Friday, April 1, 2011

Caster wheels and what Brompton users have found

Minor Inconveniences on a Fine Day in Spring
Finally nice spring weather has come, just right for a ride on my Brompton down into the valley to Bonn-Beuel where I wanted to pick up some photos at a camera shop. Before getting started, the bike had to be unfolded, as usual.  Normally, this is done in less than  half a minute.  

Pedal Caught by Chain
But today I must have been totally left handed.  I simply could not get the front wheel off the frame in a whiff.  So it happened that when I lifted the bike slightly in order to let the back wheel go, the pedal got caught  by the chain and everything was stuck. Granted, it got released in a second but the chain came off the gear.  Quickly I put it back on, but my hands were left a bit dirty with chain grease.

Nevertheless, a Smooth, Fast and Enjoyable Ride
Reading these details, you might get the impression that the folding mechanism of this bike is not so easy to handle.  However, in fact, it really is easy, you have just got to know that you are doing. 
As I said in two other postings, one has got to follow the instructions and practise a bit.  After this unfavourable beginning of today`s tour, my ride turned out to be fast, smooth and quite enjoyable.

Caster Wheels Snagging Trousers
But before I start praising the Brompton and call it "My Brommie" as some users do when writing about it in fora on folding bikes, I must tell you the truth about another minor inconvenience I have found.  From one of my previous postings you may remember my comment on the little castor wheels at the back rack.  
In one forum a user wrote: "My heels hit those darn casters! "
Another one wrote: "My problem with the castor wheels is that they snag the turn-ups on my good trousers. I've ripped one pair."Last time when I was wearing trousers too, precisely this was my problem, except ripping them.  Even today, with my blue jeans on,    I have experienced  some lack of comfort because they also got caught once in a while by the little trolley rollers.
Nonetheless, I still think that this is a trifle and with more riding experience I will know how to avoid getting caught.

What other  users have found
Reading in some fora on folding bikes it was somewhat comforting to learn that I am not the only Brompton user who thinks the coasters are an issue.  Even more comforting may be a mechanical remedy  that is being offered on a website. It is suggested to exchange the original coasters for a set of bigger ones  that promise to make the pushing or pulling of the bike over pavement easier and that  will leave your trousers alone at the same time. 

Parts for Modifying the Brompton
Although I am not yet ready myself for having my bike upgraded with an exchange of parts, here is the link:  Parts for modification of Brompton folding bike .
Now, I wonder if there are any readers out there who have installed these bigger coasters and who are willing to share their experiences.

A Word on Gears
One more word here on the gears, and that will finish this posting, adding to the overall fascination of riding the Brompton.
As I was going up the mountain on my way back, it turned out to be a pedalling effort of little stress. The Brompton M6 has six gears which enable you to speed down  hill just like any touring bike.  And climbing the mountain was all right except for the very steep part of several 100 meters.  Actually, I walked my bike because I was in no hurry.  Maybe some other day I will catch the bus instead and let the "Brommie" excel and let it be admired for folding to the smallest bicycle parcel you have ever seen.


  1. Caster wheels are simple wheeled devices that are used with many different types of household and industrial devices. The wheels may be constructed in designs known as compound, undriven, single, and double.

  2. Most of the castor wheels attached to regular home furniture and office chairs are made from plastic material which are not as tough as those that are utilized in the industry. For that reason, changing these castors can be predictable. Even if you can always just hire a competent specialist to perform this job, it is much more prudent if you'll just do it yourself.

  3. Most castor and wheels are used for a better movement. Those things make movement much faster and easier.


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