Brompton Electric C Line Explorer review

Brompton Electric C Line Explorer: Specifications

Lester: 32 pounds
Engine: 250 watt hub motor
Battery: 300 Wh, 36 V (6.4 lbs)
Interval: 25-50 miles
Loading time: 4 hours
Transmission: Brompton wide range 6 speed

Brompton’s C Line Explore electric folding bike may look familiar. That’s because it’s largely the same bike as the H6L—and largely looks the same as every other bike in the company’s history. It’s been renamed to indicate significant updates – notably, the C Line e-bike weighs 2.4 pounds less than its predecessor, at 32 pounds.

It also has a nifty paint job that makes the Electric C Line Explore an attractive bike to throw a leg up on. And like the H6L, it’s super fun to ride, handy if you want to stow it under your desk at work or behind the sofa in your apartment, and perfect for short trips around town. Read the rest of our Brompton Electric C Line Explore review to see if you should incorporate it into your ride.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: Price and availability

The Electric C Line Explore is available for purchase on the Brompton website and through Brompton dealers. You can find the dealer nearest you by using the dealer locator on the Brompton website.

The Brompton Electric C-Line Explore starts at $3,850 for the black or turquoise frame. If you want the black lacquer or flame lacquer, the price jumps to $4,150. At the time of purchase, you can also choose between a mid-rise or high rise handlebar; the latter is preferable if you want to ride in a more upright position. If you buy the bike through the Brompton website, you can choose to split the purchase into payments through Klarna.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Review: Design

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

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Folding Frame

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The rear wheel will slide under the frame and serve as a parking stand. 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 rear wheel folded

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Unlike other e-bikes, where the battery is built into the frame, the Brompton’s battery sits in a small pannier that clips into the front fork. It’s certainly not as sleek as the GoCycle, but it allows Brompton to just take its non-electric bike and give it some power. The battery releases quickly and easily from the front of the bike. It’s easy to take it out and put it in a backpack if you lock the bike outside.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Battery

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The bike itself weighs around 32 pounds, which is 2.4 pounds lighter than its predecessor. If you remove the battery, you can shave off an additional 6.4 pounds and cycle manually.

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

The 250 watt motor lives in the front hub and provides assistance up to 15.5 mph. There is no accelerator; the Electric C Line Explore only offers a pedal assistance system.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore rear hub motor

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

It all 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 ride, convenient to fold and unfold, and powerful enough for short trips around town. And the Electric C Line Explore feels almost identical to the H6L in all significant ways.

So it stands to reason that the Electric C Line Explore will get the same high marks. In fact, I didn’t really find any noticeable differences between the two other than the slightly lighter weight of the C Line Explore.

This assessment looks at both the pros and cons. The Electric C Line Explore is super fun to ride and surprisingly comfortable. And the front hub motor is surprisingly peppy and powerful, even when going from a complete stop on hills. It is of course not the most powerful motor, but more power would be problematic on such a small bike.

Woman riding Brompton Electric C Line Explorer

(Image credit: Brompton)

And like its predecessor, the Electric C Line Explore’s wheels are its biggest drawback. Although they are suitable for most riding situations, they are quite small and narrow, which can lead to sharp bumps when driving over cracks and potholes. And riding on train tracks near my house was always an unpleasant 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 six-speed transmission is handy, especially if you choose to ride without a battery. The shift layout is intuitive and easy to use, although the jumps between gears are quite large, so you may end up doing some research before you find the right pedaling cadence.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Accelerator

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

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

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: Range and battery life

The 300 Wh battery mounts at the front of the bike, just above the front wheel. It comes with a carry case, making it easy to remove the battery and take it with you when you park your bike and lock it up. Assembly and disassembly of the battery takes only a few seconds; just press the release button and pull.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore handlebar post

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

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

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Battery

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Brompton advertises a range of 40-50 miles on a single charge. I rode the bike for about ten miles and still had a nearly full charge, so that statement seems apt. This of course depends on the type of terrain you will be riding on and how much assist you end up using. A colleague rode the same model bike in New York for 11 miles with the assist in mode 2 (out of 3), after which the battery had drained two of the five bars. If we were to estimate that each LED was about 6 miles, that would mean you could go about 30 miles.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Review: Accessories

The Brompton website has many parts and accessories for sale on its website. Some parts and accessories are Brompton branded, but there are also several third-party parts and accessories from brands such as Zefal and CatEye. You can equip your bike with lights, water bottles, bells, phone holders, and more.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore review: The competition

The Electric C Line Explore’s most direct competition includes the Electric XP 2.0 ($1,100) and Heybike’s Mars ($1,100). Both of these bikes feature much larger wheels and tires than the Brompton; that makes them both more capable over a wider range of terrain, but the bigger tires and wheels also add a lot more weight—more than double, 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 compact than either of the other two bikes.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore folded into a compact size

(Image credit: Brompton)

The GoCycle G4i ($5,000) costs a bit more and is also very light at just over 36 pounds. For that extra weight, you get wider tires than the Brompton, which makes the GoCycle much more comfortable. The Brompton’s folding system is much more sophisticated, however.

Brompton Electric C Line Explore Review: Verdict

The Electric C Line Explore offers all the conveniences and advantages 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. The wheels, while small and handy when folded, can result in finicky handling on rougher roads. You will have to be very careful if you come across larger obstacles like train tracks.

Ultimately, this is a nifty form of transportation for city driving. It’s ideal for commuters looking for a compact package they can store under a desk at work or behind the couch at home.

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