The takeaway: The best folding commuter bike is about to get better.

  • Who should ride it: Commuters who want to show up to the office sweat-free and stash their bike under their desk.
  • What we love: The super-smooth proprietary motor.
  • Something we don’t: It’s not currently available in purple metallic paint.

Price: $3,499
Weight: 32 lb.


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Update: On March 21, 2022, Brompton announced a voluntary recall of this Brompton Electric model to address an issue where, in certain circumstances, an object can become stuck between the mudguard (fender) stay and the tire. This can then result in the mudguard becoming stuck in the tire and causing the wheel to suddenly stop rotating. Brompton is replacing, free of charge, the mudguard stays with a new version that has more clearance with the tire.

Additionally, Brompton announced an update to the battery catch to reduce movement between the battery and the bike. Brompton states “This minimizes battery disconnections, prolonging the life of the electronics and improving ride experience.”

To check if your Brompton Electric is affected by this recall, check out the Brompton website where you can check your bike's serial number, watch a video on the issue, and get more detailed information on this recall.

Brompton bicycles meet the needs of their intended users perhaps better than any other bike on the market: Commuters with a short distance to ride to work and people who take the train and use the bike for their first and last mile. The Brompton Electric, therefore, took a great tool and lessened the rider’s need to shower upon arrival. Its 16-inch wheels give it great off-the-line and uphill acceleration, and the e-assist is smooth and gradual. An internal torque sensor in the bottom bracket communicates with the front hub motor to conserve battery power. When the motor tops out or senses low torque, the bike rolls along on your power and momentum on the freewheel hub inside the motor.

Brompton Electric
The new Brompton Electric offers a power assist up to 15 mph.
Jimmy Cavalieri

The internally geared motor offers a maximum assistance of 15 mph. Like all Bromptons, the Electric folds in thirds. It’s available in 2- or 6-speed options, and the frame comes in black or white. Buyers choose between two different handlebar heights: standard, or two inches taller for a more relaxed position. The bikes will go on sale in the U.S. in June or July, says Brompton.

The Motor

Instead of outfitting a Brompton with pre-fab e-bike parts, Brompton enlisted the help of the Formula 1 veterans at Williams Engineering to create a Brompton-specific motor system. The bike employs a 250-watt internally geared motor in the front hub. The small motor uses a relatively lightweight battery, keeping the weight down and complementing the accelerative 16-inch wheels.

Brompton Electric
The motor has an integrated freewheel for smoother assistance engagement and resistance-free rolling in “off” mode.
Jimmy Cavalieri

A torque sensor inside the bottom bracket communicates with the motor based on your wattage and cadence. The freewheel hub allows you to ride with the motor off and not work against any extra resistance. It also helps save battery power by allowing the bike to cruise under your momentum and lighten the load on the motor when you’re not putting a large amount of torque into the pedals. The transition when the motor engages is smooth yet powerful, and the torque sensor accurately detects when you need a boost and when you’re just cruising.

The Battery

The Brompton-specific battery pack sits on the front, connected where the basket or bag attachment goes for non-electric Bromptons. It’s attached via a jiggle-proof plug that won’t come undone if you rattle over some big potholes. To remove the battery from the bike, press the release button on top beside the handle and lift it off. The battery charges in four hours.

Brompton Electric
When you turn the handlebar, the battery pack stays in place rather than rotating along with it, keeping the front end balanced.
Jimmy Cavalieri

The top of the battery pack holds an operating pad where riders can turn it on, check the battery level, toggle between four power modes (off, 1, 2, or 3), and switch on the headlight. Buyers can choose between two battery bag sizes. The smaller option holds the battery and has a pocket with enough room for your wallet, keys, and phone. The larger option is big enough to carry your lunch and gym clothes, or even a second battery if you’re headed out on a longer trip. Riders who want to upgrade to a bigger bag up front can order the large bag aftermarket without buying another battery.

Brompton Electric
Brompton designed their own sleek and simple user interface.
Jimmy Cavalieri

Commuter-Specific Design

The Brompton Electric is built around the same frame as the current standard Brompton and is available in black or white. It folds in thirds so you can stash it in a closet, under your desk, or even an overhead compartment of an airplane. This version also comes with mudguards and a bell.

Brompton Electric
All components on Bromptons are proprietary, so every part is perfectly suited for it’s function.
Jimmy Cavalieri

The only user interface on the Brompton Electric is the button pad on top of the battery pack. This sleek design keeps the setup simple for commuters who are merely concerned about getting where they are going and enjoying their commute, rather than keeping tabs on time, speed, or power.

To compensate for their 16-inch wheels, Bromptons come with an oversized 50-tooth chainring. Because smaller wheels accelerate quickly but are harder to get up to higher speeds, the chainring allows riders to go much faster with fewer RPMs.

Brompton designs and manufactures all of its components in-house to make sure they’re optimized to their small frames and unique folding design. So in addition to all the motor-specific parts they design, the touchpoints, rim brakes system, and drive system are proprietary too. Well-executed, utilitarian, and sleek, the Brompton Electric is ideal for commuters who need a fast, no-frills solution to get where they need to go—and want to look good doing it.

Headshot of Riley Missel
Riley Missel

Riley is a writer and outdoor adventure guide currently based in Tucson, Arizona where she leads mountain bike rides, rock climbing, and hiking trips. In her spare time, she writes stories and reviews outdoor and fitness gear. Find her writing in publications including Outside, Lonely Planet, SHAPE, Bicycling, Runner’s World, and others. When she’s not playing in the mountains, she’s probably laying down somewhere or eating (or both).