Folding Bikes

6 Facts About Brompton Most Cyclists Don’t Know

Brompton Folding Bicycle
Image Credit: Brompton/Facebook

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When it comes to folding bikes, there are no brands quite so highly regarded as the lovable British brand Brompton. 

You might not own one yet, but unless you’ve lived under a rock, you’ve definitely seen one. 

Their popularity has skyrocketed, and they can be spotted everywhere, from Greenwich all the way to the South Pole. 

But beyond their infamy, there’s more to Brompton and their bikes than meets the eye.

Here are the six most interesting facts about Brompton that only the most dedicated aficionados know.

Man and woman riding Brompton Folding Bicycle in a park
Image Credit: Brompton/Facebook

1. Their Bikes are Still Made In The UK

While the cycling industry trend is to outsource manufacturing, Brompton continues to manufacture its bikes domestically. It’s been this way since 1975 when their first bike was made in a one-bed flat in Kensington, and it’s stayed the same since.

Granted, their Headquarters in Greenford might not be quite as humble as the 70s London bedsit, but they’ve ultimately stayed true to their roots by keeping manufacturing and assembly a domestic affair. 

Outgrowing its London HQ, the Company plans to finish the construction of an ambitious new ‘eco-factory on stilts’ by 2027, according to The Guardian. Up to 4,000 new jobs will be created for local residents. Even Bromptons’ own Chief Executive Will Butler-Adams has described the project as ‘slightly mad’.

It’s hardly surprising, though, as innovation has always run at their core.

While they continue to source some parts internationally, their ultimate goal is ultimately to bring more production elements onto home soil. That’s a serious buck against the global trend and one that’s helped to make them a fan favorite.

Woman riding Brompton Folding Bicycle
Image Credit: Brompton/Facebook

2. They’re Not Just Big In Britain

Despite the meticulous process of making one, Brompton produces more bikes than anyone else in Britain. In fact, according to BirdieBikes, they’re making over 45,000 a year!

But while they’re produced in Britain, they certainly don’t all stay there. Despite decades of relying solely on ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising, they’ve become an International sensation. These days, around 70% of their bikes are exported worldwide to almost 50 countries, Bike Europe reports. 

According to the British Chamber of Commerce, Bromptons biggest export market is Japan, where they’ve become extremely popular. 

The company’s quintessential ‘Britishness’ is celebrated, and the upgradability of their bikes has turned them into somewhat of a ‘lifestyle product’ as opposed to a ‘utilitarian’ one, in the words of Brompton Inventor Andrew Ritchie

In a country where the apartments are small, car ownership is low, and public transport rules, a pocket-sized folding bike you can bring everywhere makes a lot of sense. As cities worldwide put people first and cars second, folding bikes are becoming the new vehicle of choice, and no brand is better placed to oversee this transition.

man walking with Brompton Folding Bicycle
Image Credit: Brompton/Facebook

3. The Customisation Possibilities Are (Almost) Endless

At its core, Brompton produces four bike lines, simply referred to as the A, C, P, and T lines, respectively. But it’s actually a little more complex than that.

What if you want a different seat? Or different handlebars? Or a single speed? Well, it turns out that they’ve got you covered.

Bromptons are almost infinitely customizable. They can essentially be tailored to a client’s exact needs, provided that those needs are a folding bike. Want a sleek Spurcycle bell? No worries. Quirky paint job? You’ve got it. 

According to Bikmo, there are 16,000,000 different combinations of Brompton that you can order. If you put them all in a line, it would stretch from London to Perth and back again!

While it’s true that they specialize in one thing, it’s incredible how many different versions they can produce. Like snowflakes, no two Bromptons are the same. 

man in blue sweater riding Brompton Folding Bicycle
Image Credit: Brompton/Facebook

4. Brazed, Not Welded

The majority of bicycle frames on the market today are welded, but at Brompton, it’s a different story.

While some components are welded, the frames at Brompton are brazed. Brazing is considered somewhat of a ‘dying art’ due to the skillset and dedication required. It involves using a metal filler, in this case brass, to join two metals. 

According to Brompton, this means a lower required temperature, resulting in less stress and subsequent deformation to the metal. The result? A frame that will stand the test of time. 

As Factory Manager Tony Hobbs notes, the company generally prefers to recruit and train brazers internally, a lengthy process that can take up to 18 months to complete. A fully trained brazer will then ‘stamp’ their signature onto any parts they make, meaning they’re easily identifiable.

It’s this level of dedication and attention to detail that helps Brompton to maintain the high standard that we’ve come to expect from their bikes.

Brompton Folding Bicycle in store
Image Credit: Brompton/Facebook

5. They Frequently Collaborate With Artists and Innovators

There are plenty of different models to suit everyones taste, right? But did you know that the heritage brand frequently teams up with others?

They’ve collaborated on many projects, such as with British Staple Barbour, producing some highly coveted messenger bags and holdalls, as well as the Luxury Department store Liberty, amongst others.  

However, in 2023 came probably the most surprising and exciting of them all: the Brompton x Bear Grylls. 

Adorning a Moss Green & Adventure Orange paint scheme inspired by the British Woodlands, a Brooks C17 saddle, and all-weather tires, it’s a great choice of bike for championing not just the city but beyond it, too, according to Bike Radar.  

It also comes with an exclusive waterproof backpack and pouch, which protects valuables from the elements.

Woman with Brompton Folding Bicycle
Image Credit: Brompton/Facebook

6. They Hold Their Value Extremely Well

Unfortunately, the vast majority of good, new bikes aren’t cheap, and this is unlikely to change.

There are so many costs that go into making a bike, from building the raw components to advertising. While few would consider Bromptons to be cheap, there is one very reassuring thing to know, and that’s that they hold their value like no other.

Limited production, quality craftsmanship, and an outstanding brand reputation have meant that these folding wonders are some of the most sought-after bikes not just when they’re new but also in the second-hand market. 

In fact, when it comes to Bromptons, the high demand is causing shortages in supply, meaning the fastest way to get hold of one might just be to pick one up pre-owned. 

Despite its compact design and modest footprint, Brompton has taken enormous steps to become the legendary brand that we recognize it as today. Agile, sturdy, and fast-folding, their bikes are hard to beat, and ultimately, they’re here to stay. 

ALSO READ: ‘They’re Weak’: 7 Common Misconceptions About Folding Bikes

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