It drives me nuts that my Brompton’s hinge clamp swivels every time I fold or unfold my bicycle. I “solved” this problem by cutting an extremely thin strip of plastic, and fitting it, with a spring, to the Brompton bolt.
(The spring was actually longer; I broke it after I removed it from Basil.) This worked, within limits, and didn’t prevent secure clamping. However, the plastic was frangible, and also crushed easily if misaligned. In desperation, I turned to the thriving Brompton after-market community. I found these clamp replacements on a site recommended by a reader who was originally discussing a different product with me.
The site is BIKEgang, and the “Brommie” section is . . . amazing! They appear to be UK distributors for Taiwanese manufacturers. I was warned that prices would be eye-watering (which they really are, though not too bad for these clamps). Shipping, even to the USA, is quite reasonable, though, which limits the pain quite a bit. I ordered two sets of these RIDEA clamps.
The clamps came in a neat little package. There is a clamp, a spring, and a washer, which I gather is for use with a beautiful handle also sold by BIKEgang. I’d read, though, that those handles were very uncomfortable to use, and I like the Brompton handles very much, so I just purchased the clamps.
The clamp goes on right where the OEM Brompton clamp goes, and the spring goes against the plate. You screw the bolt on as normal. There’s an extended lip on one side of the clamp; that’s what keeps the assembly from flipping around. (That’s it, on the left, above.) The other side is the same size as the Brompton clamp, so you open the hinge to exactly the same degree as you normally would.
I was concerned that the after-market clamps would not fit as securely, or provide as tight a closure. This does not seem to be the case. The extended edge does go right up to the stem, but is not impeded by it, and the closure seems virtually identical to that provided by the original Brompton equipment. The clamp above is the original one, still on Argyll.
Below is the RIDEA clamp, installed on Basil. In measuring the sides, I can find no significant difference in length.
At the Philadelphia Bike Expo this past Sunday I asked US Brompton representative John McConaghay, if Brompton were working on similar clamps. He indicated that they were under consideration, and adding that lead time was always an issue with product development. I asked what concerns there might be regarding after-market versions, and he said that squared-off clamps put excessive stress on the frame. John wasn’t familiar with these particular RIDEA clamps, but I, too, have seen clamps similar to those he mentioned, with sides set at 45 degrees.
You can easily imagine that sharp angles could lead to undesirable play between the hinge and stem. However, the RIDEA angles appear to be extremely close, if not identical to, the gently sloped Brompton angles.
(I know, my photography is awful; sadly, I’m too busy cycling, and, you know, living, to fix this right now!) I think you can see what I see when I look at the clamps in real life: the angles are very, very close, if not identical. (Brompton on the left, RIDEA on the right.)
At a glance, the clamps are virtually indistinguishable from the OEM Bromptons; they’re just brighter, which a chrome-like finish.
Communication with BIKEgang was great; they had a question about the order and responded right away, and the clamps turned up in timely fashion. The clamps are called “Brompton folding hinge solution (RIDEA)” on the web page; the clamps are listed with the handles, but can be purchased separately.
Note, off-topic: John says the infamous Brompton water bottle is still under development; I had to ask. John pointed out that these things take time. (It’s true!) I pointed out that, though I’ll probably buy any eventual Brompton water bottle, I’d rather Brompton just kept making excellent bikes, and kept the primary focus there. Perspective, people, perspective!