On Wednesday night, the bicycle origami glitterati were out in force at Brompton's glitzy, central London launch for the new S- and P-type bikes. Twenty percent has been saved off the weight off a standard Brompton, now called an M-type. A 9kg Brompton is easier to carry and could account for 1 in 8 of Brompton's future sales, founder and designer Andrew Ritchie told BikeBiz.com. PUBLICITY PIX NOW ADDED.

Bromptons lose weight

The in-house steel main frames remain but the lighter Bromptons cost £400 more to save 2 kilos. The weight has been saved by a liberal sprinkling of titanium components, including new design handlebars, and frame parts such as rear triangle, seat post and fork.

The titanium parts have been sourced from Russia and China and will start arriving in bulk soon, allowing for mid-May availability of the new Brompton S- and P-types.

The S-type models, with steel main frame and titanium extremities, are lightweight, commute-friendly models, and the top of the range P-type, which retails for £1225 and comes complete with SON dynamo, is more suited to touring. The M tag refers to all Brompton’s made with the traditional Brompton handlebar shape. All three handlebar options are available on bikes with either all steel frames or steel mainfames and titanium extremities.

Demonstrator bikes will be made first and supplied to Brompton stockists to sell from.

70 of Brompton’s IBD stockists were at the London Transport Musuem launch for the bikes, joining about 220 other guests.

Many of Brompton’s 47 workers were at the launch.

Folding bike enthuiasts will be impressed by the weight saving and the addition of a two-speed model using Brompton parts, but how many of the new, lighter models will Brompton sell?

Andrew Ritchie said: "We haven’t a clue. Maybe one in eight sales? The weight saving is significant but the new bike isn’t featherweight. But, saying that, a 20 percent difference in weight makes a helluva difference for carrying. The new bike still have a solid feel. I think they’ll do well."

Brompton sells 12 000 bikes a year and is privately owned by Ritchie who patented the Brompton design in 1975.

NOTE:the pix are by French photographer Olivier Pascaud, a Brompton owner. His previous photo credits include taking fashion pix for Jean-Paul Gaultier.

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