MOBOT is a Singapore-based company with an interesting history. Did you know MOBOT didn’t start in the folding bike industry? Nope, in 2014, founder Ifrei Lai, saw an electric scooter whizzing down the street and his entrepreneurial instinct immediately knew this micro-mobility segment was going to be huge. MOBOT quickly grew distribution but hit a snag in 2019 when Singapore placed a ban on e-scooters. Pivoting his business, Ifrei began selling high-end bicycles from CAMP only to be followed by a worldwide crisis in 2020. How MOBOT adapted their business again is a motivating story.
MOBOT is the exclusive distributor in Singapore for Kespor’s CAMP lineup of folding bikes but we appreciate the great marketing they have done behind this brand.
CAMP manufactures a tri-fold bicycle which is a clone of a Brompton. While Brompton’s 1979 patent that protected its folding mechanism has expired after two decades there are some legal battles that have followed.
MOBOT ROYALE Carbon GT M9: Features
The MOBOT ROYALE Carbon GT M9 is their highest premium folding bike. It is packed with upgrades.
To start, the ROYALE Carbon GT M9 has been upgraded with MOBOT’s gold edition accessories. This includes a gold plated seat post, front block carrier, Easy Wheels, Easy Wheels extension rod, chainring, crank, headset, detachable pedals with sealed bearings, and pedal holder. So if you want to be noticed this will give you a snazzy head start.
The front wheel is a 349 carbon fiber tri-spoke wheelset which is the only “carbon” component of this folding bike. This stylish front wheel is lightweight and the tri-spoke design provides more rigidity when coming into contact with potholes and bumps. The tires include reflective strips for safety while riding at night.
The ROYALE tri-folds use Brompton’s version of handlebar and gearing classifications. The Brompton classifications have been modified for 2022 (more on that in another post). The ROYALE M9 is equipped with the M style handlebar design which provides more of an upright riding position.
For gearing, the M9 provides 9 speed options with the help of a Sturmey Archer 3 speed internal hub (IGH), a 13/15/17T freewheel on the rear wheel, and a 48T front sprocket. This gearing range will accommodate most riding scenarios whether on your daily commute or touring on your folding bike.
Stopping power is provided with ROYALE linear pull brake system. Not much to say in this department.
One of the best upgrades to the MOBOT ROYALE Carbon GT M9 is the detachable pedals. Historically the pedals have been an issue with Brompton owners. These pedals are quick-release with sealed bearing for a smoother ride and clip right under the saddle as comically demonstrated in the video below.
Lastly, Easy Wheels and an Easy Wheel telescopic rod comes included. These small wheels are what provide the ability to roll ROYALE Carbon GT M9 in the folded position.
MOBOT ROYALE vs Brompton: Comparison
So the question always arises “how do these clones compare to the original Brompton?” The simple answer is they are similar enough in both the ride and fold. There is no denying that Brompton is a high-quality bike and the marketing is outstanding so there is a bit of cachet in owning one. On the flip side, not everyone can afford a Brompton yet desire the compact design and portability of a tri-fold. Since the expiration of Brompton’s patents, this has led to look-alikes (or clones) at more affordable pricing. This is the same in almost every industry that has a dominant category leader.
The one noticeable difference, as shown in the video below, is the ROYALE Carbon GT M9 is designed to be just a bit longer so when the rear triangle is folded the wheels line up for easier rolling.
MOBOT ROYALE Carbon GT M9: Conclusion
Overall, the ROYALE Carbon GT M9 by MOBOT has a full feature set, 9-speeds, exciting color options, and a price that is more affordable than the category leader. The feel, the ride, the look, and the foldability are all similar except you get to keep more of your hard-earned money.
MOBOT ROYALE Carbon GT M9 Folding Bike Pricing and Specs
The ROYALE Carbon GT M9 Folding Bike by MOBOT is currently priced at $1321 USD plus shipping outside of Singapore. MOBOT offers a 5-year warranty on the frame and 1-year on general parts and components and a free messenger bag.
The main features are as follows:
FRAME ChroMoly Steel
FORK Rigid ChroMoly
RIMS 16″ (349) Front: Carbon Fiber Rear: Spoke
TIRES 16 x 1-3/8 (37-349) with white reflective strips
CHAINWHEEL 48T, 130 BCD, 5 Bolts
GEARS 9 speed with Sturmey Archer 3 speed internal gear hub
FREEWHEEL 13/15/17T, 3 Speed
BRAKES ROYALE Linear Pull brake system
HANDLEBARS M style
PEDALS Quick release with pedal holders under saddle
SEATPOST Aluminum, 31.8 mm dia x 510 mm
SUSPENSION Rear rubber
DIMENSIONS 1480 mm (L) x 540 mm (W) x 960 mm (H), 58.27″ x 21.25″ x 37.8″
FOLDED DIMENSIONS 600 mm (L) x 380 mm (W) x 630 mm (H), 23.6″ x 14.95″ x 24.8″
WEIGHT 28.2 lbs
Watch this funny quick video pointing out the differences between the ROYALE and a “competitor.” Although it’s not in English you will get it.
Photos courtesy MOBOT website