When you think of 12-speed you probably think of Shimano Dura-Ace, Sram Red, or Campagnolo Super-Record. Bicycles have been slowly adding more gears for years, and now it’s the turn of the most iconic folding bike silhouette on the market to follow suit, but not in the way you might expect.
Brompton has rolled out a new 12-speed system across the majority of its range, offering a greater number of gears and in some cases an improved range too. The way it’s created the 12 speeds is quite unusual though.
An unusual drivetrain
Before you let your imagination run too wild (as mine did) with thoughts of a 16” wheel with a 10-52 cassette, I’m going to interject. The 12 speeds on offer are the result of mating the Brompton proprietary 4-speed derailleur previously found on the Brompton T Line and P line models that we’ve reviewed in the past, and mating it to a Sturmy Archer 3-speed hub.
The new system will be rolled out across the T Line, P Line (both electric and acoustic models), and the electric C Line. The C Line Explore and Urban and the A Line will keep their respective drivetrains.
This isn’t the first time Brompton has combined both a hub gear and a derailleur, but it is the first time it’s been done with a 4-speed. The Current C Line Explore mates a 3-speed hub to a two-speed system, so it is to some extent a tried and tested solution. As per the C Line Explore, riders will have two sets of shifters; the right hand controls the hub gear, and the left-hand the derailleur.
If you’re wondering how the drivetrain handles, we’ve already had the new Brompton Electric P Line in for a review, so you can read all about it there.
Weights, specs, and pricing
The entry-level model for the 12-speed drivetrain will now be the Electric C Line, weighing in at 17.3kg with the battery, and priced at £3,150.
Step up to the P line and you get the titanium rear end and forks, resulting in a 10.5kg package for the acoustic model, and 16.3kg for the electric one, priced at £2,450 and £3,895 respectively.
Finally, you can go all titanium with the T Line Explore. This will set you back £4,725 but only weighs 8.8kg.
International pricing is as yet unknown, but we will update accordingly.