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Brompton folding bikes: A full guide to the range

Emma Cole
23 Nov 2021

Understand all the options and pick the perfect Brompton with our comprehensive guide including the latest Brompton P Line

Brompton makes arguably the world's best folding bike. To help prospective owners and participants of the Brompton World Championships navigate the range of options available, we’ve compiled a guide explaining all of the Brompton folding bike's main features.

Based around a robust steel frame and rolling on diminutive 16-inch wheels, it can be folded into a package measuring 585mm × 565mm × 270mm in under 10 seconds. It is, as its inventor intended, like having a magic carpet you can unfurl anywhere.

Despite tweaks and upgrades over the years, including an electric model, all Bromptons follow a similar pattern to the bike as created by founder Andrew Ritchie back in 1975.

The first thing to understand is that Brompton simplified its product naming system in October 2021. All models now fit into one of the brand’s four lines: A Line, C Line, Electric C Line and the P Line. 

The A Line is Brompton’s most basic model, a sturdy 2-speed folding bike which has a one-size-fits all concept.

The C Line comes in three different options, and offers a range of different seatposts, saddles and handlebars.

The C Line Electric is what it says on the tin and comes in two different speeds.

The P Line is a lightweight 4-speed Brompton.

Bromptons are either 2-speed, 3-speed, 4-speed or 6-speed.

Brompton folding bikes: The range explained

Brompton A Line

Seen as a one-size-fits all bike, the Brompton A Line has a hand-brazed folding steel frame and comes with a mid-rise handlebar. It comes in 3-speed which is a classic choice and suitable for most eventualities.

The A Line is offered in one colour – Gloss White – and does not come with mudguards or a luggage carrier but these can be added.

  • 3-speed
  • Mid-rise handlebar
  • Seatpost suitable for maximum inside leg 35in/89cm
  • A Line Saddle with integrated carrying handle
  • 11.6kg

Price: £850

    Brompton C Line

    The Brompton C Line comes in three different versions: the C Line Urban, C Line Utility and C Line Explore. The main difference between the three is the speeds and weight.

    The Urban, Utility and Explore versions are available with three types of handlebar – low, mid and high – and three different seatpost lengths as well as four different saddle options. See below for further details on these options.

    All three are offered with a luggage carrier block and mudguards fitted as standard and in a variety of colours: Matt Black, Piccadilly Blue, Racing Green, Fire Coral, House Red, Cloud Blue and Black Lacquer.

    C Line Urban


    • 2-speed
    • 11.4kg

    C Line Utility


    • 3-speed
    • 11.96kg

    C Line Explore


    • 6-speed
    • 12.3kg

    Price: Starts from £1,195

    Brompton Electric C Line

    Created in conjunction with F1 maker Williams, Brompton’s narrow front hub drive is powered by a 250W battery that sits on the mount normally occupied by a front pannier.

    Readily detachable, the great benefit of this system is it doesn’t compromise the foldability of the bike. With the battery popped over your shoulder, this leaves the bike on your arm just about manageable to carry.

    The Electric C Line is offered in two different models, the C Line Urban and the C Line Explore. Both weigh considerably more than their non-electric counterparts but will get you up a hill with ease.

    Both options come with a Brompton saddle with integrated carry handle and incorporate a mount for a Brompton rear light and saddle bag.

    The Electric C Line range is offered in a range of different colours: Flame Lacquer, Black Lacquer, Gloss Black, and Turkish Green.

    Electric C Line Urban


    • 2-speed
    • 13.7kg (16.6kg total with battery)

    Electric C Line Explore


    • 6-speed
    • 14.5kg (17.4kg total with battery)

    Price: £2,995 – £3,200

    Brompton P Line 

    Released in November 2021, the P Line features much of the same familiar makeup as the previous Brompton Superlight, but is designed to offer a lighter, faster ride with refined key elements.

    Weighing a claimed 9.65kg (1.95kg less than the A Line), the P Line is made from a combination of titanium and steel and can be folded into a package measuring 645mm × 585mm × 270mm.

    The rear frame and fork are made from titanium, weighing a claimed 700g less than the all-steel equivalent, and comes with a redesigned suspension block.

    The P Line also features a dual locking seatpost system which has two positions, either fully down which is ideal for storing, or halfway up which is meant for making it easy to transport the bike around a city.

    • 4-speed
    • 9.65kg

    Price: £2,100

    Brompton options

    Brompton handlebars

    Three handlebar options are offered for the C Line and P Line range, each of them performing two different tasks. First, they can adjust the classic upright Brompton fit for riders of different heights.

    Secondly, they can tailor the position of the rider, allowing them to attain a more aggressive or relaxed position.

    Low

    This flat handlebar is the lowest of the three. It’s suited to smaller riders or average size users after a more aggressive position. If you like a racier position on the bike and aren’t massively tall this is the one to go for.

    Mid

    The classic option. Not too upright, not too aggressive. Generally good for leisure riding or sedate commuting, it offers a more upright position for short riders or a more aggressive one for taller people.

    High

    The high bar provides the straight-back riding style found on traditional Dutch bikes. The go-to option for most very tall riders, anyone of medium height will find it easy on the neck and shoulders.

    Brompton seatposts

    Standard

    The standard seatpost is for riders with an inside leg of 84cm/33in. It allows riders to get the saddle down as low as possible when folded.

    Extended

    The extended seatpost should suit riders with a maximum inside leg of 89cm/35in so is for those just a bit taller than the standard seatpost.

    Telescopic

    Aimed at taller riders with an inside leg of 89-99cm/35in-39in, the telescopic seatpost is for those with the longest of legs.

    Brompton saddles


    Brompton saddle

    A standard feature for the A Line, the Brompton saddle comes in at 147mm and with an integrated carry handle. It also incorporates a mount for a Brompton rear light and saddle bag.

    Brompton wide saddle

    The wide version of the Brompton saddle boasts a larger seated area for added comfort and support (167mm). Like it’s narrower counterpart it comes with an integrated carry handle and incorporates a mount for a Brompton rear light and saddle bag.

    Brooks Cambium C17

    This saddle has a vulcanised-rubber top which makes it a flexible and comfort-orientated option. The brand claims it is the perfect option for ‘all rides, all roads and all weathers’.

    Brooks B17

    Another Brooks option, the B17 is made from thick leather and includes copper-pleated rails and hammered-copper rivets.

    Discover more about the full Brompton range here

    Brompton lights


    Battery lights

    Brompton offers a range of conventional lights. These are either made by Busch and Muller or created by Brompton to fit directly onto the bike’s rear rack.

    Dynamo

    This system uses a high-quality Shutter Products SV-8 hub dynamo to offer a reliable fixed lighting solution. This means you're never at risk of a flat battery, though cost, weight and the efficiency of modern battery lights count against it.

    Brompton tyres

    Brompton only provides its bikes with Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyres – a good thing too as we feel these offer the ideal balance of protection and ride feel.

    The Brompton A Line uses 349 x 35C puncture resistant Schwalbe Marathon Race tyres which has a reflective sidewall.

    Some riders like fitting lighter and narrower Schwalbe Kojaks. However, given the work such a diminutive tyre has to do, we prefer something more durable.

    Another alternative is to go the opposite way and fit puncture-resistant Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres. In our experience, these are a pig to get on, which combined with their increased weight means we aren't fans.

    Brompton luggage

    The best place to carry weight on the Brompton is via its front carrying block. Attaching directly to the head tube, once here it won’t adversely affect the steering, and if anything actually makes the bike more stable to ride.

    Brompton now makes a huge range of different panniers, while brands like Carradice, Ortlieb and even the Cambridge Satchel Company also produce options.

    Find a variety of Brompton luggage available at Condor Cycles here

    Brompton special editions

    Brompton produces regular special editions with limited runs and custom paint jobs. Recent examples include the adventure-focused Brompton Explore and the CHPT3 edition created in collaboration with former pro cyclist David Millar.

    Read our full review of the Brompton x CHPT3 here

    Ordering a custom Brompton

    Bromptons can normally be built to your exact specification at no extra cost through Brompton's Bike Builder service. Lead times for this service have varied over the years between a couple of weeks to three months.

    However, Covid-related demand has seen Brompton cancel this service for the time being. This means you’ll have to hold off on ordering or buy a stock model from a retailer.

    Servicing

    Brompton controls more of the manufacture of its bicycles than any other bike maker we know of. Keeping a complete range of spares, Bromptons are therefore Land Rover-like in their ability to roll through the decades.

    While most workshops or home mechanics will be able to fix the majority of problems, some occasional jobs like replacing hinge bushing or seatpost shims are best tackled by a trained service centre.