bicycle

If you're looking for an edge in the urban rat race, this tiny British bicycle is it.

When you work in one of the most gridlocked cities in the world, you need a transportation advantage. Well, standby, because I’m about to give you an edge over all the other rodents in the rat race.

Tired of walking 12 blocks to work or 12 blocks to the subway? Well screw that. It’s time to go in style.

Meet the Brompton S6L, the Cadillac—strike that—the Rolls Royce of folding bicycles..

When it’s setup, you get six forward moving gears using a clever internal hub and two-speed derailleur system. The bike can even be customized with gear ratios to fit your commute.

A 20 minute walk down the hill, turns into a 5 minute bike ride. That means I’m already on the train home while the other suckers in my building are still walking to the station.

There’s no need to worry about that packed train or locking your bike to a parking meter. The Brompton is so compact, you can stow it under any restaurant table or fit into the most crowded trains. Some people have even brought them onto planes as checked luggage.

And check out how fast it unfolds and folds.

The little touches really matter though. Brompton has thought of everything from a basic suspension to ease out those road bumps and auxiliary wheels so you can roll it when folded and double as a kick stand. At 25 lbs. it’s not super light, but I hardly notice it.

Like all folding bikes, it is a compromise.
The tiny 16-inch wheels means it’s far slower than a larger bike. I also felt cramped on its tiny frame.

The thing is, you can get a folding bike from any Tom, Dick or Harry.

But what really makes the Brompton so special is its pedigree. It’s not mass produced by a robot in some smoke-chugging factory.

Every Brompton made is still hand-brazed and welded in merry old England. That means its the bike the Avenger’s David Keel would ride if he got stuck in traffic.