Hill Climbing with the BWR

As it was a fine morning I decided to see how the Brompton Wide Range gears would cope with a biggish climb. I rode out from my home in Sheffield to Ringinglow on the watershed between Sheffield and the Peak District National Park. Its a climb of 310 metres over 5 miles, not too steep but it keeps going up.

Apart from one short steep shortcut up a footpath near my home, where I had a hint of front wheel lift and stood up for part of the way, it wasn’t too steep for the BWR but I felt I had nothing in reserve and would not have liked to faced several more such hills in a day. I was carrying only a bottle of water and a banana, but I didn’t feel that I could haul much weight.

So for a short ride the BWR was fine, maybe slightly better than I expected, but I would be cautious about a day’s tour. In 2008 I did all the main passes in the Peak district (not in the same day) on my old red Brompton and the narrow range SRAM6 + Mountain Drive made it very easy, even up the vicious Winnats pass I managed to keep moving and stay in the saddle. I guess that confirms my plan that I will overhaul one of my SRAM hubs and install it and the Mountain Drive in the new long wheelbase B before I do any serious touring. However that might not be soon as the Pino looks like being the main focus for touring in the forseeable future.

2 Responses to “Hill Climbing with the BWR”

  1. paul wilson Says:

    Hi Chris, I have a B with the BWR, would you recomend a Mountain Drive on this. Thanks.

  2. chrisrust Says:

    Hi Paul, The BWR and Mountain Drive are not the ideal partners as you would get some overlap between upper and lower ratios. But you would get a very wide range of gears. Depends what you need it for.
    If you felt it would be an advantage to be able to go mountaineering on your Brompton, the Schlumpf drive is the most straightforward way to fit very wide range gears, although it’s expensive and relatively heavy. It’s also a very satisfying product.
    For the ultimate setup you need to swap the BWR for the SRAM 3-speed hub used on previous 6-speed Bromptons. That will give you an excellent set of 12 ratios, close together for good cadence on the level but wide enough range for any hill. As I have one of each (BWR and SRAM+MD) I have the best of both worlds. I would use the SRAM+MD for touring as I don’t fancy using the BWR with luggage on a big hill at the end of a long day.

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