Both Brompton and Bike Friday are reliable brands and you’ll be fine with both of their products as long as you make the right choice as per your needs and budget.
Brompton has a larger following because they have a rich history with a global presence while Bike Friday stepped into the scene much later and they mainly focus on custom folding bikes.
Talking about bikes, Bike Friday’s offers a wide range of models – from road bikes to cargo bikes – and each bike can be customized with various components and accessories.
On the other hand, Brompton bikes have a more standardized design with fewer customization options. They are known for their compact size with smaller wheels and unique folding mechanism.
A brief look at Brompton
The company started their journey with Andrew Ritchie in 1976. The founder named the company after Brompton Oratory, which was visible from his bedroom. He actually made the first prototype in his workshop at the time when he worked as a gardener.
Although the first prototype was made in 1977, it was not until 1981 that their main production finally began. This British company still follows the same modular design made by the founder for which he was awarded the Prince Philip Designers Prize in 2009.
They are the largest bicycle manufacturer in Britain and produce approximately 50,000 bikes per year. All of their bikes have a common 16-inch tire size and the same hinged frame. The frames are usually made of steel but some models have titanium-based rear triangles and forks.
A brief look at Bike Friday
Based in Eugene, Oregon, Bike Friday was founded by Alan Scholz and Hanz Scholz in 1992 – a father-and-son team with a passion for cycling and engineering.
Bike Friday’s mission is to create high-quality, versatile bicycles that are tailored to each rider’s individual needs and preferences. The company offers a wide range of models, including road bikes, touring bikes, commuter bikes, and cargo bikes, all of which can be customized with various components and accessories.
Some of their models are tandems, belt-drive bicycles, commuter bicycles, mountain bikes, cargo bicycles, recumbents, and even a model that is folding, recumbent, and tandem at the same time.
Bike Friday vs Brompton: How do they compare?
|Comparing factors||Bike Friday||Brompton|
|Folding size||Less compact||More compact|
|Wheel size||Both Standard (20 inches) and small||Smaller (16 inches)|
|Parts availability||Easy to find||Hard to find|
|Braking system||Worse than Brompton||Better than Bike Friday|
|Carrying in airplane||Supported but may face issues||Fully supported in standard size bags|
|Riding difficulty||Feels like regular bike||A little tiresome to ride|
|Trolley support||No built-in trolley support||All-time trolley support|
|Price||Comparatively expensive||Comparatively less expensive|
|Folding experience||Need to touch dirty parts of the bike||No need to touch dirty parts of the bike|
|Availability||Mostly available in the USA||Mostly available in the UK|
|Parts||No proprietary parts||75% proprietary parts|
|Frame material||Cro-moly (steel alloy)||Steel/titanium/carbon|
|Best suited||For average size people||For short people|
|Customizability||Highly customizable||Not customizable|
Bike Friday is an American company that manufactures all of their products in the Eugene factory. In fact, they are the only true American company that produces folding bikes.
Brompton is the largest UK-based bike manufacturer with a strong presence in the USA. Their products are hand-made in Greenford, London factory. The company announced a move from Greenford to Ashford, Kent in 2022.
Types of bikes
Bike Friday’s production line covers different types of bikes, including touring bikes, city bikes, tandems, and e-bikes.
Brompton maintains a different type of line for their bikes based on the material and facilities the bike has. They are…
A Line – all-steel made frames
C Line – all-steel made frames
P Line – steel-made frames but also have titanium-made parts
T Line – all titanium-made frames
As the US-based Bike Friday’s target customers are Americans, they are more popular in North America. But their products can be found in many different countries as well.
Brompton mainly focuses on UK markets. Most of their bikes are manufactured specially keeping the UK scenarios in mind e.g. they fit perfectly in buses and trains of the Uk in the folding mode.
All of the Bike Friday bike frames are made of 4130 Cro-moly. In case you did not know, Cro-moly refers to a steel alloy made out of a mix of chromium and molybdenum.
This combination makes for an extremely strong and flexible frame. In the factory, the best methods like TIG welding and brazing are used to join the frame parts.
Most of the Brompton frames are steel-made while some have titanium in rear triangles and forks. There are all-titanium-made bikes too. The titanium models are lighter in weight and come with higher price tags.
Parts type and availability
Since they have no proprietary parts, Bike Friday manufactures their bikes with standard parts that can be easily found and readily used regardless of the brand. This is one of the biggest advantages of bike Friday bikes.
It is also really easy to find the different parts and components as they follow the standard rules of bike part measurements.
75% to 80% of the Brompton bike parts are proprietary. Besides, the company doesn’t have a dealership in every country.
As a result, if you are riding in rural areas or third-world countries then most possibly you won’t find many of the parts you’ll need.
Wheel size and tires
These bikes come with both standard (20 inches) and smaller (16 inches) wheels. Bikes with standard wheel sizes can give you the same experience that the regular bikes provide.
All the Brompton bikes have small, 16-inch tires. They may make you feel weird if you are riding for the first time.
Bike Friday bikes are not easily foldable and take more time to fold. They are also bigger than Brompton bikes when folded.
Brompton offers the most compact folding bikes among all other brands as the size is only 585mm X 565mm X 270mm (23? x 22.2? x 10.6?), which is almost 50% less than other brands when folded. Their ingenious fold design makes it possible to achieve this result.
The folding speed is also quicker than bike Friday bikes although they are not the quickest in the market.
Bike Friday bikes are well known for their custom models as you can just send preferred bike measurements to them and they will build a perfectly fitted bike for you.
Brompton bikes are not customizable at all. You have to choose from pre-fitted bikes, which may result in the wrong size and fit if not chosen carefully.
Riding speed and experience
Since Bike Friday bikes have standard-size wheels, you won’t face any issues at all if you are used to a regular bike. They are also comfortable and fit perfectly as you can custom-build them.
Brompton bikes may feel weird or funny for the first few rides as the wheel size is smaller than standard. They are also slower for the same reason, which can make you tired easily as you need to peddle faster to get your desired speed.
One of the biggest downsides of Bike Friday is that their bikes are comparatively expensive. For example, the New World tourist’s base models start from $1800 while the Diamond LLama will set you back $2000.
The additional parts of the bike like fenders, racks, electric assist, and others can also expand your budget. Upgrades of gear and brakes are also not so cost-efficient.
Brompton has both cheaper and expensive bikes as they divide their bikes into different lines based on their frame materials and other used parts. The price line goes as follows…
A Line – $980 (£850)
C Line – $1440 (£1250)
P Line – $2600 (£2264)
T Line – $4300 (£3750)
Bike Friday bikes have a better warranty policy than Brompton. They offer an impressive 10-year warranty for their frames against workmanship or material defects.
The different electronic components have a 1-year warranty while the batteries come with a 30-day warranty. Bike Friday also has a 30-day money-back guarantee if the bike doesn’t meet your expectations.
Brompton has a decent warranty policy as on registration you can get a 7 year-warranty on frames (any type of materials). A 2-year warranty comes with all other non-wearing parts.
In the case of electric bikes, you will get a 2-year warranty for electric components. You can extend it to 3 years for only C Line electric models when registered.