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Folding bikes have been growing in popularity for the past four decades. Being easy to transport and to store, they’ve revolutionised commuting journeys worldwide.
Since the 1980s, Brompton has been one of the leading manufacturers of folding bikes. Instantly recognisable, these elegant bikes offer comfort, premium quality and are easy to fold.
Nowadays of course, Brompton is by no means the only folding bike out there. The popularity of the folding bike has given rise to numerous brands developing and competing, offering bikes to suit virtually everyone.
And as technology develops, there are increasingly lightweight folding bikes available. There are also decent quality, but more affordable folding bikes for those on a budget.
Brompton bikes still hold their own. These iconic bikes have thrived throughout the growth of countless rivals and will no doubt keep doing so, now selling around 70,000 bikes per year.
Can You Hire a Brompton Bike?
Yes you can. Brompton brought out their Bike Hire scheme in 2011. With two payment plans available, riders can hire a bike from £5 per day, taking and returning a bike from any one of almost 70 docks nationwide.
For occasional use, the daily hire charge is £10, with an annual fee of £5. More regular users can pay an annual fee of £20 and hire a bike for £5 per day.
For those thinking about buying a Brompton, the Hire scheme is a perfect way to test ride the bike for as long as you need to. And Brompton offers a discount to buyers of up to £150 (or £250 for an Electric) of hire fees redeemable against the purchase.
Brompton Bike Hire vs Brompton Subscription
Both schemes are useful for people who want to ride a Brompton occasionally or regularly, without wanting (or being able to) spend £1000 or more to buy one. Whether the Bike Hire or Subscription service is better, depends on the amount of riding you’ll be doing.
The Bike Hire scheme works well for occasional users, but clearly could become quite pricey for those wanting a Brompton on a more regular basis.
Riding every weekday (approximately 250 work days) would cost nearly £106 per month with the Brompton Bike Hire scheme. The cheapest monthly Brompton Subscription plan is £45 and the more expensive is £60.
So, if you’re using a Brompton for more than 9 days in a month on a regular basis, the Subscription service is the better option.
Although the Brompton Bike Hire scheme boasts an impressive 70 docks around the country, it is nevertheless only accessible to those who can access these docks. Those in more rural areas (such as me), simply wouldn’t be able to.
The Subscription service is accessible to everyone. Once registered, the bikes are delivered to your home or work, wherever you are. You’re not restricted by location.
What is Brompton Subscription?
Brompton Subscription is a scheme for people wanting to rent a Brompton bike for more than occasional use. The scheme has two payment plans: the Annual at £45 per month, with a yearly commitment, and the Flexi at £60 per month on a 30-day rolling basis.
Of the two plans, the Annual is better for those who want the bike for long term, regular use. It includes insurance for accidental damage and theft, along with a service after six months.
The Flexi plan is for those who, quite simply, want to be more flexible. It’s more expensive but you can pay for as many or as few months as you like, stop and start when you like, and insurance is also included.
The bikes (C-Line models) are delivered to your home or work, so there’s no limitation on who can subscribe, or where.
Brompton Subscription Pros + Cons
Brompton Subscription offers a way for people to enjoy all of the benefits of a Brompton, without buying one. When thinking about whether the scheme is right for you, it’s worth looking at the advantages and disadvantages.
- Affordable for those who can’t afford to buy outright
- Insurance included (with both plans), so no need to worry about damage or theft
- Halfway point service included with Annual plan
- Flexibility – you choose how long you have the bike for
- You don’t own the bike and cannot make modifications
- More expensive (over time) than buying a bike
- Only one model available – C-Line Utility
Cost of Buying a Brompton vs Subscription
The Annual Brompton Subscription scheme costs £540 per year. To buy, Brompton bikes range from £850 to £3,750, with the popular C-Line costing £1,195. So, if you use the Subscription service for just over two years, you could own the same C-Line Brompton for the money you’ve spent.
And it is worth owning a Brompton. They retain a high retail value if you do decide to sell them on. As an example, My mum’s Brompton, bought in 2003 and well cared for, sold two years ago for nearly £800 on Ebay.
Brompton does offer interest-free payment options through Klarna which allows you to pay in instalments, either monthly, or in three instalments over 30 days.
If you want a Brompton for more than two years, it’s probably worth opting for a payment plan over the Subscription scheme as you’ll eventually own the bike that you’ve been paying for. But you do, of course, need to know you can commit to it.
Is Brompton Subscription Worth It?
If you want to use a Brompton regularly and can’t afford to buy one outright, then yes it’s definitely worth it. Bromptons are high quality and highly desirable bikes, and sadly the barrier to owning one will often be the price.
If you use a Brompton sometimes but there will be periods when you don’t need to, then the Flexi Subscription is also worth it.
It’s also a great scheme for those who aren’t sure, and want to try a Brompton for a period of time before making a commitment to buy.
But given that Brompton bikes hold their value extremely well, if you want one to be your ‘forever’ bike (which it could easily be), then it’s probably worth saving up, or using the payment plan to buy one. Hiring one for years will cost you considerably more.