New 2018 Bromptom Electric Bike - Brompton's First eBike

J.R.

Well-Known Member
#1
Brompton folding bikes have earned a reputation of being the best folding bikes on the market. They have almost a cult following, that other folding bike manufactures can only wish for. They do set the bar (and price) really high.

There have been rumors of a Brompton ebike for years. Some fueled by Brompton themselves, much to the chargrin of some Brompton faithfuls. There is a market for it, so much so that several kits are available designed specifically for Brompton bikes. The bikes are very different than anything on the market and electrifying them isn't an easy task, especially when taking into account they have to meet EU specifications of 250 watts and pedal assist. The easiest way to electrify a bike like this would be to add a throttle, but that would be illegal for a bike made in the UK. The next easiest would be to slap on a cadence sensor and call it a day! That would never do for Brompton.

The Brompton ebike rumor mill really started to churn in 2017 and finally there's a bike to see and review. There are pre-production units being ridden and reviewed in the UK and Brompton plans to release the bike this year. They are really late to the game and now have serious competition, like the Tern Vektron. Hopefully they aren't too late. It looks like a really nice, compact bike.




https://us.brompton.com/Brompton-Electric

https://us.brompton.com/News/Posts/2017/Electric-bike
 

christob

Well-Known Member
#4
I guess I was in a snarky mood when watching the videos... the woman riding the Brompton, easily passing the hard working traditional-bike cyclist on an incline, then turning to look back at him and smile wryly; made me feel like (that behavior, personified by her character in the vid) is not likely to win over many new ebike supporters from traditional bikers... sure, it is a delight to take a hill that ordinarily leaves a regular biker huffing and puffing or straining for slow steady progress in a low gear... but the "wry smile attitude" just rubbed me the wrong way...
Still, the bike looks terrific and I like the treatment of the battery housing as a kind of tote/luggage bag...
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
#5
The August 2017 issue of British transport magazine A to B reviewed a pre-production Brompton Electric. They measured the weight of the bike at 39lb. They liked the two different size battery bags and their ease of use with a thumb release on top of the handle and a separate handle for removing the battery if desired - this would be useful if you were charging the battery off the bike. They praised how the designers managed to keep the Brompton fold, and they measured power consumption of between 9.2-11.6 wh per mile which is a real energy sipper. Their criticisms were the Williams geared hub motor was a bit loud compared to a Tongxin, and "on a really dark night (you can always tell when a bike has been developed by urbanites) the bright battery top LEDs can be a serious distraction. Pull away at night on full power with a full battery and there will be ten LEDs blinking back at you. They’re small and blue, but we’d like to see a dimmer setting linked to the light sensor."
 
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J.R.

Well-Known Member
#7
What's the bag carrying options for Every Day Carry , since the front rack is carrying the battery ?
From the many articles I've read the ebike will fold up just like any Brompton. The battery bag that attaches to the carrier block will need to be carried separately, as can be seen in this picture.

Screenshot_20180622-002544.jpg


You can get a hard case for the bike or use something as simple as this:


Carrying your everyday 'stuff', I think your limited to a seatpost bag, shoulder bag or backpack. Riding any folder always has limitations.

I expect we'll see the bike prominently displayed at Eurobike and hopefully at Interbike. Maybe @Court will have a chance to interview the Brompton folks and give us more information then.
 
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#8
The August 2017 issue of British transport magazine A to B reviewed a pre-production Brompton Electric. They measured the weight of the bike at 39lb. They liked the two different size battery bags and their ease of use with a thumb release on top of the handle and a separate handle for removing the battery if desired - this would be useful if you were charging the battery off the bike. They praised how the designers managed to keep the Brompton fold, and they measured power consumption of between 9.2-11.6 wh per mile which is a real energy sipper. Their criticisms were the Williams geared hub motor was a bit loud compared to a Tongxin, and "on a really dark night (you can always tell when a bike has been developed by urbanites) the bright battery top LEDs can be a serious distraction. Pull away at night on full power with a full battery and there will be ten LEDs blinking back at you. They’re small and blue, but we’d like to see a dimmer setting linked to the light sensor."
To avoid distraction, the trick is to cover the blue LED’s with the broad support pad from the shoulder strap (naturally done when you safely secure the excess strap before riding). This can be done with either the Essential Bag or the optional City Bag.
 
#9
What's the bag carrying options for Every Day Carry , since the front rack is carrying the battery ?
I bought the optional extra City Bag and it is good for a laptop, change of clothes, shoes, water bottle, waterproofs and snacks, whilst keeping under the recommended 10 kg front carrier weight limit. Since it also houses the battery, the interior shape is a little weird and I had to adapt my packing order, compared to the S-Bag and C-Bag options for the non-electric Brompton. As a bonus, the bike does ride better with more weight over the front wheel.
 
#10
Had the Brompton Electric for a few weeks now. I really like it. At 72 I folding bike that can be kept in the flat really appealed, had given up riding the bike I bought for the boys, but had seen my one son buy an electric bike in LA. In a flat, and an area that is less than safe, a bike that can be folded down and taken indoors definitely has appeal.

Bought it and loved it. Performs as advertised...but small problem. From time to time it does not 'pull away’ as advertised and the fault code indicated an motor problem.

Had that warning twice and taken bike back to Brompton. Seems they are aware that there is a problem with a small percentage of the e bikes sold. Waiting right now to see what they report back.

Will keep the thread informed.
 
#11
Had the Brompton Electric for a few weeks now. I really like it. At 72 I folding bike that can be kept in the flat really appealed, had given up riding the bike I bought for the boys, but had seen my one son buy an electric bike in LA. In a flat, and an area that is less than safe, a bike that can be folded down and taken indoors definitely has appeal.

Bought it and loved it. Performs as advertised...but small problem. From time to time it does not 'pull away’ as advertised and the fault code indicated an motor problem.

Had that warning twice and taken bike back to Brompton. Seems they are aware that there is a problem with a small percentage of the e bikes sold. Waiting right now to see what they report back.

Will keep the thread informed.
What did they say? Mine has the same problem and eventually the whole bike failed as it wouldn’t reset. They replaced the motor and controller but it still has the same problem.
 
#12
That’s bad news. We visited the Brompton factory today on a tour for Brompton Electric owners. The problem of communication between the motor and controller is something the company recognises and is keen to sort out. We haven’t experienced this with ours but we heard from others who had. It appears to be something that had shown up in testing and that had hoped to have cured before production went ahead.

The MD was at pains to point out that he really did want to hear about the problems and that they are committed to fixing them. There have also been around three firmware updates since shipments started in September and another one is being released in a few weeks. All bikes should be updated by the dealer.

My advice would be to write to the MD, tell him of your poor experience so far and ask for a plan to resolve the issue without endless swapping. It certainly sounded as if they were confident of the source of the problems and keen to fix them. There really aren’t a huge number of these bikes out there yet (production is around 20 to 40 per week) and they say they want early adopters who showed faith in buying such a new product to get the fixes they need.

They seem to be an honourable company. Although they do seem to want to route you through the dealer where possible I would recommend direct contact in the case of an ongoing, unresolved problem.

We’re fairly happy with ours. We have had no firmware updates yet and are hoping our desire for more useful power delivery on hills will be met by the version being issued shortly. I’ll let you know either way.
 
#13
That’s bad news. We visited the Brompton factory today on a tour for Brompton Electric owners. The problem of communication between the motor and controller is something the company recognises and is keen to sort out. We haven’t experienced this with ours but we heard from others who had. It appears to be something that had shown up in testing and that had hoped to have cured before production went ahead.

The MD was at pains to point out that he really did want to hear about the problems and that they are committed to fixing them. There have also been around three firmware updates since shipments started in September and another one is being released in a few weeks. All bikes should be updated by the dealer.

My advice would be to write to the MD, tell him of your poor experience so far and ask for a plan to resolve the issue without endless swapping. It certainly sounded as if they were confident of the source of the problems and keen to fix them. There really aren’t a huge number of these bikes out there yet (production is around 20 to 40 per week) and they say they want early adopters who showed faith in buying such a new product to get the fixes they need.

They seem to be an honourable company. Although they do seem to want to route you through the dealer where possible I would recommend direct contact in the case of an ongoing, unresolved problem.

We’re fairly happy with ours. We have had no firmware updates yet and are hoping our desire for more useful power delivery on hills will be met by the version being issued shortly. I’ll let you know either way.
Hope you enjoyed the factory tour.
Mine has had one firmware update, which cured a “hesitancy” on e-assist.
 
#16
We did eńjoy the tour! I’d recommend having a (general) tour of the factory if you are a fan or if you are thinking about getting an Electric Brompton. I saw someone on a tour test riding the MDs bike, I think!

I’m typing this sitting at the station waiting with my Brompton go to the Sussex coast for a brief spin along the seafront.

UPDATE: I had a great ride along the coast, off-road cycle path between Goring-on-Sea and Shoreham-by-Sea. 9 miles. Got the train to Goring with the Brompton and then train back from Shoreham so one-way ride with a sea view all the way. Sat in a regular seat with bike either in front or beside me (train not packed). The power assisted nicely against the headwind. About 13 miles in all, and all battery charge lights still showing when I got home.

Not impossible to do with my regular ebike but the hassle of negotiating platform underpasses and finding a bike carriage on multiple trains does take some of the fun out of it. I’m enjoying my Electric Brompton.
 
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#17
I've had a very positive experience with Brompton bikes for many years, fantastic for commuting, camping holidays or cycling to the pub and getting a train/taxi home. My wife and I have owned 3 and never had a problem with any of them. I'm getting a bit older now and live by a big hill that I can't always get up on my regular Brompton, so upgraded to an electric to give me a bit of a push. Disaster.

I'm VERY disappointed with the new bike - I can't tell you what it rides like because it has never worked. The product doesn't work and neither does Brompton service. The factory do all support through the distributor who tried to fix it and failed. Having seen the state of their workshop I'm not confident in their mechanical abilities, plus it's very difficult for me to get to the distributor if there are continual problems, so I asked for a refund. They referred me back to Brompton because I bought it online. Brompton are refusing to give me a refund insisting that the distributor will be able to fix it.

I don't think the bike is ready for production, so if you buy one make sure you live near a distributor and take a look in their workshop before you order - the bike is likely to spend some time there.

I'm not enjoying my Electric Brompton.
 
#18
That’s not good! Sorry to hear of your problems.

I would agree that the product is not perfect yet and the management at Brompton have said the same. Almost all of the electric components are, as far as I am aware, unique to Brompton Electric. The real-world testing is happening now and we are all doing it. If I had already owned Bromptons prior to the Electric model I think I might be feeling the same as you. It is the bike and not the electrics that contributes a lot of the appeal at this point.

AndyH (coincidentally, we share the same first name and initial!), you haven’t said what problems you are seeing although you hint that it is mechanical. I do think that Brompton management believe they now have an understanding of the general problems being experienced and can fix them via the dealer, which is perhaps the frustrating part for all concerned. You seem to be caught in a loop between the dealer and factory support. If you have had a rotten customer experience then tell Will Butler-Adams (Brompton MD) directly and tell him what it is that will make you a happy customer. That is what I would do and I have every expectation that he would get it sorted out.

Our current situation is that we have two Electric Bromptons and use full power mode all the time. The motor on our white bike was swapped for a new one at the factory visit 3 1/2 weeks ago as it was clicking. It has behaved itself since then but now seems to consume power at around twice the rate of the other, black bike. I have trouble on the black bike keeping up with my wife on the white one so I’ve concluded that the new motor is operating correctly and using power (20 to 45 miles per charge) as advertised. The black one will do 25 miles over 2 rides at full power, without recharging and still have 40 - 60% battery remaining, which seems incorrect.

As of Friday my black bike has started throwing controller error (LEDs 2 and 5 flashing) and this happened again yesterday (Sunday) when it cut out on a hill. The white bike left me standing and sailed up the same hill.

The limited dealer and service outlets for Electric Brompton are also a problem for us. We chose a dealer to collect from as we also ordered online from Brompton. 50 mile round trip by car to collect and then have a poor handover and initial setup were very disappointing - we’ve decided to go to a Brompton Junction for servicing but are waiting until after Christmas as a new firmware version will be available then that a Brompton team leader said would show the improvements we are after. This will not be an easy or convenient trip.

I asked about a widened dealer support network for Electric. We live the country and have a local Brompton dealer 5 miles from here but they are not Electric dealers. Brompton management talked instead about widening support through their new link-up with Halfords. To me, their thinking for Electric dealers and support is 1) metropolitan and 2) chains. This is the opposite of what I would prefer but I accept that I am nothing like their target customer.

They are targeting the young, busy, metropolitan dwelling worker wanting to arrive at a the office or social function without using some other transport mode and without breaking a sweat. I am an old(er), retired, rural dwelling interest seeker who likes exploring and mini-adventures with my wife whilst keeping fit. The electric element is essentially a safety measure to ensure that an adventure does not turn into a weary slog that then discourages future adventures. And the folding element means I can securely transport two bikes in the car or motorhome boot without the weight or hassle of a rack. Easy train transport is a bonus. They won’t want us in any video or marketing campaign for a Brompton Electric!

I therefore just need both bikes to perform like the white one has for the past 3 1/2 weeks and to keep doing so without continual service trips to The Smoke to be fettled. I remain hopeful that this will be achieved soon.
 
#19
With all the great controller, motors, displays and connectors Brompton did their own thing? Another nightmare of proprietary electrics and a Willaims motor... THAT'S a model that has failed before. My favorite folder with a crippled assist.
 
#20
They originally attempted something with a couple of different suppliers (domestic and the usual suspects) but wasted a lot of time going down paths to nowhere. Brompton are not large enough to call the shots with the biggest suppliers but nothing “off-the-shelf” would do the job without compromising the existing bike. That appears to be the issue. There was no appetite to invent a new folder model to electrify. It had to remain a Brompton. Hence the unique kit. But most of a Brompton is built in-house anyway so it’s not like they don’t know how to manufacture rather than bolt together.

Well, this is my understanding as a customer. It’s been an interesting three months with some problems in the last few weeks. I’m happy.