Monday 1 April 2013

New Chain Set and Bottom Bracket for my Orange Brompton- Finally!

As you may know my Brompton DIY came to an abrupt halt when I discovered that the tool I had bought and was told was the correct tool for removing the bottom bracket, was not. In fact when I took it back to the shop to get a refund they still insisted that it was the correct tool!

Luckily help came in the form of my fellow LBC member and navigator extraordinaire, David P who kindly let me borrow the correct tool for the job - a Park Tool BBT-4.

Using this made the process of removing the bottom bracket fairly painless. The previous day I had taken the chain set off and detected that the bottom bracket had quite a grinding sound when turned.

Quite a sorry looking state

Not cleaned since the Monopoly Challenge Ride!

When I removed the old bottom bracket I could see that there was a fair amount of surface rust. Giving the now empty space a good clean I put a good amount of good quality grease on the threads to help with the seal.

In a pretty bad state.

Not a view I have seen before.

Carefully I inserted the new bottom bracket and using the BBT-4 tightened things up but not too tight. Putting on the new chain set was easy and my first major DIY Brompton work was done.

Not too badly worn.

Out with the old. Not in too bad a shape, but what do I do with it now? 

Going out on a small test run to make sure that all was okay, I have to say the bike felt very good and a great deal better than it has been. The new chain set is a good update and well worth considering. The grinding sounds had gone and pedalling felt smoother.

All new 2013 chain set.

I have to admit to feeling rather pleased with myself as only a few months ago I am ashamed to report that I didn't know how or have the confidence to repair a puncture, let alone take a wheel off. I have come a long way. For that I have to thank Co-founder of the LBC Mick B who kindly invited me to his home to take me through the basics.

There are a few more jobs to do on my Original Orange Brompton:

New 2013 brake levers to be fitted (when they become available to buy).

New brake cables.

New gear cable.

New derailer cable.

New M-type handlebar.

New black 2013 grips.

Once this has all been done there isn't that much more to do to this bike and I am confident that it will provide many more years of active service. I don't know how many miles I have done in the two and a bit years I have had this bike? It must be quite a bit as I have only used my car on my commute about  a dozen times. Added to this all the rides I have been on individually and as part of a group, it must amount to a lot of miles.

This is perhaps one of the great things about buying a Brompton. As new parts and innovations come out the owners of older bikes usually have the option of retrofitting to their existing bicycles. It must be said that you don't have to do this at all but for me the sentimentality of keeping my Original Orange Brompton means that when a good upgrade comes along and it coincides with a part that is in need of replacing anyway, it just seems to make sense to me. Whatever your view, look after your Brompton and it will look after you.


  1. I know that you fancied giving the old orange fella a bit of a thank-you present, but are you surprised that your old bottom bracket was showing undue signs of wear? I would have expected that such a part would give many years, perhaps a lifetime's use. I have 17 years use of my Giant X-1500 with many thousands of miles and no wear discernible in use. I'd have hoped that the Brompton bit would be a bit more hard-wearing.


    1. Hello there. Many thanks for the reply. Yes you are right it should have lasted a great deal longer. I put it down to me cleaning it a little too often with a pressure washer and GT85! Yes you read right. I am sorry to have to admit to both of these but I suspect I am responsible for its demise!!

  2. is it a 50T cogs the new ring???

    1. Hello Marco. Yes I have the 50T chainring on both bikes. The rear sprockets for the 6x speed are normally 16T and 13T but as there was a supply problem with the 13T my new Titanium came with a 12T sprocket instead.

  3. I'm hoping to make the same upgrade to my 2007 Brompton very shortly (or at least as shortly as it takes Brompton to get both the BB and 50T chainset in stock again - I've been waiting most of the last six months!) My BB is massively shot-through and there's about an inch of lateral movement at the end of the cranks right now with each rotation is accompanied by a chorus of grinding. I'm curious to read your first BB tool didn't work - I've got a FAG-type removal tool which looks like it's correct but haven't actually tried it yet. Did you have the same (cost about a fiver on Amazon)? re your other upgrade plans - I see we're in accord that a new set of levers are in order though I'm thinking about using Shimano R780s as I think they look better (in black)!

    1. Many thanks for the comment Adam. Yes Brompton aren't able to offer all the new upgrades as spare parts yet. I too am hoping that this changes as I want the new brake levers for my Original Orange Brompton - they are on my new Titanium and excellent!

      The first BB tool merely served to rip off some of the plastic, so it you have this don't bother using it!! The Park Tool BBT-4 is the tool for the job and does it perfectly.


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