I love riding my Brompton in Barcelona and other places when we travel. In fact, I’ve taken it with me all over Europe since it’s so easy to travel with it, whether it’s by plane, train or car.
It’s a great means of transport, but it’s also true that if you live in hilly regions it can be a challenge to use it on a daily basis as a means of transport. The same thing applies if you’re not that young anymore and don’t have the same energy and stamina as before.
Enter electric bikes. They’re not a new concept but recent advances in battery size and capacity, as well as electric motors, have really made possible and driven the market for electric bikes.
The official electric Brompton is now a reality and has been selling like hot cakes. There are however several alternatives that don’t require you to buy a new bike but just convert your existing one.
In this post, I’ll summarize the options available, and continue updating it with new developments as they happen.
I own several Bromptons, and have also bought the official electric version which I love.
So without further ado, here are the current options. I’d love to hear from others who have already purchased such kits or the official electric Brompton and hear about their experience.
Official Brompton Electric Bike
In 2017, an Official Brompton Electric bike was finally released.
I’ve tried some third-party electrification kits and found that the official Brompton Electric solution offers unparalleled performance, seamless integration, and a host of benefits that enhance your riding experience.
Why Go for the Brompton Electric?
Let’s delve into why the Brompton Electric Kit stands out from the alternatives:
- Unmatched Integration and Compatibility The Brompton Electric is meticulously engineered to seamlessly integrate with Brompton bikes. From the frame design to the folding mechanism, every aspect is carefully considered to ensure a perfect fit. This level of integration results in a superior riding experience, maintaining the exceptional functionality and aesthetics that Brompton bikes are renowned for.
- Optimized Performance and Range Brompton Electric kits are developed with extensive research and expertise, focusing on delivering exceptional performance and range. The electric system is precisely tuned to provide optimal power assistance, making your rides effortless and enjoyable. With advanced battery technology, you can confidently explore longer distances without worrying about running out of power.
- Reliable and Trustworthy Brand Brompton is a well-established and highly regarded brand in the cycling industry, known for their commitment to quality and craftsmanship. When you choose the Brompton Electric, you’re investing in a reliable and trustworthy product backed by the Brompton name. This ensures long-term durability, excellent customer support, and access to a vast network of Brompton enthusiasts.
- Seamless Folding and Portability One of the key advantages of Brompton bikes is their compact and foldable design, allowing for easy storage and transport. The Brompton Electric kit preserves this crucial feature, maintaining the bike’s foldability without compromising on performance. You can still enjoy the convenience of folding your Brompton electric bike and taking it with you wherever you go.
- Continuous Innovation and Updates Brompton is committed to continuous innovation and product development. By choosing the Brompton Electric, you benefit from ongoing updates and improvements as Brompton refines their electric system. This ensures that your Brompton electric bike remains at the forefront of technology and provides the best riding experience possible.
Ultimately, you buy a Brompton Electric because it makes possible certain rides possible that previously were not even contemplated with a manual Brompton.
I still own my manual Bromptons, but it’s the Electric I use most frequently as a means of transport around the city. Since I have the Brompton Electric I’ve used it instead of scooters, buses, metro, taxis or car trips many many times.
Downsides of the Brompton Electric
However, there are certain things that could have been done better. I find the price a bit exaggerated, considering it’s around €2,000 more expensive than the manual version. I picked up mine on the second-hand market at a huge discount and it had barely been used.
The electric Brompton is not compatible with the Bobike Mini One child seat that I like to have mounted on my bike. Since getting some help when riding up hills with my son is one of the main use cases for an electric Brompton in my case, this reduces its usefulness. On the other hand, when my son is older he can ride on another seating version, so it’s a temporary problem.
I don’t like the fact that you can’t use the standard Brompton bags either, although the new bags that also carry the battery are pretty nice. I have both versions of the bag and use them both.
On wet days going uphill it can easily spin the front wheel especially if it’s set on maximum assistance. The fact that you can’t switch the level of assistance comfortably from the handlebars is also an annoyance.
Having said all that, as I mentioned, I still love my electric Brompton and use it almost on a daily basis for my errands around town, including with kids. I also like to use it for touring when I’m leaving my home to go and explore some faraway place. I turn down the assistance but it gives me the peace of mind that if I get too far and need to get back home quickly or I get insanely tired, I can always turn up the assistance and get home in half the time.
So I’ve talked about my gripes and the fact that I still love my electric Brompton, but there are alternatives to electrify your Brompton. Let’s have a look at them.
Swytch Conversion Kit
This started out as a Kickstarter project for regular bikes, but it is now available for many types of bikes including the Brompton. The Swytch Brompton Electric conversion kit probably the most affordable one available at the moment and you can also install it yourself if you have some know-how.
This company is strong on marketing, and ultimately the kit works in a similar way to the Brompton official electric bike. However, you can fit a child seat at the front which makes it a better solution for me. It also looks neater in my opinion. The disadvantage is that it usually out of stock and that it uses a front-wheel driving mechanism, which can get a bit tricky to manage in wet conditions.
While the Swytch Conversion Kit may appear as an alternative option, the Brompton Electric Kit stands as the clear frontrunner when it comes to electrifying your Brompton bike. Designed specifically for Brompton bikes, the Brompton Electric Kit seamlessly integrates with the frame and components, preserving the bike’s original aesthetics and functionality. In contrast, the Swytch Conversion Kit often compromises the folding mechanism and may not provide the same level of performance and range. With Brompton’s trusted brand reputation, dedicated customer support, and ongoing innovation, choosing the Brompton Electric Kit ensures a superior riding experience and long-term satisfaction. Invest in the Brompton Electric Kit to enjoy the seamless integration, optimized performance, and reliability that perfectly complement your beloved Brompton bike.
ARCC Innovations Brompton Retro Fit kit
This system allows the bike to be used with and without the currently available Brompton bag systems. The bag can be easily removed leaving the pod attached to the bike.
The ARCC Intelligent Power System has been designed by ARCC Innovations to provide unique intelligent bike power. It combines variable power levels with automatic hill/gradient compensation and launch control. This allows commuting cyclists to choose the amount of effort both they and the motor provides; automatically compensates for hills and gradients; and provides ‘launch control’, for safety when moving away from traffic lights and crossings in heavy traffic.
The installation process of the Retro Fit kit is more complex and time-consuming compared to the official Brompton Electric, which is purpose-built and ready to ride upon purchase.
Another disadvantage is that this company only ships to the UK.
Brompton retrofit price from £1799
Pendix Electric Assist
The Pendix electric assist kit is a neat German-made system – it’s a crank drive kit, but unlike most crank drives, it can be fitted to conventional frames with no modification. The battery fits to a holder that fits to the bottle bosses or other convenient mounting points. A simple control knob on the battery sets the power output, and that’s it – it’s beautifully simple.
Because of this, it’s perfectly suited to bikes with hub gears, recumbents or any bikes where a hub motor won’t fit.
Since it is a crank drive, it will work on any Brompton – no need to change brakes, wheels or gearing, no frame modifications are needed. This makes it pretty convenient.
I’ve tried a Pendix-mounted Brompton and the power delivery was quite natural and probably better than the systems mounted on the front wheel. However, it adds a lot of bulk to the crank and frankly it felt like the Brompton was no longer a Brompton but a Frankenstein bike. The battery also rattled around which added to that feeling of Brompton’s elegance being completely lost.
When installing the Pendix electric assist system on a Brompton bike, there may be implications for the manufacturer’s warranty and customer support. Modifying the bicycle with an aftermarket solution can potentially void the original warranty provided by Brompton.
Note that one big disadvantage of electric Bromptons is that you can’t take them on a plane due to airline restrictions with bigger batteries.
Enhance Your Brompton Electric Kit Experience with Accessories
In addition to the Brompton electric kits mentioned earlier, there are several accessories available that can further enhance your riding experience. One brand that stands out in this regard is Vincita, known for their high-quality cycling accessories. Let’s take a look at some of the Vincita products that can complement your Brompton electric kit:
- This spacious and durable front carrier bag is specifically designed for Brompton bikes. With its multiple compartments and a capacity of up to 18 liters, it’s perfect for storing your essentials during your rides. The bag features water-resistant fabric and reflective elements for added safety.
- When it comes to carrying your Brompton electric bike, Vincita offers a convenient solution with their carry handle shoulder strap. This adjustable strap securely attaches to your bike, allowing you to comfortably transport it when folded. It’s particularly useful when navigating crowded areas or using public transportation.
- If you’re planning to travel with your Brompton electric bike, the Vincita transport bag is a must-have accessory. Designed with padding and water-resistant materials, this bag provides excellent protection during transit. Its tailored fit ensures a snug and secure enclosure for your bike.
- Security is paramount, and Vincita offers a reliable folding lock for your Brompton electric bike. This compact lock provides peace of mind when you need to leave your bike unattended, combining convenience and safety in one package.
- Don’t let inclement weather ruin your riding plans. The Vincita rain cover, designed specifically for Brompton bikes, offers excellent protection against rain, dust, and UV rays. Its lightweight and user-friendly design make it a practical accessory to have on hand.
By incorporating these high-quality Vincita accessories into your Brompton electric kit setup, you can take your riding experience to the next level. Explore the full range of Vincita products on their official website or through authorized retailers.
What are your thoughts on the electric Brompton? Would you buy an electric conversion kit for your Brompton?