The Brompton Electric has been a highly anticipated bike since its initial launch, and it's finally arrived here at Bicycle Junction. Die-hard Brompton aficionados have been asking for this forever, so we're very happy to let you know that it's been worth the wait.
Combining low weight and high portability, these ebikes are unlike anything else. The detachable battery bag and hub driven motor allow the bike to fold down to the same size as a pedal-only Brompton, making these the most portable ebikes we've ever carried. Read the full review below to find out who we think these bikes are suited for and whether you should consider getting one.
WHAT'S IT MADE FOR?
This bike is made to be truly portable and practical for Multimodal transport. It's tiny size makes it the ideal travel companion whether you're wanting to go by bus, train or automobile, and also makes it an extremely easy ebike to store. This is great for those of you who live in apartments with limited storage options or if you're wanting a bike you can easily take away with you in the campervan. If you're wanting an electric bike you can take with you everywhere without it being a burden, then this is one of the best bikes you can get.
HOW DOES IT RIDE?
The Brompton compact, folding frameset is based around 16 inch wheels. This wheel size is partially what gives Brompton bikes their lively and responsive handling. On the Brompton Electric the additional weight over the front wheel from the battery and motor system slows down the steering speed a bit, making the bike feel even more stable and predictable than its non-electric siblings. Beyond this, the additional weight doesn't affect the ride quality much, as the bike still handles well even with the electric system turned off. The only time we found it to be a slight issue was when trying to bunny hop over a curb, as it's easy to forget about the extra weight over the front wheel! So for all of you who already know and love your Brompton's ride quality, you'll be happy to hear that there are no surprises here and the responsive ride feel remains.
The next notable thing about the bikes ride quality is the hub motor system in the front wheel. The reason Brompton went for this system instead of a mid-drive system is because a mid-drive would have interfered with the fold of the bike and added weight. Due to this Brompton decided to undertake the task of making their own hub-driven motor system and we're happy to report that even with its compact size it is very capable!
The assistance it gives you at the higher settings is significant and makes the bike feel very zippy. The torque sensing, while not as seamless as some of our Bosch powered mid-drive systems, does a very effective job of providing you with assistance when you need it. The motor system performed very well on a variety of different terrain including at low speed up steep hills. This may be in part due to the smaller wheel size of the bike, which allows the motor to keep rpm high enough to perform well in lower speed ranges. One final thing worth noting is that the maximum electric assistance speed is 25 km/h and not 32kph which has become more widespread on NZ ebikes.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
The Brompton Electric is truly portable compared to other folding ebikes on the market.
The use of both a removable battery bag as well as a front hub driven motor means that with the battery removed, the bike packs down to the same tiny footprint as a regular Brompton. This system makes the bike easier to carry, as you can carry the bike with one hand and carry the bag with the included shoulder strap. This makes it's super easy to carry up stairs or get into an elevator. Being able to store the bike inside also significantly reduces your chances of the bike getting stolen.
The front bag/battery is easy to attach and release by the press of a button. The base plate that it fits onto is very solid and connects the battery to the rest of the electric system, so it's literally one motion to attach and remove the bag. This can be done with one hand, making this the simplest battery attachment system we've ever seen.
Some other special features of this bike is that it's compatible with the wide range of Brompton accessories including the larger 20L City bag as well a range of racks, phone mounts, integrated tools and pumps. Brompton bikes are also renowned for their long term durability and high quality of craftsmanship, so you can expect that this bike will last you for many years to come.
HOW DOES IT STACK UP?
Overall, this bike presents a tiny package that we believe will be huge assett for anyone with a multimodal commute or who travels regularly.If you live in an apartment or have nowhere to store a regular-sized bike in your house then this may also be a great option for you. For it's intended purpose you can't really beat the Brompton Electric, as it's a true one of a kind that performs very well in its element.
If you're interested in taking one for a spin, pop in to the bikery to see what all the hype is about. Limited numbers available in store and online which you can find here.