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Brompton and copies - Why aren't there more???

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Brompton and copies - Why aren't there more???

Old 04-03-21, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Winfried
Because they're almost all Asian copycats...
"The best defense against copying is innovation.” Will Butler-Adams
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Old 04-03-21, 11:02 AM
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Can't wait for an Asian company to take on Brompton :-)
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Old 04-05-21, 08:24 AM
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I don't think Brompton has any thing to worry about. Last time I visited my local Brompton dealer there were 15 Bromptons boxed and waiting to be shipped out. Even a single speed that he got his hands on was sold in less than a week.
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Old 04-05-21, 11:00 AM
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I disagree because there's a market for a more affordable compact folder, but the future will tell.

Incidently, a retailer told me the single speed Brompton is no longer manufactured.
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Old 04-05-21, 03:46 PM
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I highly doubt that rim brake production will be a thing of the past anytime soon, I mean, we still have coaster brake hubs in production.

About Brompton and clones, I think Brompton's recent success came in part with a revamp in their marketing, including coming up with interesting special editions, and involving familiar faces as part of those campaigns. It also helps to say "made in the UK," whatever that actually means or is worth nowadays.

IMO the folding bike market is still too niche to warrant going out of one's way and specifically borrow someone else's design.
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Old 04-06-21, 01:59 AM
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Brompton is far from selling 100,000 bikes a year, which was the reason it moved to Greenford a few years ago. It's still selling around 50,000/year.

It's making more money by increasing its prices — hence those shiny new colo(u)rs —, much to Andrew Ritchie's displeasure. One more opportunity for competitors.

https://cyclingindustry.news/brompto...ues-to-expand/
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Old 04-06-21, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Winfried
Brompton is far from selling 100,000 bikes a year, which was the reason it moved to Greenford a few years ago. It's still selling around 50,000/year.

It's making more money by increasing its prices — hence those shiny new colo(u)rs —, much to Andrew Ritchie's displeasure. One more opportunity for competitors.

https://cyclingindustry.news/brompto...ues-to-expand/
Indeed, sales were stagnating, increase of profit came from not only price increase but also margins increase.

But this was the situation before the covid.

Since then, bike sales exploded, also for Brompton.
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Old 04-06-21, 02:48 AM
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Source?
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Old 04-06-21, 08:13 AM
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In 2016 Will Butler-Adams set the goal of doubling Brompton production to 100,000/year and shipping those additionally manufactured 50,000 bikes/year to Asia. As Winfried said, this hasn't happened. I don't know why, but I suspect 3sixty, B-bike, Backer Gravity, Beiou, Burke 20, Camp Royal, Chedech, Cigna, Crosshead, Dahon Curl, Element Pikes, Flamingo, Fova, Groo M3, Iruka, Java, Jcat, Kreuz, La Bici, MIT, Neo, Pico, Sanye, South Point, United Trifold, Viking X and Week 8 might have something to do with it.
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Old 04-06-21, 11:43 AM
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Bromptons are overpriced, especially when you look at the quality of its parts. People only put up with it because there's currently no good alternative.
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Old 04-06-21, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Winfried
Bromptons are overpriced, especially when you look at the quality of its parts. People only put up with it because there's currently no good alternative.
As a non-Brompton owner, I try to hold my tongue on this subject, but yeah, that's how I feel too. The fold is great of course, everything else is not worth $1,300 - 2,000.
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Old 04-06-21, 02:47 PM
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Indeed Brompton are expensive and indeed parts are low end and indeed Brompton is looking to make as much money as possible by increasing margins and pushing the bike price as high as possible.

But the Brompton is a UK made bike with its complete frame made in UK with UK labor costs and not in Asia as almost all other bikes. There are very few bikes that are really manufactured in UK or Europe and not only assembled in UK or Europe.

The reason why the Brompton sales didn't increase as expected is not the concurrence of other folding bike, its because folding bikes aren't as popular as expected (the sales of other folding bike manufacturers also didn't increase significantly) due to the huge success and growth of eBikes.

Actually, the biggest part of the growth of the bike market before covid was coming from the eBike growth.

As said, since covid, the sales of Brompton as the sales of almost all other bike manufacturers increased significantly (Brompton sales increased by about 10000 bikes in 2020 despite a slow down in production during the first lockdown due to missing parts supply).
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Old 04-07-21, 04:09 AM
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The FT article is paywalled.

How far is Brompton from selling 100,000 units, which was the target and the reason they moved to a bigger location in Greenford?

There's an oppportunity for an Asia-made Better Brompton® for $€£ 500-1,000.
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Old 04-07-21, 04:32 AM
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They sold about 60000 bikes in 2020. They could have sold more if they could produce more.

The amount of bike sold was limited by the manufacturing capabilities due partly to parts availability but also the manufacturing capacity of the factory.

The plant could produce up to 100000 bikes a year assuming there are enough people to build 100000 bikes which wasn't the case.

Doubling the production in one year without prior notice due to a totally unexpected external cause like it happened for the covid crisis isn't possible.

About an Asia made new folding bike, people must understand that in the bike market, folding bikes is a niche market even Dahon is a small company compared to the big player of the bike industry.

Asiatic manufacturers prefer to invest in eBikes where the market size is much bigger and is still growing very fast than in a niche market of maybe 50000 bikes a year assuming they could sell as many bikes as Brompton without any brand name.

Also, the investment to develop a new folding bike and the needed components is bigger than for a normal bike because all folding bikes require some specific components that must specifically be developed and then are only produced in small quantities.

The manufacturing price of a folding bike is higher than of a normal bike meaning that to have big margins the price must be higher.

There is clearly a demand for a folding lightweight eBike, but such a bike requires a specific E-assist system to fit into a folding bike without making it bigger and heavier which means higher cost for this E-assist system (you could think to use the Fazua E-assist system developed for high end road race eBikes which is small and lightweight and could probably be integrated into a folding bike but this system is very expensive and would result in a too expensive folding eBike).

Asiatic bike manufacturers aren't stupid, they know the bike market they know the Brompton, if there was (big) money to earn with a clone, they would have done it since a long time.

Last edited by Jipe; 04-07-21 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 04-07-21, 05:42 AM
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And yet, Dahon isn't giving up (but still isn't there)

A detailed Dahon Curl i8 review
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Old 04-07-21, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by tdonline
As a non-Brompton owner, I try to hold my tongue on this subject, but yeah, that's how I feel too. The fold is great of course, everything else is not worth $1,300 - 2,000.
Hard to argue with that, but also hard to argue that Bromptons hold their value EXTREMELY well if they're taken care of. And in this weird economic climate, I can arguably sell a used 2017 Brompton in Singapore (RRP then S$2200) for a profit given now a brand new one is running at about S$3500 on the "black market".
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Old 04-07-21, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz
So why are there many Dahon-type bikes and hardly any Brompton copies? ...I cannot figure out why Bromptons are not more copied. Any thoughts?
Gizmo loving folks' analysis yields smallest fold = best. This is completely disconnected from the end user's requirements. Perhaps for most customers, the simple one hinge side-folding design folds 'small enough', meets their needs and isn't as fussy or expensive. Could it be that the Andrew Ritchie design, based on unique London multi-modal transport parameters, is just a niche in a niche?

Why isn't the Di Blasi more copied? Why isn't the Birdy more copied? Why isn't the Strida more copied? Why aren't we all riding around on Bickertons or Picnicas?

No one is forcing riders to buy a certain design. Is it the marketplace at work? Could it be that, gasp! Dr. Hon got it 'right'?
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Old 04-07-21, 11:39 PM
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The Brompton has elevated itself to be beyond just a bike. Its a fashion statement and a badge of wealth.
Bike buyers fall into 3-4 categories.
1. The lifestyle (well heeled )
2. The performance orientated
3. The Utilitarian/ Practical
4. The budget orientated

The Brompton buyer is certain #1 with a mix of #3.
A #4 buyer won't necessary need a Brompton since there are cheaper bikes.
He/She won't fit in the associated lifestyle and Brompton Clique too.

#2 won't want a Brompton and will get something faster, eventually ending with a road bike

#3, usually has his/her own needs which may/may not end w/ a Brompton.


So in the end, a cheap Brompton based bike really has limited demand.
If I am cheap, its still too expensive vs other options
If I am into the lifestyle, the chance to be rejected by the "B" community is high.
If I am performance orientated, most likely a Pocket Rocket, faster spec'ed Tern/Dahon, or road bike
If I am practical and want utility, many other bikes can do it with a rear rack, cheap such that fear of theft is lower, etc.


A "B" copy is a niche within a niche and there are enough copy makers out there already (ie. Pikes, 360, etc )
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Old 04-08-21, 02:25 AM
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There's no copycat in the West, because they obviously can't be sold (copyright issue). The closest alternatives are bigger and more expensive (Birdy and Vello come to mind.)

I know some users who need a compact folder — because of commute and/or live in an apparment and have no place to park a regular bike —, but can't afford a Brompton. So they bought a less practical Dahon, but might get a Brompton one day. That's the population I had in mind.
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Old 04-08-21, 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted by pinholecam
The Brompton has elevated itself to be beyond just a bike. Its a fashion statement and a badge of wealth.
Bike buyers fall into 3-4 categories.
1. The lifestyle (well heeled )
2. The performance orientated
3. The Utilitarian/ Practical
4. The budget orientated

The Brompton buyer is certain #1 with a mix of #3.
A #4 buyer won't necessary need a Brompton since there are cheaper bikes.
He/She won't fit in the associated lifestyle and Brompton Clique too.

#2 won't want a Brompton and will get something faster, eventually ending with a road bike

#3, usually has his/her own needs which may/may not end w/ a Brompton.


So in the end, a cheap Brompton based bike really has limited demand.
If I am cheap, its still too expensive vs other options
If I am into the lifestyle, the chance to be rejected by the "B" community is high.
If I am performance orientated, most likely a Pocket Rocket, faster spec'ed Tern/Dahon, or road bike
If I am practical and want utility, many other bikes can do it with a rear rack, cheap such that fear of theft is lower, etc.


A "B" copy is a niche within a niche and there are enough copy makers out there already (ie. Pikes, 360, etc )
I fully agree with this: Brompton indeed fits for #1 an #3.

These people do not care much for the price, #1 want a Brompton for its brand name, #3 want a Brompton for its reliability and ease of use (not only folding, also of ease of use of its front bag).

But its a minority of folding bike buyers.

Most, only look for a bike that fits in the trunk of their car and which is a second or third bike, seldom used and mostly for (very) short distances, therefore they want something very cheap much cheaper than a Brompton, typically a low end Dahon.or similar.

Originally Posted by Winfried
There's no copycat in the West, because they obviously can't be sold (copyright issue). The closest alternatives are bigger and more expensive (Birdy and Vello come to mind.)

I know some users who need a compact folder — because of commute and/or live in an apparment and have no place to park a regular bike —, but can't afford a Brompton. So they bought a less practical Dahon, but might get a Brompton one day. That's the population I had in mind.
The Birdy is a completely different offering than the Brompton, it rides much better and is much better suited to travel and as you say, is not an alternative for a cheap Brompton because its more expensive.

The closest alternative for me is the Tyrell Yve but its also expensive.
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Old 04-08-21, 03:01 AM
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And not sold in Europe (one shop in Berlin doesn't make it a viable alternative) and might be too small for some folks.

Hence the cheaper, and bulkier, Dahon/Terns.

Too bad all those European brands only focus on expensive e-bikes.
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Old 04-08-21, 05:04 AM
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I was looking at their site more specifically the superlight range and I laughed.
Up to 0.74kg lighter than an all-steel Brompton,

It is all for almost twice the price of a steel?

By changing the seatpost and saddle, you can save 250g easily. a front Dahon light weight rim will fit. once the std tyres swap for kojaks that's another 250g saved. Its possible to shave a few grams from the handlebar. the crank can also be swapped easily for something much lighter.
My point is that I can see how they can justify £1000 extra for 0.74kg when can do pretty much the same for £150-200 at most...
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Old 04-08-21, 05:32 AM
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Yes, it's a lot of money just to save a few hundred grams.

But Kojaks aren't a good option for a city bike (→ punctures), especially on the rear.

Didn't know Dahon made 349 rims. Must be hard to find in Europe.
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Old 04-08-21, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Winfried
Didn't know Dahon made 349 rims. Must be hard to find in Europe.
my mistake, I miss read 305 for dahon... For some reason dealer put the brompton rims in the dahon section
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Old 04-08-21, 06:10 AM
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Because they're both "16 inch rims", even though the Brompton is slightly bigger.
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