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A red Brompton Mk 1 under a spotlight
The Brompton story

The inventor and his bike

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Andrew Ritchie was a young engineer who believed in a better way to move around the city. In 1975 in the bedroom of his flat overlooking the Brompton Oratory, he invented a bike with an ingenious 3-part fold. A vehicle that transformed into a small package and could go anywhere with him. A 'magic carpet' for the city.

Over the next ten years, Andrew obsessively honed his invention and self-taught bike building skills from a small, rented workshop in a local engineering company - hand-making every customer bike to order.
Young Andrew Ritchie, carrying a folded Brompton in his work jumpsuit, a schematic drawing of a Brompton.
A letter address to Mr. Ritchie, rejecting his proposal for investment into his idea.
Yet, despite the demand, Andrew faced endless rejection letters from banks and bikes companies to invest. His determination paid off when in 1987, an impressed Brompton owner and founder of Naim Audio, Julian Vereker, stepped in. After persuading Andrew to participate in the Cyclex Bike Show at Olympia, London, the Brompton folding bike won the coveted Best Product Award.
Brompton History
Brompton History
The first Brompton Factory
"Bollo Lane" or the Brentford Factory was housed inside two old railway arches. The team hand-built 60 bikes a month—all-steel, black and fitted with a rack.
Customers could choose 3 or 5-speed hub gears. By 1991 Brompton had 56 outlets in the UK and an even bigger export market.

Andrew is pictured (far left) with his team outside Bollo Lane. Mark, 4th from the left, (and his son) still work at Brompton today. He no longer wears a shell suit to work.
Workers pose in front of the Brompton Factory at 2 Bollo Lane.
An unfolded Brompton 3-speed Mk 1 on a white background.
Brompton History
Brompton History
An unusual price
In the early days, the 3-speed Brompton cost £320.78 and a 5-speed £368.95. These exact to-the-penny recommended prices, calculated by Andrew, became as much as a feature of the bike as the fold. Some retailers offered tongue-in-cheek discounts of 78 pence. In loyalty to the smaller bike shops with him from the start, Andrew never gave larger companies preferential treatment. The bike was sold 'at the same fair price to all'.

Brompton World
Championships

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Andrew Ritchie engineered a purely functional bike that owners find seriously fun to ride. Since the first official Brompton World Championship in Barcelona in 2006, fans from around the world, including a Tour de France stage winner, have come together for the annual 'strictly no Lycra' race. Prizes are also awarded for the World's Fastest Fold and Best Dressed. In 2019, over 550 riders raced a 16km lap around St James Park in London. 

Cyclists riding at the Brompton World Championships
Brompton History
Brompton History
The Brompton evolution
The launch of the Brompton Superlight model in 2005, engineered with a lightweight titanium rear frame and forks, represented an evolution for both bicycle and company. Shortly afterwards, Will Butler-Adams, one of the lead engineers on the project, took over the role of Managing Director.

Now, as Technical Director, Andrew focused on engineering. Before stepping down in 2016, a futuristic idea outlined in his original patent was brought to life - a Brompton folding bike with 'an electrical motor'.
Will Butler-Adams posing with a Brompton Electric inside the Brompton factory
A silhouette of a cyclist and a Brompton in front of the sunset
Brompton History
Brompton History
An accidental design icon
For many, the bike you can recognise from a distance is as London as a red double-decker bus, the Underground and Big Ben. The Brompton was chosen to represent London in the closing stages of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Less than twelve months later, it was awarded the Prince Philip's Designers Prize for 'outstanding achievement in design'.
Brompton Junction
In 2011, the first Brompton Junction store opened in Kobe, Japan. A space where the curious and existing owners could experience the engineering first-hand with test rides and specialist advice. Today, there are 16 stores in cities across the globe. Which have become hubs for local owners with meetups and rides.
Brompton Junction
In 2011, the first Brompton Junction store opened in Kobe, Japan. A space where the curious and existing owners could experience the engineering first-hand with test rides and specialist advice. Today, there are 16 stores in cities across the globe. Which have become hubs for local owners with meetups and rides.
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A display of bikes inside Brompton Junction Covent Garden London
James Ku showing customers how to unfold a Brompton inside a Brompton Junction store

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Brompton Electric Recall Australia

Objects may get trapped between the bike's mudguard and the tyre. If this occurs this can cause the bike wheel to stop abruptly. Owners of the affected product should return the product to their local Brompton store or Brompton Electric Accredited Retailer to arrange a replacement mudguard.

Find out if your bike is affected
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