Bastille Takes On Brompton With Innovative Folding Bicycle Design


French company Bastille aims to give the iconic Brompton bikes a run for their money with their innovative new folding bicycle design. While Brompton bicycles typically feature small 16-inch wheels, Bastille wants to shake things up by offering a folding bike with normal-sized wheels.

Key Takeaway

Bastille, a French company, plans to compete with Brompton by introducing a folding bicycle with standard-sized wheels instead of the smaller 16-inch wheels commonly found on folding bikes. The bike is designed to be low-tech, eschewing built-in electronics, making it easy to maintain and repair over the years.

Heading the engineering team at Bastille is Gilles Henry, known for inventing the folding mechanism used in Babyzen’s successful Yoyo strollers. Joining him is Quentin Bernard, formerly the general manager for Europe at Devialet, a renowned French audio engineering company.

Despite the trend towards electric bikes, Bastille is deliberately taking a low-tech approach. Unlike many of its competitors, Bastille’s offering does not come with integrated electronics, a built-in display, or smartphone connectivity. According to the company, this stripped-down design ensures ease of maintenance and repair over time.

The Bastille bike features 27.5-inch wheels, raising questions about how the folding mechanism works. The seatpost, frame, and stem are all movable parts that enable the bike to fold. By lifting the saddle, users can fold the seatpost. The folding mechanism is unlocked by a lever on the bottom bar of the frame, allowing the front and rear wheels to move side by side. Finally, the stem can be removed using a lever, making the handlebar unobtrusive.

While the folding mechanism may require some practice, the resulting folded bike is surprisingly compact. Weighing in at 15kg, the bike boasts a carbon fiber Gates belt, a three-gear internal gear hub from Sturmey Archer, integrated lights, an aluminum frame, and a carbon fork.

The Bastille bike will retail for €2,590 (approximately $2,700) and is set to hit the market in mid-2024. Collaboration with several companies, including Fritsch & Durisotti, Les Cycles Victoire, Expliseat, and Cycleurope, has enabled Bastille to streamline the design and manufacturing process. The frame will be produced in Angers, France, while the bike itself will be assembled in the Eastern region of the country.

Bastille’s new folding bike aims to address the needs of individuals who lack proper storage for a traditional bike in their homes. Particularly in cities like Paris, where old buildings often lack dedicated bicycle parking facilities, many people hesitate to invest in expensive bicycles due to concerns about theft. Moreover, the bike’s compact design makes it a convenient option for commuters who need to use public transportation during peak times.

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