Brompton Pedal Over-fold Fix and BromFoot 2—Worth the Time and Money.
Yes it happened in a flash, taking some of the beautiful white paint with it. As I was carrying this Brompton H3L one day, my leg hit the folded pedal just wrong and it over-folded right into the frame. A sad moment to be sure, one I didn’t want to repeat. I had read on one of the Brompton Facebook pages how to keep this from happening, yet figured I was immune. Not so it seems.
My response since that day was to be extra careful. Still I knew I would get around to making the easy fix for the elimination from this worry. The Brompton in question is an E-Brompton on loan to me from NYCeWheels. It is a little heavier than the stock model, so I carry it (when folded) by the frame not the saddle. This does put my leg in a closer position for pushing the folded pedal past its limits into the painted frame.
As a side note, I have had this E-Brompton for quite a while and had no issues other than a flat rear caused by a incorrectly installed rim strip at the factory. I have written a long series of articles on it titled “E-Brompton Banter”. You can find these on the NYCeWheels Blog Site (also here on my site I have a category called “My blog articles on other internet sites“ that can take you to them). They are a prequel to the series called “Boy Gets Brompton”, chronicling my time with a raw lacquer M3L from NYCeWheels that I really loved too. Both series have been immensely popular with the folding bike crowd.
On to the fix—one day I was spending time with Bill at Metro Cyclery here in San Diego. He has the only Brompton shop in town so you can be sure he is up on all things Brompton. The pedal issue came up, and I found myself leaving with a BromFoot 2 pedal up-grade to try out. For some reason I thought it was going to stop the over-folding, yet during my install video I realized what it does is protect the frame when the pedal over-folds (because it is plastic or nylon).
That’s OK I thought, because I know how to solve the problem anyway. The BromFoot 2 does address the fact that the left pedal is shorter and allows better foot contact in that respect. They also claim it grips your feet better and is less likely to cause cuts and abrasions—good deal. The BromFoot 2 fits stock Brompton pedals on bikes made from 2012 until present (2014). It came with the installation allen wrench and was on the bike before I knew it.
Also on their website is BromFoot 1. It fits the 2001-2011 bikes and makes even a bigger difference in the size of the folding side pedal. Neither is too pricey and can make a big change in how your Brompton performs and feels. Although I did fix the over-folding problem with some easy grinding, the BromFoot 2 will stay on-board to keep this Brompton rider happy and comfortable.
I keep reading how many have replaced their Brompton pedals with aftermarket ones. Some with pedals that are fairly easily removed and don’t fold at all. Many say they did it because their originals were failing, others because up-grades seem to be their way of life. It is said that Brompton themselves are working on a better pedal to solve some of these issues, but for now a little bit of filing and a BromFoot seems the easy way to go.
Fixing the over-fold went quickly. I still want to make the area I filed look a little better (and will), but for now the up-grade works and that is the key. What we have here is a extrusion notch on the pedal arm that catches the plastic folding piece on the pedal. It is squared off so as long as the folded pedal is parallel with the arm all is well. Yet, the pedal can swivel many degrees when bumped or pushed, causing the plastic to ride over the notch and fold into the frame.
Or goal here is to file the notch into (kind of a rounded) V so as the pedal swivels the plastic piece doesn’t ride up over it. You could probably do this with the arm on the bike bit I don’t recommend it. There will be metal filings you don’t want to get into the pedal or crank mechanisms (bearings). That, and your tools (file and other polishing trammels) could scratch the frame (just what we are trying to avoid). So pop the arm off the bike for this modification.
That does require a special crank puller tool, something worth having in your bike toolbox anyway. Once the arm is off, use some wood or plastic to protect it as you cinch it in your vice. Also, keep the metal filings out of the pedal bearings during this with a rag or plastic. File the square notch into a V and recheck your work as you go. Try not to take any material off from the crown of the notch, just the sides. I included some photos that I hope will explain this better.
Once you are happy it is working the way it should, clean off the filings and reinstall the arm on your Brompton. Test it many times and rework it if necessary. The last step is to do some touch-up work on the frame where the pedal scratched it before your cool rework. Then take a nice long ride feeling proud of your handiwork that keeps your Brompton happy and healthy.
I hope this post makes sense to you, ask questions if needed, Turbo Bob.
“A journey of a 1000 miles must begin with a single crank turn.”—Lazy-Too, from the Unquotable Quotes Page.
BromFoot on the web and Facebook
Metro Cyclery on the web and Facebook
NYCeWheels on the web and Facebook
My video of installing the BromFoot 2