Buying a Brompton Electric

On Sebastian LaVine's Blog
Published on

This week I pulled the trigger on a bike I've been eyeing for almost two years now: the Brompton Electric C-Line Explore. Why did I decide to buy it now? Well, the fact that it was 20% off at REI was a factor. But more personally, this fall I'm going to be on an internship a few cities over from me. There is a bus line (two, actually) that I'd be able to take there, however it is timed such that I would either have to ask to have my schedule shifted back an hour, or put up with walking 20 minutes to be half an hour early, and waiting 40 minutes to go home every night. Not ideal.

Google Maps and both estimate around a 45-minute bike ride each way. I'm certainly capable of doing that, but doing it twice a day, ten times a week will ertainly be easier with some electric assistance, especially as the days become colder and darker as the season goes on.

So why a folding e-bike? For me, it comes down to three reasons:

  1. Easy storage. The small footprint will mean I don't have to rely on bike racks to store the bike, without having to bring a full-size bike into a space that, as a college student, is usually small and shared. The bike rack situation can vary greatly. Major grocery stores and some retailers with sometimes have a rack or two. But not most places, including the suburban office I'll be working at. Even at school only some of the racks have shelters to protect them from rain. Almost every bike around school has a completely rusted chain for this reason. With a Brompton this won't be a problem: I'll be able to easily stow it in my room, or under my desk at work or school.

  2. Portability. It is small enough to take with me wherever I want. Car, bus, train. The bike itself can even fit in the overhead compartment on a plane, but alas the battery is too large for TSA regulations. Aside from the fun of taking my bike on trips with me, more empoweringly it will allow me to travel the "last mile" (or ten, or twenty) to my destination without necessarily having to rely on a ridesharing service or the generosity of friends and family.

  3. "Rollability". Because of the back roller wheels as well as, again, just how small it is, I'll be able to pop the bike into stores, maybe even use it to go grocery shopping. In general, I feel there's a stigma around bringing bicycles into indoor spaces. The are big, and people think they're dirty. hopefully, I'll be able to skirt around that with the Brompton.

That's a lot of ways to say "it folds". But I think it illustrates just how big of an advantage that is. The Electric C-Line Explore is definitely not one of the cheaper e-bikes out there. As I said previously, I got it on sale from REI for $3229.99. But I want this bike to last for years. I'm hopeful that it will meet my expectations, and I look forward to finding out!