Subscription Brompton Scheme to launch.

steveindenmark

Legendary Member
Its a good idea and could be profitable, unlike the Brompton Dock system. I can well imagine hundreds of them getting nicked as they are insured against theft.
 

u_i

Well-Known Member
Location
Michigan
A couple of institutions, I was tied to at different stages, ran bike loan programs for visitors. I even tried myself to hold bikes for visitors to my workplace. The biggest problem was with bike abuse, forcing an unreasonably high level of maintenance. I gave up my own effort after a few bad experiences and one of these institutions too. I presume the subscription must involve a financial protection for Brompton up to or exceeding the value of the bike. Besides the physical abuse, customers may be reckless in parking the bike.
 

berlinonaut

Senior Member
A couple of institutions, I was tied to at different stages, ran bike loan programs for visitors. I even tried myself to hold bikes for visitors to my workplace.
I'd say this is a different model, targeting a different audience. The Brompton model targets more people that want to use something constantly but not bothering with property and maintenance, not temporary users like tourists and visitors. So they want the usage including permanent personal availability but avoid ownership, accountability and piling goods. The Brompton model seems relatively similar to i.e. https://swapfiets.de/en/ - they are surprisingly popular over here, especially with the younger urban generation.

The mentioned problems with misuse etc. remain to a degree, but it is probably way less "don't be gentle it's a rental" than with ordinary rental bikes.
 
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annedonnelly

Girl from the North Country
Good luck to them if it works. I love mine for multi-modal travel & I'm sure there are loads of other people who could benefit but aren't able to buy one outright.

It's a good way to try it out too - if you find that it works for you, you can then buy your own.
 

u_i

Well-Known Member
Location
Michigan
I'd say this is a different model, targeting a different audience. The Brompton model targets more people that want to use something constantly but not bothering with property and maintenance, not temporary users like tourists and visitors. So they want the usage including permanent personal availability but avoid ownership, accountability and piling goods. The Brompton model seems relatively similar to i.e. https://swapfiets.de/en/ - they are surprisingly popular over here, especially with the younger urban generation.

The mentioned problems with misuse etc. remain to a degree, but it is probably way less "don't be gentle it's a rental" than with ordinary rental bikes.
Popularity does not equal profit and efforts are pursued initially even if they lose money in the hopes that there will be, at some point, a turnaround and a long-term gain. Losing money initially is normal and Amazon was losing money for some years initially. Even now I think that they gain more profit from cloud computing than retail, in spite of the obvious popularity of the latter.

In bike sharing, the Chinese pioneering hugely popular Ofo had to be salvaged from bankrupcy. The same just happened to the very popular Polish Veturilo.

Obviously car leasing works, but that again this aims at a bit different portion of the society than bike sharing. Brompton subscription/Swapfiets aims at the portion of the society that is somewhere in-between. Obviously I wish them luck. I used Brompton Bike Hire myself and it worked great. The bikes were beat up, but so to say in a good enough shape.
 
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mitchibob

Well-Known Member
Location
London, UK
I think it's a great idea. As someone that used BromptonBikeHire when it was really cheap, what it did more than anything was sell me on getting my own bikes, in a colour scheme I liked, with the features I actually needed. The hire bikes I used were pretty good, and convenient having dynamo lights. I kept one for a few months I think.

Once I tried out a 2-speed, decided that was what I really needed for around town. Then rode that to Brighton and realised I really wanted a 6 speed, as well!

But I think longer term rental is definitely a good way of selling more bikes ultimately, as once people live with one for a bit, they're going to want to make one their own.
 

Kell

Über Member
I did use the Brompton Hire scheme before ordering my bike, but that was to check I could get on with the bike. Though that was back in 2016 when it was £1.50 a day (IIRC) not the £6.50 it's become now.

But I don't really subscribe (literally) to the rental argument for long-term use. I know lots of people do, but to me it always seems like you're just throwing money away.

If it's £30 a month to rent, but £80 a month to buy (through ride to work) it doesn't seem like a huge amount extra to buy your own. Although I understand that not everyone will see the price difference as easy to achieve.

I think maybe, for me, I'd need to look at it in an entirely different way to make it make sense. i.e. not as an alternative to owning the bike, but as an alternative to getting the bus/tube. i.e. other forms of transport where you're also just throwing money away.

So rather than convince people to rent a bike rather than own one, you convince them to rent the bike rather than get public transport.

As mentioned, these sorts of schemes are popular with cars, so it could work.
 

Kell

Über Member
Just to add, having read it all fully, I'd expect the subscription scheme to be for a brand-new bike. But it appears it's just the same as if hiring - you just pick a random bike up from one of the docking stations.

Unless I misunderstood that and you do get a specific bike, it just gets dropped off at a dock.

I know the bike I hired initially had to go back as it had issues with the folding pedal and the rear brake.
 
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