So, you're not certain what type of Brompton folding bike you have? (And what's more, why does it even matter?)
Well, most of the time it doesn't matter - as long as you're happy and comfortable riding your Brommie! But there are certainly times when you may be asked (booking a service, talking to another Brompton owner, recommending one to a friend) or if you're looking to buy, and then it's handy to know what your steed actually is!
Most Bromptons have a model code consisting of three parts:
- Handlebar height
Firstly, let's look at handlebar heights:
Until recently there have been four to choose from:
- S = Short/straight/sporty
- M = Medium
- P = 'Pretzel' (discontinued from March 2019)
- H = High
Can't spot the difference between the M and H bars? It's not actually the handlebars themselves, but the handlebar stem, as highlighted in the comparison below:
Next is gearing.
Bromptons are available in a choice of 1, 2, 3 and 6 gears. The easiest way to spot how many gears a Brompton is set up with is to look at the handlebars.
- Single speed = no gear shifters ;)
- 2 speed = LH shifter
- 3 speed = RH shifter
- 6 speed = both LH & RH shifters
The shifters pictured above are the current 'under bar' shifters. Bromptons made prior to 2017 were fitted with 'over bar' (aka 'bunny ear') shifters, as shown on this 6 speed below.
The handlebars on this green Brompton also have a deeper "U" bend in them compared to the current bars. Bromptons built from 2017 onwards with the M- and H- have handlebars with a more shallow dip - but the total bar height has remained the same.
The final part to deciphering your model code relates to mudguards.
- E = no mudgards (or fenders, as some refer to them as)
- L = fitted with mudguards
- R = fitted with mudguards and rear rack
So there you have it. You now know that if you have a Brompton with medium height handlebars, 6 gears and mudguards, its model type is an M6L!
But wait! There's more!
There are also Bromptons know as Superlight which means they have Titanium forks, rear triangle (and a few other components). In the picture below you can see how the titanium fork (left) differs from the steel fork (right). Until now, superlight Bromptons have been fairly easy to identify at a glance - the titanium was never painted unless it was on a CHPT3 x Brompton. That's now changed; the MY20 Black Edition Bromptons are also offered as a superlight option with painted titanium fork & rear triangle.
That's the models decoded! So - what are you riding? :)