One of the limitations of Brompton’s trifold design is a limited gear range. That’s why the release of its 12-speed models is big news to fans of the brand. So, how did the British bicycle maker achieve this?
The latest models still feature Brompton’s signature three-part fold and a pair of 16-inch wheels. Although the term “12-speed” is used, it doesn’t actually mean there are 12 individual gears that are selected sequentially.
Rather, a three-speed Sturmey-Archer internal gear hub (IGH) is combined with an external four-speed 11-18T cassette, and these are shifted separately. Multiply three by four, and you get a total of 12 possible combinations.
You can think of the three-speed IGH as your drive selector for climbs, flats, or descents (something like Low, Medium, or High). Meanwhile, the four external sprockets allow the rider to fine-tune his or her cadence.
Brompton claims a gear range of a little more than 400%, which is said to be comparable to that of a road bike. What this means is that these bicycles are capable of handling inclines—without sacrificing top speed.
This isn’t exactly new as Brompton already has three-speed and four-speed variants, albeit not with the exact same components. The 12-speed drivetrain can be found on the higher-end models.
The P Line Explore features a steel frame and a titanium rear-triangle and fork, for a light weight of 10.5kg and a hefty cost of £2,580 (P185,000).
If money were no object, there’s the T Line Explore with a titanium frame and carbon-fiber components. The bike is as light as a feather at only 8.8kg, but the same can’t be said about its price of £4,745 (P340,000).
And if you must have a 250W motor on your 12-speed Brompton, there’s the Electric C Line Explore and the Electric P Line Explore at £3,150 (P225,500) and £4,005 (P287,000), respectively.
As for local availability, we’ll have to wait and see if Brompton Philippines will be bringing these in eventually.