Best Phone Mount for Brompton

Phone mount is really useful while cycling, providing a stable and safe way to mount your phone to your bike allowing for navigation and notifications to be clearly visible while cycling. The typical phone mount design mount in the centre of the handlebars over the stem and typically compatible with all current handlebar types. Most of them require to stick an adapter behind the phone case or replace the phone case that come with an adapter.

I’m searching for a phone mount that can hold my huge iPhone 13 Max but at the same time doesn’t requirement to change the phone casing and allow me to fold the bicycle without causing any issue. Here’s some of the popular brand that I found and one that fit my requirements.

Quad Lock

Quad Lock is one of the most popular brand. Designed by Brompton, it come with a nice and sleek design. Come with 2 mounting points on the handle bar, it’s more stable and steady. But on a M or H bar it’s hard to get the right angle to twist and lock the phone in. Another things that I don’t like about it is the phone mount needs to be purchase separately and you need to change the phone casing in order to mount on it which I find it troublesome. The price is definitely on the high side at $90 SGD on shopee.

Trigo Mount 

Trigo is another interesting one that I found online (Amazon Link). It come with a plastic adapter to stick on the back of your phone case so technically no need to replace the phone casing. The adapter slot horizontally from top down so it works perfect for M and H bar. The down side is the mounting point is on the stem so you will need to unscrew the stem and slot it in between and lock it back, not as straight forward for beginner. I also dislike leaving the adapter at the back of my phone casing, making it very uncomfortable to carry around in the pocket when not cycling.

TRIGO Mobile Phone Mount TRP1820P - B-Spokes

Trigo Mount 

After searching around I found the ideal phone mount for me. Sukou phone mount come with an extended mount so it extend your phone forward giving a better visibility while cycling. The mount can be clamp on any part of the handlebar which is nice and also with the extended arm it make it easier to mount and dismount the phone on all type of handlebar. My favourite part is there’s no need to replace the phone case or stick anything on the phone, it come with a hard rubbery adapter that can be rubber strap on the phone. Another plus point is the price, selling at only $10 SGD on shopee.

The installation was very simple so I will not go into detail. After installation, it kind of get into the way when folding the stem, it prevent the stem from locking properly but because it can be mount at any part of the handlebar and I’m using a straight bar, shifting it a little bit solve the problem. The rubber strap does obstruct the top and bottom of your phone but it’s not a big problem for me since I usually only look at google map only while cycling and does not message or anything like that. (Can be dangerous!). It’s unexpectedly steady and firm, I did a 50km ride over bumpy road, jumping up and down curbs and my phone stay firmly on the mount.

Overall very happy with the purchase and definitely recommended !

3 things to know before changing to oval chainring

I been looking for a replacement for my B75 Chainring, it come in size 44T and I been riding like a hamster on a flat road. I need a bigger chainring to optimize my drivetrain efficiency. Oval chainrings had become very popular lately, the design increase pedalling effectiveness thus lesser force waste means more energy saved which allow longer ride. But oval chainring is not for everyone and not all size can fit onto a Brompton, here’s 3 key things I learned before changing into an Oval Chainring.

Chainstay length and Chain length

Sizing for Oval Chainring is same as normal chainring, it go by number of teeth, but since is oval in shape the length of the chainring will not be consistent when it rotate. The longest side of the chainring it’s known as the Recovery Zone and when it’s parallel to your chainstay it might hit your front hook. So we need to be sure to pick the right chainring size. I cannot find any standard sizing guide for oval chainring, every brand come with different sizing guide but the maximum teeth we can fit onto a Brompton without hitting the hook is 56T so whatever brand of chainring we just need to make sure the maximum Teeth is 56T (about 12cm from center of bottom bracket). I realise the longest axis of an Oval Chainring is usually size + 4T , example if the size indicate 52T the longest axis is usually +4T = 56T.

oval chainring

Bold Circle Diameter (BCD)

BCD is the diameter of the circle within the chainring, it’s important to select the right BCD that fit your crankset. I’m using the original Brompton crankset so I will need a 5 bolt 130 BCD chainring.

Ring Orientation

The orientation of Oval chainring is extremely important, when position right we will be able to transmit more power to our pedal but if position wrongly will cause it harder to pedal and not able to transmit power to pedal effectively. The logic of Oval chainring is to position crankarm at about 110 ° to the longest axis of the chainring so when we are pedalling downwards and pushing the longest axis forward generating higher power outputs with same effort, this is call the power zone. It’s a brilliant design and because of the irregular rotation, there’s always a powerzone (hard to pedal) and recovery zone (easy to pedal) making it ideal for climbing steep slope.

AbsoluteBlack vs Stone vs Ridea

Once I got all the facts right, I start searching for one that fit my requirement. I need a size 52T-56T, 5 bolt, 130BCD Oval chainring. There are few different brands and I narrow down to these 3 brands, AbsoluteBlack, Stone and Ridea.

52T$160 ~ $173$78$155

AbsoluteBlack is the premium brand amount the rest, the 53T is available at their official website at $173 excluding shipping fee or $160 from CANNASIA website. AbsoluteBlack claim that their oval chainrings are designed with optimum percentage of ovality and shape, allow optimum angle of the crank arm to achieve most effective pedalling power. They provide a lot of great explanation and research in their website but the price is on the high side and not within my budget.

Ridea is another popular option, the 52T is available on Shopee at $155 and come in 5 different colours. According to Ridea’s website the hollow design create a laminar flow to reduce drag which help to keep momentum. not sure how much does it really contribute to momentum but I like the look of the hollow design.

Stone is the most affordable option I can find in the market, the 52T is available on shopee at $78 only. It comes in hollow and non-hollow style, the 52T weigh only at 112g. Pretty good deal at half of the price of rest of the brands, so I decided to go with Stone.

It fit nicely onto my Brompton, the hollow design look great and the black blend in well. I did a short 50km test ride with slight elevation and I must say it really helps in term of climbing and on flat road the bigger chainring definitely allow me to pedal harder and generate more power but I do not feel the different intern of the shape. It still roll smoothly and I realise it exactly allow me to be more consistent on my pedalling. Given the price, it’s very worth it and definitely a good upgrade that I will recommend.

Why I change my EZ Wheel

A good EZ wheel is essential when pushing your Brompton around the super market or anywhere when folded. The original EZ Wheel doesn’t come with bearing and it just doesn’t roll at all, definitely needs to be upgraded.

If there’s a rack attached, there will be 4 wheels nicely spread out allow the bike to sit steadily when folded and offer a smooth pushing. Most weight weenies will remove the rack and mudguard to save significant weight but also means the bike will not be able to push around easily and stand stable.

Biscuit Wheel

Previously I replace the original EZ wheel with a OEM biscuit wheel from Taobao which cost about SGD$18 per pair. Really good upgrade, it roll smoothly, weigh about 80g only and give the bike a very classic original look. It’s made in one piece so very solid build and durable.

The only problem is the wheel measure at only 58mm by 10mm and weigh about 80g while Brompton’s weight when folded is pretty much tilted to the handlebar side with a 565mm height, the little wheels cannot stable the bike and likely to topple over. Most of the EZ Wheel will have the same problem as they are usually about the same size and weight. I did some research and found some larger EZ Wheel and extender that can keep the bike on the ground when folded and allow us to push the bike around easily.

80mm EZ Wheel

This 80mm EZ Wheel from 808 Cycles is by far the best EZ wheel I can find. It come with sporty multi-spokes design and Japanese ceramic ball bearings to ensure a smooth rolling. The 80mm height keep the bike higher off the ground when folded making sure the handlebar do not touch the ground. The 20mm width also provide more stability, allow to roll the Brompton around easily. The price is on the higher side at $50 a pair so 4 wheels will cost $100.

EZ Wheel extender

Another solution is to install an extender, the extension provide more stability to the bike when folded and able to retract when cycling. There are lots of different extender in the market ranging from $13 ~ $50 on Shopee without the wheel. Most of them come in same size and similar design. They typically come in a 117mm +- width which doesn’t fit nicely on the original Brompton EZ Wheel Rack. Since Brompton frame are handmade, the EZ Wheel Rack length might vary from 110~115mm. The advise I found online is to add washer to fill up the gap.

Alternative a better one is to get the adjustable version, the extender can be adjusted according to the length of your Brompton giving perfect length and fit nicely to the rack. You can get this on Shopee about $20

I found a semi carbon one on Taobao and thought it will look really nice on my bike. Price about $50 with shipping, the quality is really impressive and steady build. Unfortunately the black looks odd on my water blue B75 therefore I decided to let it go on carousell but it definitely looks better on a Black or Red Brompton, here’s the link if you like to get one.

Roller skating wheel

This is another cool one shared on cycling group, replacing the EZ wheel with inline skate wheel. Inline Skate wheel are designed to be super durable with the rubber tyre absorbing impact and the bearing ensure smooth rolling for Skating, very good replacement for EZ Wheel. Typical inline skate wheel come in 60,70,80mm with a width of 25mm, when installed as EZ wheel it hold the Brompton steadily when folded. Oxelo skate wheel from Decathlon is one of the popular one, pricing at only $10 for 4 pieces it’s always out of stock in most of the Decathlon store.

Since they are out of stock, I went Taobao diving for alternative. As usual there are millions of inline skate wheel on Taobao and I manage to find some really nice inline skate wheel that are within 80mm x 25mm dimension. Eventually I bought this design at about $40 ($35 + $5 shipping) including 4 wheels and 8 ABEC-9 bearing. The shipping took forever, about 3 weeks to arrive but the quality is really good. Very durable build and not too heavy, nice design and hopefully fit nicely on my Brompton.

The installation is not as straight forward, the original 5mm bolt is not compatible with the bearing, I will provide more detail of the installation in another post. Here’s the end result, I like how the design blend into the colour of my B75. It’s heavier than the typical EZ wheel but I like how it hold my bike steadily and push around smoothly when folded.

Alternative Saddle for Brompton

The Brooks C17 is aesthetically pleasing on the Brompton giving a very classic english look, but really not the right saddles for me. I really like the Boira Duopower, the no-nose design reducing pressure in the groin area giving a more comfortable long ride, But it’s sold out everywhere.

I ended up going back to Selle Italia, an Italian brand and they make very good saddles primary very popular for road bikers. Wiggle carry a good range of Selle Italia saddles and I found the Novus Boost Superflow at a super good price.

The quality of the saddle is really astonishing, weight at 182g comparing to Brooks c17 at 464g still give a very sturdy feel. I like the short nose not putting too much pressure on the groin making long ride comfortable and enjoyable.

The white color looks good on water blue as well, personally I preferred it over the c17.

To the next upgrade, ride safe, have fun.

Cheap $13 Paraffin wax bike chain

The best part of Brompton is able to fold and go, probably can easily fit 2-3 of them on a SUV boot. But the oil and grease from the chain can be quite irritating, worst when it leave stain on the car boot.

A simple solution is to coat the chain with paraffin wax, not only give you a grease free chain also a smooth rolling chain.

You will need a slow cooker, can easily get one about $10 on carousell and also paraffin wax. I tried SILCA Secret Chain HOT MELT Wax (about $60 on amazon)on my roadie before so I decided to try something cheap this time. Generally all paraffin wax should work, however you want to get those in flakes so it’s easier to melt them. I bought this huge pack (1kg) of paraffin wax on Shopee for $13 only.

The chain need to be completely clean so the wax can be nicely coated on the chain. I heard lots of good feedback about SPARKS Super Strength Degreaser Spray, cost around $10 on shopee but I got a spare chain so I will skip the cleaning this time round.

First fill the pot with paraffin wax to a level enough to cover the chain and then heat it up till the wax is completely melted.

Then drop the chain into the wax so it is completely submerged, remember to drop the magic link in too. You should start to see bubble coming out which is a good sign, this mean the wax flowing through the chain joint and completely coat the chain. Leave it in the wax for about 15 min.

Next use a hook to hang the chain to dry, I use the S hook and hang it at my gate with newspaper below to catch all the dripping wax. It takes about 30min to dry and result a clean and smooth chain. No more chain tattoo and nasty grease mark in the car.

Front Carrier Block

The front bag are really practical add-on for all Brompton, very useful when you want to carry things around while cycling.

Brompton B75 doesn’t come with a front carrier block so before I can get a bag, I will need to fix a carrier block first. The other range of Brompton should come with a black plastic front carrier block which works for all the Brompton front bag and most of the after market bags but if you want to get something matching, there are variety of colours for you to choose from.

Don’t under estimate this little piece of block, some could cost up to $80 SGD ! Check out this H&H front carrier block . The block weigh average 70~80g and the design are all identical, furthermore it’s not visible after attaching a bag. Therefore I don’t really think it’s worth to spend too much money on it. I think as long as it’s compatible to most of the bags, any block will serve the purpose. So after some research, I found one at only $20 SGD on Shopee. It’s by this brand Muqzi which come in 5 different colour, weigh about 68g and took only 5 days to arrive.

Installation is very straight forward, it will take probably about 5-10 mins.

First remove the original screws, if the bicycle doesn’t come with it, it’s totally fine. The front block carrier should come with 2 compatible screws.

Installation is easy, it will take probably about 5-10 mins.

First remove the original screws, if the bicycle doesn’t come with it, it’s totally fine. The front block carrier should come with 2 compatible screws.

Next screw the base into the nose, follow by the plate onto the base.

That’s it, easy and cheap add-on.

brooks c17 cambium classic saddle

Another upgrade for a more comfortable and longer ride, I decided to try out the popular Brooks cambium c17 saddle. After some comparison, Wiggle offer the best deal at est $120 SGD with free shipping. Shipping take about 7-10 days, If you do not want to wait it’s available at Outdoorlife at $50 dollar more.

$120 (free Shipping)$153 (free Shipping)$108.99 (Shipping $17.49)$179

Arrived in very nice packaging, the c17 are made of a natural rubber. Supposedly to be flexible, once season allow the rider to enjoy long ride without butt sore.

The saddle looks perfect on the bike, the Brooks logo on the back plate just make the Brompton look more classic. Take note, the saddle come in different width size make sure you measure your sit bone width to get the right size. I follow this video to measure my sit bone width.

*Update, after 3 x > 80km ride I still cannot get use to the c17 saddle. It’s hard with minimum flexibility, I just cannot seem to get the right position on it. Perhaps it needs more time to “breaking in” but in terms of aesthetic, definitely a saddle to go with the Brompton.

Brooks England Ergonomic Rubber Grip upgrade

The original “toilet roll” grips is not going to last you round island, the constant holding onto the grips usually cause soreness and discomfort to your hand after 40-50km ride. So to get a more comfortable long ride, I upgraded my handle grips to an ergonomic grips. Ergonomic grips originated from Ergon Bike, I was using their GP1 on my first foldie and immediately felt the effect. The grips come with a support allowing your palm to rest nicely on it, also relieves the pressure on holding on the the grips causing discomfort. Here’s their professional explanation on how the grips help:

There are lots of different model and make of Ergonomic grips, you can easily find one on Shopee, lazada but some of them seem too cheap to be true. I have not try any replicated one before but I guess the material and grip will be different from an original one.The GP make really nice grips but they do not have a pure black version, after some shopping, I found Brooks England Ergonomic Rubber Grip on amazon. Black, premium design and most importantly water proof, giving it’s rubber I think it will not smell and probably give a better grip. It’s about $68 SGD + $10 shipping on Amazon SG and it’s original so if you are getting anything above this price, I suggest just order from amazon.
Important things to note, grips normally come in 2 different size. 100mm and 130mm, some even come with 100 on each side and 130 on the other side, design for grip shifter which is normally not for your Brompton, 3sixty or pikes. The original Brompton grips are 130/130mm and according to Brompton website “2017 model Brompton folding bikes had a revised handlebar on the M-type and H-type model allowing these 130mm (the S-type already took 130mm grips)” so 130/130mm grips should fit all Brompton nicely.

Brooks England Ergonomic Rubber Grip

The process is pretty simple, first remove original grips with a 2.5mm allen key. The grip should come off easily after unlocking the grip. Next slot in the new grip and adjust your palm to rest on the grip nicely.

Once you are comfortable with the position just tighten the screw to lock the grip in place.Put on the handsome cap and done ! 15 min job for a more comfortable ride.

Lightweight Pedal upgrade

B75 come with a wellgo unfoldable pedal which is quite annoying, the protruding pedal when folded can be a hazard. There are many upgrade options, popular brands for foldable pedal like MKS , Sapience , brandless are generally available on Shopee ranging from $30 to $80. Quick release pedals is also a popular upgrade, the special clip-in design allow quick and easy removal of pedals. I selected foldable Sapience pedal, I like the lightweight and sleek design. it can be easily folded and magnetic locked to keep the pedal from swinging around. It cost me about $70 from shopee with discount coupon, lookout for flash deal you might even get a better price.
The process is pretty straight forward, you will need :

  • 15mm spanner
  • 8mm allen key

To remove the pedal, use 15mm spanner to loosen the pedal. Note: the left (non-chain side) pedal spindle is reverse threaded, you have to turn it clockwise to remove the pedal when facing the crank arm. The right side (chain side) is normal, so turn it anti-clockwise to loosen it.

Before installing the new pedals ,take note the pedals come in a L and R pair. It’s usually indicated on the pedal and you can see there’s a small “L” printed on my Sapience pedal. Once you get the direction right, simply just screw the pedals in. Remember L you have to turn anti-clockwise to install the pedal while R turn clockwise. You will need a 6 or 8mm allen key to hold the pedal while tightening the pedals.

Best EZ Wheel upgrade

The original EZ wheels from Brompton are made of plastic with a spacer as the center core. It’s attached to the frame or rack with 35mm M5 screws. There’s no ball bearing therefore creating a lot of friction when rolling and that’s why almost every owner upgrade the EZ wheel on the first day.

There are many different types of aftermarket EZ wheels, ranging from SGD $15 all the way to few hundred ! No kidding, check out this beautiful Koeing Hanami with a hefty price tag. I got the OEM classic biscuit EZ wheel from Taobao about SGD$18 per pair. Remember to get the 58mm, I tried the 46mm and it’s too small to keep it the bike above the ground. You will need a M5 25mm screw, 2 nuts and 2 washers on each wheel, this is the order of how I install the wheel. Result in smooth rolling, easy to push the bicycle around when folded and very affordable modification.