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Brompton declassified: a guide to the folding bike range
It’s the most recognisable folding bike in the world, seen under everyone from London commuters to ex-pro David Millar riding around Girona. But there’s not just one Brompton, with a range of different specs, weights and prices and lots of options. We’ve broken the Brompton code and will tell you what it all means.
First up, there are a whole series of different Brompton model lines, which we’ll run through below. All Bromptons are built in the UK with a factory in Brentford and a new factory in Sheffield that makes the latest high tech T Line (that's titanium to you and me).
On top of that, there is a whole range of options to customise your bike, you can choose different numbers of gears and add extras like lights. Brompton also makes special limited edition runs with the components and colours varied from the main production lines.
All Bromptons have the same three-part folding mechanism as the original Brompton launched in 1975, which leaves you with a really compact package to carry around or store, puts the gears in the centre of the folded bike where they’re less likely to make a mess of your clothing and leads to quick unfolding when you want to get riding.
Here’s a run-down of the Brompton model line and, if that’s starting to feel confusing, there’s a table of models and specs at the bottom.
Brompton T Line
Weight from: 7.45kg
Price from: £3770
The T Line is the latest, highest tech Brompton incarnation and makes use of materials you’d expect to see in a top spec race bike to significantly lower the bike’s weight.
Brompton says that it’s redesigned over 150 parts for the T Line. That starts with a frame made of matt sandblasted titanium rather than painted steel tubing and with a cast titanium bottom bracket shell. The fork and bars are carbon fibre, as is the seatpost, which comes with a protective steel casing. Even parts like the roller wheels have been made larger and lighter and Brompton fits lightweight Tubolito inner tubes.
There are two specs of the T Line, both sharing a lightweight drivetrain with a carbon fibre chainset. The T Line One is single speed with 50x12 tooth gearing (you need a big gear to turn Brompton’s 16 inch wheels fast enough for a decent turn of speed), while the T Line Urban has four gears with 11, 13, 15 and 18 teeth at the rear, operated by a trigger shifter for 163% gear range. The T Line Urban also gets titanium mudguards and its claimed weight increases to a still feathery 7.95kg.
Brompton P Line
Weight from: 9.86kg
Price from: £2264
With P standing for “performance”, the Brompton P Line gets some of the features of the T Line like a titanium rear triangle, but coupled to a main frame and seatpost in steel. The fork though is titanium and you get other features that help keep weight down like lightweight alloy rim wheels with butted spokes and aluminium hinge clamps.
Gear ratios are the same as on the T Line Urban and there’s the same four speed derailleur but with an alloy rather than a carbon chainset. The P Line Urban spec comes complete with mudguards and front and rear lighting, with the front providing 500 lumens output. You also get a couple of frame colour options.
The P Line Urban is also available with a roller frame This adds a rack to the rear triangle, with wheels at its far end, which helps you move the bike around more easily when it’s folded. It also gives you 10kg of carrying capacity. It’s an optional extra on other Brompton specs.
Brompton C Line
Weight from: 11.2kg
Price from: £1250
The C Line is where the Brompton range gets extensive, coming in three different specs, plus the Black Edition. There are a total of six colour choices.
In the standard C Line, the Urban spec gets two speeds with 133% gear range, so it’s good for flatter city riding. The main frame, rear triangle and fork are all made of steel, as is the seatpost. Whereas the T and P Line models get lightweight wheels with presta valves, the C Line reverts to standard wheels and schrader valve tubes. The chainring size increases to 54 teeth, which paired with the 12 tooth and 16 tooth sprockets gives higher gearing than the P Line and T Line.
The C Line Urban comes with mudguards and front and rear reflectors, but lights are an extra.
Move up to the C Line Utility and Brompton fits a three speed internal hub gear along with a 50 tooth chainset for 177% gear range, along with a Brooks Cambium C17 saddle in place of the standard Brompton saddle. The internal gears up the bike’s weight to 11.8kg.
Finally, the C Line Explore spec has a six speed drivetrain that combines the three speed hub gear with a two speed derailleur giving you a 300% gear range, controlled using two bar-mounted trigger shift levers.
Brompton C Line Black Edition
Weight from: 11.2kg
Price from: £1350
The Brompton Black Edition shares the C Line’s spec, but comes with black components including the bars and stem, fork and chainset. It’s available in the 2-speed Urban and 6-speed Explore specs, but not Utility and, despite its name, there are three frame colour options in addition to black. Unlike the standard C Line, the Black Edition bikes include Brompton’s lights and you get a Fizik Aliante saddle.
Brompton A Line
Weight from: 11.5kg
Price from: £850
The entry level Brompton A Line bike is made of steel, but still gives you a three speed internal hub gear with 177% gear range, and with a 44 tooth alloy chainring. Whereas higher spec models come with more sophisticated pedals, one of which folds, the A Line is equipped with non-folding composite pedals. Mudguards aren’t included but you can buy them and lights as an add-on. The A Line comes in white only.
Brompton C Line Electric
Weight from: 16.6kg
Price from: £2800
The final Brompton option is the Brompton Electric. As its full name says, this model is based on the pedal-powered C Line. There are two options: the Urban with a two speed derailleur and the Explore with the same 2x3-speed drivetrain as the C Line Explore.
The front wheel hub incorporates a 250 watt motor, providing assistance up to 25km/h. It’s powered by a 300Wh battery that’s carried in a 2.2kg pack that is detachable and hooks onto the front of the bike, giving you between 20 and 45 miles of range on a charge. The battery pack also incorporates a USB port and powers the bike’s front and rear lights. The standard pack option provides 1.5 litres of storage, but you can buy a larger pack to up that to 20 litres.
Standard charging takes 4 hours, but you can buy a separate fast charger to cut this to 2 hours. There’s a Brompton Electric app that lets you fine tune your ride. You can also choose from two frame colours for the Urban, four for the Explore spec.
Brompton P Line Electric
Weight from: 15.6kg
Price from: £3695
Brompton has more recently added an electrified P Line bike to its range. It's available in Urban configuration or Urban with a Roller Frame, in both cases with four speeds.
As with the non-electric P Line, this bike has a titanium rear frame and other lightweight components, saving you around a kilogram over the C Line Electric, with which it shares its electrical components.
All the Brompton models, prices and what each offers
Here's a handy table summarising all that, so you can work out which Brompton is for you.
Options and extras
That’s the Brompton range explained. Things get more complex when you start to look at all the options on top.
Probably the most significant are the handlebar options. There are three basic designs: low (a flat bar), mid-rise and high rise. High rise is a good option if you want a more upright riding position or if you’re a taller rider, whereas mid-rise is the original standard bar design and the low bar gives you a sportier position.
Depending on the model you’ve chosen you usually get a choice of two of the three bar types - except the A Line where you just get a mid-rise option. The P Line and C Line Explore give you a choice of all three.
Brompton also sells a load of accessories and replacements. That includes a rear rack like the one that comes as standard on the P Line Urban, mudguards, an array of saddles and replacements for all the parts that might wear out on your bike. Accessories include things like a pump, lights, a phone mount and a mini tool kit that fits inside the frame.
Brompton also sells a whole range of bags. Every spec except the A Line (for which you can buy one as an extra) comes with a carrier clip on the front of its head tube, which lets you clip on a waterproof or non-waterproof bag with up to 25 litre capacity. Plus there are backpacks, saddle packs, a rack pack and a wheeled travel bag to take your Brompton on your next trip.
Brompton at Pearson
Here at Pearson we’re a Brompton authorised dealer and service centre. We stock all the Brompton model lines or can order in any specific spec that you’re interested in. There’s a dedicated Brompton test bike in store too, if you want to try before you buy, and you can take a short test ride on any of the bikes we have in stock. We’ve also got a range of Brompton accessories, parts and spares available to buy.