Andrew Ritchie was working as a landscape gardener in London during the 1970s when he came up with the idea for his folding bicycle. As an engineering graduate from Cambridge University, he used his knowledge to build the first prototypes in his bedroom – from which he could see the Brompton Oratory (hence the name). Brompton Bicycles was founded in 1976.

However, the road to becoming the biggest bike manufacturer in the UK was not smooth. Raleigh Bicycle Company wasn’t interested in the prototypes Ritchie had built with money he had borrowed from friends. He therefore decided to build the bikes himself. Initially, Ritchie and one employee built and sold 50, then, with some funds raised from shareholders, 50 turned into 500. Things really took off in 1988 after Ritchie secured £50,000 and moved production to a factory in Brentford.

Today, Bromptons are still manufactured in West London, despite the high rents and rates. This is to ensure that every Brompton is hand brazed and produced to perfection.

What’s so good about Bromptons?

  • Ultimate portability: Thomas Ernst, a Brompton dealer from Zurich, holds the world record for quickest Brompton fold at 5.19 seconds (watch the video). When folded, the Brompton can be taken on buses, trains, planes, into shops, and will hardly take up any space in your home or work. The fold of the Brompton is, arguably, the quickest and easiest of any folding bike.
  • A great ride: The 16″ wheels means that you will get excellent acceleration at the lights, leaving all those roadies eating your dust (for about 20 metres at least). Unlike many folding bikes, the Brompton does not sacrifice ride quality for practicality. Bromptons are light and fantastically manoeuvrable, while the rear suspension smoothes out bumps in the road, making them perfect for urban riding.
  • Renowned for their quality and durability: Brompton does not cut corners either in its choice of components, or in its production. All Bromptons are hand brazed and hand built at the London factory, assembled using components that have undergone rigorous in-house and independent testing.

Did you know?

There are over 16,000,000 Brompton combinations. Every choice you make from handlebars to frame colour means that your Brompton can be truly personalised.

How do I choose my Brompton?

The Brompton website has this fantastic tool to help you choose which Brompton might be best for you.

Whether you plan to cycle to the South Pole on your Brompton (yes, someone actually did that!), or just want it to pootle around your local area, you can build a Brompton that’s right for you.

If you have an idea about what you need from your Brompton, you can use the Brompton Bike Builder to play around with different build options.

The Bromptons we currently have in stock can be found here. If you want a custom Brompton, give us a call or come and see us so that we can chat about what you would like. Please be aware that you may have to wait several weeks for a custom order.