I commuted with this folding e-bike for a month — here’s the pros and cons

a photo of a woman carrying the Brompton Electric P Line
(Image credit: Brompton)

When my editor asked me to review the Brompton Electric P Line, I didn’t know what to expect — I’ve never used a Brompton, or an e-bike. The Electric P line is a folding bike, the same size as a regular Brompton, that’s small enough to fit into the locker at the gym, but has a top speed of 15.5 miles per hour. 

The Electric P Line is designed for commuters, just like me, who moved to the suburbs during the pandemic but still have to get into the city a couple of times a week. Read on to find out more.

Shopping for an e-bike? Check out the best electric bikes here, as well as the best budget electric bikes and the best bike helmets.

Brompton Electric P Line: what I liked 

I loved how easy it was to fold up and down

a photo of a man getting off a train carrying the Brompton Electric P Line

(Image credit: Brompton)

My main worry when unboxing the Brompton was how quickly I’d be able to fold it up and down when I got to the train station and to the office. I’m a visual learner, so I watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to do it, and although I never became quite as speedy as the guy in the video, I was able to fold the bike down in under a minute. 

Part of the joy of a Brompton is that it’s super portable — I was able to easily sit it next to me on the train, or slot it into my locker at the gym without any hassle

Part of the joy of a Brompton is that it’s super portable — I was able to easily sit it next to me on the train, or slot it into my locker at the gym without any hassle. I also left it folded up next to my desk at work, rather than have to worry about carting a hefty bike lock around with me, although I’m not sure how thrilled my colleagues were about this. 

It made cycling in the city easy (and fun)

Anyone who has ever attempted to cycle through the city will know how stop/start things can be, but the Brompton Electric P Line made nipping through traffic feel amazing. With the 250W motor, and the 4-speed gearing system, the bike was able to accelerate from 0-15.5 mph in next to no time. I was amazed at how easy it was to get going from a stop light, and how easy it was to navigate hills on my commute back home. 

A photo of the Brompton Electric P Line unfolded

(Image credit: Future)

The Electric P Line’s battery attaches to the head tube mount, which is connected independently of the fork, meaning the bike still felt nippy and easy to handle. The battery is easy to reach, so you can easily reach down and turn the lights on, or switch between speed settings (from no assistance to maximum assistance), and there’s also a Brompton smartphone companion app that allows you to make power mode adjustments, as well as view your top speed on a speedometer, and see your battery level. 

The battery pack bag had a small amount of storage, although there’s also a larger bag available that could double as a commuting bag should you need it. There are also two handlebar options — mid, which is the classic Brompton ride, or high, for those who want to sit more upright. I opted for the mid-handlebars, and found the bike extremely comfortable, especially compared to my road bike.

I didn’t need to recharge as often as expected

Brompton says the battery has a range of 20-45 miles on a single charge and I found this to be about right. One fall evening I cycled 16 miles all the way home with the bike on the highest assistance and the lights on for half of the ride and made it without the battery dying. It also charges pretty quickly — the battery goes from zero to full charge in 4 hours, or 2 hours if you purchase the super-fast charger. 

a photo of the battery pack on the Brompton Electric P Line

(Image credit: Future)

On days when I got the train for the middle part of my commute, I easily managed to get to and from work without needing to carry the charger. 

I loved that I didn’t have to remember to pack bike lights

I can never seem to remember to charge my bike lights, so the automatic lights on the Brompton were a fantastic feature. They can switch between always on, and automatic, which turns the lights on when it gets dark. When turned on the lights are very bright, giving me the reassurance that I was easy to see on the roads. 

And that I didn’t need to shower when I got to the office

a photo of a man carrying the Brompton Electric P Line bike

(Image credit: Brompton)

Pre-Brompton, I’d often run my commute and have to navigate the awkward ‘getting into the office without my colleagues seeing me looking like a sweaty mess’ situation. With the Brompton Electric P Line, the auto assistance meant I could take my commute to the office pretty easily, and not really work up much of a sweat if I didn’t want to. Aside from the helmet hair, I was able to ride into the office without needing to shower — a major plus if, like me, you’re always running late. 

Brompton Electric P Line: what I didn't like

But I did find the bike pretty heavy

a photo of the folded Brompton Electric P Line

(Image credit: Future)

Despite being one of the lightest e-bikes on the market, the Brompton Electric P Line still weighs in at 34.6 pounds or 15.7 kg (or 28 pounds/12.7 kg without the battery pack on), making it pretty heavy to cart up and down stairs. At 5 foot 1, I struggled to maneuver this around the train station, often opting to head to the elevator (if there was one). I realized my first time commuting with the bike that buying a coffee and carrying my backpack and the bike up a set of stairs wasn’t a good idea.

Bottom line

Overall, the Brompton Electric P Line was wonderfully easy to wheel around, with and without the battery pack on. It rolled really well on flat surfaces and even coped with a slightly rough terrain ok. The bike didn’t love the cobbled streets of Covent Garden all that much, but from the looks of things, neither did the suitcases being dragged by tourists.

All things considered, it made commuting through the city feel seamless and fun — if you’re fed up with arriving to work sweaty, and spending the day worrying about your bike locked on the street, this is an e-bike worth considering. 

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.