My first time riding a Brompton electric bike was when we were making our electric Brompton video. As part of the shooting I got to do all the fun stuff this kit allows and try out each aspect of it again and again. It was really fun for me, having worked so closely with regular Brompton folding bikes for years, to play with an electric one. You have to know a bit about the regular Brompton to understand why, so those of you that own a Brompton can skip ahead but if you don't let me give you a quick run down on the regular Brompton folding bike before we get to the Brompton electric bike.
Brompton folding bikes are made in England. They are put together by hand in a factory just west of London where extra care is taken in every step of the process to produce the world's finest folding bike. The real claim to fame of a Brompton is not in its manufacturing quality, though this is obviously a hallmark of the bike, what's really remarkable is how small it folds. The Brompton folding bike gets smaller than just about any other folding bicycle out there without sacrificing its excellent ride quality. The steel frame is both strong and light, lasting a lifetime. So there's your background, now let's look at why the electric Brompton folding bike is so incredible.
The first thing many people think about electric bikes is, "they're heavy aren't they?" Well, to a degree. Electric bikes have a bit more going on than regular bikes and are naturally a bit heavier. But as you'll see with the Brompton electric bike, this doesn't mean they are much heavier. The electric Brompton weighs a mere 45 lbs! Compare that with some full sized electric bikes that weigh around 68lbs. The electric Brompton folding bike is pretty incredible in that the electric system only adds 18lbs onto the bike itself. I found that I was still able to pick up the bike when folded just as I would with the regular Brompton. This was made especially easy because the battery pack is stored in the front luggage bag which is detachable. More on the battery pack locations to come...
The next thing I really liked about the electric Brompton was how easy it was to use. Pressing a single thumb throttle is all it takes to accelerate up to 20 mph and that is more fun than you might think (if that's possible). The Brompton folding bike is already really fun to ride, adding an electric bike kit only heightens the experience. With no resistance from the motor you can pedal the electric Brompton just like a normal bike, using the throttle as a boost when starting up and on hills. This really can put the fun back into riding for a lot of people.
When you're cruising along at 20 you don't want to be deciphering codes off of a cryptic dash panel, that's why it was so nice to see a simple and easy layout for the dash of the Brompton electric bike. It's simple layout has only 2 buttons: on/off and power level. With the power button you can cycle through 3 levels of power: low, medium, and high, depending on what kind of assistance you're looking for. Above On/Off you have a battery life meter so you always know how much juice you have left. This simple setup is really one of the great features of the Brompton electric bike.
As I said earlier, I really liked how the battery pack of the Brompton electric bike was located in a detachable luggage bag. Not only does this make charging the battery of the bike much easier by allowing you to bring it inside with you, concealing the battery in this way really masks the fact that you're in fact riding an electric bike. I like things discreet and I like things with seamless integration. The Brompton electric bike really strives to be the most discreet possible by keeping all the bulky extra bits aside from the motor out of sight.I must say my ride on the Brompton electric bike blew all my expectations away. I really enjoyed writing this review and discovering the great bits of design and planning behind the electric Brompton folding bike. You should know that the kit is available by itself as an electric motor kit for Brompton or as a Brompton electric bike which is ready to ride. Check those two pages out for more information.