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Old 09-30-13, 06:33 AM   #1
Ciwan
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Brompton Two Years On

Hi Guys

It is nearly two years since I bought my 2011 6-Speed Brompton. I've been very happy with it, it saves me money, keeps me fit, and is taken everywhere I go, so don't have to worry about theft .. etc.

Is it still as good as new? No.

Here is what is currently annoying me:

1. A lot of rattling noises, I'm guessing from my Brooks B67, or suspension?
2. Them things you turn to fold and unfold, I don't know what their technical name is, they're starting to feel flimsy
3. I get it sparkling clean, but then in about 3 to 4 rides in the rain, it gets really dirty again, I'm guessing all bikes are like that, still it annoys me.
4. Many of the bolts have gone rusty
5. The Chain is in very bad condition, when you get a hold of a teeth, you can lift it off the chain ring to such a degree that the whole chain ring tooth is visible, in other words the chain has become loose. I have bought a new chain, but a friend of mine who is into Road Bikes said that I would now need to buy a new chain ring and the little rings on the back wheel too, because they have become worn and won't fit a new chain! Is this true?

Any advice you guys provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.
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Old 09-30-13, 06:55 AM   #2
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No offense, but simply based on your comments, it sounds like your Brompton has unfortunately been the victim of serious neglect! Most of the problems you listed are easily avoidable through basic bike maintenance.

If you ride in the rain, or your bike gets wet otherwise (puddles, other)... wipe it down completely with a towel until dry after you finish your ride. It only takes minutes and you will avoid rust, potential damage to your folding hinges, potential mechanical problems with shifter/brake cables, potential mechanical problems with your derailleur as well.

Check your chain, chain ring and rear cogs before and after every ride. Lubricate as needed. If your chain has stretched to such a point where you can lift it off the ring, it's very possible that your chain ring and cog(s) teeth are damaged and might need replacement. However; if your chain is not stretched and is in good condition, it's possible that your rear wheel has moved in the frame dropout which has effectively shortened its distance to the chain ring, causing the chain slack.

Check out the "Bicycle Mechanics" sub-forum here on BikeForums for basic do-it-yourself recommendations on bike maintenance.

With proper maintenance, your Brompton should last for many decades without fail.
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Old 09-30-13, 07:54 AM   #3
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The Sturmey Archer hubs I've ridden all become rattly as soon as a little play develops (which I think is mainly a result of the ball ring being tightened by pedalling force); dialing out that play by adjusting the LH cone ought to solve the problem. However, it sounds as though your hub could use a full service / overhaul, as is wise to have done every few years and particularly after the initial wearing in phase.
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Old 09-30-13, 08:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
The Sturmey Archer hubs I've ridden all become rattly as soon as a little play develops (which I think is mainly a result of the ball ring being tightened by pedalling force); dialing out that play by adjusting the LH cone ought to solve the problem. However, it sounds as though your hub could use a full service / overhaul, as is wise to have done every few years and particularly after the initial wearing in phase.
Then it must be the new ones made today because the ones I had years ago just kept on spinning. In all the years I had SA hubs (in the past years when I was young) I didn't have a lick of trouble. The only thing that needed attention is the adjustment chain. So you are saying that these newer models have to be overhauled every few years -- then they can't possibly be up to snuff then.

Last edited by Still Pedaling; 09-30-13 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 09-30-13, 08:34 AM   #5
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Wow -- you must be very hard on the bike. A little attention to ongoing maintenance and especially cleaning after riding in the rain would have prevented all these issues you are having. These bikes are built to last -- two years is far too premature.
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Old 09-30-13, 08:38 AM   #6
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There's plenty of info on the web about the switch from oil lubrication to grease and the pros and cons of both. Many of the regular OCD nutcases on forums such as this one, including myself, have switched back to oil lubrication. Given that the new hubs aren't designed to be so well sealed there are some problems in doing this.
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Old 09-30-13, 09:05 AM   #7
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Adding oil is easy once you remove the indicator shift chain from the hub,
the hollow axle end is your oil-port ..

My S-A Lube choice Phil Tenacious Oil for the gears and their bushings..

I have, also, removed and greased the wheel bearings. Boat trailer wheel bearing stuff.
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Old 09-30-13, 11:35 AM   #8
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Maybe not everyone maintains their bike as "thoroughly" as some of the previous posters would do.

Its fine, enjoy your bike.

I run 7 bike and I don't want to stay on top of all their needs 24/7. I gave up repairing flats years ago. I just fit new tubes.

2 year old chain best in the bin. Chains don't stretch, they wear out.

Change the chain as a start its obviously worn by your description. Inspect the teeth on the cogs front and rear. If they are nice and square in shape then great. If they are pointed like teeth then you need to think about replacements.

You don't need new front and rear cogs when you change a chain. Just replace what's worn. Probably just the chain. Try just changing the chain and giving it sometime to bed in.

Yes, bolts rust sometimes, its not your fault. Bromptons do rust in lots of areas regardless of good maintenance. Get new bolts if they don't clean up.

Maybe think about using a wax product to keep frame cleaner for longer?
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Old 09-30-13, 12:53 PM   #9
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Maybe not everyone maintains their bike as "thoroughly" as some of the previous posters would do.

Its fine, enjoy your bike.

I run 7 bike and I don't want to stay on top of all their needs 24/7. I gave up repairing flats years ago. I just fit new tubes.

2 year old chain best in the bin. Chains don't stretch, they wear out.

Change the chain as a start its obviously worn by your description. Inspect the teeth on the cogs front and rear. If they are nice and square in shape then great. If they are pointed like teeth then you need to think about replacements.

You don't need new front and rear cogs when you change a chain. Just replace what's worn. Probably just the chain. Try just changing the chain and giving it sometime to bed in.

Yes, bolts rust sometimes, its not your fault. Bromptons do rust in lots of areas regardless of good maintenance. Get new bolts if they don't clean up.

Maybe think about using a wax product to keep frame cleaner for longer?


if you don't want to maintain your bike "thoroughly", then you can expect to see rust and other forms of potentially more serious (read: expensive and possibly dangerous) degeneration.

the idea that bromptons rust in spite of good maintenance is ridiculous.

if you use your bike for daily commuting, let's say that equals 5-10 hours of riding per week, is spending 15-30 minutes on saturday morning cleaning and lubing your bike excessive?

the OP complains that after 4 rides in the rain the bike is dirty. really? guess what? you have to clean it.

in a previous thread, the OP also complained about losing an axle nut. the solution the OP considered was buying a 100 count box of nuts... that's lazy and goofy. tightening nuts and fittings regularly will prevent loss of said parts. simple, regular maintenance prevents the vast majority of problems that a bicycle can develop. the other benefit of regular maintenance, particularly for novices, is that you learn how this machine that you rely on actually functions. the knowledge that you gain from doing weekly maintenance helps you notice irregularities or other problems early on- this saves you time, money, and potentially, your life.


Last edited by smallwheeler; 09-30-13 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 09-30-13, 06:22 PM   #10
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Steel rusts. You can slow it down but it still rusts. Paint ages,allor corodes.
Carbon fibre degrades in UV.
Not everyone wants,can be bothered, or has the space or acess to water drains to clean their bike as frequently as they should.
Some bikes are used for night shifts when it inconvient to clean after it had a soaking,or the noise will wake people up. I have left bikes for days when I have got back at midnight from work and have a morning shift following day.
Also not every one can keep their bike out of the rain where they store it.
Some people have poor skin and try to keep hands clean ie medical staff
Bike maintence is important for saftey and correct running
People make choices....

Last edited by bhkyte; 09-30-13 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 10-01-13, 06:20 AM   #11
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Thanks Guys. You're all pretty much right, I really ought to take better care of it.

What are the best "maintenance" essentials for a Bromtpon?

Also I have a few questions with regards to drying the bike after a ride in the rain ...

1) When you say towel .. do you mean a bathroom towel, like the one I use to dry my face with in the mornings?
2) How dry do you get your bike? Sure I can get the main steel frame dry, but mostly the water get in between the bolts and joints ... etc and that is where I see rust. If I want them dry (I mean proper dry), that will take 30 minutes to an hour for me, I seriously can't be bothered :/ I wake up at 05:30, get to work for 08:00 then get back home for 19:20. Long, tiresome day
3) Is there a best way to clean a Brompton .. or does each do it his/her way and they're all equally good?

Thanks
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Old 10-01-13, 06:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ciwan View Post
Thanks Guys. You're all pretty much right, I really ought to take better care of it.

What are the best "maintenance" essentials for a Bromtpon?

Also I have a few questions with regards to drying the bike after a ride in the rain ...

1) When you say towel .. do you mean a bathroom towel, like the one I use to dry my face with in the mornings?
2) How dry do you get your bike? Sure I can get the main steel frame dry, but mostly the water get in between the bolts and joints ... etc and that is where I see rust. If I want them dry (I mean proper dry), that will take 30 minutes to an hour for me, I seriously can't be bothered :/ I wake up at 05:30, get to work for 08:00 then get back home for 19:20. Long, tiresome day
3) Is there a best way to clean a Brompton .. or does each do it his/her way and they're all equally good?

Thanks
Fortunately for me I don't have a problem with drying the bike after a rain. I live in an area where we rarely see any, and if there is going to be rain I don't ride. Not a big deal as it is only going to be for a day or two at most, and we won't see rain again for weeks at a time -- sometimes months. Here's a thought; use a hair dryer to dry out the moisture in the joints, moving them as you apply the dryer so to get all the moisture out. But before you do this, perhaps get others thoughts on the hair dryer idea, in case it might damage the paint etc. I know from past experience when I washed my bikes under a car port, I would dry it down using a leaf blower. It worked great and have never had any rust issues. After leaving the bike for a few minutes I would then wipe it down with some good auto rags. You can get those at auto supply shops. I get the ones that are very absorbent.

Like I said, just a thought. Hope it helps.

Cheers
Wayne
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Old 10-01-13, 07:45 AM   #13
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I doubt your chainring(s) (the gears at the front) are worn to the point they need replacing, probably the smaller cogs out back are OK, too. Get a new chain and have it installed--if shop is not familiar with Bromptons, have them measure off the old chain instead of traditional chain length methods. This may not need to be done, but I have no idea if the fold means you need more chain than usual?

Ride it with the new chain: if you get skipping out back or chain suck up front, then you'll need to deal with those components, but I bet you don't.

Lube your chain. Once a month, or after any wet ride. You'll need to replace a chain as early as 3k mi if you don't care for it, 5-7k mi if you do. You can usually get 2 chains of use before you need to replace the cogs out back.
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Old 10-01-13, 09:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ciwan View Post
Thanks Guys. You're all pretty much right, I really ought to take better care of it.

What are the best "maintenance" essentials for a Bromtpon?

Also I have a few questions with regards to drying the bike after a ride in the rain ...

1) When you say towel .. do you mean a bathroom towel, like the one I use to dry my face with in the mornings?
2) How dry do you get your bike? Sure I can get the main steel frame dry, but mostly the water get in between the bolts and joints ... etc and that is where I see rust. If I want them dry (I mean proper dry), that will take 30 minutes to an hour for me, I seriously can't be bothered :/ I wake up at 05:30, get to work for 08:00 then get back home for 19:20. Long, tiresome day
3) Is there a best way to clean a Brompton .. or does each do it his/her way and they're all equally good?

Thanks
There is a lot of skill in cleaning a bike. My roadrace friend does a much better job than I could ever do. Need.
Small cloths, a low salt detergent, muck off spray?,hoise pipe and a smaller sections of small cloths for tight areas. A long handled pot scrubbing brush if a good tool for difficult areas.



Get bike wet with hoise , spray with muck off,or wipe with car shampoo. Avoid washing up liquid as its high in salt.
Keep water away from hubs, and chain as much as you can. Redress chain with proper bike chain oil after bike is dry. Don't use WD40,other than for cleaning. Wd40 ruins hundreds of bike a year!!Concentrate on different areas from time to time. Ie turn bike upside down to see what you are missing.

Personally I find bromptons a tad prone to rust compaired to my other folders. But mine is old.
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Old 10-01-13, 09:41 AM   #15
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I think I need a bike stand for all this maintenance work. Do you guys know of a good, sturdy but cheap model? Links would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 10-01-13, 09:49 AM   #16
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do a search , repair stands come into the FAQ region.

LBS, here, has those under Trek_Bontrager, and Park, brands available .
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Old 10-01-13, 09:59 AM   #17
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... Don't use WD40,other than for cleaning. Wd40 ruins hundreds of bike a year!! ...
I don't disagree, but see http://www.wd40bike.com/. We may expect some confusion.

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Old 10-01-13, 10:03 AM   #18
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Thanks fietsbob. I think I'll go for this with its accompanying magnetic bowl and rack.

Another question, I'm so terrible with bike maintenance that I have no clue when it comes to correct terminology for the bike parts.

I hear people talking about the "Drive Train" on a Bike! Can someone tell me what that is please, and perhaps point it out on a Bromy picture please, that would be very helpful. I typed Bromtpon Drive Train in Google Images and got no clear result :/
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Old 10-01-13, 10:17 AM   #19
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I have a decent stand but with the Brompton there's hardly ever a reason to use it. To remove the rear wheel just fold the rear under and then, with seat post extended lift the front wheel up until the back of the saddle rests on the floor. I find the bike balances OK like this, though you have to take some care not to knock it.
When it comes to lubing the chain you can just park the bike, wipe the chain clean by back-pedalling with a rag pressed against it (strategically placed to keep the tensioner arm from folding). Apply some lube then wipe clean again.
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Old 10-01-13, 10:34 AM   #20
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Thanks fietsbob. I think I'll go for this with its accompanying magnetic bowl and rack.

Another question, I'm so terrible with bike maintenance that I have no clue when it comes to correct terminology for the bike parts.

I hear people talking about the "Drive Train" on a Bike! Can someone tell me what that is please, and perhaps point it out on a Bromy picture please, that would be very helpful. I typed Bromtpon Drive Train in Google Images and got no clear result :/
"Drive train" just means chain + gears + derailleurs on any bike. After two years of hard use, your chain probably is worn -- I just took mine in and I'd evidently waited a little long to replace mine -- I hadn't realized how much more mileage I'd been putting on it than my old bike. The more often you replace it, the less likely you will need to replace the gears along with the chain. However, bike shops also like to convince you you need to replace everything when you can probably get away with a new chain.

I wipe my bike down with an OLD towel (a threadbare ex-kitchen hand towel) if it gets wet, and wipe the chain off with a disposable paper towel/napkin while dribbling a little new oil on. If it doesn't get wet for a few weeks, I do the oiling/wiping thing on a dry day. I have a few little tiny pinpricks of rust on some of the bolts, but they're still A-OK. I also dab clear nail polish on any paint chips. And once a year I pay a shop to check everything for me. I don't do a huge amount of bike maintenance, because I have very weak hands, very little space for a work area, and very little patience with it. I do realize this means my annual tune-up will cost a bit more, because I'm more likely to have to replace things that could have lasted longer with more tender handling. I'm OK with that.
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Old 10-01-13, 11:10 AM   #21
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before you start spending 100s on cranks and cogs and chains, you should check to make sure the nuts on the rear wheel havent loosened. considering that you did previously lose a nut, it's possible that the rear nuts have loosened and the wheel has scooted forward in the dropouts slightly and that is why you have slack in the chain.

it would be advisable to have the bike inspected and given a "once over" at a bike shop. make sure you point out the slack chain issue. basically, this will be like pressing the reset button. after you do this, then you can begin to observe and perform your regular maintenance regime.

you should have a small saddle bag that contains certain essentials with your bike at all times. a small and inexpensive multi tool with metric hex drive allen keys and a dumbell wrench. having these two cheap tools with you at all times will help prevent any loosing of nuts and bolts. you should check that all the nuts and bolts on your bike are snug every few days. takes literally 2 minutes.

carry a cotton cloth in a zip-lock bag that you can use on rainy days to do a quick wipe down after arriving at work. doing this on rainy days will help keep your bike generally cleaner and make the more thorough weekly cleanings easier and less time consuming. pop the dirty cloth back in the zip-lock bag to prevent the interior of your saddle bag and the tools inside from getting mucky.

personally, i wash my brompton in my shower. i have a shower head and extension hose. works perfectly. use a soft bristle brush and a very small amount of soap. after washing, wipe the bike down with dry clean rags (old t-shirt strips) until the bike is dry. lube the chain with whatever bike oil you prefer. with your oily rag, give the exposed nuts and bolts a drop of oil and a sexy rub down. capillary action will draw the oil down into the threads and between nut and washers. wiping the painted frame down with some type of silicone product (armour-all, pedro's bike lust, etc.) will help to keep the bike cleaner as water will bead on the surface and help to prevent mud and grime from sticking to the surface. this also makes subsequent weekly cleanings easier and faster.

keeping your bike well maintained is fun, educational, and rewarding.

just do it™

ps- you don't need a bike stand or any other bikey paraphernalia to do basic maintenance on your brompton. don't make a big deal out of it.

Last edited by smallwheeler; 10-01-13 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 10-01-13, 11:21 AM   #22
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Showering with your Brompton smallwheeler? What a great idea. i've considered sleeping with mine but was afraid the wife might catch me.
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Old 10-01-13, 11:43 AM   #23
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Showering with your Brompton smallwheeler? What a great idea. i've considered sleeping with mine but was afraid the wife might catch me.
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Old 10-01-13, 01:59 PM   #24
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Ciwan,

Here's a handy pre-ride checklist that will help you spot any issues with your bike(s) before they become troublesome/dangerous, and can serve as an indicator of potential required maintenance:


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