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Check out Brompton’s P Line super-commuter – lightweight, fast and easy to carry

If you want a portable bike for convenient commuting, this is right up there with the very best

Brompton Bikes has been in the news recently with James Houston completing the Transcontinental ride on one and a new book about the company having been released last week, so let’s take a look at the classic British folder.

Ride of the year? Cyclist completes Transcontinental on Brompton folding bike 

best folding bikes

Chances are that when you hear the words ‘folding bike’ you picture a Brompton. That’s a measure of how popular the bikes have become since the brand was established in the 1970s. 

Bromptons are built around several different frames but they all share a curved main tube design and feature the fold that was invented by company founder Andrew Ritchie.

2022 Brompton P Line Urban Storm Grey High - folded 1.jpg

Essentially, there are four steps to the fold:

1 The rear wheel and back end of the hinged frame fold towards the centre.

2 The front wheel, front of the frame and fork fold towards the centre.

3 The handlebar folds downwards.

4 You drop the seatpost and saddle.

That’s it. Within about 20 seconds – once you get the hang of it – you have a small, locked package that measures 585mm x 565mm x 270mm. You can carry it on a bus or train and it takes up very little storage space at home or in the office.

2022 Brompton P Line Urban Storm Grey - High - riding 3v2.jpg

A Brompton’s appeal isn’t all down to the fold. The classic description is that it’s a small-wheeled folding bike that rides like a non-folding big-wheeler. Certainly, the ride quality of any Brompton is exceptional.

We reviewed Brompton’s P Line Urban bike earlier in the year and called it a “fantastic and innovative high-performance option”, although it’s pricey at £2,324.

2022 Brompton P Line Urban Storm Grey High - top tube graphic.jpg

The 'P' in the name stands for Performance with this model hitting the scales almost 1.5kg lighter than a standard Brompton A Line (which has prices starting at £850). The P Line we reviewed was 10.17kg. The light weight is most appreciable when you’re carrying the bike.

As part of the weight reduction process, Brompton fits a titanium fork and rear triangle, as well as a redesigned rear suspension block. 

Check out the best folding bikes 2022 

Reviewer Matt Lamy said, “These measures, along with the sheer length of the Brompton frame design, help to dissipate a lot of under-tread lumps and bumps.”

One of the reasons for Brompton’s success is its attention to detail so the P Line gets the usual mounting block at the head tube for the brand’s proprietary luggage range, the main frame is beautifully finished, and our review model had oversized roller wheels for easy manoeuvrability.

2022 Brompton P Line Urban Storm Grey High - rear.jpg

The P Line comes with Brompton’s own patent-pending 4-speed derailleur gearset which we found sturdy and easy to use. Overall, it’s a fabulous machine.

Check out our Brompton P Line Urban 2022 review 

As mentioned, there are various other Brompton models available, starting with the A Line and going all the way up to the T Line (pictured below) that we told you about in January. There are electric models too.

Brompton drops its ‘lightest bike ever’: new 7.45kg titanium version of iconic folding bike revealed 

Brompton T Line 2

The T Line is built around a lightweight titanium frame and weighs as little as 7.45kg, although Brompton says “it can be comfortably ridden by a 110kg rugby player”. Most Brompton bikes are built in London but the T Line is made in a new facility in Sheffield.

You get features like carbon cranks, a one-piece carbon fork, and carbon handlebars, but you’ll need to pay at least £3,750.

2022 The Brompton by Will Butler-Adams

If you’d like to know more about Brompton, a new book called The Brompton, Engineering for Change by the company’s CEO Will Butler-Adams was released last week. It’s as much about the company as it is about the bike, and it’s an interesting read. 

Take a look at our review of The Brompton, Engineering for Change 

The millionth Brompton is expected to be produced within the next few weeks. 

Head over to www.brompton.com to check out the entire range.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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10 comments

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andystow | 1 year ago
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Saw this article today. I bet you'd be happy to be travelling with a Brompton if this happened.

https://metro.co.uk/2022/08/24/hundreds-forced-to-walk-through-channel-t...

Avatar
joe9090 | 1 year ago
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Waaaaaaaaaaay over priced! 2400 quid!!! Please also spotlight other better folders. You can get Tern or Dahon based multispeed folders for a 3rd of that price that are comparable. I have a Bickerton which is Tern based, has race Kojak tires, 8 speed Claris, is 11kg (so half a kilo heavier than the one featured here) and I leave most Brompton riders in the dust.
It also folds way quicker than a brom, @ about 8 seconds.

Avatar
Simon E replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
2 likes
joe9090 wrote:

Waaaaaaaaaaay over priced! 2400 quid!!! Please also spotlight other better folders. You can get Tern or Dahon based multispeed folders for a 3rd of that price that are comparable.

Or are those bikes more comparable with the A-line at £850, or perhaps the C-line at £1,200?

Do they have Ti fork and rear triangle and weigh just over 10kg? Do they fold as easily and are they as compact when folded (surely a key factor in buying a folding bike)? Do they offer the same level of warranty and parts availability?

With a Brompton you're buying a bike designed and made in the UK. That costs a little extra and may matter to some people (especially to Brompton employees). And since sales are going upwards it seems there are enough people who think they are worth the money. Perhaps it's not such a ripoff if you consider some of these other factors.

Avatar
joe9090 replied to Simon E | 1 year ago
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Teslas of the bike world. Wheels are too small. It is a bit apples and oranges i will admit,  but I only see Brompton and niche brands featured on road.cc.

Avatar
quiff replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
1 like

I have nothing against Tern and Dahon (and there are plenty of reviews of those here too), but it depends on your use case. For me the small wheels and compact fold of the Brompton are the key consideration, as it makes it easy to get onto a train, which is what I wanted it for. But I'll admit I wouldn't pay the premium for a P or T line. 

Avatar
Simon E replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
0 likes
joe9090 wrote:

Teslas of the bike world. Wheels are too small. It is a bit apples and oranges i will admit,  but I only see Brompton and niche brands featured on road.cc.

Maybe it's the amount of publicity they generate that bothers you - the 'Brompton worlds', the David Millar collab etc. Is it unfair that Brompton has become the name in folding bikes? The tiny wheels have their drawbacks but isn't the main purpose of a folding bike to be small? Plenty of other brands in the road.cc folding bike reviews section so choice is not a problem. I can't see why anyone would be so bothered unless they're a struggling Dahon/Tern/Birdy salesman.

Carlton Reid rode on a Brompton hire bike from King's Cross to Peterborough. 59-second video:

https://twitter.com/carltonreid/status/1562181142496874497

Avatar
quiff replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Wasn't aware of Bickerton. But the lightest multispeed bike currently on their website (a 7 speed) is listed as 12.6kg - over 2kg more than this P-line, and a little heavier than the 6 speed C-Line, which I would say is a closer comparator.    

Avatar
joe9090 replied to quiff | 1 year ago
0 likes

Sadly the reboot of Bickerton went out of business also I believe.

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andystow replied to quiff | 1 year ago
2 likes

Coincidentally, I just sold my Bickerton and bought a Brompton. They weigh about the same, but the Brompton has a much better gearing range, dynamo lighting, folds smaller (and with the drive bits on the inside) and rides far better.

The only plus for the Bickerton, other than cost, is it has much wider tyres.

I bought the Bickerton for about $230 US at a Trek store while on a three week business trip in Wuxi, China, and it came back with me in a suitcase. I also took it on a trip to Islay, but it fills a very large suitcase and is not easy to fly with.

Avatar
jacknorell replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Other folding bikes are better mostly just on cost.

Try using one daily for years with folding up a few times per day... The Brompton won't fall apart. YMMV on other brands but I'd not bet against the Brompton.

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