Urban Bikes

First Look: Brompton’s New Folding Bike Features

We've been tootling around town on a new Brompton with improved cockpit

Brompton is the market leader in folding bikes. Housed in a brand new 84,000 sq foot factory in London, they’ve kept their base in the city to retain the expertise of their employees. Brompton bikes are set apart by the intricate brazing that is used to fuse together their steel tubing, and now they’ve unveiled some new features that are designed to improve handling and control.

The brand say they took a holistic look at how riders’ hands and fingers interact with touch points before making their alterations. Changes have been made to the M and H handlebar styles – but Brompton sent us an M type handlebar bike to take for a whirl around the city streets.

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Dropping Cycle Snobbery and Riding a Brompton around Japan

We’ve been tootling around town on our new, more intuitive Brompton for a couple of weeks now. Here’s a look at what’s different…

Handlebar shape

On the M type handlebar, Brompton have increased the length of the stem (which is sort of where a headtube would be on a ‘normal’ bike) and made the handlebar itself slightly shallower. All this creates a slightly more relaxed fit which means the rider can sit in an upright position with a straight back. Though we can’t compare with previous Brompton models, we were particularly struck with the ease at which we could ride with a handbag slung over shoulder, which is pretty impossible on a road bike.

Ergonomic shifters, brake and bell integration and new grips

The gear shifters have been updated so that they sit on the brakelever, allowing the rider better control and making the movement much easier. A brass bell has also been mounted to the brake lever, and the lock on grips on M, S and H handlebar types have seen a refresh and now weigh only 42g.

Cateye USB saddle light

There’s no need to fumble around looking for a light to attach now! Brompton have teamed up with Cateye and fitted a new USB rechargeable light which blends in well with the design and saves on hassle. It’s mounted fairly low, too – so you’ll still be covered if you’re wearing a long coat. 

Wider saddle

Where previously only the ‘standard’ 147mm saddle width was on offer, now there is a ‘wide’ option at 167mm. This is particularly handy for women who often have wider sit bones than men, so when sitting in an upright position are more likely to find comfort on a larger platform.

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Oh, and new colours…

New colours include Grey and bright Red – all standard colour options are priced equally so you can mix and match your palette.

Brompton’s Chief Design & Engineering Officer Will Carleysmith had this to say: “We are always working to make our bikes easier to use and more fun to ride. As ever the challenge is to do this within the tight size requirements of the folded bike and deliver something that is tough and will give years of service. To create a new set of controls that provide great ergonomics and feel in a super compact form we 3D printed and tested 25 iterations of gear shifter prototype and drove the final new mechanisms through 16 million gear shifts on our durability rigs.”

We’ll be putting the bike through its paces to provide a thorough review in the New Year. In the mean time, check out this post on the benefits of these little folders, and flick through the gallery below… 

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