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TECH NEWS

Brompton goes 12-Speed across most of its range, doubling the number of gears on the classic folding bike

The British folding bike manufacturer has made the rumours official, pairing derailleur gears with a three-speed Sturmey Archer hub

After much speculation since Eurobike last summer, Brompton has unveiled bikes with 12-speed gearing across its T Line, Electric P Line, P Line, and Electric C Line models. Before you envision a 12-speed cassette on this tiny folding bike, we must start by saying that is not what these new models will come with. 

The update – which essentially doubles the current max offering of six gears – will combine the existing three-speed hub and four-speed derailleur for more gear range but maintain the same compact folding bike design. Thus, there isn't anything massively groundbreaking going on here - the existing C Line Explore already combines a 3-speed hub with a two-speed mech - rather Brompton has built on what it already knew works. 

Brompton explore 12-speed

The way Brompton has increased the number of gears is by pairing the 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub with a lightweight 4-speed derailleur originally designed for the ultralight titanium T Line. The front hub is weather-sealed, which should ensure durability and minimal maintenance.

Electric C Line Explore 12-speed 08

Everything is controlled by two shifters; the right shifter manages the hub gear and the left controls the derailleur. Critics have said this might make the shifting overly complicated - we will wait and see to get our hands on a test bike before judging that. 

> Best folding bikes

Electric P Line Explore 12-speed 02

The various new Brompton 12-Speed options are available now through Brompton dealers and on the Brompton website and are priced as follows: 

  • T Line Explore 12-Speed (8.8 kg) - £4,725.
  • P Line Explore 12-Speed (10.5 kg) - £2,450.
  • Electric P Line Explore 12-Speed (16.3 kg) - £3,895.
  • Electric C Line Explore 12-Speed (17.3 kg) -  £3,150.

The new 12-speed models will offer a wider gear ratio - almost as large as that of an 11-speed road bike. The 11T to 18T rear sprockets paired with a 50T chainring in the new 12-speed setup will give you a range of 402% (the 6-speed gives 302%), with gear inches from 29.4 to 118.2.

image009

 

 

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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14 comments

Avatar
Terry Hutt | 5 months ago
2 likes

So the question on everyone's mind is "can I upgrade my Brommie?". Do I need a new rear triangle or can I bodge my current one? Someone has to offer this as an upgrade kit. Puleeeaze!

Avatar
IanGlasgow replied to Terry Hutt | 5 months ago
5 likes

I'd rather get Kinetics in Glasgow to build me a new rear triangle and a rear wheel with Shimano or Rohloff hub gears. Hub gears make much more sense for a city bike and a folding bike - fewer exposed parts to damage and the ability to change gear while stopped at a junction.

Avatar
Stephankernow replied to IanGlasgow | 5 months ago
0 likes
IanGlasgow wrote:

I'd rather get Kinetics in Glasgow to build me a new rear triangle and a rear wheel with Shimano or Rohloff hub gears. Hub gears make much more sense for a city bike and a folding bike - fewer exposed parts to damage and the ability to change gear while stopped at a junction.

Well said

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 5 months ago
1 like

Sram (ex Sachs) Dual Drive called from the 90's. It wants its idea back.  (3x7 then 3x8-10 using 3 speed hub and 7/8/9/10 sp cassette.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/dualdrive-shifter.html

Avatar
mark1a replied to Secret_squirrel | 5 months ago
3 likes

Secret_squirrel wrote:

Sram (ex Sachs) Dual Drive called from the 90's. It wants its idea back.  (3x7 then 3x8-10 using 3 speed hub and 7/8/9/10 sp cassette.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/dualdrive-shifter.html

To be fair to Brompton, they've done this for a long time now, my 6 speed is the 3 speed hub and a 2 speed derailleur, all they've done is replaced 2 sprockets with 4 at the back.

Avatar
Patrick9-32 replied to mark1a | 5 months ago
4 likes

So now the hub gear from 1904 is paired with a derailleur from 1940 instead of from 1910! 

Such incredible advancement of technology from brompton, how will other brands catch up?

Avatar
mark1a replied to Patrick9-32 | 5 months ago
2 likes

Patrick9-32 wrote:

So now the hub gear from 1904 is paired with a derailleur from 1940 instead of from 1910! 

Such incredible advancement of technology from brompton, how will other brands catch up?

Ssshh, don't mention advancement of technology, you'll send the comments into meltdown about disc brakes/electronic gears/composite materials/tubeless tyres/wider tyres/big cassettes/etc*.

* tick all that apply.

 

 

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OldRidgeback | 5 months ago
2 likes

I'd heard about this one being in development. It's nice to see it's finally out. I still think a 20" wheel is what the firm needs to introduce at some point as the tyre choice will be so much better. 

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armb replied to OldRidgeback | 5 months ago
2 likes

You can get aftermarket fork and rear section that take 20" wheels (and standard hubs).
It must affect the fold, but it seems to work well enough I'm slightly surprised Brompton haven't changed their hub spacing.
https://www.kinetics-online.co.uk/folding-bikes/brompton/brompton-rear-t...

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OldRidgeback replied to armb | 5 months ago
0 likes

Interesting, tho they only take narrow 20" slick tyres. I'd want to be able to use 1.75 Maxxis DTHs.

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SimonS | 5 months ago
0 likes

What does this do to the overall gear range? on the 6 speed the 2 cogs give you interemediate gears between the 3 on the wide range hub.  Unless this has a wider range hub doesn't this just give you small increments between hub gears and loads of duplicate gears?  And a more complex and higher maintenance gear system?

I'm on my second m6 and as regular user for nearly 20 years now what i'd really like is a 6+ speed hub (and ideally, though i know the fold makes it near impossible a belt drive)

This seems like a big step backwards for Brompton gearing to me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wzoq4b8XV4

 

 

Avatar
andystow replied to SimonS | 5 months ago
0 likes

SimonS wrote:

What does this do to the overall gear range? on the 6 speed the 2 cogs give you interemediate gears between the 3 on the wide range hub.  Unless this has a wider range hub doesn't this just give you small increments between hub gears and loads of duplicate gears?  And a more complex and higher maintenance gear system?

There's an image of the gear ranges at the bottom of the article you're commenting on. It looks to me that it must be a different hub, but not massively different. I'd think it's worth it just to get a sub-30 gear inch low gear.

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Jack Sexty replied to andystow | 5 months ago
4 likes

Apologies we didn't have that info when the article was published, all updated now and yep you are getting quite a bit more range with the 12-speed gearing compared to 6. 

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lio | 5 months ago
2 likes

Cruitially this also gives the T-line a very usable 4-speed derailuer setup for not much weight.

I'm going to stick with my good 'ol ten year old M6L but if I ever needed to buy a new Brompton I know which one I'd get.

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