Brompton takes a combined approach to increasing gear range
Cycling to work can be a great way to keep fit, but if your journey involves hopping on a train you may find it easier to ride a folding bike. There are many brands that make them, but Brompton is probably the most well-known and well-respected. Now the company has introduced more gears to its bike and ebike lines, for more flexible riding options.
Until now, the Brompton range of folding bikes and ebikes topped out at six in the gear department. But as the name says, the Explore 12-speed range now puts a dozen gears at the rider's disposal.
But Brompton's solution is not quite as simple as increasing the number of cogs on the rear cassette. To keep its iconic frame compact and lightweight, the company can't really do that.
Instead, the Brit firm has taken a two-part approach to the problem. First there's a "featherweight" four-speed derailleur that was originally introduced on the T Line city bikes. This is controlled by a shifter mounted to the left of the handlebar.
Next there's a "nigh-on indestructible" three-speed Sturmey-Archer geared hub that's at the mercy of a shifter to the right. The combination of the derailleur and weather-sealed hub "multiplies the gear choice to 12."
Four product lines have been treated to the Explore 12-speed option, starting with the 10.5-kg (23.1-lb) P Line for US$3,250. Then there's the 17.3-kg (38.1-lb) Electric C Line for $4,250, the 16.3-g (35.9-lb) Electric P Line for $4,950, and finally the 8.8-kg (19.4 lb) T Line for $5,850.
Brompton bikes are sold in 46 countries around the world, and we've been informed that US availability is expected for March/April. The video below has more.
Product page: Explore 12-speed