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Clones?

Old 06-09-23, 11:58 AM
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Here is my trifold bike from Litepro. Basically 1/3 the price of a genuine Brompton. It has differences. One is that it will roll even when the front section is not folded. The front wheel doesn’t get in the way. Is the quality 66% less? I’ll see…

PS: I’m working on my photography skills following Ron Damon’s suggestion.🥴


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Old 06-09-23, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jfouellette
Here is my trifold bike from Litepro. Basically 1/3 the price of a genuine Brompton. It has differences. One is that it will roll even when the front section is not folded. The front wheel doesn’t get in the way. Is the quality 66% less? I’ll see…

PS: I’m working on my photography skills following Ron Damon’s suggestion.🥴


LOoks great! Bring on the updates.
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Old 06-09-23, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
"We have gone to court in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain to protect the 'three dimensional trademark' of the overall shape of the Brompton so that if someone else invents a different kind of folding bike, they can't make it look too like ours; this has been appealed all the way up to the European Court of Justice and may one day be ruled on there." - Will Butler-Adams
Since this thread was active in February, the EU courts did rule: sorry, Brompton, your bike is a functional industrial design (with an expired patent), not copyrightable/trademarkable artwork.

Brompton has now lost two back-to-back "3D trademark" cases against Dahon and Chedech in the EU courts.
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Old 06-09-23, 02:07 PM
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They probably forgot that to stay alive they need to innovate.
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Old 06-09-23, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jfouellette
It has differences. One is that it will roll even when the front section is not folded. The front wheel doesn’t get in the way.
Brompton (relatively) short wheelbase: wheels overlap.



Asian trifold (relatively) long wheelbase: wheels do not overlap.



Note: Not all Asian trifold brands/models feature the longer wheelbase.
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Old 06-09-23, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tds101
The company will still receive sales based off of the recognition and promotion of their mentioned/copied brand. Clones deny the fact they're not original, and refuse to acknowledge the brand of the original design.

“respect or reverence paid or rendered”
??? Where is anything that says the original company gets actual money from "homage" manufacturers?

Originally Posted by tds101
And there is the point that you seem to ignore. Again, a homage acknowledges the creator, where the clone ignores the initiator of the original. It's a "point of contention" that's been debated nonstop. Waiting lists are irrelevant. It's the recognition, or lack thereof, that makes it an issue (including legal proceedings).
??? Your link doesn't indicate that homage manufactures actually mention the originator by name.

Originally Posted by tds101
It's all about paying royalties to the original company.
Originally Posted by tds101
Either way the company who is the design initiator receives some form of compensation,...


Originally Posted by tds101
Homage,...what don't you comprehend? Apparently you're exactly the type of person that likes to debate semantics. Discussion is over.
You aren't making any sense.

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-09-23 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 06-09-23, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tds101
It's all about paying royalties to the original company.
This is wrong.

Originally Posted by tds101
Either way the company who is the design initiator receives some form of compensation,...
This is wrong.

Last edited by StanSeven; 06-09-23 at 08:36 PM. Reason: Quoted deleted post
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Old 06-09-23, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jfouellette
Here is my trifold bike from Litepro. Basically 1/3 the price of a genuine Brompton. It has differences. One is that it will roll even when the front section is not folded. The front wheel doesn’t get in the way. Is the quality 66% less? I’ll see…

PS: I’m working on my photography skills following Ron Damon’s suggestion.🥴


Not bad for only a Litepro. 😉😉

The pix are looking better. 👍🏼

Last edited by Ron Damon; 06-10-23 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 06-09-23, 08:38 PM
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Let’s stop with the back and forth arguing which adds nothing to the thread. The thread was cleaned up some too. Thanks.
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Old 06-10-23, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by CEBEP
I wander why people call Brompton copies as clones but Rolex clones as homage? Here is example of homage watches. Also a clone Brompton is considered as bad thing while Rolex clones, called homage watches are fine.
You are "begging the question" here.
  • Clearly, people who buy Brompton "clones" see them as fine.
  • It appears some people are not fine with "homage" watches.
That is, it seems the two situations seem to be similar.
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Old 06-10-23, 01:47 PM
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Copy: like copying someone's homework and taking credit.
Clone: As above but you now know how to do the homework
Counterfeit: As above, but with skills
Homage: As above with added snobbish entitlement
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Old 06-11-23, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by CEBEP
They probably forgot that to stay alive they need to innovate.
Credit where credit is due: Brompton is (currently) thriving. The order books are full and they've met their aggressive sales increase goals, perhaps a few years late but with Brexit and COVID, still absolutely commendable. They are exporting a low-tech device (steel bicycles are basically 1890s~1920s technology) from what has to be one of the world's highest manufacturing cost locations - unbelievable! They've built a community of customers - outstanding branding effort! They have a vision of building a new factory that's actually a nice facility in which to work.

Okay. They've been using the courts, rather than superiority of product, to battle competitors. Their 'innovation' of 4-speed derailleur gearing is a chuckle. And I find some of their marketing absolutely eye-rolling.

So what will the future hold?


Last edited by tcs; 06-11-23 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 06-11-23, 09:42 AM
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I don’t wish Brompton goes broke. I have one myself and like it very much. But I decided to buy it after youtube video by Victor, not Brompto’s ads, commercials or communities. I didn’t even know it existed before watching that video But what I know from my life experience is companies who do not invent would eventually fade away. Future will tell I guess.
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Old 06-11-23, 01:05 PM
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Quick update on the bike. Most of the screws needed to be torqued (loose crank arm). I replaced the folding pedals with Dahons. Replaced the chain ring with a Litepro 45t instead of the unbranded 47t with separate chain guard. Added reflectors to meet regulations.

The Sturmey Archer hub works well but I’m having trouble with the derailleur.

Here is the picture of how they applied the shipping fees. It works. They used 30 pages of stamps! Anybody collect Chinese stamps?



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Old 06-19-23, 05:47 PM
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Update: The Sturmey Archer hub is slipping between the 2nd and 3 rd gear. I took a look at a video and I’m trying to solve this. Up to now it looks like it s working. Same thing with the deraileur. I’ve ordered a kick stand, extented and wider caster wheel, replaced the saddle. The ride is actually good. More to follow. Here is a récent picture.


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Old 06-19-23, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
I've seen some trifolds with British flag decals and even CHPT3 paint schemes, but AFAIK none branded Brompton or using Brompton's font (both trademarked).

There are any number of unauthorized t-shirts available on the internet bearing Brompton logos and graphics. Apparently, Brompton allows that for the advertising value they get from it (?).




Brompton did have that well-documented trouble with jackleg subcontractor Neobike back in the 1990s. IIRC even Neobike's owners' manual was a photocopy of the Brompton owners' manual!



Fun fact: As Andrew Ritchie started negotiations with Eurotai to build Neobike-Bromptons in Taiwan, Dr. Hon called him up and said, "You don't want to do business with those guys." In a decision that would haunt Brompton for over a decade, that advice was dismissed.
I've read all of this, 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back. My bad.
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Old 08-05-23, 11:53 AM
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A useful urban folder
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Old 08-06-23, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jfouellette
Here is my trifold bike from Litepro. Basically 1/3 the price of a genuine Brompton.
How did you order it from Canada, and how much did you pay total (bike + shipping + duty + sales tax)?
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Old 08-06-23, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by CEBEP
I wander why people call Brompton copies as clones but Rolex clones as homage? Here is example of homage watches. Also a clone Brompton is considered as bad thing while Rolex clones, called homage watches are fine.
Brompton’s folding bike patent expired a long time ago (in 1999), though Brompton have been in court trying to prevent other makers from using their design claiming that their bicycle design is “copyrighted.” Their argument is that their design drawings were copyrighted when the bicycle was designed, and anyone using written plans similar to those made by Brompton are infringing on Brompton’s copyright.

It’s not likely that Brompton will prevail in the long run, and makers in Asia have been producing their own versions for a long time. I can find many Brompton-type bikes here in Japan which sell for much less than the real thing, and many of them are technologically superior. You can get a Brompton-type bike with disk brakes, conventional drivelines using off-the-shelf parts, etc. I dislike the idea of using a copyright in place of a patent to extend ownership of a design almost indefinitely; patents are not permanent as it could give corporations virtual monopolies on a wide range of products.
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Old 08-06-23, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Winfried
How did you order it from Canada, and how much did you pay total (bike + shipping + duty + sales tax)?
Hello, I ordered it from the Litepro web site. It was on sale with shipping included. The sale is still active I believe. It took about three weeks to arrive. The final price was about CA$850. The folding pedals need to be replaced since they are plastic and bend under load. I spent about $125 to improve the bike. Beer wasn’t included.

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Old 08-06-23, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling
Their argument is that their design drawings were copyrighted when the bicycle was designed, and anyone using written plans similar to those made by Brompton are infringing on Brompton’s copyright.
I find this odd.

If someone makes a 100% copy of a Porsche with just their name on it, it's unlikely Porsche won't win in court. Regardless of the technical considerations (eg. folding), the product has to be physically different enough that consumers can tell them apart.

For instance, compare the Brompton with Dahon's Curl. They're clearly different enough so that Dahon can sell them in Europe and North America:

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Old 08-06-23, 01:44 PM
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Not really...

OK, so I am super, super late to the party (this discussion), but I feel I have to add my 2 cents. When it comes to watches, most of the time, the seller doesn't acknowledge the original designer. In fact, it would be detrimental to the sales of the "homage" to do so, being that the serious watch community is so militant about wanting to keep the purity of the hobby. Yes, to many, that is what it is though I suspect it's more about status than anything else. Look at me (my fancy expensive Rolex), I have "arrived".

The bike world is somewhat more forgiving and mentioning that a Brompton look alike is in fact a clone or copy is more widely accepted. That said, the term "homage" isn't out of place in this too except that sounds wieird since many in this community are not to used to it. Saying that a bike is based on the Brompton's design is actually a good thing unless you're a hardcore fanboy of the brand and find it offensive.

We also know that outside the EU, there is nothing Brompton can do about these clones since the patents expired a while ago. Like it or not, anyone who creates a Brompton clone doesn't have to pay the company any royalties or other so called "licensing fees". That's business folks. Live goes on.

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Old 08-06-23, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by edwong3
OK, so I am super, super late to the party (this discussion), but I feel I have to add my 2 cents. When it comes to watches, most of the time, the seller doesn't acknowledge the original designer. In fact, it would be detrimental to the sales of the "homage" to do so, being that the serious watch community is so militant about wanting to keep the purity of the hobby. Yes, to many, that is what it is though I suspect it's more about status than anything else. Look at me (my fancy expensive Rolex), I have "arrived".

The bike world is somewhat more forgiving and mentioning that a Brompton look alike is in fact a clone or copy is more widely accepted. That said, the term "homage" isn't out of place in this too except that sounds wieird since many in this community are not to used to it. Saying that a bike is based on the Brompton's design is actually a good thing unless you're a hardcore fanboy of the brand and find it offensive.

We also know that outside the EU, there is nothing Brompton can do about these clones since the patents expired a while ago. Like it or not, anyone who creates a Brompton clone doesn't have to pay the company any royalties or other so called "licensing fees". That's business folks. Live goes on.
Please DO NOT QUOTE ME IN THIS THREAD. I do not wish to be a part of the discussion.
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Old 08-06-23, 05:37 PM
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The problems I had with the derailleur, were caused by a broken part named the dog leg. I replaced it with a better one. The shifter was indexed which was just to complicated for the two gear. I use a Shimano friction shifter and all is good now, I have six speeds. The three speed StrumeybArcher hub complements the bikes well for urban use with few hills.
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Old 08-07-23, 01:50 AM
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Brompton's pre-2017 derailleur shifter doesn't work with the Litepro clone?

What Shimano friction shifter did you use?

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