What Modifications are Available for a Brompton Folding Bike?
What Modifications are Available for a Brompton Folding Bike? I recently purchased a Brompton folding bike. I was able to pick the model with the modifications that suited my height and style of riding. Now, after riding it a few weeks I wonder what other Brompton modifications are available for my Brompton folding bike? Can I change the wheels, gears, brakes, and handlebars? Let’s take a look at what modifications I made in store and see what Brompton upgrades and Brompton upgrade parts can be made after purchase!
There is a choice between a standard steel frame and a high-strength titanium alloy. This replaces the rear triangle, front fork, and mudguard stays. This frame will reduce the overall weight by about 2 pounds, but at a significant price increase of about $800.
You can choose between 8 different colors of frame, depending on what’s available in-store. The colors are black, hot pink, papyrus white, tempest blue, racing green, red, lime green, and lagoon blue. If you pre-order the bike online you will have the full selection of colors. The main frame offers a choice of 11 colors; those already listed and raw lacquer, flame lacquer, and metallic purple.
Wheelset-Rims and Tires
In-store there is only the standard 20 inch tire and rim. You have three selections to choose from when you pre-order it; the Schwalbe Marathon Racer, the Schwalbe Kojak, and the Schwalbe Marathon. Compared to the Schwalbe Marathon Racer, the Schwalbe Kojak is lighter and has a kevlar bead allowing it to be folded so you can pack it as a spare. The Kojak comes for an additional $27. The Marathon is slightly heavier and comes with a thicker sidewall at an additional $27, as well.
The standard bike has a 1-speed gear. There are three other options with the gears on the Brompton folding bike; 2 speed, 3 speed, and 6 speed. The 2 speed gives one gear for hills and starting off and the other for driving. Additional weight is 0.4 pounds and add on cost is about $70. The 3 speed option is fully enclosed and weighs about 1 and a half pounds more with an additional cost of $130. The last in-store option is the 6 speed combination of hub and derailleur with two pounds of additional weight and an increase of about $230 to the total.
It is also possible to get the 6 speed in three different gear ratios; standard, plus 8%, and minus 12%. The plus 8% raised gears are better for level areas and higher speed riding. The minus 12% are better for hilly roads and lower speed riding.
There are no in-store options for the crankset or bottom bracket. There are third party options available; however, research needs to be done to select the proper crankset and bottom bracket that will fit the Brompton.
The seatpost selections come in standard, extended, and telescopic. The standard seatpost is for an inside leg of 33 inches and under. The extended seatpost is for an inside leg of 33-35 inches and adds 2 and a half more inches of elevation. The telescopic seatpost is for an inside leg of more than 35 inches, offers more than 6 and half inches of elevation and comes at an increase in cost of $50. Because it is a telescopic post it does not extend as high as the extended post when in a folded position.
The Brompton and Brompton Wide come at no additional cost; however the Brooks B17 Special (in Mens’ and Ladies’ – Brown) cost an additional $90. The Brompton seats come with a grip under the nose to help with carrying the bike. The two areas where comfort on a bike make a big difference, the seat and the handlebar grips.
The handlebar grips mentioned the most are from Ergon. If you are using the folding bike for touring then looking into Brompton handlebar mods is probably worth the time and effort.
The stock hinge clamps do not align with the joint on their own so you need to physically align them before tightening them. The turnscrew for tightening the clamps is made of plastic. You can replace these with clamps that will align with the joint on their own. The replacement clamps are made of aluminum.
After riding the Brompton for a month now I can see why folks would make this Brompton clamp modification. You are always having to fuss with the alignment on the clamp when you are unfolding the bike and getting ready to ride. If you have to do that several times a day I can see changing this out very soon.
The small wheels that are used to roll the folded bike along are called Eazy Wheels. The Eazy Wheels can be upgraded to a different set of wheels that are larger and allow smoother rolling.
The suspension block that comes with the Brompton folding bike is a solid piece of plastic. This can be upgraded by a 3rd party vendor for a metal spring and plastic parts set.
The in-store options are included in the cassette up above.
There is no front derailleur on the standard Brompton folding bike.
There are four types of handlebar/post combinations all at the same price. There is only a half pound difference in weight from one end to the other so I am not including that here. The M Type comes standard with a height of 40 inches and leaves room for luggage in the front. The S Type is lower at 37 inches and leaves less room for luggage. The H Type is highest at 42 inches and is what I have and I like it for a more relaxed upright ride. The P Type has two positions; a more aerodynamic one at 34 and a half inches and one that gives more control in traffic conditions at 40 and a half inches.
The current model of the Brompton has addressed the issue of the shifters not showing the gear numbers. The other reason people may change the shifters is if they do not like the position of the shifters and how well they work with an individuals fingers.
Brake Levers and Calipers
I have found that most people tend to be happy with the current brake levers and calipers. However, there are alternatives for both that are not inexpensive and tend to be custom made.
The standard bike does not come with any mudguards or rack. The first option has mudguards for the front and rear wheels and pump. This will add about 3/4 of a pound and cost around $80 more. The second option includes mudguards, pump, and a rack. The rack can carry 20 pounds and adds 1 and a half pounds of weight and $150 to the cost.
There are three online lighting options; reflectors only, battery operated lights, and lights powered by the bike. Battery operated and bike operated lights cost an additional $100 and $160, respectively.
It comes standard without any front luggage mounts. You can purchase the Front Carrier Block for an additional $20. The Front Carrier Block will either hold the Tote Bag or Folding Basket, each sold by Brompton for $100 and $105, respectively. Brompton also offers a Rack Sack if you have purchased the rear wheel rack at a cost of $100.
Although more an accessory than a modification to the folding bike, there are many types of luggage available from 3rd party sellers.
The best way to make any modifications to the Brompton folding bike would be to put together what you want by pre-ordering the bike online directly from their web site. This will save you money and time. If you are comfortable working on a bike to customize it then just about everything can be customized. I would recommend making sure that the part or kit will fit on your bike prior to installing it. Some modifications encompass more than one part so be sure you have all of the parts necessary to make the modification, as well.
Q: What Brompton bike customisation am I thinking about doing on my Brompton folding bike?
A: The handlebar grips are a little uncomfortable so that would be my first choice for a modification. So far I have not had to move it around much; however, if I use it more in the future and I find that the Eazy wheels do not work well those would be the next thing that I modify.
A: I am now also thinking about replacing the hinge clamps.
Q: What Brompton bike improvements are you thinking about making in the near future?