Brompton brake levers and cables replacement

I’m on a roll :mrgreen:. Second repair this week for the old Brommy… and still planning more upgrades.

It’s now time to get sort out the dodgy brakes by replacing levers and set of cables. Don´t be surprised if I tell you old Brompton brake levers have very poor braking power and quality construction. They are made of cheap materials and lack of spring return. Very nasty indeed.

1999 Brompton lever

1999 Brompton lever

Because my budget is low I decided to install a pair of Tektro levers suitable for the actuation ratio of the side-pull calipers that came originally with the setup. They get on well with u-brakes and road type calipers, such us side-pulls, dual-pivots and so on… and not compatible with linear pull brakes.

Cast aluminum Tektro lever. It's not compatible with linear brakes

Cast aluminum Tektro lever. Clamp bore 7/8″ (22.2mm)

These particular levers are found on many reasonably priced BMXs, and because they are small, match perfectly with Brompton tiny bars. Sure not the best choice but they do the job. Better anyway than any brake lever made by Brompton until the new 2013 models were unveiled.

Left: former brake lever Right: 2013 design

Left: former brake lever. Right: 2013 design

There is nothing much to be said about the brake cables. Then again, I decided not to use Brompton spares and go for cheaper inner and outer cables. The original housings are known to be more flexible to accommodate sharp radii when the bike is folded and also more durable. With dry weather the difference should be negligible.

I’m not bothered about getting dual-pivots. Old side-pull brakes still work fine despite superior dual-pivot design. Original Brompton’s calipers are pricey, £65 the brakeset. An alternative would be the Shimano R450 57mm drop calipers. Even tough, I’m really tempted to get new ones. 2013 bikes must brake amazingly with new aluminium brake levers, machined double walled rims, dual pivots and better pad coumpoud.


Final result

A quick wheel truing and brake pads adjusment brought the service to an end.


5 responses to “Brompton brake levers and cables replacement

  1. Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  2. My brompton has the older brake levers (pre 2013), which I don’t see anyway to get it off my handle bar. Is there a trick to removing those?


    • Try with some penetrating oil.

      • Thanks for the response.
        But I was talking about the brake levers not the handle grip. My brompton was made in 2006. It looks like I have to loosen the brake cable and pull the cable out first to unscrew the brake levers. But I’m not sure.


  3. FYI, Looks like you have to take out the brake cable first and underneath it there’s a screw, to loosen the brake lever.

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