bike lifestyle

Brompton M6L 2018 Review – The best folding bike?

May 22, 2018
brompton m6l

Brompton bikes are all handmade in London. Every model folds down to the size of a small cabin luggage which makes it perfect for storage and carrying around. The bike folds in seconds and it is one of the few bikes that are allowed on public transport during peak hours and inside office buildings.

The M6L has the M shaped handlebars that have been used on Bromptons since their creation. The classic handlebar offers a more upright riding position and excellent control. Equipped with 6 Speed gears, this Brompton setup is the right choice for longer rides with more challenging hilly areas.

 Product Specification

SuspensionStandard Block
Number of Gears6
ShiftersBrompton Shifting 
Chain setBSR 6 Speed
PedalsBrompton folding on left. Aluminium cage flat pedal on right
BrakesetBrompton dual-pivot callipers (New for 2018)
HandlebarsM Type
GripsBrompton Rubber Grip (New for 2018)
WheelsetBrompton standard 6 Speed BSR
TyresSchwalbe Marathon Racer (New for 2018)
SaddleBrooks Cambrium C17s (Not included)
SeatpostBrompton Standard
AccessoriesBrompton Mudguards
Extra FeaturesFront Carrier Block (Not included)
Barbour Tarras Bag 
(Not included)
Weight 11.78 kg




The holding mechanism in the Brompton’s have not changed much and it works a treat. It takes a few times to get used to the steps to unfold and fold but it then becomes second nature.

Step 1 – Push the rear frame clip and lift the rear wheel to swing under the frame

Step 2 – Unscrew the hinge clamp on the main frame and hold onto the handlebar stem

Step 3 – Fold the front half of the bike pointing it to the rear and hook onto the frame

Step 4 – Release the lever allowing the saddle to drop down. Then tighten the lever back up to lock the position

Step 5 – Unscrew the last hinge clamp and let the handlebars drop into position

Step 6 – Rotate the crank so the right hand pedal touches the front wheel and push the pedal latch to fold the left pedal

Below is the official instructions from Brompton.


Handle bar

Brompton offers four handlebar types with different ride positions to suit a variety of riding preferences. We have opted for the classic M Type handle bar as it offered the most comfortable all round position

M Type
Classic handlebar shape, a good all round position.

H Type
For riders who prefer a more upright ride.

S Type
A sporty ride position.

P Type
Offers the flexibility of several grip positions.


A rubber suspension holds the Brompton together once it is unfolded. It offers a reasonable amount of rebound to be noticeable but best try to avoid potholes and bumps on the road for comfort.


I do not carry a lock with my commute anymore. I simply fold it, walk it up the stairs and place it under my desk. There can potentially be places where you might not be let in due to it still being a “Bike” and in that instance it is advisable to invest in a heavy duty D lock or simply walk away… as it is not worth losing!


Brompton Standard Saddle

The standard seat is a unisex saddle that is quite firm with padding. It is quite comfortable and is easy to get used to. As it is a unisex saddle, the width is rather narrow and can be small for the female anatomy. The advantage to sticking with the supplied saddle is that it has grooves underneath the nose so there is grip to carry the Brompton when it is folded.


Brooks Cambrium C17s

The Brooks Cambrium range is Brooks first non-leather saddle and has quickly gained a reputation of its own amongst the classic Brooks B17. The C17s model is moulded with the female anatomy in mind (it has a shorter neck and is a bit wider in seat width).

The saddle is made of vulcanised rubber and organic cotton weaving held by the iconic Brooks rivets. It installs on the standard Brompton Pentaclip without a problem.

After a weeks usage our thoughts are that it is quite stiff and does get a bit uncomfortable after longer 1-2+ hour rides. It is a quality saddle with exceptional build quality, but often feel like the carved version would suit better due to our weight..



The brakes have been updated for the 2018 version. A noticeable difference is that it is completely black now. Brake performance is as expected and nothing our of the ordinary.



The included tyres are Schwalbe Mararthon Racers. It is new for 2018 and is designed for being more puncture resistant.


Weighing at 11.78kg, the Brompton isn’t the lightest but it feels solid and could be carried with one hand when folded.



We opted for the six gear version as we had planned to travel around the exploring cities. For everyday commuting, the 3 speed model will be more than capable as we mainly use gear 3 & 4 in our everyday commutes. There are 4 different type of speed models listed.

1 SPEED – Light and simple for flat city riding
2 SPEED – One gear for hills and setting off, one for cruising. Flexible and lightweight
3 SPEED – A robust enclosed hub gear, a great choice for everyday cycling
6 SPEED – The ultimate all-rounder, for those who wish to take longer rides and challenging inclines

Transporting the Brompton


1. Carry it by hand

The Brompton is a solid bike at 11.78kg and it was not meant to be carried by hand for a long period. Carrying it up and down a few stairs are no problem, but I would recommend to fold it in a position where you can still wheel it around.

2. Wheel around using handles

As the Brompton can be folded in a variety of ways, there are two positions where you can wheel the Brompton “half folded” and if you have a Bag attached, it would act like a trolley!

There are two positions to wheel your Brompton around:

  1. By the handle
  2. By the seat

3. Transporting in the Trains

A great advantage with a Brompton, or any folding bike is that it can be taken on the train, underground without any problems. Every during peak hours where bikes are not permitted. The freedom that it gives, if something goes wrong (puncture, something breaks, adverse weather, fatigue) is that you can simply fold it up and continue your journey without being too affected.

We are just beginning our travels, mostly by train and love the freedom to be able to hop off and ride to where we want to go. No need to catch a connecting train, bus or taxi. Just ride.

4. Transporting on the Plane

As we also want to be able to visit places which are only accessible via flight, we wanted the option to take our beloved Brompton’s to explore the cities which we visit.

Although we have not yet travelled in the air with our Brompton’s there are many reports where people have taken it on as hand carry luggage, and also inside some luggage cases.

Luggage options

A great feature with the Brompton is that it is able to clip a Brompton bag on the front with a front block attachment. The beauty is the way the bag is attached means that it does not affect the steering at all and stays in position.

See my review here: Barbour Tarras


Sounds great! How can I try one?

Brompton offers trails of their bikes in their flagship stores, as well as their retailers such as Evans Cycles, Cycle Surgery which offer 48 hour trials.

Brompton Junction (Brompton’s London Store) has a wide range of bikes and allows you to test ride all their models with the different handle bars and speed options.

One thing we have also tried there is their Electric version that is due to be released. It is a much more heavy bike, with the battery bag and components but it does give a very good boost to the ride. There are 3 reasons why we did not wait for the release of this. 1. Price   2. Weight   3.  Battery cannot be taken on flights. 

Another option is that Brompton has introduced Brompton Hire Lockers around various cities. It does cost money to join and hire, but the cost isn’t too steep considering other alternatives for the same hire period.


Final thoughts

All in all, this is a great Bike and it is without wonder why London streets are filled with Brompton riders in all shapes and forms. In the beginning, it seemed like a cult following and now we know why. It is provides a great ride that is comparable to most road bikes and gives you the freedom to decide. The small wheels make it quick off the mark and provides great steering and turning circles to manoeuvre though sticky situations. It just feels very agile and nimble, but at the same time a solid bike. It is not only a commuter bike for people – it can, and has replaced my road bike as my main bike.

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