Brompton has unveiled details of new products for 2010 ahead of what promises to be a busy week for the folding bike specialists, with the Brompton World Championships at Blenheim Palace this Sunday followed by next week's Cycle Show at Earl’s Court, where the company will be exhibiting.
Aluminium replaces Titanium for lightweight seatpost
First off, the Titanium seat post currently found on the West London-based company’s superlight models will be replaced by an anodized, scratch-resistant aluminium version – these still offer weight savings, but are more cost-effective and easier to source than the Titanium version, where Brompton says supplies have become unreliable.
Tyre options reduced from four to two
Brompton also revealed that it is reducing tyre options from four to two. Currently, two Brompton-badged versions are available plus two from Schwalbe, but for 2010 there will be one of each. Brompton Kevlar remains, with the company saying that it offers improved puncture protection compared to its standard tyre while the Kevlar belt has little impact on rolling resistance.
The existing Schwalbe tyres, the Marathon and Stelvio, will be replaced by a new model, the Kojak. Unsurprisingly, given the name, it’s a lightweight slick tyre, weighing less than the Stelvio, and Brompton says it offers better puncture protection. It will also have a reflective strip.
Two new hub dynamo lighting systems
The company has also changed its dynamo lighting offer. Currently it has a high-end hub dynamo and a tyre dynamo version, but says that the size of Brompton tyres plus the folding nature of the bike means that the latter is not as reliable as it would ideally like.
Instead, for 2010, there will be two new hub dynamo sets. One, the Son hub dynamo, offers “exceptional performance”, claims Brompton, “but at a price”. A more reasonable option is a new dynamo set developed by Brompton in partnership with Shimano, which comes in at around the same price as the existing tyre dynamo set.
High-end laptop case plus Ortlieb bag
Brompton has also made changes to its luggage range. Highlights include the A Bag, a handmade leather attaché case complete with laptop compartment and “ideal for both the city player and the style aficionado”, plus the O Bag, designed by Ortlieb specifically for use with Brompton’s front luggage system.
Have bike, will travel - finally a specific flight case
Finally, the company has responded to consumer demand by introducing a hard case suitable for use as in-flight luggage. Previously, in the FAQ section of its website, Brompton had said that it considered the collapsible B Bag to be adequate for the purpose. But the new Brompton Pod flight case, in rigid moulded EVA with the bicycle strapped within, will provide reassurance to owners who might otherwise panic when they see luggage being loaded into the hold with what can sometimes seem like reckless abandon.
According to the company, many of the innovations result from feedback given by customers as well as dealers and distributors. It added that it has doubled its design team during the past year, although the full impact of its enhanced capability won’t be properly felt until 2011.
Brompton World Championships fully subscribed
Meanwhile, the Brompton World Championship at Blenheim Palace this Sunday is now fully subscribed, with 600 riders racing on two laps of a 6.5-kilometre course. Last year’s runner-up, former Vuelta winner Roberto Heras, will be hoping to go one better, and there will be a number of categories including fastest male, female, junior (12 – 18), veteran (male & female 50+) and team. The event forms part of the Bike Blenheim Palace event, now in its second year.
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Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.