The new Brompton T line makes it easier to work on the bike in the city
Brompton T Line enters the fold – it’s made from titanium and is the company’s lightest bike to date
The Brompton is an urban cult object, but if you’ve ever hauled one of the company’s sleek folding bikes up the stairs of a Tube station, you’ll know just how much serious engineering weighs.
Introduced in 1975 by inventor and company founder Andrew Ritchie, the company has grown slowly and steadily and now sells around 70,000 bikes a year, in cities as far afield as Shanghai, New York and Singapore, with 15 flagship stores around the world. Urban cycling is always a growing market, and Brompton’s unique folding mechanism makes it the ultimate and original last mile solution.
The new Brompton T Line is touted as the company’s lightest bike, with a total weight of 7.45kg. Considering the regular model starts at around 10kg, with even heavier electrified versions, that’s a pretty impressive reduction.
It took the London-based company three years to fine-tune the design of the T Line. From the start, the focus has been on losing weight, which brings a whole host of benefits to the Brompton rider.
To achieve the 37% reduction, the frame is made of titanium, which is corrosion-resistant, strong, ultra-light and relatively abundant, but also devilishly difficult to work with. Yet even before the first piece of metal was cut, the design was fully modeled and computer-simulated to optimize every millimeter of the frame structure.
The Brompton team went after every extra gram, shaving the frame and over 150 components without compromising the unique folding mechanism that is at the heart of the bike.
To achieve the right levels of quality, Brompton works with Sheffield metalworkers CW Fletcher & Sons, specialists with 130 years of experience, including high precision work for the aerospace and nuclear industry. Two different types of welding processes are used at Brompton Fletcher’s dedicated new factory, before the frames descend to London to be fitted with the all-new components.
This includes a compact transmission with a carbon crankset, as well as a gear ratio specially adapted for urban driving. Other key details include a steel shielded carbon seat post – and the T line is the first bike in the world to have this feature – to withstand the daily wear and tear of folding, unfolding and riding.
The T Line is designed for riders and their luggage up to 110kg, with the drive system tested extensively in all weather conditions. Ride quality has also been carefully considered, with a one-piece carbon fork and wider carbon handlebar. At launch there will be the T Line One specification – a minimal single-speed machine designed for purists – while the T Line Urban includes the new compact gearing system for added flexibility.
“The only thing that’s been carried over from our classic model is the braking system,” says Brompton Design and Engineering Manager Will Carleysmith. “Everything else has been refined, streamlined and improved.” §