Toolkit testing

I think the Brompton Toolkit is a lovely piece of equipment. Nicely engineered & well thought-out – but with flaws included? The tyre levers have certainly come under criticism owing to breakages & I await the production of redesigned levers. (Having purchased 2 toolkits in the UK recently, I’m no longer awaiting the re-release of the toolkit; just the levers.) My toolkit purchase was made with the knowledge of the flawed levers & their expected replacement, but I thought that the levers may be sufficient “as is”? (& the rest of the toolkit was irresistible?)

The lever design is interesting; fitting together to minimize space within the storage housing & meant to be kept together when commencing a tyre removal. Once the tyre bead is levered over the rim, one lever can be clipped to a spoke & the other lever is then slid around the rim, progressively pulling the rest of the bead over the rim. However, stage 1 of the flaw is that users will read the instructions & follow them. The next stage is that the levers are not strong enough to survive usage that fails stage 1. Personally, I believe that there is a further stage in that the Brompton tyre levers weren’t designed to operate on anything other than stock Brompton rims (more later).

As for other flaws, perhaps it’s nit-picking to say that the ratchet & removable bit usage is going to be compromised depending on the positioning of the item being adjusted/removed/whatever? Time will tell, hopefully not at the wrong time & place?

The spanners that are cleverly combined within the tyre levers have been ok for my minimal use & the wheel spanner (when still fitted in the case) is very comfy – as compared to gripping it when removed?

On-bike storage within the front section of mainframe is neat & effective (far easier than my previous on-board tool set: wheel spanner, tyre levers & Allen key-set tied with a rubber band, wrapped in disposable gloves & maneuvered into the mainframe front section). I haven’t “lost” the disposable gloves; they’re now included with a spare tube, wrapped In a piece of fiberglass mesh & stored in the mainframe rear section. (The mesh makes it easier to insert the items in the frame & gives me something to grip when extracting everything.)

As an on-bike emergency toolkit, it’s seems ideal – but to date my toolkit testing has all been done in my garage & mostly of an elementary effort, although the tyre levers have been used a number of times.

Unfortunately I have to divulge the test score as:
tyre levers 3, Brompton single wall rims 0
tyre levers 0, Sun rim 1
That’s correct, the rear wheel on Ralph, my Alfine 11speed Brompton, has defeated one of the levers & snapped off a piece. Owing to the rim having a rather flat profile, there’s very little well for the tyre bead to sit in when removing the tyre & hence getting the bead over the rim is “difficult”. From what I remember, the pair of levers were good enough to get the bead over the rim initially, but when I tried to slide one lever sideways (very difficult), the thinner lever couldn’t stand the pressure between the rim & tyre (a Marathon Plus) & the end snapped off! (Ralph &/or I shall be carrying a separate set of tyre levers until further notice!)



3 thoughts on “Toolkit testing

  1. The Brompton Diarist 09/10/2013 at 23:22 Reply

    The kit looks brilliant, but Brompton has recalled the first set of levers — might the company replace yours? Or perhaps not; I’ve been on the list for the new kit for forever, and it has yet to materialize. If and when the news ones are available, you might drop them a line; it seems only fair that they’d replace the original ones, once they’ve been found to be too weak.

    • Aussie on a Brompton 10/10/2013 at 09:47 Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Brommie, & thanks for the prompter that I should do something about it.
      I always thought that Brompton would replace any existing levers once the replacements are available, & I’m happy to await that day – & it was certainly on my mind when I bought the toolkits recently (although I was curious to try the levers, perhaps thinking that I could never be so careless?).
      So, thanks to your reminder, I’ve just emailed Brompton to apologise for the breakage & flag my ownership & desire for some replacements sometime.
      In the meantime I recommend a visit to the Brompton dealer in Malmesbury where they should have something that you’ll like! (They did say they had too many!)

  2. les kennedy 05/08/2017 at 06:46 Reply

    Recently bought my Brompton so enjoying looking up Brompton sites.
    I see the latest toolkit has metal tyre levers so hopefully better than the original version.

    Loving your site and your ingenious inventions. Keep up the good work.

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