Mechanical Problems

I’ve had a few mechanical problems with the bikes this past week. The right hand pedal of Brompton has an aluminium outer cage, which I managed to snap whilst riding last week. Luckily replacement pedals are readily available and quite cheap. I expect that I must have hit the pedal on the ground one too many times, and the metal gave out suddenly whilst I was riding.


A steel outer cage would not have failed quite so suddenly (if at all), and there would have been a negligible weight penalty compared to the aluminium part.

On Saturday evening, I had my first puncture on the DL-1 (and my first puncture at all in over a year). An industrial staple had worked its way through the tyre on the ride to a friend’s house and when I came to leave it had gone flat. When I got it home I attempted to patch it, but after applying the patch I kept found another hole. I decided to go to Bicycle Doctor for a replacement tube, intending to patch the old one to keep as a spare. However, after patching 6 holes (some of which were close together enough to use a single patch for) I found 3 more and decided to bin the tube.

Sadly, my front lamp mounting bodge-up also snapped this week. The aluminium reflector bracket I had re-purposed (admittedly it wasn’t designed for anything more than a reflector) snapped whilst I was riding over the high-quality road surfaces found in Stockport. Thankfully I ordered the proper Brompton bracket online last week, and it should be with me shortly.


Before the bracket snapped


Temporary solution until replacement bracket arrives from Brompton, this current solution slightly interferes with the front brake


Remains of reflector bracket

With most bike components I’d rather have durability over miniscule weight savings. The puncture was the first one in over a year, thanks to choosing practical tyres designed for durability  over lightness. For non-competitive everyday cycling, why worry about a few extra grams here and there? Obsessing over bicycle weight can lead many people to make terrible decisions when choosing a practical everyday bike.


4 thoughts on “Mechanical Problems

  1. My folding LH pedal is quite battered and scrapped from hitting it off the ground whilst pedalling around lefthand bends occasionally (and its second hand). That seems chunky enough to take the abuse though. I also had to replace the plastic RH pedal, when the bearings ground to dust over one winter. I wasn't keen on the look of the ally RH pedal, even less so now I've seen yours!.

  2. I've been having bike issues recently as well. My gears have been slipping as you know, then I threw 7, yes 7 spokes on my rear tyre a few weeks ago. Then I had a flat tyre on Saturday too. I replaced the tyre on Sunday and have now had the gears (hopefully) fixed. So should be up for my first ride with the Stockport Community Cycle Club on Sunday. It's a road ride to Knutsford and back so should be good fun. They ride at a casual pace so should be good leisurely fun.I should hopefully be test riding a MTB on Wednesday night, so the Manchester/Liverpool ride will probably be it's first major outing.

  3. This looks to me like a fatigue failure, where the initial crack began at the fairly sharp corner of the reflector cutout. I believe Brompton switched to this design of pedal because the externally-mounted reflectors were prone to break! It could be alleviated by using a larger radius on the corner of the cutout, or more simply by moving the outermost 'tread' cutout a few mm outwards (to the right in your photo). Notice how the innermost cutout is a bit further away from the corresponding corner, giving a thicker section. The pedal didn't fail here!This would make the tread cutouts noticeably unevenly spaced. I suspect this is probably the real reason why the design ended up this way! Alternatively, going back to something like the previous design, but with a metal rather than plastic retainer for the reflector, might be preferable.I would also expect this problem to be less likely to occur to people like me, with wide feet. Did you happen to notice the shoe size of the previous owner?Max

  4. @JimThe left hand pedal looks a lot more sturdy, despite the fact that it folds.@muldydoonaI'm not sure what is causing all of your spoke issues, are they all happening on the drive-side of the wheel by any chance?@MaxThe previous rider was a fairly small chap, I didn't specifically look at his feet but I assume they would have been on the smaller side. I am inclined to agree that the problem is due to the fairly thin aluminium piece left behind after the reflector cut-out and tread cutout. I'd prefer the reflector to be mounted externally, keeping the pedal in one piece is more important to me than keeping the reflectors. I usually accept they are only temporary companions anyway, much like the ones on wheels.

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