On-board tools

I’m not the sort of person to go riding without the basics that will allow me to fix a flat tyre. Bit of a security blanket I suppose, even though Bromptons are ideally placed to be folded & carried home in any form of public transport, if the Brompton (or me) runs into trouble.

My idea of the basics is a spare tube, tyre levers & pump. With most Bromptons having bolt-on wheels, a wheel spanner also needs to be included. The conundrum is where to carry everything & my C bag has been my place of storage (along with my water bottle). Now that my Bromptons are equipped with bidon cages, I decided to prepare for a “bag-less” ride & carry the tools on-board.

Brompton have produced a neat little toolkit that fits into the front section of the main frame but so far in the few months since release, I’ve been unable to obtain one – & now I believe they’ve been withdrawn to address a “quality issue”? My alternative is to rubber-band a cut-down wheel spanner, tyre levers & a small set of Allen keys together & wrap them in a set of disposable latex gloves. This fits cosily into the front section of the main frame.

A spare Schwalbe SV4 tube (Presta valve type) fits into the rear section of the main frame. My method of insertion is to double the tube over, lightly twist it into a spiral & then wrap this with a piece of fibreglass insect screen mesh (about 45cm by 20cm). This mesh “tube” then slides into the frame with far less friction than the tube alone. The length of the mesh fills the tube space & is easy to pull out.

The Brompton Zefal pump is fitted to the rear frame of one Brompton with a Velcro strap (hopefully) giving extra security. My other Brompton has a small pocket pump (Bontrager Air Pocket) fitted into the seatpost tube & secured by the seatpost buffer. (The pump is fitted into a length of inner tube (cut from an old Mountain bike tube) to prevent it from rattling.)

I’ve always been wary of the Brompton pump staying in place & preferred to carry the pump in the C bag. Now with my Bromptons carrying their tools on-board, I’m trying the Brompton pump attached to the rear frame but for peace of mind, will probably soon use pumps housed within the seatpost tube on both Bromptons.



One thought on “On-board tools

  1. Gary 06/07/2014 at 00:29 Reply

    This is a brilliant idea and got me thinking. I have come up with an alternative based on what I could find in the garage and the fact that all I am likely to need on my commute is to fix a puncture.

    So, what did I use?

    A typical multi-head bike spanner, a hex key that was lying around to be able to remove the Brompton seat post bung and a couple of old tyre levers which I shortened slightly. Oh, and the same Bontrager Air Pocket Pump to slide up in the seat post, a few bits of old inner tube, the end of an old handlebar grip and a couple of bits of ribbon/tape.

    Slip spanner, with hex key slotted through one end and the tyre levers on each side of the spanner, into a short piece of old inner tube.

    Cut the old grip so you have about 3cm (or more depending on the width of your package) at the closed end to use as your bung to keep everything in the front part of the frame. Put a small length of ribbon through the closed end of the grip to help with extraction of your kit from the frame tubing.

    Put the piece of grip over the end of the spanner that does not have the hex slotted into it and push the whole assembly into the frame.

    Put your inner tube into the other part of the main frame – it may make it slide easier if you put it in a long thin plastic bag.

    Now cut a length of inner tube about 4cm longer than your pump and again, use a length of ribbon to make a pull tag. Put the pump in the tube and push it up into the seat post, then put your Brompton bung back in (Even if you don’t have Eazy Wheels on your Brompton you can buy the bungs)

    And there you have it. Overall cost was a couple of pounds (99p for the spanner; old plastic levers just sitting in the garage; hex key form some flat pack furniture and some old tube and grips that would have gone in the bin). Overall weight of pump and tool kit is about 190g (90g for the tools and 100g for the pump in its tubing – spare inner tube on top of that of course but couldn’t be bothered to weigh that.

    I have not used the bike yet since making this, so I hope it stays in place but if not I have hardly lost any money as the pump is safe and sound and dry and clean up in the seat post – and on the titanium Brompton you cannot attach a pump anyway.

    This link (if it works) has some pictures.



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