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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 03-31-21, 01:44 AM
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Fentuz
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Brompton and copies - Why aren't there more???

I was doing some researches on the EU Patent Data Base and I started to look for any Brompton Patents. I found the original one is from 1976 and is therefore long gone/expired. There was something about the twin tube saddlepost and I cannot see how it can be enforced as infringement... this design of telescopic designs have been around for a long time and the drove tail stacked up tube stop is something that has be around for some time too.
So, I could not really see anything that is protecting the basic Brompton frame design which is the ingenious part of these bikes. Other than Brompton, 3Sixty , almost Bbirdy... nothing else is using this concept. If you look at the Dahon frame design, it was obviously reuse in Terns, used in Raleigh, Dawes, Giant, costco copies, Decathlon etc... so many frame copies and licences.

So why are there many Dahon type bikes and hardly any Brompton copies?

With UCI banning rim brake and favouring disc brake, rim brake production will most likely be a thing of the past, a design of the basic frame with 100mm front fork with generic 140 or 160 disc depending of wheel diameter and the rear space of 135 or 140 to run a classic/generic 1x8/9/10 or 1x11 transmission with 140 disc would be lovely on either 16 or 20" wheels. But for some reasons while there are hand crafted items, there aren't production items and I cannot figure out why bromptons are not more copied.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-31-21, 02:45 AM
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There are few copies because there are copyrights protection on the Brompton global design, so you cannot make a Brompton clone = a bike that looks like a Brompton. That's why 3sixty doesn't want to sell/ship to Europe.

What people like is having a bike that is or seems to be a Brompton. Actually, many people want a real Brompton not a clone.

In Asia for instance, people like the Brompton because it isn't made in Asia, there are no cheap Asiatic copies of the Brompton, having a Brompton means that you have an expensive bike and are rich. The same apply for Moulton in Japan where the high end very expensive Moulton are popular.

The only clones that sells well, are those that are higher quality and lightweight and expensive like titanium clones.
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Old 03-31-21, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
There are few copies because there are copyrights protection on the Brompton global design
.
Like I said, the design patent has lapsed, not enforceable anymore. the actual exact shape and componentry may be under creativity copyright, if it modified enough then the copyright should not apply as copyright cover exact design copies.

Last edited by Fentuz; 03-31-21 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 03-31-21, 03:23 AM
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Chedech was banned in Europe because it copies the design of the Brompton: https://www.bike-eu.com/laws-regulat...-case-10138237
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Old 03-31-21, 03:46 AM
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I read that and again I think this can be worked around. The argument was that Brompton is very specific and other manufacturer have other mechanism therefore it is a copyright
https://www.jmw.co.uk/services-for-b...brompton-bikes

this is fair enough if you define the product as a folding bike only. now if you were to sell a bike that fold into a trolley, then it is a different product which requires the same technical solution and is creative in a different manner. again, it is possible to deal with that when reading carefully and working with patent lawyers... Again, copyright is very limited and specific when it comes to protection
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Old 03-31-21, 08:27 AM
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Well, let's see. Off the top of my head, there's the 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 that are all based on the Andrew Ritchie fold design - oh! plus all those titanium jobs.


Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
Chedech was banned in Europe because it copies the design of the Brompton: https://www.bike-eu.com/laws-regulat...-case-10138237
What I read in the patent law journals (not the cycling press) was that the lower court didn't know if a shape could be copyrighted, so they sent it to a higher court that ruled a shape as part of a functional design might be considered an artistic expression and copyrighted if 1) another shape could perform the same function and 2) the shape chosen was a unique, artistic decision. This was a favorable ruling for Brompton but not 'a ruling in Brompton's favor', and with this clarification of law, the higher court returned the case to the lower court.

I haven't heard if Brompton or Chedech are pursing the case further, but it seems if they do, Bromptons shows the Dahon Curl and says, "another shape performs just fine, in fact, maybe better since the Curls folds smaller" and Checech shows the 1974 DiBlasi Avia with its arched main tube over a fold-under rear wheel and says the Brompton "is not really a unique artistic expression". I won't guess how the court would rule.

Brompton has employees that were born after the patent on the Andrew Ritchie fold design expired. Brompton filed an injunction against Dahon in 2017 when the Curl debuted @ Eurobike. Three weeks later at the first court hearing, Dahon explained their bike and presented the nine EU patents that it had been granted. The EU court tossed the case and ordered Brompton to pay Dahon's legal fees. The Curl is sold at Dahon dealers across the EU.

Last edited by tcs; 03-31-21 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 03-31-21, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Well, let's see. Off the top of my head, there's the 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 that are all based on the Andrew Ritchie fold design - oh! plus all those titanium jobs.
.
Thanks, I didn't know about these; I have not seen them in the UK other than the curl.
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Old 03-31-21, 09:53 AM
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Copyright is not about using the same fold design.

Its about making a product which is a clone of another, i.e. a product that most people cannot distinguish from the original.

A 3sixty is really a clone of a Brompton. People could think its a Brompton.

Anybody see the difference between a Burke 20 and a Brompton or even a Curl and a Brompton.

The Chedech is not a clone like the 3sixty but looks quite similar for inexperienced people.
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Old 03-31-21, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz View Post
Thanks, I didn't know about these; I have not seen them in the UK other than the curl.
Because they're almost all Asian copycats, therefore not sold in the West.

I do wonder why no one has come up with a Better Brompton™, though.

Dahon's Curl isn't there yet, at least because it lacks a frame-mounted front bag.
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Old 03-31-21, 11:26 AM
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I think the ben cooper product/custom are great. The curl is nice but does not package as well as the brompton, the birdy is the same.

i would like a nice 20” brompton frame with derailleur
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Old 03-31-21, 12:03 PM
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Considering a lot of commuters/city-dwellers find the Brompton 1) very useful but 2) too expensive, there's a market for a Brompton-like folder at ~half the price.

I, for one, find 349 wheels OK — although more choice for tires would be nice —, but would rather a Nexus 8 + disk brakes.
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Old 03-31-21, 02:57 PM
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Brompton has the B75 at 850GBP, about half the price of other models.

As far as I know, it doesn't sell that good ?

The Dahon Curl doesn't sell well also because its too expensive for a Dahon.
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Old 03-31-21, 03:14 PM
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The B75 only has three speeeds, uses old parts, and isn't available outside the UK.

As for the Dahon Curl, it has no frame-mounted bag, is hard to find in Europe, and depending on the supplier, is sold with a Nexus 4, a Nexus 7, or a Nexus 8.

Will a Taiwanese/Chinese company finally see the light?
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Old 04-01-21, 01:33 AM
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the B75 seems good until you look at the details, budget wheel. budjet saddle, old pre 2015 system, no fenders... I was talking to the local dealer and the b75 cost over £1K once fenders and other bits are added.

I remember is being about £700 when launched and that was just about value for money compared to the other models
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Old 04-01-21, 02:33 AM
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if brompton would stop the proprietary parts nonsense, they would sell 10 times more bikes
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Old 04-01-21, 04:32 AM
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All Brompton, use old style cheap components. The one of the other Brompton aren't any better than the one of the B75.

The new rims are heavier and wear faster than the old ones.

The new crankset is heavier than the old one.

The old speed levers were ugly but weight less and work better than the new ones.

The last black brake caliper are worse than the previous ones.

The Sturmey Archer IGH are old fashion and the derailleur isn't a real derailleur.

Kinetics showed that it s easily possible to swap old that old crap for modern IGH.

The problem for Brompton is that they are only focused n margin's, they are not aiming at having a better bike.
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Old 04-01-21, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeLite View Post
if brompton would stop the proprietary parts nonsense, they would sell 10 times more bikes
And lower the price.

A lot of people need that kind of compact folder, especially for the home↔station trips, but bulk at the price.
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Old 04-02-21, 07:21 PM
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FWIW, I've made a couple of short tours on my Curl with non-proprietary front luggage.

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Old 04-02-21, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
The B75 only has three speeeds, uses old parts, and isn't available outside the UK.
I thought the B75 was just a temporary model to use up old parts and clear the warehouse out to create space for pre-Brexit imported parts buffer inventory? The B75's lack of folding pedals was an unfortunate price-point decision.

As for the Dahon Curl.. depending on the supplier, is sold with a Nexus 4, a Nexus 7, or a Nexus 8.
The four-speed is actually a Sturmey-Archer XRF4 hub. That relatively light, polished shell hub is used on other up-market folding bikes like the BikeFriday and Hummingbird.
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Old 04-02-21, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The Dahon Curl doesn't sell well also because it's too expensive for a Dahon.
I'm not privy to any Dahon Curl sales numbers, and the Curl is far from the most expensive model the company has offered. That said, there may be something to this from a marketing standpoint. General Motors has their Cadillac; Volkswagen their Audi. Toyota struggled to sell expensive models on the same showroom floor next to Tercels and Hiluxes, so they created upscale branding: Lexus.

"I do not apologize for selling some inexpensive models. I want to put the world on bikes." - Dr. David Hon

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Old 04-03-21, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
FWIW, I've made a couple of short tours on my Curl with non-proprietary front luggage.

Too bad Dahon made the decision of not providing a frame-mounted luggage block. At ~$1,200 for the Nexus 8 version, it'd be an interesting alternative to the Brompton.

Instead, I have yet to see a Curl on the road.
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Old 04-03-21, 05:01 AM
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I think that even 1200USD is too expensive for a bike that has no brand image.

If you look at who is buying a folding bike, there are people that do multi-modal commuting with most of the time a very short bike distance. These people want a very cheap bike, less than 500USD.

There are also people who are looking for a bike giving a social position that has a known strong brand image. These people buy a Brompton, they wont buy a Curl or any other bike without a brand image even if it offer the same service as a Brompton for less money.

There are then bike experts, those who need the extreme folded compactness of the Brompton buy a Brompton but make a lot of improvements on it. But its a very small part of the Brompton buyers.
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Old 04-03-21, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
Too bad Dahon made the decision of not providing a frame-mounted luggage block.
Almost every bike in the world attaches front luggage to the forks and/or handlebars. Jan Heine opines that added weight of front luggage speeds up handling because it accentuates wheel flop. By putting that weight on the fork/bars the added inertial compensates by slowing the handling back down.
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Old 04-03-21, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
Instead, I have yet to see a Curl on the road.
The Brompton was introduced to American cyclists in 1984. In the 37 years since I've seen four Bromptons in the US.

On the other hand, from our hotel balcony a block from Paddington Station I saw great fleets of Bromptons.

Bike Forums tends to be US-centric and Euro-centric. Dahon's principle markets are in Asia - where the majority of the world's population lives.

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Old 04-03-21, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz View Post
The curl is nice but does not package as well as the Brompton...
Interesting comment. Care to elaborate?

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