Review of "Brompton L3 Bicycle"

published 16/10/2008 | suehome
Member since : 11/06/2008
Reviews : 54
Members who trust : 27
About me :
Pro Power assistance on hills
Cons Relatively heavy, you still have to pedal
very helpful
Value for money
How does it compare to similar products?

"Nifty Folder"

My announcement to the family at large that I was buying a bicycle was greeted with a mixture of awe, disbelief and unsuppressed laughter. You see I had not actually seriously been on a bicycle for over 40 years! As the mirth subsided the information that this particular bike was a folding model and assisted by electric power only served to add visions of motability scooters and zimmer frames, rekindling the laughter!!

The folding bike I had chosen is the Electrobike from ASBikes in Coventry. I had carefully researched the market looking for a powered bike that could be folded and that was within my budget of £500. The actual cost of this bike was actually £450. Now this might seem quite expensive until you realise that I wanted a bike that not only folded but had powered assistance and the threshold price for both these two components is at least £300 in each case. So, £450 versus a £600 expectation did not seem too bad.

Why, you may ask did I want a powered cycle. Well, the notion of cycling may be freedom and romance to some, but where I live is a series of steep and unforgiving hills. With creaking limbs and lack of puff, believe me any assistance is appreciated. I carefully researched the specialist websites and this budget option I discovered seemed to tick all the boxes, so I ordered one.

When the package arrived, it was frankly huge, dutifully taken in by a neighbour, but none the less exciting. We tore off the packaging to reveal a bright shiny machine inside. There was an instruction book, but forever dive in then think late we set about putting the 'origami' back into the shape of a bicycle.

Actually it's not too difficult, and once practised takes less than 45 seconds to assemble from folded. One simple large butterfly type nut holds the handlebars in place, and a flexible tommy bar type screw holds the back wheel onto the frame. Once set for an individual rider the saddle and handlebars height do not need to be adjusted or moved to actually fold the bike. However unfolding the pedals was a different matter, and no mention of the 'trick' is in the instruction booklet. I pushed, pulled, twisted and even tried to will the pedals into a horizontal position. 10 minutes of frustration later, I suddenly noticed a large plastic plunger (so large it just looked like a moulding in the design of the pedal) and eureka the pedal clicked snugly into place. Again I don't usually bother to fold the pedals up parallel to the cranks, since the space saved is relatively immaterial.

The powerhouse for the bike is within the hub of the back wheel as are its rear wheel brakes. The front brake is your standard rubber block against the wheel rim. The brakes are effective. A six speed Shimano gear shift is standard, and with the power assistance I have yet to find a hill which I cannot eventually pedal to the top, at least in this area. Its certainly not an off road bike and a bit more suspension than the two basic springs in the saddle would be nice.

There is a simple push button on /off switch on the handlebars to command power assistance as and when you need it. Legislation, and the fact that such machines are not subject to a vehicle tax, means that the maximum speed obtainable under power is 15mph. Obviously you can easily exceed this when going downhill or on the flat using both power and pedalling. There is actually not enough oomph in the motor to propel the bike and rider without pedalling on the flat, unless you are very lightweight.

The battery for this contraption sits behind the saddle post, and has a locking mechanism and an on/off switch together with a charge indicator. Typically if run flat it takes about 4 hours to fully recharge this Ni/Cd battery. This is the only problem I have experienced with the bike, which fortunately comes with 1 years guarantee. The24v mains charger supplied is designed to cut out when the battery reaches its full charge. Mine started to not do this, remaining on charge with the battery just getting warmer and warmer. ASBikes were very prompt in testing out the charger and the battery itself to identify the source of the problem, then supplier me with a new charger. No problems with the service then, only disadvantage is having to pack and post back the unwieldy battery and then wait for its return.

I mentioned the instruction booklet earlier. It is not very thorough, and quite vague in places. It has clearly been translated from probably Chinese into English and some of the phrases make hilarious reading……I quote:

"Check the fastness part if they are flexible so as to the accidence in the course of driving."
"When the lights go out one by one, it indicates that the amount of electricity is drawing few. You should charge it timely."

For the more technically minded here is the basic specification of the bike:

Distributors: ASBikes, Coventry
Frame: Aluminium Alloy
20" spoked wheels
Front Vee brakes, rear hub brakes
Rear carrier
Folding pedals
Battery Ni-Mh 24V 8.5AH
Charge Time 4 hours
Range 30-35 km on pedal assistance
Weight 17kg plus 4 kg battery
Motor 180w brushless
Top Speed 15mph

The battery is easily removed to make the bike lighter, so if folding to put into the back of the car this is what I prefer to do. This is not bike for cycling purists, nor is it a toy, but can be very useful for a daily commute, or parking free outside of town, then cycling the last little bit, or simply to keep fit on those frequent top up shopping trips.

Thanks for reading.

Posted on Dooyoo and Ciao under the same author

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Comments on this review

  • MizzMolko published 25/03/2009
    I'm not a bike fan myself so I don't think I'll be bothering with this...Eleanor x
  • ilusvm published 02/11/2008
    great review of a fascinating product! Em x
  • Expired-Account published 30/10/2008
    I like the sound of this, but it's very expensive
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Most popular similar products

Product Information : Brompton L3 Bicycle

Manufacturer's product description

Road Bikes

Product Details

Long Name: L3 Bicycle

Genre: Bikes

Type: Road Bikes

Manufacturer: Brompton


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