Sunday, March 15, 2009

Roller Blade Wheels Upgrade for the Brompton

(Check out Pt. 2 of this upgrade by reading here: http://utilitycyclist.blogspot.com/2010/02/brompton-rolling-wheels-upgrade-pt-2.html)

I had been reading at the Bikeforums about replacing the stock roller wheels with either the Easy Wheels (expensive) or roller blade wheels. The stock Brompton wheels are not that useful for rolling the bikes and have the negative benefit of getting caught in your shoes when pedalling. I’ve developed an inside out stroke to compensate for this so my shoes don’t get caught anymore. If your shoes get caught it could be dangerous if you happen to be in the middle of the street or you could take a sideways tumble if you’re stationary with your foot caught.

It took me a while to do this upgrade because I didn’t want to spend too much for roller blade wheels. Thrift shops carry donated roller blade skates, but they don’t want to sell individual blade shoes (a roller blade skate has 4 wheels and I only need 2). I finally came across some new wheels that cost me $3. Also, make sure your roller wheels come with bearings.

The upgrade was straightforward and pretty simple. I used the screws from the Brompton roller wheels. The wheels protrude sideways the same length as the old Brompton wheels, but they do make a difference in getting your shoes caught. Or rather NOT getting your foot caught.

There was no benefit of being able to roll the bike on the new wheels, though. I thought you could roll the bike like luggage at a 45 degree angle by pulling the saddle as a handle. It’s just not possible. The suspension “nipple” protrudes and you periodically get snagged while rolling it. Maybe a larger diameter wheel can solve this (I used a 72mm wheel). I don’t know, though.

Here’s my bottom line for this upgrade:
Pros:
1) No more shoes caught on the wheels (!)
2) Very low cost

Negatives:
1) Can’t roll the bike at an angle

This is a definite “must do” upgrade for your M3L because it’s so inexpensive.

12 comments:

tina said...

hi guy (sorry don't know your name :( )
i have the ez wheels on my brommie, and with them the folded bike can indeed be rolled at an angle. the ez wheels are tall and thin (and expensive, it came with the bike, i had no choice). i think taller wheels can definitely improve your rolling experience even more.

pedaling fool said...

Thanks, Tina. It seems that all brompton affiliated parts are expensive, lol. I am presently looking for wheels that are used on those kids Razor scooters. They are taller than the ones I have now. I won't pay full price, though. Just like the ones I have on there now, I am looking in garage sales and thrift shops. Happy riding!
-joe

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Folder Fanatic said...

I hope this upgrade did not arrive too late for you. I was rather ill for the past few months so I stored both my Brompton and this new wheel upgrade idea away until I was able to ride again. I posted a thread on my Castor to Easy Wheel alternative Razor Wheel upgrade just today. Thank you for your previous posts and suggestions. I was able to bypass the overpriced Easy Wheels for something far better than that.

The thread is:

Inexpensive Alternatives To The Brompton Easy Wheel Upgrade Explored & Accomplished
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?629914-Inexpensive-Alternatives-To-The-Brompton-Easy-Wheel-Upgrade-Explored-Accomplished&p=10551029#post10551029

Allan said...

I replaced the 2 back wheels on my rear rack with 76mm inline skate wheels. with this you can roll on the back wheels at an angle by holding it by the stock brompton seat.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26DgyomEd6A

pedaling fool said...

Allan,
Cool vid. Thanks.

A picture is worth 1000 words, but a video may be worth 100,000.

wingate_52 said...

I am interested in an easy wheel mod as the cones that come on the 2011 series Bromptons are not really useful for wheeling about. I fitted a set of 100mm x 28mm scooter wheels to the bike, but as the front wheel is now off the ground, it did not sit in a stable manner when folded, but the handlebar clearance was improved, I want to fit Ergon GR2's. What dia wheels have you fitted, does it balance when folded? Many thanks. Mike

pedaling fool said...

Mike,
Yes it does tilt a little but nothing major. I don't think that one wheel floats off the ground, but if you push it I may topple to one side. I used 100mm wheels.

pedaling fool said...

Mike,
Just thinking out loud, perhaps you can use a smaller diameter wheel on one side and the 100mm one of the other. That may fix your problem. Don't know how that will affect the rolling, though.