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Brompton electrifies classic design

The world’s first folding electric bicycle to be released by UK manufacturer Brompton

Having produced folding bikes since 1975, UK manufacturer Brompton has released its latest model, carrying the iconic design into the 21st century. The Brompton Electric is the world’s first of its kind- and reservations are now open.

Although Brompton sells around 45,000 folding bicycles each year, it has taken a few years to get its first eletric model to the commercial stage. CEO Will Butler-Adams stated: “We’ve spent five years taking Williams Racing technology and integrating it into the Brompton […] it has been harder than any of us imagined but we believe we have created a product that will inspire more people to get out from under the ground, out of their cars and back onto a bike to rediscover their cities.”

Equipment-wise, the offering seems fairly standard compared with other e-bikes on the market. A 250W brushless DC motor drives the front wheel, powered by a 36V, 300Wh battery. This should offer a range of 25-50 miles, the company says, with at speeds of up to 15.5 miles per hour.

2-speed and 6-speed versions are available. 4 levels of assistance are available, ranging from none at all to level 3 high-assistance when the rider may be faced with obstacles, such as a challenging uphill ride.

A standard 2A charger is included, which should fully stock the battery within 4-5 hours – although for an extra £115 the company offers a 4A “fast-charger” which  will do it in 3 hours or less. It also offers a 5V USB port at the front, meaning riders should never be without juice for their mobile mobile phone – a good thing too, given there is also an iPhone app included where riders can access settings for their bikes and keep track of their mileage each day.

Brompton Electric unfolded.
Brompton Electric unfolded.

The bike weighs between 36 to 38 pounds including the battery. Brompton chief design and engineering officer Will Carleysmith stated: “The vision for the Brompton Electric was to make a product that was as light as possible without sacrificing durability, and was extremely compact”.

Key to Brompton’s offering, the bicycle can still fold down to the same size as the company’s other non-electric models, that is 585mm high x 565mm long x 270mm wide. The bike also comes with a shoulder bag to carry the battery separately, if desired.

Brompton Electric folded
Brompton Electric folded

Given the maker’s reputation, they aren’t cheap, but neither are they prohibitively expensive given that a base Timeless Classic model already starts at around £1,400. Prices range range from around £2,595 to £2,755, depending on configuration. However, orders are being accepted now for delivery in 2018, and a £200 deposit will secure your place in the queue.

It seems Brompton is doing its best to modernise its folding frame model that started sales in 1975. This may be because of the 40% fall in profits at the beginning of the year. Butler Adams stated at that time that: “We don’t have an electric bike and so we are missing out on that”.

As electric bicycles become more popular, this may be exactly what the company needs to get itself back on track.

 

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