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New Brompton Derailleur Chain Issue / Gears Jumping

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New Brompton Derailleur Chain Issue / Gears Jumping

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Old 12-14-17, 06:28 PM
  #26  
ciclista_pazza
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
When you have a barrel adjuster and a separate lock, of course you want the two together - that's what the lock is there for. But that has nothing to do with the 1mm clearance between the end of the indicator chain and the axle end. You could have the barrel adjuster way out of position (too much or too little cable tension), have the lock right up against it, and still have alignment and shifting problems.

Frankly, I'm amazed that the shop didn't fix it for you on the spot. Not difficult, wouldn't take much time. Telling you how to do it but then leaving you on your own - well, I suppose if they're swamped, but they would have gained a great deal of goodwill by showing you how to do it and then doing it the first time for you.

Thanks. I was worried that was the case. I honestly think the dealer (which comprises 3 guys who work at the dealership) doesn't know how the 1 mm thing works either. When I asked about it, the particular guy who sold the bike to me said he never uses that measurement (and he said this in front of his two colleagues so apparently this is the accepted practice there), so if it absolutely doesn't come into play for him (and he said he assembles all the Bromptons in their store), then this could be an issue for Bromptons coming out of that store. But it is strange that what he did in bringing those two parts (rod and adjuster) closer together ultimately fixed the problem. Now I'm scared to mess with it since it's finally working.

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Old 12-14-17, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
Lots of fumbling around in this thread. Your question about adjuster: the fat little nut is a LOCK NUT (inside red circle) . Loosen this lock nut before making adjustments, and tighten it against the adjustment barrel after adjustment, locking the barrel against loosening on its own. When the lock nut it tightened against the barrel there is obviously no gap between the 2. So, loosen lock nut, adjust, tighten lock nut.

Next: with lock nut loose and a little out of the way, you can turn barrel adjuster (inside green circle) either way; one way it will screw down, "swallowing" the threaded portion-this TIGHTENS the entire cable. Screwing it the other way, more thread becomes exposed, LOOSENING the entire cable assembly. After such adjustment, keep the adjuster barrel steady with one hand to prevent it from turning, and with the other hand turn the lock nut towards the barrel until it is against the barrel, and tighten it so it won't come undone.

Now to adjusting the actual cable tension:

Put the gear lever in 2nd gear. This refers to the gear lever on the right side, 2nd gear is the middle position. Backpedal a bit to ensure the gear is properly engaged.
Loosen lock nut.
Look through the inspection hole in the right-hand side axle nut, the one into which the tiny chain disappears. Make sure you can see the threads of the axle itself through the hole, and especially the end of the axle.
Out of the axle you will see the tiny chain coming out.
The tiny chain is fastened to a thin rod some 3mm thick. This rod goes inside the hub to operate gear shifts. If you can't see the rod, grab hold of the tiny chain and pull it out firmly so you can see the rod. This is just for your own clarification.


Now let go of the tiny chain. Backpedal a small amount to make sure the rod sinks in to the proper relaxed internal position. The end of the rod's round part must be level with the end of the axle.
If the rod's round end sticks out too far, LOOSEN the barrel adjuster until it is level with the axle end.
If the rod's round portion is hidden inside the axle, TIGHTEN the cable until you can see the end of the round portion of the rod just sticking out past the axle end, then loosen it again until you see it is level with the axle end.

Now hold the barrel adjuster and tighten the lock nut against it.

Sturmey-Archer Internal-Gear Hubs, Tech Tips


Thanks Jur! This is for sure the definitive guide to this issue if there ever was one. I'm going to print out your comment and use this as my reference rather than the video. Very helpful (likely for lots of other people too).
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Old 12-14-17, 06:38 PM
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One more question on this issue and I'll put it to rest. Do you think any bike shop would be familiar with this 1 mm thing and be able to show me the ropes if I still have trouble? If so, I would probably try my luck with my LBS rather than the Brompton dealer as far as getting that figured out.
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Old 12-14-17, 06:43 PM
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The 1mm refers to the end of the rod just where it fastens to the tiny chain. If I remember correctly, Brompton versions may be painted green just in that spot, but don't quote me on that one. The distance between the last link of the tiny chain and the point where the round part of the rod begins, is about 1mm. So in effect once you put the edge of the round part of the rod level with the end of the axle, the last link will be 1mm clear of the axle. If you stick to the drawing above then you will be right.

All visible through the inspection window. Be sure to use a flashlight to illuminate that spot.
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Old 12-14-17, 08:55 PM
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Any decent bike shop should be able to adjust an indicator chain on an internally geared hub. They might not know about the 1mm spec but should be able to look it up. I suppose there might be a shop somewhere that doesn't know anything about internally geared hubs, say a very modern shop selling high-end road bikes only, but most shops should be able to accommodate you.
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Old 12-15-17, 09:54 AM
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So Web search:' Brompton dealer, Arizona = https://portapedalbike.com/contact/

At, 2054 E. Southern Ave.
Tempe, Arizona 85282

Did you you ask there, or what? yea shops with very young employees, focused on race bikes and MTB gadgetry ,

may missed, bypassed, the 100+ year old internal gear hub .. so "any" bike shop' may be overgeneralizing...


I had a 3 speed S-A hub, on my bike in , 1957..





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Old 12-15-17, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
...so "any" bike shop' may be overgeneralizing...
If you're going to quote me, fietsbob, please quote directly. I said "any decent bike shop", not "any bike shop."

If I took my Brommie for an IGH cable adjustment into a bike shop, and they couldn't do it, or they didn't do it well, I wouldn't go back. Bike shops that can't do a simple cable adjustment shouldn't be in the service business, hence my "decent" moniker.
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Old 12-15-17, 08:32 PM
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Thanks everyone for your responses. This was all highly educational for me.
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Old 12-15-17, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
If you're going to quote me, fietsbob, please quote directly. I said "any decent bike shop", not "any bike shop."

If I took my Brommie for an IGH cable adjustment into a bike shop, and they couldn't do it, or they didn't do it well, I wouldn't go back. Bike shops that can't do a simple cable adjustment shouldn't be in the service business, hence my "decent" moniker.
I'm not positive but I think fietsbob was quoting me. I asked if any bike shop could do the 1mm adjustment.
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Old 12-15-17, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
So Web search:' Brompton dealer, Arizona = https://portapedalbike.com/contact/

At, 2054 E. Southern Ave.
Tempe, Arizona 85282

Did you you ask there, or what? yea shops with very young employees, focused on race bikes and MTB gadgetry ,

may missed, bypassed, the 100+ year old internal gear hub .. so "any" bike shop' may be overgeneralizing...


I had a 3 speed S-A hub, on my bike in , 1957..




It wasn't in Tempe but I hesitate to pinpoint the dealership in a public forum. I might not be welcome back there if I did that and they have other folding bikes I want!
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Old 12-16-17, 10:47 AM
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OK, so not the AZ Brompton Dealer, IGH are not young hipster gear, so not too surprising a young wrench in a shop

wont be knowing much about Old stuff..
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Old 12-18-17, 04:36 AM
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Reading this is certainly interesting ...

Bromptons are simple, just have a particular way of setting up.

9/10times the issue is poor set up.

The 3 speed is 99% of the time a breeze to set and forget. If you are having issues its not set up properly.

If the bike shop does not deal Bromptons or doesnt seem sure DO NOT TRUST THEM.

I think I read something about older parts etc. The age of the mechanic does not depict their knowledge, do not be shallow. I am 23 and can strip a Brompton back to a bare frame and rebuild , just like I could a 1950 Pashley or a 2018 Sram Etap roadie!

The image posted by Jur is perfect. If the end of the smooth barrel is lined up with the end of the axle 99% of the problems I see are solved. Further than that the internals are worn/broken but this is very uncommon being honest.

In the last year I have serviced over 250 Bromptons including over 50 BSR / BWR hub services. - again, 99% of problems with the 3 speed are solved by the tension on the toggle chain.
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Old 12-19-17, 03:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ciclista_pazza View Post
One more question on this issue and I'll put it to rest. Do you think any bike shop would be familiar with this 1 mm thing and be able to show me the ropes if I still have trouble? If so, I would probably try my luck with my LBS rather than the Brompton dealer as far as getting that figured out.
Did you look at the YouTube film I linked to at all? If you did I am suprised that you still have questions
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Old 12-19-17, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ryanme View Post
Reading this is certainly interesting ...

Bromptons are simple, just have a particular way of setting up.

9/10times the issue is poor set up.

The 3 speed is 99% of the time a breeze to set and forget. If you are having issues its not set up properly.

If the bike shop does not deal Bromptons or doesnt seem sure DO NOT TRUST THEM.

I think I read something about older parts etc. The age of the mechanic does not depict their knowledge, do not be shallow. I am 23 and can strip a Brompton back to a bare frame and rebuild , just like I could a 1950 Pashley or a 2018 Sram Etap roadie!

The image posted by Jur is perfect. If the end of the smooth barrel is lined up with the end of the axle 99% of the problems I see are solved. Further than that the internals are worn/broken but this is very uncommon being honest.

In the last year I have serviced over 250 Bromptons including over 50 BSR / BWR hub services. - again, 99% of problems with the 3 speed are solved by the tension on the toggle chain.
It is not shallow, it is describing real life! Nobody is talking about you but about what you can expect from most younger mechanics.

Where I live there are a lot of chain stores selling bikes. Only the latest few years some few shops with special (hipster type , city) bikes. For some reason only Nexus hubs, hardly any SA. A few years ago I gave up buying (or ordering) a SA three speed shifter locally. Had to use Ebay.

If I take my Brompton or my NWT into a shop they (old or young) have no idea what they are and I suspect they feel sorry for me who can not afford a proper bike since I ride a modifyed childrens bike (they think). The most educated ones may think it is a 60 "camping bike".

The last time I was in contact with the nearest Brompton dealer I educated them about parts and options they did not know existed.

I am an old woman but I would not call you shallow if you said that most older women (and younger) have wery little knowledge about bikes- apart from that they work best if they have at least two wheels..
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Old 12-19-17, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by badmother View Post
Did you look at the YouTube film I linked to at all? If you did I am suprised that you still have questions

Yes, I looked at the video as well as the diagrams that some posted. I mentioned that I still had trouble figuring out what I was looking for even after that (I'm sure this is just me being oblivious for some reason), so my dashed hope had been that the Brompton dealer could show me how to make the adjustment. Unfortunately they knew less about it than I did and so they couldn't show me. Now that they re-positioned the chain in their own way, I'm afraid to mess with it since it's finally working. Next time I have an issue, I'm going to try my luck with one of the mechanics at my LBS as far as showing me what I seem to be missing with the 1 mm issue.
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Old 12-19-17, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ciclista_pazza View Post
Yes, I looked at the video as well as the diagrams that some posted. I mentioned that I still had trouble figuring out what I was looking for even after that (I'm sure this is just me being oblivious for some reason), so my dashed hope had been that the Brompton dealer could show me how to make the adjustment. Unfortunately they knew less about it than I did and so they couldn't show me. Now that they re-positioned the chain in their own way, I'm afraid to mess with it since it's finally working. Next time I have an issue, I'm going to try my luck with one of the mechanics at my LBS as far as showing me what I seem to be missing with the 1 mm issue.
Oki. It is strange becouse I got the impression that SA hubs is much more common where you are than here but maybe I am wrong or it is just bad luck. Safest is if you can learn to do stuff your self so you can fix a problem wherever you are instead of relying on others. Cheaper too
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Old 12-19-17, 01:16 PM
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You should forget about the 1mm issue. You have been misled about that. The info I posted is exhaustive and enough and sufficient.
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Old 01-06-18, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
The 1mm refers to the end of the rod just where it fastens to the tiny chain. If I remember correctly, Brompton versions may be painted green just in that spot, but don't quote me on that one. The distance between the last link of the tiny chain and the point where the round part of the rod begins, is about 1mm. So in effect once you put the edge of the round part of the rod level with the end of the axle, the last link will be 1mm clear of the axle. If you stick to the drawing above then you will be right.

All visible through the inspection window. Be sure to use a flashlight to illuminate that spot.
Just to clarify, it's the top of the rod that should be protruding 1mm or so clear of where it goes into the axle.

Sturmey Archer gears are quite forgiving, so you don't need to be 100% exact. Once set, you should do a quick road test checking all gears. You may need to adjust slightly - if it jumps out of first, change back to second and tighten the adjustment chain a little, if jumps out of third, loosen the chain a little.

Bear in mind that, if you get a puncture in the rear wheel and want to change the tube or tyre yourself, you do need to understand how this works as the procedure to remove the wheel involves taking out the adjustment chain completely from the axle.

As others have commented, all Brompton dealers should know how to do this full stop.
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Old 01-06-18, 02:30 PM
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Awesome explanation Jur.

3 speeds are so easy to adjust and it is sad the Dealer had no clue...
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Old 01-06-18, 02:45 PM
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Quoted from a knowledgeable guy up above...

" The image posted by Jur is perfect. If the end of the smooth barrel is lined up with the end of the axle 99% of the problems I see are solved. Further than that the internals are worn/broken but this is very uncommon being honest. "


There are many shops in the US that do not carry or know how to service 3 speed bikes. I owned a shop for 30+ years and never sold a 3 speed. The last 3 speed I had was when I was 10 years old. It is not surprizing at all to me that the shop that sold this gentleman a Brompton did not understand 3 speed adjustment.
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Old 01-06-18, 03:00 PM
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Brompton does not let every shop sell their bikes, but there is a lot of young employees

turnover is maybe less in Arizona than where its cold, snowing and people go to Arizona rather than stay home..
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Old 01-06-18, 04:10 PM
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Arizona bike shops have a huge off season also---when it is hot. Any legitimate shop that wants to carry Brompton that is willing to put a couple bikes on the floor will be opened up..... Unless they are close to another dealer that moves some bikes.
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Old 01-06-18, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
Quoted from a knowledgeable guy up above...

" The image posted by Jur is perfect. If the end of the smooth barrel is lined up with the end of the axle 99% of the problems I see are solved. Further than that the internals are worn/broken but this is very uncommon being honest. "


There are many shops in the US that do not carry or know how to service 3 speed bikes. I owned a shop for 30+ years and never sold a 3 speed. The last 3 speed I had was when I was 10 years old. It is not surprizing at all to me that the shop that sold this gentleman a Brompton did not understand 3 speed adjustment.
That isn’t correct, unless I’ve misunderstood. It has to protude by about 1mm or so. Check the Brompton advisory video posted above.

Also, the drawing isn’t correct, as the last link of the adjustment chain is attached directly to the end of the rod, there’s no fitting gap.

I repeat: to repair a puncture or replace the tyre, you have to remove the rear wheel and detach the gear cable completely by unscrewing it from the axle. You need at the very least to check adjustment when putting it back, so I find it hard to believe bike shops who work on Bromptons do not know this, especially as the company itself specifies this should be done.

I’ll have a go at taking a picture of mine and posting it later.

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Old 01-07-18, 08:53 AM
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3 speed bikes are a very very small portion of the bicycle world in the US. Employee Turnover is huge in most shops because of low pay and seasonal work. I doubt we had one 3 speed repair per 1000 repair tickets (it might be more like 1 per 10000) and most of those were the old Shimano 3 speed with the window and red 2nd gear marking---which is really easy to understand.
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Old 01-07-18, 10:28 AM
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No luck with the picture.

Most bike shops would have have repaired punctures and changed tires, particularly with Brompton since taking the rear wheel off is a pain, and many owners would rather bike shops did it. If take your bike to a Brompton dealer, you would expect them to know about adjustment, which isn't rocket science, after all. After all, you expect a Renault garage to know how to service a Renault.

The good news is that, assuming you use Schwalbe Marathons, you're not likely to have a heap of punctures in any given year, and Sturmey Archer seem to be pretty resilient with an albeit small range of adjustment. Mine protudes out closer to 2 mm, probably because the adjustment chain isn't screwed in particularly tightly.

In any event, that 1mm is a rough guide. My clone doesn't have the inspection hole, so the only way to adjust is through trial and error.

I take your point about bike shops. They tend to be small businesses here, and even sports chains like Decathlon tend to have one specialised bicycle repair person per store. There are only a handful of Brompton dealers - my nearest is close to 200kms away.
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