My medical issue that makes riding an eBike such bliss, also compounds itself in pumping up tyres. Now my little Fumpa bicycle pump can go with me everywhere! (The Aussie company also produce a MiniFumpa but it doesn’t suit the Brompton wheel spoke widths.)
No change on the Brompton front (although little activity too) but thought I should post about our new wheels.
We’ve some riding coming up that’s more suited to MTBs so after sprucing up our (very) old steeds, I was almost ready to consider some “un-assisted” riding when I came across a couple of special-priced eMTBs. Sold!!! – following a brief test-ride & yesterday we ventured back to pickup our new toys.
The ferry ride home was a good time to contemplate the road/trail ahead?
Like the eBrompton (that may one day arrive in Australia?), our Pedalec eMTBs have 5 levels of assistance. However, since my brief test-ride the Bosch mid-drive motors have had a firmware upgrade to include an “eMTB mode” that automatically selects the level of assistance depending on the pedal pressure. Without even changing gear, heavy pedal pressure supplies Turbo mode – quite amazing!
I’ve been delighted with Ralph-e, my GrinTech-equipped electric Brompton. The assistance-level is programmable (although rarely changed after settling on a level that provides economical battery range) & the combination of a torque-sensing BB & the Alfine 11-speed rear hub provide riding bliss! How this compares to Brompton’s offering will be the $64k (or $5k?) question?
Our Brompton appearances at the Dungog PedalFest late last year was “interesting”. If it wasn’t for the generous helpings of scones with jam & cream, the rough roads could have seen some DNFs. At the time I’d thought that Ralph-e & Peregrine wouldn’t be back next time but now I’m sure the eMTBs will just love it?
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a blog post so here goes…
Seasons greetings to all from the Aussie household. May your festivities be merry.
Yes, hardly makes up for the last few tardy months where I’ve failed (so far?) to post anything on our principal outings – ie Dungog PedalFest, Sydney BromptoberFest & the Tasmania Tour. Maybe soon?
Ralph-e (my Alfine 11-speed Brompton – with a GrinTech electric conversion) has had a frustrating “chain drop” issue throughout the 5 years we’ve been together. With “Murphy’s Law” timing, infrequently the chain can be dislodged from the rear cog & chain tensioner sprockets. I’ve developed a second-sense feel for a successful unparking step, although I admit to including a quick look down at the chain at the rear hub before attempting to ride away.
The following 3 pics illustrate the scenario: (1) taut chain over the rear cog, (2) slight reduction of tension in the chain (where the chain is sagging & starting to slide down & out over the widened rear frame), (3) further reduction of tension (resulting in further chain sag over the frame & commencement of the chain moving off the teeth of the cog). At this point, if the rear wheel rotates backwards then the chain will fall off the cog & then off the tensioner sprockets. The reduction in chain tension usually comes about when parking/unparking & as long as back-pedaling is minimised then chain drop can be avoided. I believe the Alfine hub also has some slight drag when rotating backwards & so vigorous back-pedaling while riding can also achieve increased chain slack & sag over the rear frame tube; hey presto, chain drop?!
Now I think I may have resolved the issue, through setting up a “chain keeper” for the section of chain closest to the rear cog (thereby maintaining chain alignment over the cog teeth). The next 2 pics show my chain keeper in situ with the chain taut (pic 1) & chain sagging (pic 2). My keeper?: a large-sized cable tie (working great). Maybe not what Brompton would do?
“Oh no, Adam is closing Cheeky Transport??”, I think was my reaction recently at seeing the FB news. Following the call for the final Cheeky Brompton ride, we had to be there…
Saturday arvo & we perused all the Brompton parts goodies & I reserved various wheels, a rack, mudguards, etc & then turned to ratting through various boxes of assorted bits…
Finally it was time for the final ride…
As usual, Adam & Nick led us through a myriad of back roads, parks & paths, heading for our much-anticipated Asian dumplings at Wolli Creek. Our route took us past the airport & we just had to stop under the flight path to marvel at the wobbly jets… (oh yes, we also endured some gusty winds)
Once again, all the food & beer got consumed without a thought to any pics – sorry about that.
A few days later I was back at the shop, collecting all my Brompton parts goodies. Adam was soldiering-on, cheery as ever but I see this as a sad pic; prepping his last Brompton orders in his last week of his 15 year shop operations?
Now we’re only left with the Friday Party & Saturday Garage Sale (refer poster below). Thanks Adam, it’s been a pleasure.
Tough night tonight. Had my last ride on Robinson & then Robinson took its last ride in the Tardis – to a new owner in Sydney…
As my original Brompton & source of initial education for riding, upgrades & maintenance, Robinson was greatly valued & appreciated. On behalf of Mrs Aussie & I, as well as Peregrine, Clarence & Ralph-e, we salute you. Farewell Robinson.
My bidon cage system had a minor improvement recently so I thought I should post the latest version info.
The change was to using clear tubing as insulating protection where the cage contacts the stem (I’d previously used various rubber pads but their attachment wasn’t ideal – no issues in practice but “could do with fixing”). The other components are two aluminum strips (8mm by 3mm), some fixings & two 58mm ID O-rings.
Taking a standard bidon cage & assembling my bits, it’s ready for attaching to a Brompton stem…
Once in place, the system looks like this…
Probably my longest running & most essential “hack”, the system performs perfectly. A bidon is held securely & the system doesn’t move around, although it’s also able to be swung left or right if necessary (e.g. folding the bike with a luggage bag in place or folding the bike for packing). The system is able to be removed readily but I’ve actually never needed to take it off. Of course, there’s bound to be another version at some stage – & I’m thinking 3D-printing could be utilised?
Updated – 7/1/17 (refer end of post)
My Brompton bidon cage system is still my favourite but it doesn’t suit someone that wants to use their folded Brompton as a shopping trolley, with handle bars unfolded & a bag on the luggage block – because the cage would foul the bag & regularly removing/installing the cage is best avoided. (Whoops, see update below.) A cage that is readily removable is the Monkii system but after trying one for some time, I’m not keen on 2 aspects of the design. First, I don’t like strapping the bottle to the cage & having to remove the two together when drinking. The killer issue though, is that the Monkii cage can readily be ejected when riding over bumps. So, here’s my attempt at fixing those 2 issues…
Peregrine with the old system…
… & Clarence with the new setup…
Here’s a pic of the old & new components…
Recipe: take one Monkii system, remove the strap & cut off the wings & tail of the cage. Drill & countersink the cage spine & attach to a standard cage with some screws & nuts. When the Monkii stem block is being mounted, hook an O-ring under the block. When installing the new “combo cage” to the bike, hook the top of the cage under the O-ring & stretch it up so that the Monkii portion of the cage can be connected to the Monkii stem block.
So, I now have a Monkii system that lets me easily remove/attach the bottle when drinking & won’t become disconnected over bumps – & lets me readily remove the cage when operating in “shopping trolley mode”!
Update: Since using Ralph-e & trying to avoid removing the luggage bag (& disconnecting the battery), I now realise that I can leave my Bidon in the cage system & the bag just pushes the Bidon to the side (as the bag pivots around while folding the front wheel).
The very best of wishes for the New Year to you from the Aussie household. We’ve had a very interesting 2016 year & I’m sure that regular readers of the blog have observed the many outings & happenings of the Brompton family.
The introduction of Ralph-e reminds me that Brompton are also crafting an e-bike so maybe a good time to offer my experience & recommendations?
Accordingly, “a Plea to Mr Brompton…”
I’d like a lightweight mid-drive Pedelec Brompton with torque-sensing BB & on-bike battery storage, easily removable (aircraft-legal, 100Wh module units), but not impinging on luggage capability. I’m also happy to use my local hills for testing of various gearing options, & undertake frequent travel to review in-field scenarios not available to UK residents. (e.g. why wait to get your hot weather testing done?)