Remember back in 2020 when the COVID pandemic suddenly made Singaporeans want to get out of the house to exercise? And amidst our need for freedom, there was a cycling boom. One bicycle brand in particular stood out amongst the rest, and became highly sought-after to the point where they were constantly out of stock, and there was a long waiting list to purchase anything from them. That’s Brompton.
I first heard about Brompton from my circle of friends who were discussing where to get one, and that’s when I discovered more about foldable bikes. I soon had the impression that Brompton is a premium brand (with premium prices), and is considered trendy and cool. And for years, it’s been hard to get your hands on one at its proper retail price (not at a marked-up cost from resellers). But last year, Brompton ramped up their production to meet market demand, and since November 2022, you can waltz into Brompton’s official store at Funan to buy one off the shelf.
Above: all the many bikes on the shelves in brompton junction at funan.
This month, I try out one of the bikes from their most popular line — the C Line — to discover what the hype is all about. Is it worth its price? Read on.
Yes I’m gonna start with Brompton bike prices; they’re not cheap. The C Line (the most affordable line available in Singapore) is priced from $2,480, while the T Line (which has an ultra-light titanium frame) retails from a whopping $7,465. These prices are a far cry from a folding bike you can pick up at Decathlon where prices are just a few hundred dollars. But very often in the case of technology, you get what you pay for, so Brompton’s may cost a pretty penny, but they surely come with the quality and experience you would expect at that price.
Above: the above c line bike retails at $3,070.
It’s undeniable that a Brompton is classy and will turn heads. All the lines have a similar build and are offered in a variety of colours — including special editions released from time to time. There’s also a certain iconic “British look” to the bike as well; the design hints of classic, vintage styling, while still appearing modern with its sleek curves. Here we have the C Line in a new Matcha Green powder-coated shade. I personally love the matte finish that will distress beautifully over time. Plus, no fingerprints!
Above: The brompton c line in matcha green is the latest colour to launch.
I probably haven’t ridden a bike in more than 20 years, and the ones I used to own were mountain bikes with standard-sized wheels (at least 26″). With a Brompton, the wheels are obviously smaller to accommodate the folding mechanism and for portability, and smaller wheels naturally feel instinctively less stable than its larger counterpart. The Brompton C Line was a lovely surprise the first time I took off; it’s nimble, easily controllable, and the 6 gears on this model shift effortlessly.
The smaller 16″ wheels actually allow a quicker and easier acceleration, while starting and stopping is also responsive. Also, I must say, this bike was truly built for cruising, because it takes very little effort to get going, and even less to maintain speed and velocity. I found myself having so much fun riding this “compact” bike, that I started carving out moments of my work day to go for a joy ride around the estate.
Above: bromptons don’t have kickstands. this is the bike in its “standing” position, which is a half fold.
There was an article I came across that mentioned it will take 50km to get used to the handling of a Brompton, but I got accustomed to it after five minutes of twists and turns (it’s different for everybody).
Above: there are 3 heights for the handlebars — Low (left), medium (right) and high (not pictured here). most first-time brompton users opt for the medium height handlebar because of its general comfort and versatility.
Above: the brompton in its folded position, with included rack.
The Brompton fold is what every Brompton owner gets the bike for. It has three folding points on its frame, and collapses to an extremely compact fold, one that is just slightly larger than its wheels. The first few times you do it, it takes a bit of practice and figuring out; but once you get it, it becomes second nature and you’ll be flipping it open and closed like a pro.
Being able to fold into a compact package, it’s easy to fit a Brompton into even the smallest of car boots. For standard-sized sedans and bigger cars, you can fit two Bromptons inside the boot.
Above: The folded brompton in the car boot.
The Brompton is possibly the most iconic and popular folding bicycle on the market, which also means it has a high resale value. If you can afford one and you’ve been eyeing it for the longest time, go ahead and treat yourself. You’ll love it and be proud of riding it everywhere; and when the time comes to upgrade (eg. from a C Line to a P Line or T Line), they’ll definitely be someone out there who will take it off your hands for a reasonable price.
Even with folding points and a small frame, the bike feels robust; plus it’s light enough to carry onto buses and trains, which means it’ll take you further and you’ll get much use out of it. There’s 7 years warranty on the bike (you automatically get 2 years, but if you register it — which you should — you’ll get an additional 5 years of warranty), and this covers manufacturing and material defects. But then Brompton bikes are also said to last, so it’s unlikely anything is going to fail anytime soon if you use it the way it was meant to be used.
Above: i highly recommend installing the add-on rack on any brompton you get. this allows you to effortlessly push it along flat surfaces when in the folded position.
If you’re concerned about how it rides, there’s a saying that goes, “You don’t get Brompton until you get a Brompton.”
BY THE WAY
Brompton has an electric version of its popular C Line bike, and these are fitted with unique number plates, which will be registered in the owner’s name. But before you can buy one, you need to pass a mandatory online theory test from LTA. Many times, customers have visited the Brompton store at Funan to purchase an electric bike, only to realise they have to produce this theory test certificate first. You can read more about it on LTA’s website here. To sign up for the course and test, this is the link on Singapore Polytechnic’s website.
Above: Brompton c line electric bike at brompton junction in funan.
Above: brompton also sells lifestyle accessories like these bags that are built specifically for riding with.
Check out Brompton bikes in person at Brompton Junction located at Funan DigitaLife Mall, #01-26.