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.
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.