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Toe Clips for a Brompton Bicycle

Last fall I ordered toe clips for Basil.  I knew that clipping in wasn’t a good idea for me; I’m just too clumsy to ever trust that I could unclip in sufficient time to avoid a fall (or worse).

 

zfOn group rides, I worry a lot about holding up the others (though I ride with unusually supportive people — all the more reason, though, to keep up my end, yes?).  I’d heard that clip-in pedals could mean a 15 percent boost in power, so I figured that toe clips must offer at least a little of that advantage.

A Brompton bicycle — specifically, the folding pedal — won’t accept standard toe clips, so Terry, at Alphabet Cottage in the UK, sells a kit with Zefal clips and special plates that accommodate the Brompton pedals.   Ordering was simple, the kit arrived promptly, and Terry is very good about communication.

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The kit comes in a couple of versions, based on Brompton model year.  Installation was easy, once I figured it out, but the instructions provided with mine appeared to be for a slightly different kit — and the illustrations were extremely faint, and ultimately not helpful.

After installation, I meant to go back and add thread-locker.  I was sorry that I’d forgotten to do so when one clip loosened during a ride.  I’d recommend sloshing that thread-locker on at the start; if you lose your original screws, you’ll end up with mis-matched ones, as below:

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I debated which size toe clips to get, since my cycling shoes are Keens, and have an extremely boxy toe.  The S/M toe clips, described as fitting “up to shoe size 8 (UK); 8.5 (US); 42 (EU)”,   just fit my size 4/6.5/37 Keens; anyone wearing larger Keen cycling shoes might want to go up to the next size.  Standard cycling shoes, with a narrower toe, wouldn’t present this dilemma.

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My Keen shoes don’t “lock” into the cage, as standard cycling shoes might.  Nonetheless, they stay put, and don’t slip out while riding.  Yet I can easily remove my foot without risk of entanglement, and I don’t have to think about how to turn my foot to do it.  For a rather uncoordinated cyclist like me, this is a real advantage, and a critical safety factor.

The clips do affect the fold somewhat; I take pains to make sure that the toe clip is against Basil’s tire, not against his spokes, but this immediately became intuitive, and doesn’t slow the process at all.  When walking an unfolded Zefal equipped Brompton, you’ll need to keep the bicycle upright, as there is little clearance between the dropped toe clip and the ground; again, this is an easy accommodation.

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Weight doesn’t seem to be much of an issue; the toe clips are quite light, and the adaptor plates aren’t heavy.  (You will lose the reflector on the folding pedal, which gets swapped out for the adapter plate, though the effect on weight is likely to be minimal.)

Open toe clips can be used with street shoes as well as with cycling shoes or trainers; that was a big plus for me.  I almost always ride with cycling-specific footwear, but wanted the option to use whatever, whenever.

Do the toe clips give me the edge I hoped for?  Well, I don’t really know; however, I’ve learned to love them.  I do believe they increase the power of my upstroke, and I find I like the sense that each foot is firmly set in the correct place on the pedal.  At a minimum, they’ve made me a more confident biker.

18 replies on “Toe Clips for a Brompton Bicycle”

Well, I am thrilled to have the privilege of being the first to comment on this entry. The toe clips will at least keep your foot in an improved position on the pedal which is important from physiological standpoint, and therefore improves your overall cycling. Of course, better foot position allows for improved force transfer to the pedal. Having said this, it is equally important to coordinate seat height and fore/aft position for proper fit and ergonomics. While toe clips may be less effective than clipless pedals, they are significantly better than no clips, and, therefore, much more efficient.

BTW, regarding the mismatched screws, if someone is examining Basil that closely, they should be paying you, you should be paying them or they should have asked permission.

Good points about the physiology of the toe clips, Saul. (Hmmm, that sounds almost like a Zen book title!). As for the mismatched screws, I shall guard them against inspection everywhere — after all, Basil does like his personal space! Only his mechanic will know for sure . . .

Saul, we Bromptoneers go in for extreme close-ups (perhaps because our bikes are small?). I think no less of Brommie for those mismatched screws, but I appreciate her full disclosure.

Thanks for the details, B! Still pondering whether I need a pair of these. You make them look graceful.

Not only do I not “think no less of Brommie,” but I continue to be impressed with her attention to detail and problem solving skills.

Greetings– one variation on the above theme is to use the Zefal half-clips with MKS removable pedals. You can pop off the left-hand one and hang it on the top tube when folding the bike; it gets more or less trapped there and is handy to re-install at the other end. The MKS also has a bit better shoe-grip in the wet.
— mcget

Although I made you blush, and probably not the first time, I believe my attempt at a double negative was not successful, even tho the implication was apparently inferred correctly.

When walking with an unfolded Basil, you may also wish to keep the pedals at 3 and 9, and maybe even quickly secure them with a Velcro strap…always a handy accoutrement which also can be found in colors.

The toe clip is just heavy enough to pull the pedals out of the 3 and 9 position, though, now that you mention it, Saul, I don’t understand why the two don’t keep each other in balance. ???

A Velcro strap? Hmmm, I just might have both yellow and green around . . .

I put half clips on my B shortly after purchasing it last year. I wound up drilling new holes in the folding pedal as I wasn’t aware of the kit you purchased and I already had the toe clips. Just took a bit of filing so the screw didn’t extent beyond the back of the cage. One big advantage of having the half clip is that it prevents the folding pedal from folding in too far and hitting the frame. Mine usually contacts the spokes and prevents further folding. I know there is the tab on the crank arm that is supposed to prevent the pedal from folding too far, but mine would if the pedal wasn’t exactly in-line with the crank arm when folded.

It sounds as if your method worked really well, David P.. I don’t think I would have been courageous enough to try it! That’s a really good point about the fold — the way the toe clip protects the frame is a huge plus in my eyes. Basil and Argyll both have the “stop” on thsie folding pedals, but in both cases, the pedal can over-run the “click” if set the wrong way, or pushed too vigorously.

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