We’re big fans of electric bikes here at Coach. We’ve reviewed several, from folding e-bikes made for city living to full-sized models that ride just like a regular bike – so our ears pricked up when we heard that Brompton, the British manufacturer whose name is synonymous with folding bikes, is going electric.
Announced during RideLondon weekend, the Brompton Electric is due to arrive in early 2018. It will be available in black or white, two- or six-speed, and with the option of an M-shaped handlebar. You can reserve one on the Brompton site with a £200 deposit towards the price of £2,595 to £2,755.
Brompton’s e-bike design marks something of a departure from current models. The 250W motor is attached to and drives the front wheel, and the battery is in a detachable pack that sits below the handlebars. The upshot of these changes is that the bike can fold in half like a standard Brompton.
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The total weight of the bike plus battery is 16.6kg for the two-speed and 17.3kg for the six-speed, both lighter than the 21.3kg Volt Metro folding e-bike (which is on the lighter end of the e-bike spectrum).
The battery bag is impressively small (1.5-litre) although you can buy a 20-litre version and use it as your work bag. This should easily be big enough, especially as you won’t need room for a change of clothes because you’ll be riding sweat-free on your electric bike.
You can adjust the level of assistance from the motor via controls on the top of the battery, which will also have a USB port to charge your devices while on the move. The battery also powers the front and back lights. This can be set to automatic so it will turn your lights on for you.
Brompton says the e-bike will have a range of 25-50 miles (40-80km) depending on which of the four levels of assistance you use. That’s a solid range for a folding e-bike, especially since you can easily remove the battery pack and then ride it as a normal Brompton if you do run out of juice.
It’s a promising package, and although it’s expensive for a folding e-bike it remains in line with the premium pricing of all Brompton bikes.
You can try the e-bike for yourself at Brompton Junction in London and it will also be showcased around the UK throughout the rest of the year. Sign up for info on when it will come to your area on the Brompton website.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.