emily’s bike stuff
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Brompton Upgrades

I love toodling around on this bike!! It’s become my favorite bike on my 2.5km commute to the bike shop — I just bike past the counter to my bench and fold it up. The bag is perfect for what I need for the shop, and it makes the straight-line down JFK Promenade nimble and fun. I’m kind of excited to try commuting to my day job on it. Anywho, I made some fun upgrades to it.

Bubbly Pedals

I love these!! Now I match Ben’s bike! They’re pretty grippy, too — everything felt totally fine over some really chunky cobblestone. Kat once described a pedal upgrade as feeling like “a contact point was missing.” That seems about right here. The stock pedals are simply okay. They’re definitely too small for my wide feet.

The quick-release mechanism is slower than folding the stock left-hand pedal, but that’s okay for me.

A polished silver pedal engraved 'Bubbly' with a bunch of bubble-looking holes in it. It is casting a shadow on the crank arm.

Dynamo Lighting!

I got the ‘semi-radially’ laced SON XS hub on a stock Brompton rim. These are the hubs that SON makes for a 16" wheel with a 74mm OLD. It came from Peter White with a nice bolt-on skewer. I’m stoked to have access to the front wheel with a 4mm allen instead of a 15mm wrench.

A spinning front dynamo wheel on a small Brompton fork hanging in a bike stand. No wiring or lights yet.

In the front is a SON Edelux II. You can tell there’s a bit of tire and bag shadow. That’s okay for now. There’s still plenty of good beam1 on the road. It’s mounted on the stock Brompton dynamo front bracket. I’m curious about Perennial Cycle’s beefier one, but I think it solves a problem I don’t have. I would like to try something longer to get past the tire/bag shadow.

A close up of an Edelux II dynamo light mounted above the front wheel of a Brompton.

And in the rear is a Busch + Müller Toplight Line Plus. Very bright, and the 50mm mount spacing was a trivial swap from the stock Brompton reflector.

The rear of a Brompton leaned against a tree with its large rear light on.

Really pleased! I was going around Golden Gate Park at dusk and went into one of the tunnels. The bag shadow is pretty intense though.

A Brompton leaned against a concrete wall in dim light with a strong rear red light and front light with tire and bag shadow.

Doing the dynamo routing with SON Coax cable and the Brompton instructions on routing was fairly easy. I haven’t cut anything to size yet. It was one of the smoothest dynamo installations I’ve done since there’s a preordained place for everything.

Eazy Wheels

I got the first-party Brompton eazy wheels. These should come stock and it makes me lose some respect for Brompton that they’re not. Basically they’re a smidge bigger than the stock wheels on the rear triangle and have sealed bearings instead of a plain bushing. The problem with C Line Bromptons is the wheels by the suspension block are a crumple zone for a weak part of the frame. It voids your warranty to use third-party eazy wheels that would improve how the bike rolls when folded.2 From Brompton support:

The roller wheels sold by Brompton are designed to fail in the event of an impact, instead of transferring that impact to the frame, which can lead to damage. Many of the 3rd party roller wheels are designed to be stiffer and sturdier; this puts extra stress on the tubes that hold the roller wheels and can cause them to bend or crack over time or in the event of an impact.

Here’s the stock one on the right beside the eazy wheel.

Looking top-down at a small black eazy wheel on the left beside a smaller black stock wheel on the right. The left one says 'Brompton'.

Cat paw for scale. It’s really not much bigger.

The smaller stock wheel on top of the eazy wheel showing that it's not much bigger. Both are in front of a cat's rear paw.

All together!

A Brompton leaning against a gate beside a traffic sign that reads 'Cross Traffic Ahead'

The toodling around vibes. They’re so good.

A Brompton leaning against a concrete wall in a tunnel with the opening of the tunnel in the background.

  1. 😏 ↩︎

  2. Although I think the gimmick with Bromptons is that they just don’t roll well folded. I’ve talked to a bunch of other Brompton owners who love theirs and there’s kind of universal agreement amongst people I respect that things like ‘shopping cart mode’ are a lie. ↩︎