Brompton owners (was: Brompton rider outed)

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  • Which hub, there is a two letter identifier, as some times it is worth checking it there is any damage and if might be a good time to check the internal lubes.

  • If it’s anything like mine, I’d clean and regrease the outer bearings plus the caged bearings on the driver assembly. I have have had a lot of water ingress (even more so after last nights soggy commute across London!), all the grease from the bearings had been washed off and coated everything else.

    Which leads me back to my problem of slipping gears, especially in first or second gear. The pawl springs on the driver were fine, but the engagement areas on the ring gear were covered in grease and muck. Cleaned it all up as much I could (I didn’t want to get involved in taking the whole thing apart), and regreased bearings etc.

    I had only one gear slip yesterday, had been getting upwards of six/seven. It is better, but after watching a bloke completely dismantle and rebuild an old SA hub in about 8 minutes I’m wondering just how hard it can be to open right up? I can see that there are pawls on the planet cage assembly, could this be the potential issue? When it slips there’s a pretty chunky ‘bang’ sound when it re-engages, I don’t think it’s a sound affiliated to the smaller pawls of the driver. Plus, these tick and sing beautifully now after cleaning them up.

  • Rear is worth rebuilding but the front probably not so much given the price of a replacement vs rim & build combined. Also the front bearings are more susceptible to wear as they are not sealed (although the rear bearings aren’t that much better unless you pack more grease in on delivery).

    I learned to build my own wheels by virtue of how quickly Brompton rims wear through if you ride reasonable urban distances every day in all weathers.

    Give it a go!

  • I'm going to attempt a re grease when I pluck up the courage/motivation!

  • The side of my shoe keeps getting caught in the easy roller wheels at the back when i'm pedalling. It was bearable at first but today my shoe was properly stuck. Does anyone else get this problem?


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  • Ignore the above post...turns out it is a widespread problem

  • Wonder if marine wheel bearing grease or lucas xtra heavy duty grease would be better.

  • lighter grease is better due to the moving parts / pawls etc. Sturmey grease is very thin, also advised that the Shimano lime green internal hub grease is fine to use.

  • I used the Shimano green grease. Mainly as that’s all I have!

  • In an steel hubbed AW3 that has become sticky/slippy I have filled the hub with thin engine oil ran the bike round the block and then let it drain out from the port for a week or two. Then I added some thick 140w ep gear oil. Hub ran fine.

  • 140w ep gear oil

    Older hub, oil based, thats still fluid not a grease .. no issues

  • Thought the newer hubs were also ok to run on a thickish (i.e. gear or similar) oil as long as you topped it up fairly regularly - it has a tendency to leak past the seals?

  • Depends on the hub having an oil port.

  • IIRC you can unscrew the toggle chain and squirt a bit of oil in the hollow axle that way; a bit more faff than an oil port, but doable once every couple of weeks.

  • I replaced my Brompton front wheel with a new stock item a few hundred miles ago and after a while in storage it now is feeling rough. I would like to replace the caged bearings with loose ball bearings, preferably grade 25 or better.

    A couple of questions:

    • Do I require 10 x 3/16" loose ball bearings on each side?

    • Should I use chrome steel or stainless steel bearings? (I can find the former in grade 10, but stainless steel 3/16" ball bearings only seem to be readily available in grade 100.)

  • Buy a sealed bearing front wheel, never have this conversation again. You will just piss your cash into the wind!

  • Bearings are cheap as chips... Proper maintenance is key even with cartridge bearings!

  • Even with fresh bearings etc, cones only one place in the country stock it would be a touch on the sealed options.

    A sealed wheel starts from £60. Replace the bearings much less frequently and have a better product.

    I’m just not a looseball fan, I just see poor economics. You can’t replace the cup, so unless you are constantly servicing it then you are fighting a loosing battle.

  • See where you are coming from, but top end hubs are still cup and cone. Bearings can be fit and forget...and the hubs last longer...

    EDIT: New Brompton front wheels don't seem to come greased or adjusted correctly. As you warned me.

  • Shimano? Disagree. Most days I tell people they can’t replace the cone and unfortunately it’s a new hub aka a new wheel / build.

    Chris king? That’s not quite loose ball or sealed cartridge, but it’s sealed and serviceable. And yes these do have a worth lifespan etc but at an insane cost.

    Anyone else?

    Bromptons are also mostly commuters.. so less regular servicing and more regular non bike friendly miles - all weathers etc.

  • EDIT: New Brompton front wheels don't seem to come greased or adjusted correctly. As you warned me.

    Still lose quality etc, but they can be improved slightly. Doesn’t resolve the biggest issue though.

    Ps. - axle cone kit here - https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/hub-spares/j­tek-replacement-front-axle-for-brompton/­

    When people buy bikes from SJS, it’s like £20 upgrade to a sealed bearing hub, no brainier to me

  • IF it's from SJS...

  • We offer 33% off Jtek stuff, any other shop can use their brains and buy a Brompton superlight wheel it’s Jtek hub and offer an upgrade cost.

    Too many shops just follow the line

  • Campag, and believed Shimano. I don't have top end wheels, don't know the reason why they are cup and cone. Thought you could buy the cones separately, I can't remember last time I bought individual cones.

    Sealed bearings require no adjusting in hubs.

  • Shimano claim they are faster rolling and have no stress on the bearing when cornering - Shimano wheels when in perfect condition do ride very fast.

    Brompton comes? Not for donkeys! Shimano ones yes. Campag is the only company I know providing some cups.

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Brompton owners (was: Brompton rider outed)

Posted by Avatar for worrywort @worrywort

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