Brompton folding bicycles are manufactured by the Brompton Bicycle company in Brentford, London. All the Brompton models are based around the same frame, which is the unique hinged Brompton folding frame, which has changed very little since the first folding bikes appeared on the market in the 1980’s. The original frame was patented by it’s designer, Andrew Ritchie back in 1979 and since then only small refinements have been made.
The Brompton folding bikes are modular in design, so that the range is made up by combining slightly different components to make up the exact model. For example mine has the classic M style handlebars, 6 gears and with mudguards and a Rack, which makes it an M6R. Newer letters have started to appear in recent years such as the H type which has the highest handlebars available, ideal for tall people or people who just like a very upright riding position. Similarly the Superlight bicycles have special parts: the front forks, rear frame and mudguard stays are made out of titanium. These lightweight bikes have the suffix of -X, so if I was to replace all those parts on my bike it would be a M6R-X. I’ll explain this in more details when I talk about Brompton model numbers in detail.
The Andrew Ritchie story is quite an amazing one, not so much for being an excellent designer, but by his sheer persistence and determination to create a product that literally changes people’s lives. Andrew Ritchie was awarded the 2009 Prince Philip Designers Prize for work on the Brompton folding bicycle.
It comes as no surprise that in most reviews of folding bikes, the Brompton is usually the winner.