Monthly Archives: October 2014

Folding tricks

Brompton Folding Competition

Another of the fun events of the Brompton Australian Championships is the Folding Competition, held after the BAC race. The challenge is to be the fastest to complete the fold of a Brompton; in our case a white demo M3L. Some hot times amongst the initial competitors & seeing the standard folding pedal to be part of the fold (something I’ve always fumbled in my limited exposures – all my bikes use MKS removable pedals) had me heading back to chatting with BAC attendants. Later, I mistakenly strolled too close to the competition area & Adam from Cheeky Transport suggested I should participate. My excuse about the pedal was to no avail & Adam gave me a quick tutorial.

So, there I was: beside the unfolded bike & with the count-down starting. “How hard can it be?” came to mind (again) & I was off… Funny how a Brompton other than your own can feel “different”? With the M handlebar positioning feeling strange, in parking the bike I neeaarrly jammed the front mudguard between the wheels! Next I lifted the stem slightly & started undoing the mainframe hinge clamp. Wow, I forgot how my long-term use of Brompfication hinge clamps & springs eased the process. Here, I was noticing the extra turns of the hinge clamp bolts & the lack of spring pressure helping to open the hinge. A bit clumsy but I had the front wheel folded & mentally preparing for my next phase: flipping the stem/handlebar down while dropping the seat! Easy-peasy?

Whoa! Disaster! I couldn’t undo the hinge clamp! Dunno if it was sabotage but with the previous competitor unfolding the bike after their folding attempt, they’d done up the clamp “very firmly”! Precious seconds ticking away & I persisted; finally getting it undone once realising I needed to use far more effort. Another clumsy undoing of the clamp bolt & the seat down I was ready to face my nemesis: the pedal fold! Ooh, quite good really, I was surprised!

The clock was stopped & there was the evidence: 20 seconds?! Not too good but some satisfaction/relief that the effort was over! Next time…

Thanks to Adam for the excellent tuition & providing the video on my phone. A even bigger thanks to Adam, Donald & others for running the whole competition & getting over half the BAC participants to challenge/embarrass themselves? Oh, & congrats to the winner of the final, held as part of the BAC presentations (sorry, can’t recall who won: too busy laughing?)

Finally, a YouTube link to the video of – My attempt


Peregrine down

What a day we had at the Brompton Australian Championship 2014. Lots to post about, from the pre-race meetups, the actual BAC & the various post-race activities (including my slightly embarrassing attempt in the Brompton Folding competition?) – but all revelations to come later…

First off, the major happening was at the end of the day, when Mrs Aussie misjudged a driveway ramp angle & came to grief, launching herself onto the pavement! The ramp was pretty slippery with a fine grit covering which dumped her pretty heavily & rapidly onto her left side. A few abrasions from knee to head & a rather sore hip & arm but we loaded the bikes into the Tardis (parked not too far away) & headed for home. After a cleanup it was decided to get the sore arm checked out. A few impact-area X-Rays at our local hospital & the crack to the radius head at the left elbow was disclosed (cue pic of patient -)

The initial appraisal needed confirmation with a specialist & today he arranged CT scans which showed the sorry state of a “mushed head”, with a piece requiring relocation & pinning! The specialist will be operating on Wednesday & so Peregrine will be “taking a break” for a while?

For reference, Peregrine’s condition doesn’t appear to require much surgery, with some scuffing to Ergon bar-end & Brooks saddle…


Brompton Australian Championship 2014

“Lovely day for a ride, let’s get down to Sydney Olympic Park”. Maximum temperature of 28° & should be about 22° for our little ride?

“Our little ride” is the Brompton Folding Bike National Championship at 11:45am…

At about 1:45pm Brompton have a reward for the first male & first female: return air travel tickets for the Brompton World Championship 2015…

Woohoo! Better get a move on!

BAC prep

Brompton Australian Championship

I do believe Ralph is ready for the weekend activities. My bike/blog decal has gone on –

…& the GoPro has got a K-Edge adapter (to replace the fragile GoPro adapter) ready for the pavé on the race course?

As for our Sunday outfits, yes everything is to hand – bring it on!

Training? Mrs Aussie has been quite diligent. Me? Hmm… does Lawn Bowling count? Hopefully I won’t get in the way when being regularly lapped?

An on-going interim

Brompton bidon cage system

My interim solution before Brompton introduce their magnetic water bottle system*, is heading towards its second birthday. It’s given excellent service & still (in my opinion) betters any bidon carrier for Bromptons that I’ve observed. Being an assumed temporary system, I’ve been surprised at its effectiveness & durability.

That is, until a few days ago! It was somewhat shocking to realise that the dense foam insulation used to pad the bidon cage legs from contact with the Brompton stem, was not going to last much longer! The foam had long shown evidence of compression but now was breaking up under the forces applied from bidon weight & cage movements. (The bidon cage is normally positioned directly behind the stem but is often moved to the left or right to suit practicalities of bike storage, access, etc – an aspect that has become a great “feature” over the rigid mounting of other systems?)

There was no other choice than to “improve my mousetrap”, rather than just replace/refresh the foam padding. A visit to a rubber materials outlet & thorough browsing through the range of rubber extrusions has provided the latest solution: a firm, solid rubber u-shaped channel. (I had been thinking of a rubber tube to slide over the cage legs – while leaving enough of the leg ends free for the O-rings to hook over – but couldn’t locate something of a suitable size & material.)

Along with addressing the cage leg padding issue, it was an ideal time to produce some more legs. Ralph & Peregrine have been wearing my only two cage units & Robinson has been somewhat naked since donating its cage to Peregrine. Readers of my previous post may remember that there’s also another Brompton on the way, so I’ll soon be needing another bidon cage anyway? Accordingly, I cranked up my production line & fabricated the required legs – & some “spares” (an enquiry from Mrs Aussie coming up very soon?)

* Is the mythical Brompton magnetic water bottle system any closer? Who knows? – although some interesting/intriguing tweets took place recently! (snips below)

Late August from @BromptonBicycle (in connection with the new colours advised at Eurobike) – “…We’ll be sharing details of a neat new accessory later today. Stay tuned!”
2 weeks later (from me) – “…I stayed tuned & I’m still waiting… (the water bottle?)”
Response from @BromptonBicycle – “…we’re working on the release materials at the moment. it won’t be long!”

So, the release info of something is in the pipeline? None the wiser but just as curious?

New decisions

40T cranksets for Brompton

A parts delivery arrived from TillerCycles recently, even though I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll be doing with them. The items are a 40 tooth crankset to suit the one-piece crank Bromptons & a 40T crankring for the latest “spider” crank model (both with chainguards).

Both Robinson & Ralph use the old model crankset; currently 44T with a 6-speed setup for Robinson & 50T for Ralph’s Alfine 11-speed hub. My desire is to lower the gearing range for Ralph & so now I’ll have to decide whether to use the 40T or whether to swap Robinson’s 44T into Ralph & use the 40T in Robinson – some work with a hub gear calculator coming up & then probably some testing?

My wife’s Peregrine is a stock 50T 6-speed Brompton & so far, she’s been coping well with the 50T (having been using Robinson & the 44T setup previously). I had fully expected that my offer to fit a 44T crankring would be taken up but so far…

Ordering the 40T spider crankring from TillerCycles was really just a case of getting it while I was obtaining the one-piece 40T crankset & having it available “in case” (& decide between 44T & 40T when the time comes?). However, some news…

Brompton colour changes

Brompton has recently been teasing some new colours for 2015. From what I’ve seen, my favourite is still the Claret colour but horrifyingly, I’d also been seeing various comments that in fact, the Claret colour is one of 8 to cease?! (refer pic of the expected colours to be withdrawn)

Being an “extra cost” colour option, I’ve never expected the Claret colour Brompton to be a stock bike anywhere & so far less likely to come into my possession. (Yes, I know about B-spoke Brompton orders but I’ve never personally been happy with that system for this part of the world.) A chance meetup with Lincoln from Kobie International (the Australian Brompton Distributor) led to a decent discussion on various Brompton matters & revealed that in fact, a Claret 6-speed was on the way in the next shipment!! Some emails later & a Claret S6L will be coming my way in about a month!? Guess where the 40T crankring will be going…