I thought I'd post something on both the state of my Brompton bike in general and the new levers I just put on yesterday.
I've said in other threads that the stock levers are positioned such (on the M bar) that your first two fingers are right next to the pivot point and therefore it requires 3 fingers to exert enough force to brake rapidly. That's not something I was keen on, I like to use 2 fingers to brake so that my hands are still firmly on the bars. Having done a bit of research I decided to buy some cheap BMX brake levers made by Xposure. Here's how they look on the M bar:
The Ergon grip on the right (the left-hand grip) was cut to the same length as the stock Brompton grips to accommodate the wide bracket and you can see how much additional bar space there is with these levers, and you can also get a sense of how much further away the lever pivot point is from the hand. i.e. these levers are now positioned correctly.
They weight exactly the same amount as the stock grips, i.e. 166 grams per pair, and they're nicely made.
I expected a more substantial improvement to braking than was achieved. I was hoping the extra leverage would make braking much easier. . . but the best way to describe the performance of these is that two-finger braking is akin to 3-finger braking with the stock levers. I suppose I could have bought a 3-finger lever. . . perhaps that would have been a better solution, I'm not sure. It would have added a little extra weight.
However, these sit correctly and my hands feel more comfortable and relaxed, so all in all it improves the riding experience. I've not noticed any problem with the cable run (as fietsbob has pointed out in other threads the stock levers angle the cable downwards for a more efficient path).
Here you can see the mix of new and old parts. The frame is pre-2004, i.e. has the old hinges. The front tyre is a Greenspeed Scorcher which just about fits with a little coercion. The telescoping seat post is home-made with a USE upper post that's extremely light. Obligatory Brooks saddle.
The rear hub is a SA X-RF5 that I got on ebay. Again, it took some coercion to get it to fit properly. The marks you can see on the frame aren't scratches, they're areas where the protective helicopter tape I applied (to most of the frame) wasn't done perfectly.