Video: Inside the Brompton Factory

Words by David Hicks

on 19/07/2018 10:09:24

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Article & video by Michelle Brideau. Michelle is a #TeamRutland Ambassador and shares her cycling experiences on her blog and YouTube Channel. Find out more about Michelle >

I've been curious about Bromptons since moving to London and seeing them around the city. On my second attempt to get a bike for getting around London, I thought a Brompton bike might just be what I needed. A purchase I ended up delaying when I heard they were going to expand the Boris city bikes to my neighbourhood. Fast forward a few years later, after I'd become an avid cyclist, I was still curious about these folding bikes. You may be reading this because you are too and want to know more. So I'll start off by talking about who these bikes are for. In my mind, they're for everyone! From kids to adults to those new to cycling and those who have ridden for many years. Bromptons are great for people who want to go fast (there are Brompton World Championship races) and those who prefer a more chilled out ride. It's a bike both my 6-foot tall husband and I (5'5") can both comfortably ride.

Brompton

When Rutland Cycling arranged for me to use the Ultralight Brompton for a week, I took them up on it. It was a great chance to see if it would fit into my life as well as I thought it would. During that week I learned that this is a bike that gives you many options. One day I had to jump on the bus after work to meet someone, no problem I folded the Brompton and on the bus, we went. Another evening after work I met up with some friends for dinner. I travelled there on the Brompton and along it came inside, fitting nicely at the table!

Which brings me to the design. It's well thought out, and once you learn how it folds it's effortless (watch the end of the video below to see how fast you can fold one with practice). Everything tucks away and clips together very nicely. This is important when you have to carry the bike. I know, because I was given a folding bike years ago and the design was not nearly as good which made moving it while folded difficult. Brompton was designed in 1975 and so they have had many years to perfect the design with tweaks and improvements, and it shows. This year they have even bought out an electric version, in which they have cleverly kept very true to the Brompton design, and is a blast to ride.

Bromptons are sturdily put together with quality parts including an internal hub for the gears, which makes for a long-lasting, low maintenance bike. Of the many Bromptons in my office I found out that the lovely Berry Crush coloured one I'd been admiring was ten years old, you would never have know by looking at it, and she rides it to work every day.

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Inside the Brompton factory

On my visit to the Brompton factory in west London, I had the chance to learn more about the history of the bike and how they're made. An interesting story, including what today we would call crowdfunding. As well, there is quite the collection of collectors edition bikes in the musuem area. Be sure to check out the video below for your chance to get a peek behind the scenes.

Bromptons, bags and beyond

Bromptons may seem a bit twitchy at first, but it doesn't take long to get used to it, and I've been told a bag on the front of the bike makes the handling even better. I love a good bag, and there are many Brompton bags to choose from. I'm looking forward to finding just the right one and putting it to the test.

I'm excited to see what else this bike can do, perhaps a city break to Amsterdam on the Eurostar, or give Brompton bike touring a try (it's a real thing!), and I'll have the chance because I'm happy to say there is now a Brompton in my house. My husband's new job required him to use the train for part of his journey so he will be multi-modal commuting, using his Brompton to fill the gaps to and from the train stations.

As you can see, these Bromptons can do a lot but don't do as I did and wait years to get serious about looking into getting one! Next time you see one of these little bikes pass you by take a closer look, talk to the owners of Bromptons and find out why they love their bike so much, and if you're at a Rutland Cycling store, be sure to give one a look.

Explore the Brompton range >
michelle-bio

Michelle Brideau

Twitter: cycling_woman
YouTube: Ride On Cycling
Instagram: cycling_woman
Blog: Ride On Cycling

After recovering from Crohn's surgery in 2014 I knew I'd been taking my health for granted and needed to find a way to fit exercise into my busy life. I decided to start cycling the 8 mile commute to work in London, in November.

Starting off I was a nervous rider but as the winter went on I gained confidence, and when spring arrived I discovered the joy of riding in the warm sun and decided to sign up for a London to Oxford ride. It was while training for this ride that I found my love of long-distance cycling and bought a second bike, a road bike. A Canadian, shortly after the purchase of my second bike, seven months into cycling as an adult, I innocently googled �How long does it take to cycle across Canada� and discovered the world of bike touring. After a decade in London, I was captivated by the idea of spending the summer on a bike exploring my home country and started planning. A year later with my partner and a new touring bike, I started off on my first bike tour, cycling from Vancouver to Halifax a 4100 mile journey lasting 74 days.

Since my ride across Canada, I have discovered a love of climbing on my bike and have cycled some of the cols of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees as well as going on various bike tours here in the UK. For 2018 I'm challenging myself by participating in the Vatternrundan ride, a 300km ride around a lake in Sweden with 27,000 other cyclists.


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