Will we soon be living in a city bike e-assisted world, where every bicycle has a motor, and every rider is capable of crossing the city at Tour de France speeds? With the unveiling of the Brompton Electric this week - a long rumoured electric version of the British brand's folding city bike - that world is now one pedal closer.
What is the Brompton Electric?
It's a Brompton folding bike, augmented by a 250W front hub motor controlled through 3 assistance modes, co-developed with the Williams F1 Advanced Engineering division. The battery - which includes USB device charging capabilities and an intuitive app user interface - is attached to the Brompton's front block, and can be removed when off-bike.
Cities are about to change. 'We've spent five years taking Williams Racing technology and integrating it into the Brompton. It has been harder than any of us imagined but we believe we have created a product that will inspire more people to get out from under the ground, out of their cars and back onto a bike to rediscover their cities. With the Brompton Electric you feel you have the wind behind you all day, it is so much fun and a bit cheeky as whizz up hills, nip off at the lights and arrive anywhere raring to go.
Will Butler-Adams, CEO Brompton Bicycle
How far, how fast?
Brompton quote the Electric as being able to cover between 25-50 miles / 40-80km depending on environmental factors and assistance mode.
That word - assistance. The Brompton Electric won't pedal itself (sorry, blame the law...) but it will assist you from no help to lots of help up to 15.5mph / 25kmh, after which you are on your own (the law, again...).
How quickly does the Brompton Electric recharge?
With the included 2A standard charger, the Brompton Electric can reach 80% charge in 3-3.5 hours, and 100% charge in 4-5 hours.
A fast charger is available as an optional accessory, which enables an 80% charge in 1.5-2 hours, and 100% in 2.5-3 hours.
Weight & Lights
The Electric features a 20 Lux Busch & Müller LYT front light, powered off the battery. Whilst not seriously bright, it is a sensible option for city riding in well-lit areas, but perhaps not an ideal solution for very dark roads with little artificial street lighting. However, as the Brompton is primarily aimed for the urban arena, that's not so much of an issue.
Need to lug the Brompton Electric up the stairs? The 2-speed model weighs 16.6kg with battery, up from 10.8kg for a comparable non-e 2-speed Brompton, whilst the 6-speed comes in at 17.3kg.
Unveiled but not yet released, the Brompton Electric can be reserved now, and paid for in early 2018 upon receipt of an email from Brompton.