Titanium is tricky – things that went wrong when we made the world’s best folding bike

Brompton Titanium Line bike

Brompton Bicycle, a British manufacturer of iconic folding bicycles has launched its lightest bike ever, and it has been made possible by CW Fletcher, a precision engineering firm based in Rotherham.

The product of three years of research and development, Brompton has brought its fold to life in titanium by forging new construction techniques, designing over 150 components and building a dedicated factory in Rotherham in order to create the ultra-light Brompton T Line.

Using titanium means that the T Line frame weighs 37% less than the original all-steel equivalent and is just as strong. Weighing 7.45 kg in total, it is comparable to a carbon road bike.

Paul Williams, chief operations officer explained the challenges Brompton overcame to create T Line:

Whilst Titanium ore is a relatively abundant material, turning it into something usable for bike manufacture takes an extraordinary amount of effort. It proves worth it though, as it has the highest strength to density ratio of any metallic element, along with great impact strength and corrosion resistance, making it the perfect material to create the ultimate lightweight folding bike, able to withstand the punishing impacts of the city.

Working with Titanium takes a high level of knowledge, experience and diligence, so finding the right partner who shared our vision and belief in what could be achieved with Titanium was critical. Our relationship with C W Fletcher, based in Sheffield started over seven years ago and they have a long history in manufacturing going back over 100 years. With them we built Brompton Fletcher, a dedicated company with a purpose-built production facility and skilled team able to work with this demanding material and fabricate these fantastic titanium frames.”

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