Brompton Electric C Line Explore review

Perhaps the Brompton C Line Explore electric folding bike looks familiar to you. That’s because it’s largely the same bike as the H6L – and has essentially the same looks as every other bike in the company’s history. It’s been renamed to reflect key updates – specifically, the C Line Electric Bike is 2.4 pounds lighter than its predecessor, coming in at 32 pounds.

It also has a nifty paint job that makes the Electric C Line Explore an attractive bike to throw a leg over. And like the H6L, it’s super fun to drive, practical if you want to stow it under your desk at work or behind the couch at home, and just right for short city trips. Read the rest of our Brompton Electric C Line Explore review to see if you should make it a part of your commute.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: price and availability

The Electric C Line Explore is available on the Brompton website and from Brompton dealers. You can find your nearest dealer by using the dealer locator on the Brompton website.

The Brompton Electric C-Line Explore starts at $3,850 for the black or teal frame. If you want the black paint or the flame paint, the price goes up to $4,150. When purchasing, you can also choose between a medium-high or a high handlebar; The latter is better if you want to ride in a more upright position. If you buy the bike through the Brompton website, you can split the purchase into payments with Klarna.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Review: Design

Like its predecessor, the H6L, the Electric C Line Explore folds up quickly with a very cool design. Simply grab the release lever behind the seat tube and pull up.

Brompton Electric C Line Discover the foldable frame

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The rear wheel slides under the frame and acts as a stand for parking. From this position you can also release the handlebar lever and frame lever to fold everything into a compact package.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore with the rear wheel folded

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Unlike other electric bikes that have the battery integrated into the frame, the Brompton’s battery sits in a small pocket that clips into the front fork. It’s certainly not as sleek as the GoCycle, but it allows Brompton to just take their non-electric bike and give it some power. The battery pack is quick and easy to detach from the front of the bike. It’s easy to take it off and put it in a backpack when you lock the bike outside.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore battery pack

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The bike itself weighs about 32 pounds, making it 2.4 pounds lighter than its predecessor. If you turn off the battery, you can shave another 6.4 pounds and ride the bike manually.

The Electric C Line Explore has a six-speed drive. You can save a few hundred dollars by opting for the Urban bike instead of the Explore; it has two gears instead of six.

The 250 watt motor lives in the front wheel hub and provides support up to 25.5 km/h. There is no throttle; The Electric C Line Explore only offers a pedal support system.

Brompton Electric C Line Discover the rear hub motor

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Everything rolls on 16-inch wheels wrapped in 35c Schwalbe tires. You can also choose a medium or high handlebar configuration; The latter gives you a more upright riding position. And you can choose from four different colors.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: performance

I reviewed the Electric C Line Explore’s predecessor, the H6L, and gave it four stars because it was fun to drive, comfortable to fold and unfold, and powerful enough for short trips around town. And the Electric C Line Explore feels nearly identical to the H6L in every meaningful way.

So it stands to reason that the Electric C Line Explore gets the same high marks. In fact, apart from the slightly lighter weight of the C Line Explore, I couldn’t really find any noticeable differences between the two.

This assessment relates to both advantages and disadvantages. The Electric C Line Explore is super fun and surprisingly comfortable. And the front hub motor is surprisingly snappy and strong, even when you’re making a standing start on a hill. It’s not the most powerful motor on the market, of course, but more power would be problematic on a bike this small.

Woman on the Brompton Electric C Line Explore

(Image credit: Brompton)

And like its predecessor, the Electric C Line Explore’s biggest downside are its wheels. While they’re fine for most driving situations, they’re fairly small and narrow, which can pack in some jarring hits when rolling over cracks and potholes. And rolling across train tracks near my house was still an awkward affair that required a lot of concentration and slower speeds.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore parked on the street

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The powertrain’s six gears come in handy, especially if you plan to ride without a battery. The shift layout is intuitive and easy to use, although the jumps between gears are quite large, so you might need to do some searching before finding the right cadence.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Gas

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

I love the process of folding and unfolding the bike. And it tucks away neatly under a desk or behind a couch. If storage space is a major concern, this bike is hard to beat.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: battery life and range

The 300Wh battery mounts at the front of the bike just above the front wheel. It comes with a carry case that makes it easy to remove and take the battery with you when you park and lock your bike. Hooking and unhooking the battery takes seconds; Just press the release button and pull.

Explore the Brompton Electric C Line handlebar post

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The battery uses LEDs to indicate battery life and mode. There is also a USB port so you can charge your phone from the bike’s battery.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore battery pack

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Brompton advertises a range of 40-50 miles on a single charge. I rode the bike about ten miles and still had an almost full charge, so that claim seems reasonable. Of course, that depends on the type of terrain you’re riding and how much assist you end up using. A colleague rode 11 miles with the assistance in mode 2 (out of 3) on the same model bike in New York, after which the battery had drained two out of five bars. If we were to estimate that each LED represented about 6 miles, that would mean you could travel about 30 miles.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: Accessories

The Brompton website has many parts and accessories for sale on their website. Some of the parts and accessories are from Brompton, but there are also several third-party parts and accessory options from brands such as Zefal and CatEye. You can outfit your bike with lights, water bottles, bells, phone mounts, and more.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: The competition

The Electric C Line Explore’s most direct competition is the Lectric XP 2.0 ($1,100) and Heybike’s Mars ($1,100). Both bikes have much larger wheels and tires than the Brompton; This makes both more capable for wider terrain, but the larger tires and wheels also add a whole lot more weight – more than twice as much, in fact.

The Brompton is also much more expensive. But its layout, design and folding process is much simpler and more intuitive. And it folds up much more compactly than either of the other two bikes.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore folded compact

(Image credit: Brompton)

The GoCycle G4i ($5,000) costs a little more and is also super light at just over 36 pounds. For that extra weight, you get wider tires than on the Brompton, making the GoCycle a much more comfortable ride. However, the Brompton’s folding system is much more sophisticated.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: Verdict

The Electric C Line Explore offers all the amenities and benefits of its predecessor, the H6L. It’s small, fun to drive, has good battery life, and thoughtful extra features like the USB port to charge your phone.

Its disadvantages are also the same. While the wheels are small and convenient when folded, they can make for a jittery ride on rougher roads. You have to pay close attention when hitting bigger obstacles like train tracks.

Ultimately, this is a nifty commuter for city driving. It’s best for commuters who want a compact package to tuck under a desk at work or behind the couch at home.

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