Why are Brompton folding bikes so expensive?

Discussion in 'Folding Bikes' started by Bimble, 16 Feb 2016.

  1. Bimble

    Bimble Bimbling along ...

    I just wondered what makes a Brompton worth nearly a thousand pounds in comparison with many of the cheaper folders that are now available?

    Is it the components? Frame materials? Great service if something goes wrong?

    They seem to be the folder of choice for many, have a great following and are written about positively all over the place, so what makes the Brompton such an admired bit of kit at such a high(ish) price?
  2. outlash

    outlash also available in orange

    ice station zebra
    As the old saying goes 'you get what you pay for'. I use a Tern for around town and it's great for that, unlike a Brompton that people tour with and keep for many, many years..
    scalyman and Bimble like this.
  3. SavageHoutkop

    SavageHoutkop Über Member

    It's good quality and all parts are backward compatible. We have two 2008 models in the house and they are still going strong. Also you get to feel good that you have supported British jobs if that matters to you. Still not seen another folder with a fold as neat, although I've not been looking.
    Used to be the only folder that was guaranteed passage on a train was a Brompton as all others were too big.
  4. MichaelW2

    MichaelW2 Veteran

    Brommies fold up to a more compact size by using 2 frame hinge axes instead of the usual one. This means extra tubework, lugs and fittings. This complex hand-brazed structure is made in London, paying London rents, wages, taxes, effluent standards etc.
    Brommies have far more unique components than most std 20" folders.
    They are a high quality product,comparable with (usually beating) the best German and Taiwanese folders which themselves are not cheap.
  5. 12boy

    12boy Über Member

    Casper WY USA
    There is much said about the fold and some bitching about the weight, but those frames and hinges are sturdy and durable. What I like about it is its capacity to carry weight, both a rider and cargo. You can carry a lot in the front, really driven mostly by what size bag is on there and some on the back as well, without compromising handling and safety. In fact, a heavy front bag stabilizes the steering some what. I think of mine, which I call my little goat, as a very efficient little cargo bike, which BTW are hardly cheap, either.
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  6. simon.r

    simon.r Person

    Bloody Cockneys, even their sewers are better than everywhere else^_^
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  7. Kell

    Kell Über Member

    Expensive compared to what?

    I resisted getting a Brompton and had three full-size folders before it.

    My main objection actually wasn't the price (as at that point, I didn't know how much they were), but more the small wheeled thing.

    The first one was bent out of shape when it was run over by a car, so I can't hold that against the bike. However, both of my Dahons cracked the seat tubes. One after 5 years (bought new) and one after 1 year (bought second hand while I tried to get someone to admit responsibility for the first one cracking. I failed).

    Both bikes ended up being binned as there were no parts worth salvaging. I only kept the wheels as I'd upgraded them from the cheap vaguely, but not quite, round versions that came with the bike. My original Dahon was about £800, plus the new wheels at about £125 doesn't make it that much cheaper than a Brompton anyway. And the second one I bought from a mate who'd used it for about a week, for £150.

    This is a picture of the second one I bought - which was a 2008. The one I bought new, was a 2009. Sure I've got a picture of the cracks somewhere, but not to hand.



    When I eventually bit the bullet and got a Brompton, I wished I'd done it years ago.

    There's nothing better suited to the purpose that's any less expensive. And actually, There's nothing I've seen that 's more expensive that's any better suited.

    My only gripe is that when it's folded, it's not light to carry. And those little wheels do NOT make it easy to wheel about.
    Last edited: 16 Feb 2016
    Aunty Tyke likes this.
  8. srw

    srw It's a bit more complicated than that...

    Despite what @User says - they're priced fairly for what you get. Which is a well-designed, well-made, well-thought-out versatile bike that also doubles as a solution to the problem of multi-modal travel.
  9. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    I have Brompton and a Dahon. Dahon not used once since I had the Brompton. The Brompton folds properly and rides almost as well when the front bag is on.
    Illaveago, Blue Hills and Aunty Tyke like this.
  10. T4tomo

    T4tomo Veteran

    Mine is over 10 years old and still rides like its brand new. You get what you pay for.

    All I've replaced in that time is a rear mudguard and a crank/chainring combo. Plus a few cables, chains and sprockets thru normal wear and tear. I recently upgraded the brake levers to the new style as they are better, but the old ones were still functional.
  11. Profpointy

    Profpointy Guru

    I'm after one but it's a pity the axle spacing isn't standard as the stock 3 speed seems a bit naff, compared with the kinetic 11 speed afline version - but that needs an entire new rear end henc is a bit pricey
  12. MichaelW2

    MichaelW2 Veteran

    Better than China, me old China !
    Illaveago and simon.r like this.
  13. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    Also worth saying I did a club TT on my Brompton last year. Started with it folded and managed the unfold and jump on within 17 secs
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  14. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    to be fair my Dahon folds fast but is huge and cumbersome when folded... and will not fit behind a seat on the train I used to take
  15. CopperBrompton

    CopperBrompton Bicycle: a means of transport between cake-stops

    There are folders that are compact when folded, folders that are quick to fold/unfold and folders that are great to ride. If you want all three, you're looking at a Brompton, and that's why they aren't cheap.

    But I'd argue that they aren't expensive either. They last forever, so you can easily get the purchase cost down to £100/year or a little over eight quid a month.
    User1252 likes this.
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