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Forums  >  Bike Talk  >  Folding, Mini-Velos, Commuter Bikes
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Topic: brompton question
Posted on: 19th Jan 2012 11:40 AM    Quote and Reply

Hi All

I have read a lot about Bromptons being proprietary or using non-standard parts, and I would like to know exactly what that means as far as maintenance and upgrades is concerned.

1) does it mean I have to go back to Brompton for ALL parts and upgrades?

2) can I not even go to the local neighbourhood bike shop to change my tires, inner tubes, cables, or brake pads on a brompton?

3) i guess i can't replace the rims, gears, or brakes mechanism, or even seat post with after-market parts, right?

regards
KK
bull2003

14th Dec 2011
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 0
Posted on: 19th Jan 2012 2:06 PM   Quote and Reply


Just to clarify.  I realised the topic may be "sensitive" in the forum after reading some other posts.  My post is not intended to put down any brand, shop or persons.  I am purely asking and looking for answers because I am shopping for a folding bike, and I want to do my homework first before I put my money down.  I like the Brompton but I am concerned about the maintenance, especially if I relocate to another country where there is no Brompton agent within convenient access.  I want a bike that can last a long time...  Hope to hear your answers if you own a Brompton or if you know the info.

bull2003

14th Dec 2011
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 0
Posted on: 19th Jan 2012 7:35 PM   Quote and Reply


Quote:
"Formerly posted by bull2003: Hi All

I have read a lot about Bromptons being proprietary or using non-standard parts, and I would like to know exactly what that means as far as maintenance and upgrades is concerned.

1) does it mean I have to go back to Brompton for ALL parts and upgrades?

2) can I not even go to the local neighbourhood bike shop to change my tires, inner tubes, cables, or brake pads on a brompton?

3) i guess i can't replace the rims, gears, or brakes mechanism, or even seat post with after-market parts, right?

regards
KK"


Hi KK, yes personally I do tink that the brompton uses qute a number of non standard parts making upgrading a nightmare.

e.g. the BB, the rear derailer etc

However that doesn't mean upgrade isn't impossible. I have bot the non ti version brompton and I have change the pedals to mks, change the roller wheels, change the brake levers, change the seat post, etc. However despite all these changes I would think that I am only making cosmetic changes to a certain extent. When I have more free time, I will then start to explore on changing the crank set etc.


To change your tires, you need to find a LBS that sells fodable bikes, preferably those that carries 16" wheelset type e.g. Dahon curve D3.   There are quite a number of LBS in SG now that sells foldable bicycles so finding the 16 tires and tubes shldn't be too difficult, as for brake pads and cables you need not necessary use brompton brake pads and cables. After market brake pads and cables work quite well too. In fact, if you dun like brompton brakes you can change it too. :)

I noted that in ur 2nd post you said that you wanted the bike to last a long time, i guess with any bicycle; be it folding bike and non-folding bike, there would be a point where the bike just cannot goes on anymore. For the brompton or any other folding bikes, being foldie, I feel that the bikes would need more care as compare to a non foldable bicycle.

To get the brompton or not really depends on your riding style, i.e.
1) do you need a bike that is compact in folding, allowing you to bring it or store it properly wherever u go and most probably folding it alot?
2) do you need a bike that just fold so that only in times of need then you would fold the bike?
3) do you even need a folding bicycle?

If the ans is the first, you can consider getting the brompton or even its counter look alike bike, i.e. the flamingo London NX.

If your ans is the second, then you are better off getting a foldable bike that can be maintain and service at any LBS, i.e the bicycle can be serviced with confidence at LBS that are not selling foldable bikes.

If you ans is the third, then it is quite self explanatory.

I currently own 5 folding bicycles and 2 non folding bicycles, personally I would always go cycling with my non folding bicycles. What about my folding bicycles you may asked. Well truth to be told I bot them on impulse and now the bicycles are distributed to my family members to them to use instead.


I have no respect for irresponsible drivers. Neither do I have any respect for irresponsible cyclists and pedestrians. Its not one rule for "them" and another rule for "us".
worldsofmind Portrait Uploaded
6th May 2010
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 15
Posted on: 20th Jan 2012 10:57 AM   Quote and Reply


1) does it mean I have to go back to Brompton for ALL parts and upgrades?

It's true that the Brompton comes with a lot of proprietary parts but it is still upgradable and some regular bike parts can be fitted to it.


2) can I not even go to the local neighbourhood bike shop to change my tires, inner tubes, cables, or brake pads on a brompton?

Availability of tires and tubes arent as good in the LBS compared to mountain bikes or roadies. Cables and brake pads arent proprietary and you can use regular ones as replacements.

3) i guess i can't replace the rims, gears, or brakes mechanism, or even seat post with after-market parts, right?

Rims are replaceable but, like tires and tubes, availability is not good in the LBS. In fact, IMO, its hard to find a replacement ISO 349mm rim which the B uses, in Singapore. Most likely you will need to source online. Note that Dahon uses ISO 305mm rims and tires instead of ISO 349mm. Both are sizes are called 16" and are NOT compatible with each other!

Brakes and levers are regular caliper brake systems which you can easily find and replace locally.

Drivetrain changes are possible but there are limited options and are costly. This is due to the small width of the rear triangle. You may visit the link below for some of the options.

http://www.kinetics.org.uk/html/brompton.shtml

sjdude

30th Mar 2010
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 0
Posted on: 2nd Feb 2012 11:56 AM   Quote and Reply


hi all, thanks for your comments and info!!  i am still considering different brands/models and hav yet to make the "plunge".  but it is most certain that it will be a folding bike. 

bull2003

14th Dec 2011
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 0
Posted on: 2nd Feb 2012 5:03 PM   Quote and Reply


The following are nuisances when owing a brompton:

deraileurs and shifters are made of plastic resin which can crack over time or upon impact.

lousy design in the driveside crank arm being moulded into chainwheel, known to break apart by some angmo riders.

brake levers with no build-in spring means brakes are mushy used, no definitive spring back effect.

bottom bracket, left pedal and rear spockets require special tools for removal.

left pedal is heavier than the right because of folding, a stupid design when the difference in weight can cause your pedals to shift if you happens to leave your feet off.

artyfaty

5th Aug 2011
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 0
Posted on: 3rd Feb 2012 3:31 PM   Quote and Reply


i don't mind to buy an old/vintage 16" dahon, and spend some time to restore/upgrade it a little.

anyone knows where i can find one at a good price?

bull2003

14th Dec 2011
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 0
Posted on: 5th Feb 2012 3:21 AM   Quote and Reply


EVERY, I repeat, EVERY foldable bike has its fair share of proprietery components, not just the brompton.

Besides the Mongague full sized MTBs which virtually uses standard MTB parts, any other good sized folding bikes will always have their components unique to their model.

Here are some examples, whether you ride a brompton/birdy/tikit/dahon/monotine/tern list goes on on on on on.......

There are literally hundreds of stem/bar/seat post combos that are unique to each design, not to mention the myrad of QR mechanisms and etc.

Both 20 and 16 inch wheels have at least TWO respective different standards.

The birdy has 18" wheels.

There are some 12" bikes too.

To compensate for the small wheels, a 56T or 60T front chainring is often used (unusual compared to normal bikes). Check out the sheer number of combinations of BCDs vs 4/5 arms vs no. of teeth on http://www.vuelta.com , Is it really proprietery then?

If you want a foldable bike, you WILL have to tread on the territory of proprietary components. No IFs/BUTs around it.

To reply artyfat, which bike derailleur/shifter will not crack upon impact?? I've even manage to break a Deore XT shifter on my MTB.

BTW, are you sure the brompton uses a derailleur? *perplexed at this* I know some of the "fake" brompton lookalikes uses derailleur, the original ones does not, they use internal hub gears.

The brompton and any small wheeled sized folding bike for that matter has a  rated rider height/weight capacity, usually in the region of 90kg being a safe limit (rider + whatever he's lugging on his body). If you weigh more than that, then don't buy a bike that cannot carry you safely.

The pedals can be switched easily. I will personally put SPD clipless pedals on ANY foldable bike that I have. Folded pedals do not save much space btw.

All bottom brackets require different tools even for standard bikes. So if you want to buy multiple bikes, you'd have to buy the tools.

In the past we had square taperered BBs which neccesated the use of a crank extractor and a 15mm thin socket wrench, then we had the octalinks, then we had catridges, then we have french vs english BBs then we now have press fit BBs. Brompton BB is another format in the wild world of riding. There are at least half a dozen other BB types in the world of BMXes and etc that I haven't talked about yet.

So the question now back to all in this thread is. Is a brompton really "that" proprietry? Or is it just a bike by itself.

Judging from the number of sheer "innovations" or "planned obselecence", its just another drop in the ocean when one wants to argue how many unique parts each foldable bike has.

While many "conventional" standards have been set, the foldable world will never cease to settle one "one" standard for "any" component.

By the way, short note on brake levers, the main return spring actuation actually primarily comes from the brakes themselves, not the levers.


IN SHORT: If you do not want proprietery components, well basically do not get a foldable bike. *nuff said*


SIM37 Portrait Uploaded
17th Nov 2001
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 1
Riding:
1) 2008 Santa Cruz...
Posted on: 5th Feb 2012 5:15 PM   Quote and Reply


The 2 speed (2 rear cogs) and 6 speed (2 rear cogs+3 speed hub) bromptons do use a derailluer to double the no. of ratios for the 1 and 3 speeders.

sjdude

30th Mar 2010
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 0
Posted on: 6th Feb 2012 3:14 AM   Quote and Reply


Quote:
"Formerly posted by sjdude: The 2 speed (2 rear cogs) and 6 speed (2 rear cogs+3 speed hub) bromptons do use a derailluer to double the no. of ratios for the 1 and 3 speeders."


Right, thanks for clarifying, I thought it was just a simple chain tensioner.


SIM37 Portrait Uploaded
17th Nov 2001
From: Singapore
Total Forum Rep: 1
Riding:
1) 2008 Santa Cruz...
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