(Pocket-lint) – Brompton’s approach to new bikes means that its electrification efforts come in more of a trickle than a flood. Its frames only get the electric bike treatment when Brompton is completely happy that everything will work on a long-term basis.
The latest to pass that test, then, is the P Line.
On paper, it’s a substantially lighter affair than the C Line we tested last year, although there does also appear to be a lack of other telling improvements.
Depending on how you approach it, though, that might be just the ticket. Let’s dive in and see who the Brompton P Line is for.
The Electric P Line isn’t really a frame aimed at people looking to upgrade their Brompton Electric, because its improvements aren’t revolutionary by any stretch.
If, however, you want your first Brompton Electric, this is the one to get – it’s lighter in ways that count massively, making it easier to use day-to-day. The motor is just as solid as before, which means that moving around cities and the countryside becomes far easier than you’re used to assuming.
Of course, the attached price tag is pretty frightening and demands that you consider just how much you need a folding e-bike when a standard model might do just as well. For commuters or those without secure bike parking, though, Brompton offers something entirely compelling that it’s iterated on smartly with the Electric P Line.
Brompton Electric P Line
4.5 stars – Pocket-lint recommended
- Lighter and easier to carry
- Welcome roller frame improvements
- Zippy gear shifting
- Solid electric assist
- Not useful in every circumstance
- Still pretty heavy
- No major motor improvements
- Classic Brompton folding
- Weighs 12.7kg folded, 15.6kg with battery
Brompton’s P Line might have some refinements compared to other folding frames that it offers, but the core concept is very much the same; this is a bike that you can easily fold up into a bundle for storage and carrying.
That heart is very much intact for the Electric P Line, which simply adds a motor to the front wheel and a sort of hub on the front of the bike where you slot in the battery pack once it’s unfolded.
The folding mechanism is, as ever, something that takes a little bit of practice, but is super quick and easy once you’re in the swing of it. We’ve tried cheaper folding bikes and the proof is in the pudding where Brompton’s engineering is concerned – it’s just so much more reliable.
It’s available in a nice dark grey or a lighter version, and, of the two, we far prefer the dark version, but you don’t have the option of any particularly jazzy colours in any case.
The key advantage that this model has over the C Line that we tested back in 2021 is in the weight department. It’s a considerable 3kg lighter when unfolded, and, without the battery pack on it, that means that it’s a great deal lighter when folded up, too.
This makes for a much easier time when moving it around folded up, and that’s enhanced by improvements to the existing roller rack that sees the bike sit on small wheels when folded up, meaning you can actually roll it around rather than always having to carry it.
These changes are welcome and noticeable when you’ve tried heavier Brompton frames out, but it’s worth highlighting that this is still a heavy burden to carry up a flight of stairs when necessary, for example, and the bike is still a chunk heavier than a non-electric version for obvious reasons.
Ride and assistance
- Three assist strengths
- Four-speed gearing
- 40-70km range, 25 km/h top speed
Though the bike is lighter and easier to carry when folded, the experience of riding the P Line holds far less of a contrast to older versions. This is another great Brompton, but not much has changed.
Before we talk motors – on the manual gearing side, Brompton has chosen to eliminate the choice between a two-speed or six-speed option by consolidating them into a single four-speed bike, and we rate that decision a lot.
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The four speeds are more than enough for most cycling, especially in urban areas where the Brompton is at its best, and switching is smooth and reliable even at a standstill.
The battery pack on the front powers the P Line’s assist modes, meanwhile, and, once it’s slotted in, you get three options for how much assistance you get. Even on the lowest grade, you’ll get a proper shift behind you once you start pedalling, and the most powerful mode is seriously zippy.
Compared to some other e-bikes, the assistance is slightly slow to kick in, meaning you won’t necessarily fly out of from a green light like an F1 car. Still, it’s prompt enough to be reliable in traffic, which is heartening.
We really like that this is an e-bike you can choose to use completely without any app or similar guidance, too. Simply power it up, press the button on the battery pack to select your assist level (and to turn the connected lights on or off) and you’re away.
We should note that editing this on the move is a little wobbly, though, so mounting your phone to achieve easier control is a perfectly sensible move.
The location of that battery pack does mean that the bike steers a little front-heavy, as well, but that’s something you get used to quickly.
With a solid range and detachable battery for easy charging, it’s all pretty rosy on the motor front, albeit without any substantial changes from the last version we tried.
Of course, your usage will also vary heavily according to what you use the bike for. Being plain, there are plenty of occasions when having a folded-up bike to look after, rather than something you can easily lock to a cycle hoop, is a significant pain.
On the other hand, hopping on a train or tube with the Brompton folded up is a huge help for certain journeys, meaning you should just think about which you’re more likely to encounter before committing to an expensive buy.
Features and software
- Brompton Electric app for assistance control
While, as we said, you don’t have to use it, Brompton’s app can connect to your bike for some simple controls, letting you swap between assist levels and turn your lights on.
It’s barebones, but, in a way, we quite appreciate it – you’ll have your own navigation app of choice and Brompton isn’t trying to muscle in on that relationship.
The fact that Brompton continues to steer clear of any sort of built-in display is a great call, too, in our view. The simple LED lights on the battery pack do a great job of letting you know your assist level if you don’t connect your phone.
Beyond that, there’s not much to speak of – there’s no location tracking or finicky unreliable theft detection here, all of which we generally turn off to avoid false alarms in any event on other bikes.
In terms of weight, the Electric P Line is a welcome improvement compared to the C Line, making it ideal for new customers. This isn’t really one to consider if you’re already a Brompton e-bike owner, though.
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Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Conor Allison.