Brompton 2022 Buyer's Guide
Posted on 26 October 2021
New for 2022, Brompton is making buying a bike easier and more straightforward. After listening to customers who found the current nomenclature confusing and the options overwhelming, they have renamed their lineups and created a streamlined system to choose the ideal Brompton for you and your needs.
We’ll walk you through the process of building a custom 2022 Brompton below!
ELECTRIC OR NOT? - Empowering The Ride
You need to decide if you want a Brompton Electric or a standard Brompton (what we lovingly call an “acoustic” bike).
Standard Bromptons are excellent for many reasons. They’re much more lightweight than the Brompton Electrics (24-28lbs depending on spec) and can fly anywhere in the world when packed in a suitcase or bag and checked as luggage. Compact on public transport and extremely agile in bike lanes and on narrow streets, the standard Brompton is designed to thrive in urban environments where space is at a premium and time is money.
The Brompton Electric is a perfect fit if you’re doing long distances or big climbs on your daily commute, or just want some assistance keeping up with cycling partners on weekend rides. The Electric has three levels of assist, with a maximum assisted speed up to 25km/h and a battery range between 40-80km depending on variables like speed, assists, hills, wind, rider weight, etc. At 32lbs without the battery and 38lbs with the battery, it’s one of the lightest e-bikes on the market. Please note that the Brompton Electric is only available to customers able to pick up in store in Toronto!
If you plan on travelling by air with your Brompton Electric, you’ll need to leave the battery at home and ride unassisted on your trip - the battery’s 300Wh storage capacity means they’re not permitted on planes.
LINES - Who Are You?
Choosing your line of Brompton determines the weight and ideal environment of your bike. Whether you’re a ride-any-bike cyclist or a particularist who loves customizing things just how you want them, there’s a Brompton line for you.
A Line - The Minimalist
This is a no-muss, no-fuss bike. It comes specced with an extended seatpost to fit everyone but the tallest riders and Brompton’s bestselling mid-height handlebar. A 3-speed internal hub keeps things simple yet adaptable for cities without a lot of huge climbs, while the full steel frame absorbs road shock. Only available in Gloss White and without a front carrier block to carry front bags, this is truly a bike for the minimalist rider.
C Line - The Artist
This lineup of bikes is perfectly suited to customization as nearly every detail can be configured for the rider’s specific needs. An entirely steel frame absorbs road shock and a front carrier block means you can attach whichever Brompton bag you like. Choose between six matt colours, the premium Black Lacquer finish, or the Black Edition models released twice a year with all-black componentry and in four premium colours.
MODEL - Where You Going, What You Doing?
If you’ve chosen the A Line Brompton as your ideal bike, please skip to the next section to learn about Specs as your bike comes standard with 3-speeds. If you’re building up your ideal C Line Brompton, read on to learn more about the different models available!
The question to ask at this stage is what do you plan to do with your Brompton? Are you riding the same flat commute every day, or wanting to travel and needing the widest gear range to tackle all kinds of terrain? How far are you riding on the average trip, and how much gear fine-tuning do you want?
Urban - 2 Speed
The Urban is the simplest gearing option. With only two speeds, this bike is best suited to flatter and shorter rides in urban environments. The chain tensioner pulls the chain onto two separate rear cogs - one for speed, one for climbing, without the ability to fine-tune your cadence. This bike will be 8% lighter than the Explore 6-speed option but also more limited in its favoured terrain.
Utility - 3 Speed
The Utility is a good middle-ground choice for people wanting a bit more gear range without the full capability of a 6-speed Explore. The Utility’s Sturmey-Archer 3-speed internal hub lets you climb slight hills and have one more gear choice than the Urban, along with a higher top gear and lower bottom gear - meaning you’ll climb easier and go a little faster on the flats. It weighs 500 grams more than the Urban (the weight of a pint of beer) but offers a much wider comfort range for hillier terrain.
Explore - 6 Speed
The Explore is Brompton’s best-selling model, and for good reason. It’s only marginally heavier than the Utility (180 grams, or the weight of a hockey puck), but offers a much, much larger gear ratio - meaning easier uphills and faster speeds on the flats. Most of our customers that opt for the Utility upgrade to the Explore within a year or two because they find that 3-speed gearing isn’t wide enough for their needs - especially after discovering that the Brompton makes an excellent travel companion in new cities where topography isn’t well-known. The Explore operates with a Sturmey Archer 3-speed rear hub working in tandem with a 2-speed external shifter to make a combined 6-speed bike.
SPEC - Dial In The Fit & Style It Up
Once you’ve sorted out your Brompton needs, it’s time to move onto wants! The Fit of your Brompton will determine your riding posture and is governed by your height and preferred position on the bike. Folks love customizing their Brompton and colour choice plays a massive role. Lastly, choosing a Brompton bag or upgrades will make your bike uniquely your own and serve functional purposes too.
Fit - Handlebar Height
Choosing the ideal handlebar height for you is an entirely personal decision. Some of our customers come from a road-riding background, so even if they’re over 6 feet tall they still prefer to be bent over their bike in an aero “tuck” position and choose a Low Handlebar. Other cyclists who are shorter want an upright “Dutch-style” riding position so opt for the High Handlebar. We’ve got a handy breakdown below to help you decide.
This handlebar is a great option for shorter riders between 5’0”-5’4” wanting a moderately upright position, or riders 5’5”-5’9” who want a very sporty position dialled in for speed and exertion. For riders above 5’10”, this handlebar is likely going to feel too bent-over and aggressive to be comfortable. This handlebar is 2.5” shorter than the Mid Handlebar.
This handlebar is our most popular as it suits riders between 5’0” all the way up to 6’2” with lots of variance on fit. For riders 5’0”-5’4” this bar will feel bolt-upright (and potentially too upright if you’re riding long distances). Riders 5’5”-5’9” will get a moderately upright position, while riders 5’10”-6’2” will find this bar to feel sporty and aggressive.
This handlebar is the most upright of the bunch and suits riders who want a relaxed position on their bike. It will likely feel way too tall for riders between 5’0”-5’4” but provides a bolt-upright position for 5’5”-5’9” riders and a moderately upright position for riders 5’10” and above. This handlebar is 2.5” taller than the Mid handlebar.
Fit - Seatpost Height
Unlike the handlebar heights which are chosen based on height and riding preference, the seatpost decision depends on height and foldability. What do we mean by that? Bromptons are extremely compact, but if you’re tall things get complicated if you plan on travelling with your bike by air. Read on for more details.
This seatpost is excellent for smaller to average-height riders with an inseam of 26”-32”. When folded, the seatpost drops entirely into the frame which means it fits in Brompton-specific travel cases.
This seatpost fits taller folks with an inseam between 28.5”-34.5”. It sits 6cm taller than the Standard when folded, so won’t fit in most Brompton-specific travel cases.
If you’re sharing the bike with a partner who is a different height than you, or you’re a tall person travelling with your Brompton, this is the seatpost for you. It stands 7” taller than the Standard when fully extended, but thanks to the telescoping construction it only sits 2cm taller when folded, meaning it will fit in most travel cases. This seatpost is suitable for riders with an inseam of 27”-39”.
New for 2022, Brompton is releasing six new colours to the range but offering them within specific Lines of bikes.
Being a one-size-fits-all bike, the A Line is only available in Gloss White.
If you’re after choice, the C Line is your best bet. Six matt colours cater to every taste. Tempest Blue has been replaced by the bolder Piccadilly Blue, and Orange retires to make room for the pastel Fire Coral. Black Lacquer is the seventh premium option, using only the best frames to highlight the brass brazing visible under the lacquer coat.
Four colours are on offer for Electric C Line and C Line Black Edition bikes. The traditional Gloss Black and Turkish Green are joined by premium Flame Lacquer and Black Lacquer with all-black parts and componentry to highlight the frame colours and make them pop. Brompton Electrics are available all year round, but the Black Editions are only sold twice a year in July and November. Curbside receives a small allocation of Black Edition bikes and they often sell out months before they arrive in store, so inquire early and prepare to wait if you want one!
ACCESSORIES & UPGRADES
Congrats, you’ve configured your Brompton! The last thing to do is decide what you might want to add to spice it up. But do keep in mind - a lot of the things we’ll talk about here are even more practical than they are pretty.
A Brompton bag is a truly unique invention. Most full-sized bikes use a rear pannier rack with some combination of baskets, bungees or pannier bags, but because Bromptons fold for transport it’s often not practical to use the optional rear rack for carrying things. Brompton uses their bespoke Front Carrier Block to carry a custom lineup of bags that don’t impact the fold or steering and keep your back sweat-free. The Front Carrier Block can support 10kg / 22lbs of weight and the full range of Brompton bags allow you to carry up to 30L of essentials.
If you’re an urban commuter, the Metro Messenger lineup doesn’t look out of place at the office and comes in two sizes. The smaller Metro Zip provides handlebar or saddlebag space for a wallet, keys, and phone. Need adaptable storage? Opt for the Borough Roll-Top lineup. If you’re frequently riding in wet weather, the Borough Metro and Roll-Top bags also come in fully-waterproofed options. Daytrippers will appreciate the Borough Tote, a small shoulder-carry bag big enough for a book and water bottle, and folks regularly popping into the grocery store with their Brompton love the wide mouth and large capacity of the Borough Basket. Being from rainy Britain, every Brompton bag comes with a hi-vis waterproof cover if it’s not already waterproofed.
As mentioned above in relation to bags, a Brompton rack isn’t designed primarily for carrying things to and fro, although it can serve that purpose. The main reason customers buy Brompton racks is to make their bikes more transportable.
Bromptons come stock with two small wheels in front of the rear fender that the bike balances on when folded, along with the small wheel on top of the fender. You can pull the bike along behind you like a suitcase, but you need to lift the fender wheel off the ground by lifting the bike slightly at the handlebars while moving it. This is to prevent damage to the fender, and provide an easier roll on the larger frame wheels designed for exactly this purpose. When you install a rack, the bike has four frame wheels instead of two, which allow the bike to be more stable when folded. They also make the bike more mobile - you can push it like a shopping cart on its four wheels through the store or subway station without needing to lift the front end. Read more below under “Upgrades” to learn why we recommend Easy Wheels alongside the rear rack install.
Unless you turn into a pumpkin after dark, chances are you’ll be a nocturnal rider at least once while owning your Brompton. Lighting makes the road safer for cyclists and drivers (make your presence known!) and helps you avoid road hazards that are hard to see after sundown.
If you’re buying a Brompton Electric, it comes stock with Busch & Muller front and rear e-bike lights powered by the battery.
For all “acoustic” Bromptons, there are two choices for lighting - battery or dynamo. Battery lights are readily available at any bike shop, and we can certainly point you towards a great option in our shop! But if you want to stay loyal to Brompton, you can opt for the Cateye front and rear lights. These lights are very compact yet pack a punch for output and are USB-rechargeable when the lithium batteries give up the ghost.
Dynamo lighting is a real gamechanger. These lights are powered by a dynamo hub in the front wheel that generates power as you pedal, turning the lights on whenever you’re riding. The big benefit is they provide daytime running lights for maximum visibility, are fully theft-proof, work in the cold, and don’t ever need a battery swap. We have a full breakdown of your options and all pricing details here.
Many of the upgrades in this list are both beautiful and incredibly practical.
Titanium Seatpost - Titanium made its debut into the bicycle industry in the heat of the Cold War when aerospace-grade material was being produced en masse and readily available. Titanium is much stronger and more flexible than the stock-standard aluminum posts, so it absorbs a ton of road chatter and makes the Brompton much more comfortable to ride. We recommend the Ti Parts Workshop titanium seatpost as it still uses the brilliant Brompton Pentaclip for custom saddle adjustment.
Hinge Clamp Levers - The multitude of hinge clamp levers we offer make folding the Brompton much easier, which saves a lot of time if you’re running errands. Unlike the stock-standard Brompton hinge clamp levers, the ones made by Brompfication, NOV Designs, and Ti Parts Workshop (sold in two sets here and here) have a slightly longer edge on one side and a spring underneath the plate, allowing you to twist the knob one-handed to open or close the fold. If you plan on using the Brompton Toolkit with your bike, choose something other than the Brompfication Hinge Clamp Plates & Levers as they don’t allow the toolkit to be inserted into the frame.
Easy Wheels - We recommend these to every Brompton customer due to their practicality. The Easy Wheels made by Brompfication, NOV Design, Joseph Kuosac and Ti Parts Workshop are wider than the Brompton frame wheels, allowing the bike to roll better over smooth surfaces and reducing scratches on the top of the rear fender when the bike is in transport mode. Most of these have ball-bearings inside a sealed hub to make them long-lasting and mobile for years to come. Speak to a staff member during your sales appointment to suss out which Easy Wheels are best for you.
As always, if you need an extra hand deciding or want to chat through options with an expert, you can book a sales appointment on our website for either an in-store or remote conversation. We're happy to help!