Review: Swytch Electric Assist Kit for Brompton
Swytch Folding eBike Conversion Kit £999 (£500 if pre-ordered)
Brompton’s own Electric model appeared in 2017, but there are still many retrofit options out there, including this one from Swytch.
The kit consists of: a replacement front wheel with a hub motor; a battery pack (power controls are on top of the battery and integral front light); a battery mount (frame or handlebar options); a pedal sensor; and an extended handlebar stem peg to allow folding with the handlebar battery mount in place.
“Installation typically takes 10 minutes,” Swytch says. It took me longer but was simple enough: fit a tyre and swap over the wheels; mount the pedal sensor and cable-tie the lead; attach the battery mount (a large, strong clamp); plug in the cables; then swap over the handlebar catch. As easy as that? Yes – with a couple of caveats.
I used the optional, Brompton-specific pedal sensor, which costs a bit extra and requires removal of the crank arm to fit. But it’s neater and less prone to damage on a folder than the larger sensor. Secondly, the motor’s cable run requires careful setup to avoid restricting steering. When riding, the power kicks in after a second or so of pedalling; this is a motion-sensor system, without the immediate response of torque-sensing systems.
However, it’s one of the better ones I’ve tried, without much delay or run-on, often a problem on poorly programmed kits. It zipped up the Pennine foothills emitting only a moderate hum. Range from the 252Wh battery was at least 20 miles, sometimes quite a bit more, despite being ridden mainly on power level four out of five. My only quibble was the lack of a handlebar control; the buttons are on the battery.
The kit is fairly lightweight, adding 3.4kg. Of that, 1.78kg is the battery, which is removable at the push of a button.
A neat, light retrofit kit that gives a great performance boost. As with the ‘official’ Brompton Electric, a wireless handlebar control would make it even better.
A high-tech ‘Rolls-Royce’ system designed and made at Arcc’s plant in Cambridge.