Are Brompton Bikes Good? (Helpful Tips)

Brompton bikes are a firm favorite with commuters. The simple, folding design means that they can be taken anywhere and don’t take up too much space. This means they can easily be fitted into busy train carriages.

So why are Bromptions so popular, and are Brompton bikes good?

Here’s How Good Brompton Bikes Are:

Brompton bikes have an excellent reputation. They are handmade in the UK which ensures they are of the highest possible quality. 

A Brief History Of Brompton Bikes

The Brompton Bicycle company was founded in Greenford, London on June 3rd, 1979 by Andrew Ritchie. The same year, Ritchie filed a patent for his folding bike design. Ritchie had originally come up with the idea for the folding bike in 1975. As a young engineer whose flat overlooked the Brompton Oratory, he wanted to develop a better way for commuters to get around the city. He spent the next ten years perfecting his design. He also worked on his manufacturing skills as he hand-made every bike himself.

Marcbel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Production of the Mark 1 Brompton bike began in 1982. The Mark 2 was introduced in 1988. 1987 marked a huge turning point for Ritchie. He had faced rejection after rejection from bankers and potential backers but was persuaded by Julian Vereker, a Brompton bike owner and founder of Naim Audio, to display his product at London’s Cyclex Bike Show. The bike won the Best Product Award which helped create more of a buzz around it. 

The first Brompton factory was in Brentford, where the team made sixty handmade bikes per month. Their bikes are now well known around the globe. The first Brompton World Championship race was held in Barcelona in 2006 and the event now attracts over 550 riders.

Brompton has sixteen stores across the globe, even as far away as Japan. The next big evolution in the bikes came in 2005 with a more lightweight titanium rear frame and fork. In 2009, Ritchie was awarded the Prince Philip Designers Prize for his work on the bike’s design. 

How Reliable Are Brompton Bikes?

Brompton bikes are still handmade and have high standards of quality control and a reputation for reliability. The most important thing to consider is to keep a Brompton well maintained, this way you can ensure it will be reliable.

What Types Of Bikes Do Brompton Make?

Brompton bikes are designed with one purpose in mind – portability to allow them to be used by commuters. This is why they have small wheels and a foldable frame. However, there are still a number of different models. The bikes range from the traditional A-line, which weighs 11.5 KG to the top of the line titanium T line which weighs 7.45 KG.

The company has also begun manufacturing E-bikes.

How Expensive Are Brompton Bikes?

Some customers might be surprised by the cost of Brompton bikes, but there are a number of reasons why they are quite expensive. 

Firstly, every Brompton bike is handmade in their London factory. This takes time, which increases the cost to the customer.

Secondly, the unique design of Brompton bikes means that extra work has to go into the manufacturing process – they need extra hinges for the folds of the bike.

The bikes’ unique design also utilizes many bike parts that are specially made for them rather than being mass-produced. This also pushes the cost up.

The A-Line, their entry-level bike, costs £850. The most expensive model, the T Line, costs £3770. Their electric bike, the C Line Electric, costs £2995.

Are Brompton bikes worth the price? Without a doubt, YES! Unlike many other bike brands, Brompton bikes are hand-made out of quality materials. If you look after a Brompton it will literally last you decades and many thousands of miles. Plus cycling is good for your health and puts less strain on the environment.

Are Brompton Bikes Good?
Are Brompton Bikes Good?

How Durable Are Brompton Bikes?

Brompton bikes have a reputation for durability. They are handmade out of good quality materials to a high standard.

What About Older Brompton Bikes?

Brompton bikes have not changed much over the years. The internally geared hub, introduced in 2009, was one significant change, and in 2017 there was a combined handlebar, shifter, and brake improvement made 2017. Other than these, the bikes have remained remarkably unchanged. 

Do They Still Make Parts For Older Models?

Brompton does make parts for older bikes. Most of the parts are unchanged to this day, but it is possible to buy parts for older bikes that have changed over the years.

What Are Typical Problems With Brompton Bikes?

The only real problems with Brompton bikes are a result of them being handmade. This makes them more expensive and because of their unusual design, some bespoke parts are needed for them. Sometimes the company can also struggle to keep up with demand. In 2020, when people began riding bikes more, they were sold out.

How Long Do Brompton Bikes Last Compared To Similar Brands?

Brompton bikes are made to a very high standard and last longer than other, mass-produced, folding bikes. 

How Long Do Brompton Bikes Last Compared To Similar Brands?

Do Brompton Bikes Hold Their Value?

Brompton bikes hold their value exceptionally well. They are highly sought after and long-lasting. Due to the fact that the design has not changed drastically, it means that even older bikes usually hold their value quite well. Interesterestingly, Brompton bikes can often exceed their retail value when sold second-hand.

Are Brompton Bikes Still Being Made?

Brompton Bikes are still being handmade in London and only grow in popularity year by year. You can see their latest range of bikes on the Brompton website here

Do Brompton’s Rust?

Yes, Bromptons are made from stainless steel which is known to rust. This is especially true if you live somewhere near the sea, as the saltwater can increase the speed at which it rusts. To prevent rust on your Brompton you can apply anti-rust lubricants like WD-40 (make sure to pay close attention to the inner frame tubing). Some Brompton owners like to cover their Bromptons in clear helicopter tape to prevent frame scraps which could lead to rust. Most importantly you need to store your promotion in a dry place and ensure you maliciously dry and lubricate your bike after a wet ride.

How Long to Fold up A Brompton Bike?

20 seconds. So when you’re rushing for the next train

When Should I Replace My Brompton Chain?

The Brompton manual recommends replacing your chain and sprockets every 2,000 miles. However, if you regularly ride in wet conditions you might need to replace your chain sooner. To be sure it’s worth investing in a chain stretch tool, so you can measure exactly when to replace your chain. Remember, Bromptons use a 3/32 inch 100 link chain for 2 to 6 speed’s with a 50T front ring, or a 3 speed with a 13T rear & 34T front ring.

Are Bromptons Slow?

Bromptons are definitely not the fastest bikes for long-distance, but surprisingly they are far from the slowest. Bromptons are actually quite fast when it comes to start-stop acceleration due to their small wheels.

Can Brompton Handle Off Road? (And Gravel Paths)

Yes. Bromptons are surprisingly good both on and light off-road. Bromptons seem to cope fine with gravel paths and smooth fire-roads. However, you do need to remember that it’s not a mountain bike, so nothing too adventurous.

How Long Does a Brompton Last?

If well-maintained Bromptons can easily last decades. If you keep an eye out you will see people still commuting on Bromptions which are over 30 years old. However, the Brompton warranty lasts for 7 years.

How Long Are Brompton Cranks?

Brompton bikes normally come standard at 170mm long. If you are interested in your ideal crank length we have a crank length calculator here

What Is the Maxium Weight Limit for A Brompton Bike?

The maximum weight limit is 110kgs (242 lbs, 17 stone). This includes the combined weight of both the rider and any luggage being carried. Bromptons are built very well and are ridden by heavier riders that exceed the recommended weight, however, it’s not recommended.

Final Thoughts (Are Brompton Bikes Good?)

Brompton bikes are loved by many people all over the world, so much so there is almost a cult following. You can’t beat a quality handmade bike that gives you the freedom to go where you want, then easily folds up and packs away out of sight.

Here’s a good long-term review of a Brompton if you’re interested.

Peter Ballin

Pedro is the primary writer on the site. He’s raced downhill and enduro at a high level, spannered at mountain bike world cups, and also written a book called Mountain Bike Maintenance. He’s appeared in both print & online major media publications across the Uk, France, and Japan (and even appeared on French Television). He’s made his living from bikes in various forms, from mountain bike guiding in France and Spain, Trail building in New Zealand and Canada, and working as a bike mechanic in the French Alps for many years. Pedro loves a good adventure and is often settling random challenges like riding down Mount Fuji, swimming across Lake Geneva, and hitchhiking across America.