I needed an extra tool for maintaining my Bromptons recently & thought it was time to think about serious servicing (ie just preparing; nothing necessary yet). Aside from a sole Brompton dealer in the city area, I’m probably now more knowledgeable about Bromptons than most local bike shops. Converting Robinson, my first Brompton, from 3-speed to 6-speed BWR was an interesting first-up project & it was “highly educational” in researching specs, gear ratios, parts requirements & sourcing. Obtaining parts & accessories has been an issue, with choices of traveling for them, ordering locally (too slow/traumatic?) or ordering online. Here I’ve found a good appreciation of Bromptons is really handy in ensuring I end up with the correct parts. I expect that taking a Brompton in for major servicing is going to very inconvenient for travel or turnaround time (not to mention the worries of local shop service quality or understanding?) & so who better to trust with the work than me? “How hard can it be…?”
So, I’ve now got myself prepared with the various specialised tools that I’ll probably need. (Of course, whether I take the plunge & use them is another matter but we’ll see.) I’ve also found that Internet research on maintenance issues beforehand is a wonderful thing – as long as you think to do it. My recent boo-boo with Ralph’s Alfine 11-speed rear hub dust cap was a bit sobering but it just looked so much like a snap-on rubber seal & it came off & went on (mostly) & all was well – until I put the rear wheel back on. Hmmm… lots of drag in the chain & unrideable? Numerous strip-downs & reassemblies later, I turned to the Internet & found an exploded diagram of the hub parts – & noticed a funny-looking tool. More research & then it hit me: it was to screw on the dust cap! And who would have expected the cap to be secured with a left-hand thread? Hmmm… (Something in my defence was that the dust cap was rather chewed-up & the “tighten/loosen” directions were unreadable. I had thought the marks on the dust cap were from the chain coming off (Ralph does some funny things at times) but on closer inspection I think someone’s “butchered” the cap through not using the correct tool for removal/installation? A new dust cap – & the correct tool – later & Ralph is purring like new.)
Here’s my Brompton “extra maintenance” tools collection (some new although others have seen service on other bikes) –
Top row –
Alfine hub right hand dust cap tool
36mm headset spanner set (thin & thick)
Crankset removal tool
Bottom bracket spanner
Bottom row –
Relevant cone spanners
I’m still undecided about the Alfine 11-speed hub lubrication plans… create a DIY oiling kit? purchase the genuine Shimano item? & of course, sorting out the oil to be used?
Finally, a pic of my “office” – ideal for little wheels TLC?