Looking to invest in a folding bike? Here's what to expect when buying from London based brand Brompton
Brompton bikes began life in the South Kensington flat of Andrew Ritchie, in 1975. The iconic folding bike brand continues to take its home in the capital city, having invested two million pounds in a move to its new home in Greenford.
The decision to maintain a base in London was motivated in part by a desire to maintain the expertise of the brazers – each who have been trained over a period of eighteen months to hand join the components of a Brompton frame to be strong and resilient.
The chassis runs on 16″ wheels and is constructed from steel, fused together with brass in most cases. More recently, Brompton introduced the ‘superlight’ version which features a titanium rear frame and front fork.
Guides for bike shoppers
How to fold a Brompton bike
When folded, the chain and gears sit in the centre so that they don’t interact negatively with your clothes. The pedals tuck neatly away and the handlebars can stay in the raised position allowing the two small rear wheels to turn the bike into something a lot like a wheelie suitcase.
So how do you fold it?
- The seatpost must be in the ‘up’ position
- Flip the back wheel in with your foot
- Undo the middle joint, and concertina the front wheel in (ensure the pedals are not on the way)
- Push the seatpost down into the ‘locked’ position
- Undo the handlebar joint and fold them down unless you’re going to leave them to roll the bike behind you
- To unfold the bike, follow the instructions backwards (5 to 1)
Building a Brompton bike
Frames are built up via the ‘bike builder’ to suit the rider’s needs, and there’s a number of choices and selections you can make along the way.
The model name is determined by the choices made – for example a ‘Brompton M6L’ will have an M shaped handlebar, six gears and would feature mudguards but no rack.
Brompton bikes handlebar types
Brompton bikes can be built up with one of four different handlebar configurations, designed to suit different riding styles.
M type Brompton handlebars
The classic Brompton handlebar style, pictured above, is pretty much a middle ground that will suit most riders
H type Brompton handlebars
A more upright option, which raises the rider up for more comfortable rides
S type Brompton handlebars
A flat bar, like that found on a hybrid bike – a sportier style for those who want to feel fast
P type Brompton handlebars
A versatile option which offers multiple hand positions
Brompton bike gear choices
The number of gears that you need depends upon the terrain you intend to tackle. Gears add weight, so if your entire journey is going to be flat as a pancake, there’s little point paying the penalty of heft whilst if you live in a valley you’ll want to be able to spin.
Brompton allows you to choose from a singlespeed, two gears, three or the maximum of six.
Brompton bike luggage options
The final part of the equation (aside from colour) will be the luggage configuration.
‘Version E’ will feature no mudguards, rack or pump. ‘Version L’ has mudguards and no rack and ‘Version R’ has mudguards and a rack.
What’s new from Brompton?
Brompton is constantly releasing new models to spruce up the range – including the rather exciting electric bike version. Here’s a look at some of the more recent additions…
Brompton Nine Streets
Released to celebrate the new Brompton Junction store in Amsterdam, the Nine Streets Edition sports a new hand sprayed fade paint job, created via a 2-tone fusion of Red and Blue lacquer. Each bike is unique and prices start from £1,225.
Brompton’s electric bike comes with an added boost of 300 watts, with an integrated battery which sits on a compact bag stored on the front of the bike.
Brompton Black Edition
The Black Edition range is available in Black, Turkish Green, Orange and Black Lacquer – and comes with black components and a gloss finish. Prices start from £1,010.
Fully Customisable 2019 colourways
As well as selecting your handlebar, luggage and gearing preferences, you can also choose the colour scheme for your Brompton.
The new factory in Greenford has allowed the brand to bring painting in-house, and as a result a selection of new colours have been released as well as a lacquer and metallic finish option.
New options include:
- Flame Lacquer – a clear, burnt Orange hue which developed from the success of the Black Lacquer option
- Purple Metallic – Purple paint featuring Metallic flakes that glisten in the sunlight
- Hot Pink – back by popular demand, according to Brompton
- Papyrus White – a classic neutral tone which can be paired with other hues to allow bright colours to pop