BB goes North

Clarence & Peregrine are our usual choices for our North coast escapes but this time BB come along too. Mrs Aussie had the job of transporting some new furniture in a second vehicle so the front seat footwell got filled up in the Tardis.

Peregrine took the usual under-bed home & Clarence was again strapped down near the pantry (the Tardis is pretty well equipped, although compact, & Brompton storage needs creatitivity).

It’s been just on 2years since Clarence started shedding weight (initially just R to E model & 6speed to 2) & the inkling of an urban experiment was born; could I cope with a lightweight 2speed for much of my regular riding, or would Rudolph still rule? Little did anyone know how Covid would come along & affect so many things!

Still, the urban experiment has progressed – although the old “regular riding” seems a memory? Clarence has probably maxxed, as a 9kg 4speed that is so pleasing to ride & is likely favored for rides over rolling terrain? The BB build project has also probably finished & for now, I have a chance to compare Clarence to BB in this coastal location.

While most roads around here are pretty flat, the surfacing is variable. Initial rides on BB were harsh & noisy; things not evident on Clarence? The noises were squeaks & creaks that eased with attention to the suspension block lube & tightening the saddle mounts at the seatpost. Still the saddle creaked – until Google highlighted a frequent complaint with Carbon braided Fizik saddle rails; a flexing between the saddle & rail mounts? Silicone spray lube was suggested & so far BB has responded – a little! (Clarence’s years-old Fizik saddle is quiet, albeit heavier & narrower.)

My conclusion for the harsher ride for BB is in the lightweight wheelset; one of those bargain eBay sets that have rims far narrower than ideal (eg 13mm vs 18mm?). Claimed to be suitable for Kojaks (at max), on smooth roads the commonly Oz-available Kojaks seem ok. Clarence is running standard width Brompton wheels with Kojaks & rides all the roads around here without complaint (although I’m now tempted to go back to the One tyres for Clarence, with their wider construction).

Clarence seems to rule for regions such as our current coastal location but BB will now return to some hilly urban testing, evaluating whether lighter weight & slightly lower gearing suffice to justify a “locked & loaded” role? (I have to say there’s something satisfying in walking up a hill & wheeling BB; the effortless push generates an eagerness to resume riding!)


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