Bike touring is my passion, and bringing a bicycle along is my favorite way to discover new places. Over the last eight years, I have used a Brompton folding bike, and I can confidently say that it exceeded my expectations. It has become my bicycle of choice for cycling tours ever since. When I fly, I pack the Brompton into a soft folding bike bag. My setup for carrying all I need on my tour consists of a Brompton T-Bag at the front and a standard rucksack fitted on top of the bike rack, as described in this article. Over the years, it has become a tried and tested way to carry luggage on the folder, utilized by Brompton travelers worldwide. It offers a stable and well-balanced ride, proving extremely versatile in any multi-modal tour where some form of transportation is an option. In just a few minutes, you can switch from a fully loaded bicycle to a packed setup that you can hold in your hands and carry on a car, bus, train, or plane.

Every bicycle traveler loathes the difficulties of transporting bikes to destinations, finding boxes to pack things, and managing two or more panniers simultaneously. This setup prevents all that and makes it easy and mostly hassle-free. Concerns about the reliability, comfort, and ability of a Brompton folding bike to cope with hills, descents, and long days of riding with the weight of my luggage proved unfounded. Touring on a Brompton has been a pure joy. I believe there are three conditions and a few trade-offs worth considering before you begin cycle touring on a Brompton. If these don't seem too limiting, I would have no hesitation recommending it.

  • You are planning a tour on decent, mostly surfaced roads.
  • You will not be touring in extreme cold temperatures.
  • You will not be in any extended time in remote areas where self-sufficiency is a must.

( 1 ) Bromptons are sturdy bikes and can withstand more abuse than you might imagine. Still, their small wheels and thin tires are not best suited to rough terrains and muddy tracks. At times, I have cycled on unpaved roads, and you can cope with the occasional exception by walking. However, if most of the roads you will travel on are in such condition, an expedition touring bike or a mountain bike would be a better choice. Bromptons are not made for mud due to the low clearance of the mudguards and limits on the choice of tires.

( 2 ) This might seem a bit arbitrary, but I have found that my setup has to be really compact and light to work best and provide the benefits that a folding bike brings. Traveling in freezing temperatures means having to carry much more weight and gear to be comfortable during the tour. Each kilogram you add to your setup will put further strain on the bike and make it harder to be carried on public transport if needed.

( 3 ) Bromptons are reliable bikes, but they're not bulletproof. In addition, they utilize numerous specific and proprietary spare parts. If you find yourself on an extended journey through remote areas and encounter a technical issue, fixing it might prove challenging. Navigating remote areas requires self-sufficiency, meaning you'll need to carry a substantial load of supplies compared to a more conventional setup. Hauling ample water, food, and all the necessary gadgets and utensils for the journey is no easy feat on such a compact bike.


Over more than 10,000 kilometers, I've encountered hardly any reliability issues—likely on par with or even fewer than the problems experienced on mountain bikes or touring bikes I've used in the past. Throughout all my tours, I've only had to deal with punctures and the odd tire replacements. The key is to maintain your bicycle diligently, ensuring it's well-tuned and fully functional before embarking on a tour. My approach involves being more proactive than I would be with another bike. I routinely replace parts that require changing after reaching a recommended mileage. Chain and sprockets are swapped when necessary, and gear cables and brake cables are also newly fitted every few years, reducing the risk of failures during a tour when spare parts might be hard to come by. Marathon tires, even in such a tiny size, are exceptionally tough. However, one thing to consider is that the rear tire will wear out faster than on larger wheels. It's only natural that the increased contact of the small wheels results in increased wear. If possible, I try to bring a spare quality 16" tire, as these are not always easy to find in bike shops around the world. In the past, I have simply swapped tires when I felt that they were not evenly worn, but a tire failure shouldn't be a reason to wreck your plans. Being small, a spare tire can be easily carried. Wheels always performed faultlessly, staying perfectly tuned to the last day. I always carry several replacement spokes too, again due to the fact that if you need to fix the wheels, a shop might not have the right sizes. These are stored in the hollow tube holding the rucksack. Something I am always aware of is to try to be gentle on the bike. While climbing a steep hill, I refrain from standing on the pedals and rocking the bike as I would do on a regular bike. When the road is bumpy and uneven, I ride in a very conservative way and do not hesitate to dismount and have a little walk if I believe it safer for myself and the bike.


The great benefits in portability mean that you have to make some compromises in comfort, but these are less noticeable than you might think. With a 6% to 12% reduced gearing bike setup, you can climb most hills or even mountains where gradients are not too extreme. You will find these gear ratios adequate to cover various terrains, fast descents, flat sections, etc. Using a Brompton makes you more conscious of the weight you carry; you'll travel light, making you faster or as fast as any cycle tourists you might encounter along the road. On descents, the opposite is true. Always be aware of rolling on small wheels and therefore be more cautious and focused. Your pace and the daily distances you can cover will likely match those of other tourers with more traditional setups. A front T-Bag with the heaviest load and a lighter rucksack at the back turns out to be a very efficient way to load the bike. It is well balanced, secure, and the handling of the bike feels more stable than unloaded. Having a rucksack instead of dedicated bike panniers is much more versatile. If you want, you have the ability to take a day off the bike and go for a trek, and when you have to take the bike on buses or trains, you have a fast way to put luggage on your shoulders while having your hands free to carry the folded bike and T-Bag. Older Brompton versions had brake deficiencies, especially on long descents, but more recent models, certainly from 2013 on, come equipped with adequate brakes and feel secure on the steepest descents even with the extra weight you are carrying.


In my opinion, Brompton offers the best setup for a multi-modal tour where the odd transfer by other means of transport is involved. There might be times where the road is too steep, and you might need to break your cycling with a short walk, but I turn this limitation into