Monday, April 21, 2014


While not made in the USA, like the Bike Friday folding bikes, Brompton folding bikes are often touted as the bike with the most compact folded size and a very quick fold. This makes them a good option for people who need to combine a bike trip with trains or buses which do not allow full-sized bikes, or who want to fly with a bike when visiting another city. They fold down to a package that is a few inches larger than their 16 inch wheels.

The bikes and most of the special components are made in England, and there are many customization options, including all of the options we like here at Bikes for the Rest of Us: fenders, dynamo hub and lights, rear rack and a front bag or basket. Most are sold with a unique 6 speed drivetrain which combines a 3-speed internal gear hub with a tiny 2-speed derailleur.

There is no kickstand option, because the bike itself is designed stand up when folded, and there are small wheels on the rear carrier to allow it to be rolled around like a shopping cart when taken into a store. The front bags or basket attaches directly to the frame, above the small front wheel, instead of to the fork or stem as with most front baskets. This means a front load does not affect handling, and a surprising amount of cargo can be carried on one of these bikes.

Bromptons are also designed with surprisingly quick handling and a slightly leaned-forward position. This combined with small wheels, which accelerate quickly and light weight make it handle more like a road bike than a traditional city bike. The frame is meant to accomodate a range of riders, so taller people will have a more leaned-forward posture, and shorter riders are a little more upright. This can be partially counteracted by different handlebar options.
The most expensive options, including a titanium frame and fork, can cost over $3000 (above).
But the complete bike at the top of the page with 6 speeds, dynamo hub, lights, fender and the addition of a rack is under $2000. The most basic model is just over $1400.

For people in some cities, bike sharing systems, and access for full-size bikes on buses and trains, have made folding bikes less essential for multi-modal trips, but they can still be the perfect solution for some people, so it is no surprise that Clever Cycles in Portland has trouble keeping Bromptons in stock.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice full family folding bike featuring a bbbr platform by!