What do you look for in a compact folding bike? Is it the compact folding, the ride quality, the value-for-money that you are paying for, or simply the brand (that your friend recommends)?
Brompton has undoubtedly been the most compact folding bike (among those of the same/comparable wheel size) on Earth for many years. Many other folding bike manufacturers have tried ways and means to beat the leadership by coming up with their own designs and quality.
Perhaps none of the rivals has come as close as the ORi Bike M-series, in particular the M9 and the M10.
In this blog post, we will do a comparison of the Brompton vs ORi Bikes M9. We will focus the comparison on areas that are less variable, rather than compare aspects of the bike that can be easily upgraded (e.g. handlebar grips, saddles etc). Hopefully you can then decide for yourself which are the differences that are significant for you and which folding bike is best suited for your needs.
The Brompton S6L
The ORi Bikes M9
In terms of general outlook, there is little difference between the two. Both are using 16" wheelsets (349mm) and can be fitted with a rear rack. The rear rack (absent for the Brompton in the picture above, but that can be fitted readily) can be used for cargo loading and can also be used for rolling the bikes when the bikes are folded.
Geometry-wise, the Brompton has a wheelbase that is a few millimeters longer. Apparently both have the same low center of gravity too. Even the design of the chain-stay is similar. The difference is at the main tube where the Brompton's a cylindrical tube (giving a more classic look) and that of M9 is hydroformed and welded into a monocoque frame (giving a more sporty look).
One thing to note is that the ORi Bike M9 does not have a folding hinge like a Brompton at the main frame. We think this is an advantage to the M9 since the absence of a folding hinge should reduce the likely hood of any flex during acceleration/quick stopping.
To change the handlebar height on a Brompton, you would typically change the entire handle-bar with either the M, H, P or S type. For the ORi Bike M9, simply loosen the tightening screw, adjust to desired height, and screw it back tight! We think the lack of adjustable handlebar height on the Brompton would contribute to reduction of weight and also help to derive a smaller overall package for the bike. However it loses the flexibility of adjustment whenever there is a need to.
You may notice a "goose-neck" somewhere above the head-tube of the M9. This is a part of the deliberate design of the bike where a bike stem has been ingeniously incorporated. Brompton, similar to other folding bikes, has a relatively straight handle-bar riser and does not incorporate a bike stem. We will examine the effect of having a bike stem in part 3.
In the 2nd installment of the blog post, we will take a closer look at the main components of the bikes. Click here to read on!
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