Sunday 3 April 2022

Brompton bike thefts - daylight robbery

It doesn't seem that long ago that I wrote a blog post on this very subject. 'The Times' newspaper had an article recently that sighted the worrying trend of aggravated and violent bike thefts here in London. 

One of the joys of owning a Brompton is that most of us simply take it with us wherever we go. All of my Brompton friends are the same and as such thefts from you locking your Brompton up (who would be silly enough to do that) are rare. However the new twist sees thieves on electric scooters, mopeds, mountain bike and even on foot, using a high degree of violence to get hold of a Brompton. 

For my 18th and 21st I was given a couple of very expensive watches. I enjoyed them for several years but sold them as I could foresee a time when I would not be able to wear them out on public display. Search and expensive watch brand or two and London and you will get the picture. I now happily wear an ageing Apple Watch or a 15 year-old G-Shock without issue. 

Sadly, it seem that thefts are specifically targeting Brompton bikes, mainly as they are worth a fair bit and probably easy to sell on. High end road bikes and mountain bikes have been targeted for some time now and it seems that the Brompton has been added to the list.  I really don't know how I would react if this happened to me or someone I was with. I would hope that my several years of Judo and Karate would have taught me not to go toe to toe. 

Sadly, contacting the police seems a little bit like trying to stir your tea with a chocolate teaspoon. At best you might come away with a crime number that can be given to your insurance company - assuming you have some sort of insurance that will cover it. The chances of the police doing anything useful at all is questionable to say the least. 

I am sure that some will turn to Brompton and say that they should do more - but what? The Times article mentions Brompton MD Will Butler-Adams suggesting that you have to kill the secondhand market in such a way that people know the bike on offer for sale is not legitimate. 

I won't offer any significant answers because I don't have any but registering the frame number/serial number of your Brompton via the Brompton website is a start. In addition you can get your bike etched with a serial number via BikeRegister. 

One of my friends - who is far from a shrinking violet - now works in central London but used to be in that army regiment that occasionally throws themselves out of an aeroplane, said that there was no way he was getting the new T-Line. He felt that it would make him a target on his commute. A sad indictment perhaps. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!


  1. That's very sad. Do take care out there, I've read on another bike blog that these low-life can get very violent if confronted.

    Best wishes and once again, thanks for your very interesting, and often informative blog.

  2. You may remember that I had our two Bromptons stolen from outside Tate Britain last May. The police did very little- but then I guess that bike thefts are low on their priority list. I agree with what Brompton MD says about killing the second hand market but that will never happen. What would be useful would be a list of places, museum's, theaters, restaurant's etc that will take in / store folded Bromptons. Maybe just start with London.
    Keep up the blog; always good reading.
    James Littlewood.

  3. I've just had my third Brompton stolen in 12 years, one from 'secure' parking at work (motorcycle lock vs boltcutters), once outside a pub (motorcycle lock vs bolt cutters) and the last one was a street robbery last month where a couple of kids drove into the back of me on a Boris bike, knocked me to the ground, gave me a kick in the head and threatened me with a knife for good measure and cycled off (inc bad which had phone, kets, wallet etc!) into the night. Like your ex Army friend I don't think I'll be getting another one as I was definitely targeted. Stay safe out there!

  4. I had an Orange Brompton for ten years and did 16000 miles on it. A month ago I attacked at knifepoint by a gang in south london. I fought them until they pulled out knives and threatened to slash my face. Im so sad to loose my beloved bike.


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