10 April 2011

Brompton Pedals

The Brompton folding pedal is very cleverly designed but the plastic section in the middle doesn’t seem to be strong enough to cope with hard pedaling and creaks a bit when put under stress. Usually flipping the pedal the other way up works (probably because it transfers the stresses to the metal sections of the pedal) but not always for some reason.

So, I decided I wanted something a bit sturdier and something that would also allow me to attach toe clips later on. Whilst you can find people online that have attached toeclips and similar things to their Brompton pedals they all seem to involve drilling extra holes, and I’d still have the pedal creaking to contend with.

My Dahon had removable MKS pedals, and as it turns out MKS seem to be the main player when it comes to detachable pedals. Some googling later I was suitably inspired by this post describing not just a nice set of MKS pedals but also how to fit Power Grips to those pedals (my Power Grips will have to wait for a separate post).

One thing I wasn’t keen on with the Dahon’s pedals was the little plastic clips that you were supposed to use to lock the pedals in place. They were fiddly to remove and I managed to lose one of them. Personally I never had a problem cycling without the locking ring, but it still niggled (you can find stories of people accidentally detaching their pedals whilst cycling). So I was particularly happy with the added bonus of the MKS Esprit EZY Superior pedals. Namely the “superior” attachment system that does away with the plastic locking ring in favour of requiring the locking collar to be rotated as well as pushed.

Removing the existing pedals isn’t exactly straightforward. The righthand one can be removed easily enough with a normal 15mm pedal spanner. However the folding pedal needs a 24mm box spanner to get it off.

Once removed the Brompton cranks show an interesting asymmetry. The righthand crank has the usual indentation for a pedal washer (not fitted with the Brompton pedal, but shown below with both MKS washers fitted).

However the lefthand crank is completely smooth.

The folding pedal instead has a very large washer.

It seems that the indentation in the righthand crank is little narrow for the MKS pedal so the pedal started to bite into the crank before the washer took the load. So, I ended up using both MKS supplied washers on the righthand pedal. On the lefthand pedal I used a single pedal washer I ordered from eBay.

The new pedals are much sturdier, although a bit less convenient to fold. Personally it’s a trade-off I’m more than happy with.