Monday 28 October 2013

Protecting your Brompton

One thing I have been meaning to do for ages but haven't got round to is a a blog entry on how to protect your Brompton. When I write the word protection, you might suspect I was going to write about bike locks or cables. This is a very different type of protection. Besides, who actually locks their Brompton up when you can just take it with you?

For those who have owned a Brompton for a while, you will undoubtedly be aware that over time the paintwork can be damaged at certain vulnerable points. These tend to be where there cables rub against the frame over a prolonged period of time. This blog post will highlight some key locations you might consider protecting.

You might be the type of Brompton owner who doesn't have the time or inclination to be bothered with this, which is fine. However, Brompton bicycles aren't cheap and it only makes sense to protect your investment.

First thing you will need is to find an outlet selling 'helicopter tape.' This is quite simply a stronger and more durable version of sticky back plastic. It is used to protect the surfaces of helicopter blades. It can also be used for protecting specific surface areas of expensive cars, motorbikes, road bikes and of ours your Brompton.

Fellow Brompton Club member David brought helicopter tape to my attention over a year ago. I have bought matt and clear versions and have been very happy with both.

Clear tape on the bottom and matt on the top (tape on white backing)

I bought mine via an eBay seller called 'Paragon Tapes.' You can put in 'helicopter tape' when searching items in eBay and you should be able to find them. There are lots of sellers who sell this tape but I have bought two lots of helicopter tape from Paragon and services was excellent and fast. You can buy it in different lengths but typically you'd be paying under £8 and that would be enough to do your bike 2-3 times.

Okay, so you have bought your helicopter tape. Next you will need to give a really good clean to the areas you want to protect. This will make the whole process easier and prevent oil, stains and dirt showing through.

Another thing you might have to do on some areas is to get some touch up paint, specific to the colour of your Brompton to dab on to any areas that have had lots of rubbing and taken off some of the original paint.

Touch up paint

The first two areas I would go for are either side of the fold on the main frame. Both areas have cables and with folding and unfolding there will be some cable rub. I have to say that on these areas on three Brompton bikes the only thing going on in this area is the black of the cable transferring to the frame.

Next the main stem where the cables cross over and travel down as you can see in the picture. Again not any serious damage will be caused by this other than the colour of the cable transferring to stem.


An area that really can see some action is the front brake cable where it makes contact with the front left fork. On my Original Orange Brompton the rubbing has taken the paint off to the metal. It is therefore worth protecting it.

Front fork

Another area that seems to have lots of cable rub is the bottom of the seat post stem where the cables travel around it as you can see in the picture below.

Where the rear triangle attaches to the bottom of the main frame there can be quite a bit of cable rub from all the folding and unfolding. 

The last place is where the hook on the front wheel sits on the bottom of the rear triangle when the bike is in the fold position. 

I have posted a link below to an item on eBay sold by Paragon Tapes but bear in mind if you view this in a few weeks time it will probably not be there.

These are the areas that I have protected on both my Brompton bicycles. There may well be more than I have mentioned but I am happy that these are the highlights. As I wrote earlier, this might not be for you but anything that keeps your Brompton looking better can only be a good thing.

Link to an item on eBay sold by Paragon Tapes.


  1. There is an alternative to self adhesive tapes, double sided velcro works equally well, and vbeing doublesided sticks to itself, and of course its easy to remove and replace if it becomes dirty or tatty looking.

  2. Very useful, I've just followed your instructions & put helicopter tape in same locations. Should keep Brompton looking good for longer:-)

  3. Thanks for sharing. What about the area at the bottom of the main frame where it touches the tyre when folded? Any protective sticker there?

  4. I would also add the area on the rear frame where the chain meets the frame during folding. It can rub and slap if you fold/unfold your bike enthusiastically causing damage. One fellow Brommie owner told me his bike frame actually failed at this point as a result of years doing this but I'm not convinced but better safe than sorry.

  5. I have a 2017 Brompton with matt racing green paint, which would look more "invisible" on this, the matt or the clear tape? Thanks

    1. Matt would be better. I only used the clear version above so that it would stand out more in the photos.

    2. Ah, I see! I've now ordered some 100mm matt helicopter tape from Paragon tapes. Thanks for the guide.

  6. Thank you for the tip, I have also added helicopter tape to the vital points on my bike. Too late through to have prevented the first scratches and tyre marks.

  7. Thank you for this. After 4 months of using my expensive Brompton the paint is scratched visibly on several places and especially on the stem. Actually for a bike this expensive and on the market this long it is really not ok why Brompton has not placed these things (probably 1 euro worth in costs) to avoid these things.

  8. Really helpful as a 'Brommie' newbie :)
    One other thing - for the top tube hinge, I've noticed the paint starting to chip where the clamp fixes - do you recommend helicopter tape here as well, or some other mod?

    1. If you get an EZ Clamp Spring, that will prevent the clamp from spinning - it will always align with the hinge, never contacting it. I suspect your chipping came from the clamp hitting the hinge.

  9. Are there any drawbacks to using helicopter tape? How hard is it to remove if you ever need to replace it? I heard stories about how it took off paint from road bikes or mountain bikes after removal. How is it holding up on your bike almost ten years later?

    1. No issues at all. Easy yo put on and just a case of peeling off. Does need to be replaced now and then but protects all the bits that might otherwise be vulnerable.


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