Saturday 10 November 2012

Changing the Rear Wheel of a Brompton Isn't Witchcraft!

Regular readers will know that I have a shameful record on all things bicycle maintenance. The lovely people at Brompton even put out truly excellent 'how to do it' videos on YouTube for people like me to look at and try to follow. The trouble is I have never had a great deal of confidence in this regard.

I recall the disaster of trying to change the tyres and inner tubes of my beloved Orange Brompton. I watched the very well made Brompton video on my iPhone, while trying to take the wheel off. I watched it when trying to take the tyre off. I even watched it when putting things back on again. Despite the quality of these videos, I found the whole process almost witchcraft. The result was me somehow ending up being unable to change gear and a trip to the local bike shop, for them to put it all right again! This is all quite pathetic, I am fully aware believe me. It was something I needed to put right.

The Commander and Chief of the London Brompton Club, Mick kindly invited me to his house a couple of weeks ago (with the permission of his other half Kate) with a view to putting the above right. Today I went to Mick's with my beloved Orange Brompton, new tyres and new inner tubes. 

Mick has a wonderfully equipped workshop and like Obi Wan Kenobi he taught me the ways of the Force. First he modelled how to take a rear wheel off on one of his bikes. Then it was my turn. With Mick's help and patience I managed to do it. I actually managed to do it! Before long my Orange Brompton was clamped into his Park Tool PCS 10  work stand and I was changing its rear wheel. 

Bike in work stand. Yet another thing for Santa to bring me!

Initially, the gear cable seemed too tight as part of it had come out of its housing. With some logical thinking we got it worked again. My Schwalbe Marathon Plus London Edition tyres were next. Mick took off the existing tyres and again modelled how to put the new ones on. It was then down to me to put on the front, which with a little help from Mick I did.  

A lovely tyre!

As I sit here typing this blog entry I feel quite confident in changing the rear tyre. Many of you out there may cast scorn as for you it may be already an easy task. For some of you however, it may be a difficulty. A fear perhaps? My advice to you is not to wait as long as I did and live in the fear that you can't. You can do it. I now have thoughts of putting on Kojak's on to my Raw Lacquer S2L - something I have always wanted to do!

I have to say a big thank you to Mick and Kate for their warm hospitality, constant drinks, snacks and lovely lunch. I spent over six hours at Mick's but the time literally flew by! Mick's idea (at least I think it is his idea) of sharing such knowledge is a very good one. Of course my toolkit is woefully lacking and something I will have to build up slowly and as cheaply as possible. 

One of the wonderful things about owning a Brompton is that when you see other Brompton owners on your daily commute there is usually a nodding acquaintance among total strangers. Joining a group of local specific Brompton riders is a great way to meet like minded individuals and have fun going on all types of sojourns.  If you are lucky you might hit it off with people in the way I have, with my riding partner iCrazyBee and Mick. If you are very lucky, you might have gained some new friends.


  1. So seriously, how does Mick get the tyre back on without getting blood blisters on his thumbs!?

  2. Hello. Someone left a comment about how to get the tyre back on as it can be a struggle. (Sorry but I deleted it instead of publishing it) I will try and answer your question.

    One of the best ways I have been show was to use a cable tie to secure the part of the tyre you get on to the wheel. this means that pushing the rest of the tyre over the rim is a great deal easier.

    I have to say that fitting tyres on the new 2013 rims are much, much easier and that includes the sometimes troublesome Marathon Plus!!!


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