Made in London - 45 years ago, engineer Andrew Ritchie developed the Brompton. To this day, the British folding bike classic is handmade in London. Like the original, the e-bike version of the folding bike is particularly popular with commuters. But is it also suitable as a leisure bike? A test ride through Berlin.
Our tour begins at the Airlift Memorial. Before I can swing myself onto the e-bike with the typical small wheels, it's time to fold it: Detach the battery from the handlebars with a click, press the lever under the saddle, lower the saddle and the Brompton Electric can be folded to a handy size in just a few easy steps. Admittedly, the first time it looks at me not as elegant as our tour guide Christian. But after watching and practicing a few times I got the hang of it. We're ready to go.
The Brompton Electric has three levels; up to 70 kilometers can be covered on one battery. In flat Berlin, level 1 is enough (for now). How easy it feels to pedal! Almost as if by magic, we reach Tempelhofer Feld, which, by the way, is one of the largest inner-city open spaces in the world. There are neither traffic lights nor cars on the disused runways. So I'm allowed to test what the Brompton engine can do without any worries. Stage three: immediately I feel the thrust of the electric motor and dash on the warm asphalt towards the airport building. The cool airstream tastes like freedom. "The Brompton was developed precisely for this feeling," explains Jan Brinkmann, who works for Brompton and is accompanying our tour.
The Brompton Electric not only stands for freedom, but also for flexibility in road traffic. "Bicycle instead of car" is the motto, which is also advocated by bicycle and mobility expert Albert Herresthal, who is part of our city tour through Berlin. To test how suitable the e-bike is for transport, we take the S-Bahn to Baumschulenweg. Once it's folded up - and I can do it much faster now - it fits comfortably under my seat. Another advantage: Unlike normal bikes, taking along a folding bike is free of charge. This also applies to the transport on the ferry, with which we cross to the other bank of the Spree. The unpaved roads through the Wilhelmstrand garden settlement, where we continue our tour on the folding bike, are quite bumpy. Nevertheless, nothing rattles and clatters, my Brompton folding bike remains stable. The frame - instead of aluminum it is made of steel - is soldered and not welded. A technique that guarantees the long service life of the folding bikes, as Brinkmann explains to us.
With the battery still almost full, we continue our tour. We go around the Rummelsburger See, pass Treptower Park and finally arrive - completely unsweaty - at the Oberbaumbrücke, from where I start my journey home. I must leave my Brompton in Berlin. Too bad actually, in the ICE to Hamburg would have been enough space anyway.
Good to know: With a purchase price starting at € 3300, the Brompton Electric is not cheap. So why not first borrow and test? And if you would like to discover Berlin on a guided bike tour like we did, you are welcome to contact us. here take a look around. How about for example the Wall tour? Or the tour Poor But Sexy, which leads through the trendy corners of Berlin along the Spree?
Take the train to Berlin comfortably and without traffic jams: Plan arrival.
Cover picture: Full speed ahead - on the Tempelhofer Feld we give once full throttle © Brompton Bicycle
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