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Brompton Founder Steps Down From the Board

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Brompton Founder Steps Down From the Board

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Old 11-25-16, 10:44 AM
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Amuro Lee
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Brompton Founder Steps Down From the Board


Brompton Founder Steps Down From the Board - Bike Europe
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Old 11-25-16, 03:24 PM
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& the 1st US Brompton Dealer Retired this Year.. C.M. Channell Wasson Retired and closed down ..


For a long time He was the only one. now there are a Dozen dealers.
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Old 11-25-16, 04:13 PM
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The "news" regarding Andrew Richie is no news at all. It was officially published already in late spring 2016 officially on companieshouse.uk and effective April 20th 2016. He was 69 years old at this time, so it may just be normal.
Dailymail in uk published it on August 31st 2016, claiming it would be actual news and adding an "anonymous source within brompton that said it was because AR being unhappy with the management strategy".
Another three months later the very same news seems to have made it to the Netherlands (home of bike-eu.com) and - surprise - there is an anonymous source within Brompton claiming the stepping back was due to unhappiness with the management's strategy and - of course - that this would be breaking news.
Probably in another three months some other website will sell the same thing as brandnew.

Regarding the US-sales: In the last years Brompton founded a couple of companies to serve foreign markets: Brompton Bicycles Inc in the US, Brompton Asia as a holding in Hongkong and finally Brompton BV in the Netherlands. They cut out the middlemen (importers like Channel Wasson and Simon Kors) and earn more money this way, gain better control of the market and are able to buffer changes in the currency-exchange-rates via these companies to a degree. The consequence is a rise in sales in those areas of the world, following Bromptons expansion strategy.
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Old 11-26-16, 07:23 PM
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Kiss goodbye to pedal-powered bicycles, says Brompton boss | Bicycle Business | BikeBiz
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Old 11-26-16, 08:40 PM
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The author seems reticent to accept that Brompton could become an ebike company, but that's certainly what I heard from Butler-Adams. If he can create an eBrompton that otherwise folds and rides like a pedal-only, I don't see much of a market left for the non-assisted version. I don't think he sees one, either.
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Old 11-26-16, 11:56 PM
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With the new facility they will have room to expand their focus to building e-bikes too.

As I see the current Brompton as a multimode last mile (or couple of miles) bike when you add 15 pounds or more to it with motor and battery it doesn't fit into that category at all. Packing a 25 pound bike is enough, going to 40+ pounds is not a convenient multi mode bike.

It will be interesting to see if they stick with the 16" wheels with their electrics or go up to 20". It will be interesting if they try to stick with the same niche or widen their market some. I would think that as big and efficient as their frame and complete assembly building has gotten they should be able to efficiently build non folding electric bikes competitively.
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Old 11-27-16, 05:50 AM
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Why would they move to 20" wheels and end up with a less compact bike (Brompton's major selling point), while electric motor kits are already available for the Brompton?
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Old 11-27-16, 06:07 AM
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The eBrompton will no doubt be a 16"-modell. It will have a front-wheel drive and - as far as is known - use some kind of KERS technology, is developed together with Williams and will support only short distances such as going up a hill or starting at traffic lights rather than continuously. Therefor it differs conceptually from the third-party retro-fitting-solutions that are already available on the market (and will hopefully be lighter due to a smaller battery). It is supposed to hit the market in summer 2017, but as a start only in certain countries. This is however by far not sure (though officially communicated by Brompton), especially regarding the history of the eBromton (should initially come to marktet in 2012).

Regarding the expansion strategy: Brompton had a tremendous growth over the last years. Though ebikes will have more and more market-share Britain is far behind in this regards. And for the next couple of years technology will develop further, so I think there is plenty of room for the mechanic, classic Brompton for quite some time. Currently they are producing about 50k bikes a year and are aiming at 100k in the early 2020ies. They have identified growing markets like the US (which they are actively growing as you have noticed) and are starting to enter new marktets such as i.e. China and the Philippines where they see huge potential. And there are a number of countries that yet have to develop. Also in the european countries they are heading for growth, but it is not the biggest part of the cake - this is clearly Asia.

To get rid of their single-product strategy and go for a 20" model would be to big of a risc - Brompton is still a small company - and dangerous for the brand atm, especially whith the yet unknown effects of the brexit.

The investor that Butler-Adams brought in last year (and that is also part of Brompton's board of directors) is an expert in international growth. This massive expansion strategy is to a degree the opposite of Andrew Richies strategy over the years. At least here in Europe you can clearly see that Brompton invests in stylish marketing, positioning itself as a fashion- or liefstyle-item to a degree whereas in the earlier years it was more the "this is a really clever bike for those who know and do not mind looking a bit foolish"-approach, so a far more engineers-way of marketing. AR is an engineer - so you can guess what he likes more.
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Old 11-27-16, 11:02 AM
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There's no reason for Brompton to go to a 20" wheel, as there are hubs that easily fit inside a 16" wheel. I wouldn't even look at a Brommie if they went with larger wheels,...and I'm sure they'd lose quite a bit of their following if they did.
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Old 11-27-16, 05:11 PM
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The electric bike is a very, very small portion of the total bike industry. The largest user of electric bikes are delivery men and they are not buying Bromptons!

In fact, the Brompton has already been "electrified" with front wheel motors. They have been available for the past 5 years and did not make any in roads. Yes, the electric Brompton was not successful.

Do you want to know why? The whole electric Brompton package doubles the price of the bike which is why you don't see any of them on the street. Furthermore, I don't see how Brompton can improve the front wheel drive motor to make someone spend $3,000.00 USD for an electric folding bike. The battery on the current electric Brompton is fairly light and going smaller will reduce overall power. Spending millions to engineer an already expensive folding bike will result in an even more costly product.

If Brompton wants to make more money, here are some ideas.

1. Increase the size of the bike by 20% for taller riders.
2. Bring back the 5 speed, keeping the derailleur for a 10 speed bike. (or better yet, the Nexus 11 for 22 speeds)
3. Does anyone want a full Ti-Brompton? (You would probably get more buyers than all the e-Bromptons sold to date!)
4. Increase the size off the wheel to 20' inches. (or better yet, 24')

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Old 11-27-16, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
The electric bike is a very, very small portion of the total bike industry. The largest user of electric bikes are delivery men and they are not buying Bromptons!

In fact, the Brompton has already been "electrified" with front wheel motors. They have been available for the past 5 years and did not make any in roads. Yes, the electric Brompton was not been successful.

Do you want to know why? The whole electric Brompton package doubles the price of the bike which is why you don't see any of them on the street. Furthermore, I don't see how Brompton can improve the front wheel drive motor to make someone spend $3,000.00 USD for an electric folding bike. The battery on the current electric Brompton is fairly light and going smaller will reduce overall power. Spending millions to engineer an already expensive folding bike will result in an even more costly product.

If Brompton wants to make more money, here are some ideas.

1. Increase the size of the bike by 20% for taller riders.
2. Bring back the 5 speed, keeping the derailleur for a 10 speed bike. (or better yet, the Nexus 11 for 22 speeds)
3. Does anyone want a full Ti-Brompton? (You would probably get more buyers than all the e-Bromptons sold to date!)
4. Increase the size off the wheel to 20' inches. (or better yet, 24')
Well sure, you could do all that, then slap a Dahon sticker on it and call it a day.

I don't think you can make future projections about eBrompton sales based on the kit bikes that have been available so far. If Brompton creates an efficient, lightweight ebike and markets it with some Williams branding, they'll sell a ton of them.
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Old 11-27-16, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
The electric bike is a very, very small portion of the total bike industry. The largest user of electric bikes are delivery men and they are not buying Bromptons!
You should consider that the world is bigger than New Jersey and the USA and that large parts of it are different. Here in Germany i.e. in 2015 15% of all bikes sold were ebikes, in countries like switzerland even more. For Germany this means 15% of 4,35 Million bikes sold in 2015.* Not that bad. We do not have that many delivery men on bikes here. The average price for an ebike over here was (if I remember right) way north of 2000 €. And the market numbers for ebikes are massively growing each year.
Go for China and you'll see a sheer ebike-revolution going on. Brompton would be stupid if not suicidal not to be prepared for that.

Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
In fact, the Brompton has already been "electrified" with front wheel motors. They have been available for the past 5 years and did not make any in roads. Yes, the electric Brompton was not been successful.
Well, electric Bromptons have been available since roughly 2000. Front-wheel-driven ones for more than 10 years. What they suffer(ed) from is price, weight, early stage of development plus the fact that that the electric drive has to be retrofitted by third-party-companies. Still there is a market, some companies make a living from it and all of this is getting better bit by bit each year. Once Brompton offers a factory-solution I've no doubt that it will be a success (if they mange to avoid building something completely ankward ).

* numbers quoted from here (German)

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Old 11-27-16, 06:35 PM
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I attended a business conference (not bicycle related) in the Netherlands in October '16, where I coincidentally met another participant in the conference from the UK. He noticed my Brompton and told me he had a business relationship with the company. We chatted for a bit then he showed me photos of the factory electric Brompton. It was on his phone, so I had to make quick mental notes: Here's what I can remember: It looked like it will be a front wheel hub motor, it appeared that the front luggage mounting block had 2 metal contacts for the battery case. The battery case looked like it was injection molded and mounted to the front luggage block. I don't recall seeing any type of display on the handlebars, it might have been there, but I don't recall looking there to see if there was one or not, because I was trying to see if the cranks are the same or different or if there's a cadence sensor visible. It was a prototype, I asked him a bunch of questions about range, battery type, weight, and he either didn't know or wouldn't say. After the third "I dunno mate", I thought I'd better stop.

I can say confidently that the prototype has a mounting block with 2 electrical contacts, presumably for easy on / easy off without wires to be connected to the battery. The battery case looked fairly small and the motor is in the front. Otherwise, the bike looked pretty much the same. We should be seeing the production version next year.
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Old 11-27-16, 08:40 PM
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Great observations. I really like the different views.

Different countries have totally different views of bikes and folding bikes especially.

I guess some of my biases are running over.. I must admit I have a huge distrust of IGh. I don't see even moderately wide ratio gearing an option on 16" wheels without IGH.

There has been a certain inability of American(Bike Friday) and English(Brompton) manufactured bikes to be accepted beyond their nations borders. Nationalism---Made in England---does not sell bikes in other countries so Price, quality of ride, quality of components, quality of fold, overall usefulness all come into play.

I see the Brompton as a very well developed multimode bike that is quite expensive for what you get. I understand it's appeal in London. However I believe there are a lot of them that are sold that are not used but stuck in the bottom of closets.

As unused bikes stack up the used market will start to compete with new bike sales.

I've owned a bike shop for over 30 years in a town of 100k people in the western US. I have no concept of how to possibly generate interest in a $1200-2000 folding bike like the Brompton.

I have spent significant time in LA, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Seattle. I don't envision the Brompton meeting the needs of riders there either. Boston, I could see Brompton use in that market.

For Brompton to penetrate anything but a few sales in our larger cities of the US with 16" wheels is very unlikely in my opinion.

I would also question the sales push into Asia, the time I have spent in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia I did not see any folding bike users. Price is going to be a major issue for Brompton competing in the Asian market, but I could be wrong there.
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Old 11-27-16, 08:43 PM
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Currently in the US one of the largest markets for Electric bikes is for people who have lost their license to Dui's and want faster than bicycle transportation. The Electric market may be maturing in Germany and other parts of Europe but still in its infancy in the US.

I would not limit my electric bike selection to a folding 16" wheeled bike if I were Brompton and wanted to actually compete in Electric bikes.
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Old 11-27-16, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post

Well, electric Bromptons have been available since roughly 2000. Front-wheel-driven ones for more than 10 years. What they suffer(ed) from is price, weight, early stage of development plus the fact that that the electric drive has to be retrofitted by third-party-companies. Still there is a market, some companies make a living from it and all of this is getting better bit by bit each year. Once Brompton offers a factory-solution I've no doubt that it will be a success (if they mange to avoid building something completely ankward ).

* numbers quoted from here (German)
Interesting.

I had no idea the electric Bromptons were available for the past 16 years! It never took off. No wonder Andrew Ritchie left the board of directors. He doesn't want to be a part of what's about to happen.

In the past 16 years, I have yet to see one single electrified Brompton in New York City or anywhere. It's been a failure in the richest city in America. The front wheel drive suffers from price and weight and this is not going to change even if development comes from Brompton. The factory solution will still weight and cost more then the current 25 pound bicycle. A lot more! (They can reduce cost only if they move production to China which could be the next step)

Dahon over the years tried several times to introduce electric folding bikes and were not successful. The largest folding bike company can't make money selling high quality 3K Bionx e-bikes. Quite frankly, I don't see how Bromton can create a better electric front motor than Bionx. Yes, it will have to be a front motor unless they intend to abandon the 6 speed.
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Old 11-27-16, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
You should consider that the world is bigger than New Jersey and the USA and that large parts of it are different.

Go for China and you'll see a sheer ebike-revolution going on. Brompton would be stupid if not suicidal not to be prepared for that.
My rough count in morning Shanghai commute: 3/4 of 2-wheelers were electric, 1/4 muscle propelled and at a few-percent level combustion. If you looked at the ridership as a whole, those left riding regular bicycles were primarily male factory workers and students.

I have seen people taking their electric scooters into offices. I presume an appeal of an electric folding bike is that easier to take it into an office or apartment rather than to park outside.
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Old 11-27-16, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
Interesting.

I had no idea the electric Bromptons were available for the past 16 years! It never took off. No wonder Andrew Ritchie left the board of directors. He doesn't want to be a part of what's about to happen.

In the past 16 years, I have yet to see one single electrified Brompton in New York City or anywhere. It's been a failure in the richest city in America. The front wheel drive suffers from price and weight and this is not going to change even if development comes from Brompton. The factory solution will still weight and cost more then the current 25 pound bicycle. A lot more! (They can reduce cost only if they move production to China which could be the next step)

Dahon over the years tried several times to introduce electric folding bikes and were not successful. The largest folding bike company can't make money selling high quality 3K Bionx e-bikes. Quite frankly, I don't see how Bromton can create a better electric front motor than Bionx. Yes, it will have to be a front motor unless they intend to abandon the 6 speed.
There's no way you didn't know that shops have been selling kitted Bromptons for years. This feigned ignorance makes it hard to take you seriously.
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Old 11-28-16, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
There has been a certain inability of American(Bike Friday) and English(Brompton) manufactured bikes to be accepted beyond their nations borders. Nationalism---Made in England---does not sell bikes in other countries so Price, quality of ride, quality of components, quality of fold, overall usefulness all come into play.
Brompton currently sell about 80% of their production outside Britain and it has been more than 60% for at least 15 years. Their growth is majorly due to sucessfull exports. Traditionally Benelux, Japan and Germany have been their biggest markets outside Britain, in the last years South-Korea hast become a huge market, too.


In million pounds revenue it looks like this:







Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
I see the Brompton as a very well developed multimode bike that is quite expensive for what you get. I understand it's appeal in London. However I believe there are a lot of them that are sold that are not used but stuck in the bottom of closets.

As unused bikes stack up the used market will start to compete with new bike sales.

Doesn't look like this would be a huge problem if you look at the development of sales:





(both graphics were "reverse engineered" by me from Brompton's publicly available accounts. The company had it's 40th birthday this year, that's why I created them out of interest). The blue line is revenue.

Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
I've owned a bike shop for over 30 years in a town of 100k people in the western US. I have no concept of how to possibly generate interest in a $1200-2000 folding bike like the Brompton.

The average price paid for a new bike here in Germany is roughly about 600€ according to statistics (and this includes electric bikes). Only a fraction of people are willing to pay more than 1000€ if not for an ebike. And only a fraction of a fraction is considering a folder. So the Brompton is clearly not for everyone and not an easy sell. Still numbers are going up - interest in folders is rising, I see more and more of them and far more Bromtons than in the last years as well. Naturally, the majority of Brompton riders live in cities and/or are commuters - that's what the bike was originally designed for.

Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
Price is going to be a major issue for Brompton competing in the Asian market, but I could be wrong there.

It probably is (as it is everywhere) but enough people are willing to pay for quality and especially in Asia German or British made things are a symbol of status (which helps with the high price). The market is there - just look at all the companies that offer "tuning"-parts for the Brompton (technical parts as well as optical bling bling). The majority of them is from Asia (Thailand, Japan, South-Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, ....) and almost all of them aside of two or three started their business in the last five years.


If you want to get into Brompton's strategy this talk by Will Butler-Adams at Google is really worth watching:



Last edited by berlinonaut; 11-28-16 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 11-28-16, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
The author seems reticent to accept that Brompton could become an ebike company,
Britain ist massively underdeveloped as a market for electric bikes and riders as well as journalists are highly reluctant to electric bikes for whatever reason. Maybe it is against their classical british understanding of sports.
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Old 11-28-16, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
As I see the current Brompton as a multimode last mile (or couple of miles) bike when you add 15 pounds or more to it with motor and battery it doesn't fit into that category at all. Packing a 25 pound bike is enough, going to 40+ pounds is not a convenient multi mode bike.
I am not so much into measuring in pounds but in kg a factory Brompton is in between 10kg and 13kg. For a front-wheel motor on the Brompton you can add about 2 - 2,5 kg and batteries gain weight (and range) with battery size. So starting from 700g to 4kg everything is possible. If you assume an average 2kg for the battery an electric Brompton with a pedal-assisted range of ~40-60 km in our days is about 16-17kg. Not totally light but still okish for many if you do not have to carry the bike a lot. Which you don not have to as you can roll it in folded state. So except for those who live on the forth floor w/o elevator (like me) you only have to occasionally lift it but not to carry it regularly.
Bromptons factory solution seems to go for a very small battery, so it will probably be at the lower end of the weight range.
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Old 11-28-16, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
If Brompton wants to make more money, here are some ideas.

1. Increase the size of the bike by 20% for taller riders.
2. Bring back the 5 speed, keeping the derailleur for a 10 speed bike. (or better yet, the Nexus 11 for 22 speeds)
3. Does anyone want a full Ti-Brompton? (You would probably get more buyers than all the e-Bromptons sold to date!)
4. Increase the size off the wheel to 20' inches. (or better yet, 24')
Good thing you aren't in any Steering Committee type position at Brompton. Seriously, where is the evidence that ANY of those innovations are desired? Especially #4. Personally, I have never considered any other than 20" wheels for myself, but I understand the appeal of 16" wheels to some others. Perhaps the introduction of a 20" model to be sold alongside? Why so all or nothing? And, I don't know, but I suspect carbon fiber with all its challenges for this type of usage would be an easier sell than full Titanium.
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Old 11-28-16, 11:13 AM
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I'm not sure how is the market going to bear for a 11kg (24lbs)+(motor setup weight) electric brompton that costs $2000USD+ we are just talking about it in the bike forums but I've been looking at other toys as well and there are some pretty cool electric commuter options these days than just bikes:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a...ards-ever--2#/

and

https://boostedboards.com/the-board/

these future transportation vehicles are giving you are range of over 12 miles and can climb 20% grade inclines, speeds of around 18mph(28km/h) and weight less than 15.5lbs (7kg)?? Plus you'll look pretty dang cool surfing the streets on one of these. Also if your commute is 10 miles just carry the adapter in your backpack and just charge it at the office for the fun ride home (1 hr full charge time for the higher end models).

as a last mile or even for multimode use without fiddling with folding parts (pick up and go) I can see these new transportation devices going somewhere and taking over in the future and there are already commuting videos on youtube using these vehicles already. Saw some reviews from adults like us and they are saying after 2 hours or practice they were able to speed up and go surf the roads. So yeah electric folding bikes can't just worry about other ebike folders now there's alot of other competitors now that aren't the two wheeled variety.

I don't include those hoverboards cause they just dorky looking to me.

EDIT: apparently just the brompton motor kit from a reputable store already costs as much as those higher end board models! brompton motor here is a 18mph top speed and 20 mile range (with pedalling) as well as adding 18lbs total weight to the 24-26lbs brompton.
http://www.nycewheels.com/brompton-e...cle-motor.html

boosted boards are like the apple of e-longboards in this world.

Last edited by Azreal911; 11-28-16 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 11-28-16, 11:33 AM
  #24  
Diode100
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
Britain ist massively underdeveloped as a market for electric bikes and riders as well as journalists are highly reluctant to electric bikes for whatever reason. Maybe it is against their classical british understanding of sports.
The new breed of cyclist in the UK seems to use cycling as a means to get a "work out" without having to go to the gym, so I'd imagine going for an electric bike would be counter productive.

Presumably if they brought out an electric assist model it would to some extent get over existing criticisms of the limited gearing options available on the Brompton, I'm thinking if you had power assist available on call you wouldn't need low gearing for climbing a hill. If they have developed a state of the art motor system with Williams they would presumably want to licence it for use by other bike manufacturers, no ?
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Old 11-28-16, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Azreal911 View Post
I'm not sure how is the market going to bear for a 11kg (24lbs)+(motor setup weight) electric brompton that costs $2000USD+ we are just talking about it in the bike forums but I've been looking at other toys as well and there are some pretty cool electric commuter options these days than just bikes:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a...ards-ever--2#/

and

https://boostedboards.com/the-board/

these future transportation vehicles are giving you are range of over 12 miles and can climb 20% grade inclines, speeds of around 18mph(28km/h) and weight less than 15.5lbs (7kg)?? Plus you'll look pretty dang cool surfing the streets on one of these. Also if your commute is 10 miles just carry the adapter in your backpack and just charge it at the office for the fun ride home (1 hr full charge time for the higher end models).

as a last mile or even for multimode use without fiddling with folding parts (pick up and go) I can see these new transportation devices going somewhere and taking over in the future and there are already commuting videos on youtube using these vehicles already. Saw some reviews from adults like us and they are saying after 2 hours or practice they were able to speed up and go surf the roads. So yeah electric folding bikes can't just worry about other ebike folders now there's alot of other competitors now that aren't the two wheeled variety.

I don't include those hoverboards cause they just dorky looking to me.

EDIT: apparently just the brompton motor kit from a reputable store already costs as much as those higher end board models! brompton motor here is a 18mph top speed and 20 mile range (with pedalling) as well as adding 18lbs total weight to the 24-26lbs brompton.
Electric motor kit for the Brompton folding bicycle NYCeWheels.com

boosted boards are like the apple of e-longboards in this world.
No one over the age of 14 looks cool on a skateboard, nowhere, never, ever.
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