We took a ride out to York to Cycle heaven to test ride an Brompton Electric. Here we share with you some photos and our thoughts on the ride. We cycled to school and then work before starting cycling on the road. We can see how e-bikes look set to change how cycling is accessed by all.
Currently, we use our winter road bike with mudguards for day to day tasks, including commuting and shopping. In many ways this is not practical.
The idea of a folding e-bike, solves some of the challenges of a typical e-bike:
Weight. - a full size hybrid can be cumbersome, big wheels, heavy frame and components, add in a motor and battery, and it’s easy for the weight of the bike to add up to over 20 kg.
The Brompton Electric has an advertised weight of 17.3 kg including battery in a small bag. with the bonus practicality of being able to fold up.
Security - Taking a fold up bike into a building instead of leaving it out side, reduces the risk of theft.
Utility riding - Taking the bike into a shop, using the bike as a trolley or putting the bike in a supermarket trolley would help with day to day tasks.
The battery comes with a small bag as standard. A larger bag is available as an optional extra for £130.
The battery fits onto the front of the bike. The battery doesn't move with the handlebars. A plastic mechanism on the battery back allows quick placement and removal of the battery. keeping the folding sequence quick.
The front of the bike with the battery removed. The electrical contacts can be seen as the battery has been removed.
On top of the battery there is a battery indicator and two buttons. One button controls the lights, front and rear. The other button allows the rider to select the level of assistance. There are three modes. We tried all three.
Assistance mode 1 - this mode is most economical providing assistance that is noticeable but subtle.
Assistance mode 2 - This mode is the a compromise of efficiency and more powerful assistance. we started of on this mode. The assistance was obvious and immediate.
Assistance mode 3 - This mode provides the most assistance. This gave fast acceleration up to the limit of 15 mph. Great fun until up to speed.
We didn't get to try the bike on a slope. it was a very grey day and the roads looked too dirty for a white bike.
There is a sensor in the bottom bracket, that indicates when the rider is pedalling and how hard. This determines the assistance provided by the motor. The result is a seamless riding feel. You ride like normal and the bike helps. Apart from when you are above 15.5 mph, you are on your own.
We only tested the bike in a few circles in a car park.
The ideal test would be a day to day test. This would include going to work, going shopping on the way home and riding up a hill.
Thanks to the folks at Cycle Heaven York for showing us the Brompton Electric. be sure to check them out if you are in York. They have a large selection of Brompton bicycles in stock.
Currently, you can join the reservation list to purchase an electric Brompton via their website. £200 grants you a place on the list.
The word from Brompton is their electric bikes will be ready during summer of 2018.
Joining the reservation list, doesn't give any more details on when the bikes will be ready.