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Brompton P Line folding bike review

11 Feb 2022
Verdict:

A sturdy, lightweight and speedy update from Brompton which hits all the right notes

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Lightweight • Sturdy • Nimble • Speedy • Practical

Made from a combination of titanium and steel, with a titanium rear frame and fork, the Brompton P Line folding bike features much of the same makeup as the previous Brompton Superlight, but with a twist.

The P line has four speeds, redesigned suspension and weighs in at a claimed 9.89kg, making it a very appealing prospect for commuting or pootling around the city on a jaunt taking in the bright lights.

Heading out around London – Brompton’s home and no doubt its bread and butter – it’s easy to see why a Brompton is seen as the default choice for a folding bike. It is so practical.

And, as I zip along, racing everyone on any sort of bike, I find myself revelling in the P Line’s speed and ability to nip through traffic, along bike lanes, and down narrow side streets.

It’s not just the P Line’s nimbleness which is noticeable. Whilst riding it, I am awash with compliments from fellow riders who remark on the P Line – ‘Now that is a smart bike’, ‘Very nice bike’, ‘What a beauty’ they coo.

And then I hear their faint gasps as I pedal off into the distance, and a clunk as one of their jaws hits the floor.

Brompton P Line gearing

With four speeds, the P Line is a fast, unassuming little bike, which will get you from A to B quickly enough, if not as speedily as a road bike.

The P Line packs a punch when racing fellow commuters. The four speeds are largely enough for getting around a city, although an 11% gradient would see me getting off the bike.

Changing gear is seamless and couldn’t be easier thanks to the shifter which requires a simple flick with the left thumb.

Handling is a quick but not excessively twitchy, and the suspension makes navigating London’s copious potholes and dodgy road surface less painful than otherwise.

That said, on some days, I was left wanting a bigger top gear as an electric food delivery bike left me for dust. That might just be me being competitive though.

Brompton P Line weight

The P Line weighs in at a claimed 9.89kg. It’s the second lightest bike in Brompton’s range, the award for the lightest going to the T Line at a claimed 7.45kg.

I found that the P Line is heavy enough to feel sturdy when riding but light enough to carry it around when needed.

It’s noticeably less awkward to lug around than some of the heavier models.

Carrying the P Line up one flight of stairs is no issue when I’m feeling sprightly, and I do mean it when I say it’s light enough to be hauled up anywhere, but in a world of choice, the P Line is as heavy as I would like for a folding bike.

After a long day, the P Line suddenly feels heavy, and much more of a burden.

I'd like to be able to sling it on my back as I trek up the dreaded 113 steps at Gloucester Road tube station when the lift is broken.

Of course, I am being pedantic. When compared to the rest of Brompton’s portfolio it is much lighter than an A Line or a C Line, the former tipping the scales at 11.5kg.

And whilst it is around 2kg heavier than the T Line, the P Line also costs 40 percent less in British pounds, so my money is with the P Line here.

How to fold the Brompton P Line

Folding the P Line is simple enough and anyone can do it.

The back wheel slides under the frame, the front wheel hooks onto the back wheel, the handlebar folds onto the front wheel, and then the seat post neatly slots down and locks the bike in position.

OK fine, I’ll admit it. It initially took me several attempts and one meltdown, but now I am a Brompton folding guru.

My record for unfolding the P Line is 13.2 seconds and for folding, 10.4 seconds. The world records stand at 7.05 and 5.96 seconds respectively. Give me a few more practices and I reckon I could match that. Just saying.

What I particularly liked were the little reminders of how to unfold and fold the bike which are subtly placed around the bike, such as the back of the right brake lever and the tube.

The dual locking seat post system allows you to push the bike holding on to the seat post, instead of carrying it, which is handy, although depending on your height, this can be a slightly awkward affair.

As I push the six-foot mark, I found myself adopting a weird half crouch position to get the bike moving, much to the amusement of passers-by, I am sure. Maybe I just haven’t nailed the technique.

So, I took a fold-and-carry approach most of the time. But given the ease of folding the P Line, this didn’t put me off at all. Especially when I can do it so quickly.

Brompton also offers the P Line with a roller frame, which is essentially a rack on the rear of the bike with an additional pair of small roller wheels.

The brand says this makes for easier rolling when the bike is folded, and also adds the ability for carrying up to 10kg of luggage on the back.

Brompton P Line wheels

The P Line features Brompton’s new wheelset which the brand says is its lightest and sturdiest, and has been ‘fired with mud, water and sand for hundreds of hours’ in testing.

I obviously didn’t ride the P Line and its 16-inch wheels through a bog, a river or down a beach, but it is safe to say that the bike handles puddles and city dirt well, the wheels withstanding typical city riding abuse without issues.

Compared to the previous model, the wheels have hex key axles while Brompton says the new rear derailleur hanger design makes rear wheel removal easier, simplifying puncture repairs and maintenance

I didn’t get a puncture during testing but there’s no reason repairing one shouldn’t be straightforward.

Brompton P Line: Bags

I despise wearing a heavy backpack while riding a bike. Or actually any weight of backpack.

So slapping a bag on the front of the P Line is wonderful. I felt so free.

Most importantly, having a heavy bag on the front of the bike didn’t affect its handling at all.

I rammed mine with all the ingredients for a Lebanese feast and rode 16km to my brother’s house the other side of London. Worked a treat.

The bag featured here is a 14L Brompton backpack with Liberty print which fits neatly on the front and, let’s be honest, is rather jazzy.

The bag also has a magnetic snap system to keep the straps firmly in place when riding.

So practical, I love it.

Brompton P Line verdict

The Brompton P Line is a brilliant little workhorse that’s ideal for commuting.

It is fast enough to race other commuters, nimble enough to navigate city streets and take some shortcuts in said race, and light and foldable enough to run up any stairs necessary to win said race.

Just not 113 steps.

Brompton P Line specs

  • Price: from £2,244
  • Frame: Steel main frame, titanium rear frame 
  • Fork: Titanium with threaded headset
  • Weight: 9.89kg claimed
  • Gearing: 4-speed
  • Rear derailleur: Direct mount 4-speed
  • Cranks: 6061 forged aluminium crank with 50t chainring and integrated chainguard
  • Cassette: Brompton 4-speed, 11-13-15-18
  • Shifters: Brompton 4-speed trigger shifter
  • Brakes: Dual pivot rim brake
  • Wheels: Brompton 16-inch alloy
  • Tyres: Schwalbe One Black 16×1 1/3in
  • Seatpost: Brompton Extended Chromoly steel 
  • Saddle: Brompton Superlight
  • Pedals: Brompton folding left-hand, non-folding right-hand
Price: 
£2,244