Folding and unfolding issues

Covered elsewhere:

Handlebars suddenly flipping open while folded

Doug Faunt:
The bike folds fully, and the clip fully engages, it just doesn't hold under any kind of stress. It's pretty loose, in the best of circumstances.

Frequent Folding fosters Frame Flange Failure?

john blackburn, Feb 1999:
How many times can you fold a Brompton? Each time the screw is tightened in the frame folding flange, the threaded hole gets a little more worn. It would be better if the wear occurred in the bolt alone; this could then be replaced as required.
As an experiment, I got a new bolt (M8 x 75mm, high-tensile steel to spec 8.8), and 2 8mm full nuts and changed the system to a captive thumb-wheel that runs along the bolt, which is screwed and locked into the threaded hole in the frame. One of the 8mm nuts is nested in the hex hole in the thumb-wheel (the existing M8 x 50 HT bolt can be eased out carefully), and the other 8mm nut is used as a lock-nut to stop the bolt rotating. The existing washers were retained and used exactly as before.
The result is a captive thumb-wheel that cannot vibrate out or be stolen, and a bolt that can be tightened as often as necessary without damage to the frame.
It doesn't look too good; maybe there is a better method of more elegant appearance. But the existing system - screwing a screw into a tapped hole in an expensive frame thousands of times and not expecting trouble - doesn't seem too good either. Nor does the idea of folding the machine dozens of times a day and leaping onto passing buses. Now if it were made of magnesium alloy with nylon wheels and weighed 3kg...

Is there a preferred gear to select before folding?

Robert Payne, Mar 1999:
I've heard many different statements about what gear to leave your bike in when folding (2, 3 and 5).
Which one is optimal?
I've been leaving the bike in 3rd when it is folded. Is folding in 5th going to save me trouble with adjustments?

Coping with passers-by: "how much does it cost?"

Peter O'Reilly, Jul 2000:
While with the Brompton, I am frequently asked the question, "How much does it cost?" It is by far the most common question asked. At first it was a bit humoring to see the incredulous expression on ones face when they find out it costs more than say a couple of hundred dollars (or any bicycle for that).
Frequency aside, I do mind it a bit when asked such by a stranger on the street. "Bike jacking" is not such an uncommon thing here in NYC. It's not the only thought that pops into my head when asked. Your opinion may differ, but asking indiscriminately such a question to me is like asking "How much money do you have in your wallet?" Yes, I am aware, for most it is out of genuine curiosity, but it seems rather crude to ask. When asked sometimes I will tell the true cost other times I will give a low ball figure.