(Can you say that fast?) Thanks to a generous friend, whose Brompton is now sporting the Biokork version, Argyll and Dr. Diarist are enjoying new grips.
Except for that horrible moment when the original Brompton grips go under the knife, the procedure is fairly straightforward, and not otherwise emotionally traumatic.
Surgery and Brompton bicycles: It just feels wrong. Nonetheless, the easiest way to remove the original Brompton foam is by cutting it. Don’t score deeply; you don’t want a mark on the handlebars, even if you can’t see it. Some standards should be observed.
Peeling the original foam slowly and evenly works pretty well. Argyll’s left grip had hardly any adhesive beneath, but there was a broad band under the right one.
Getting the adhesive off the handlebar is the only challenging part of this little project. The Ergons slip on pretty easily if most of the adhesive is removed. I rubbed as much off as I could, then used household alcohol, sparingly applied with a microfiber rag, to soften the adhesive.
Then I went over the surface with a nylon kitchen scraper. That got off most of the gunk; repeated applications of alcohol, and rubbing with the rag, did the rest.
There’s a 4mm bolt on the outer edge of the Ergon which will need loosening, but not by much, so that the grip can be slipped onto the handlebar.
Argyll’s grips are Ergon GP grips — probably the GP1 model. These have to be cut down to fit on a Brompton M handlebar like Argyll’s. You’ll want to measure carefully, but the cutting itself is easy to do with a utility knife, a mini-hacksaw or maybe a serrated kitchen knife.
On Argyll, a 2014 Brompton, the edge goes right up against the brake lever retention ring. That’s a nicer look than on Basil — on the 2012 models, the edge of the brake lever blocks an evenly cut Ergon. (The grips could be cut to fit around the lever, but that seems like an excessive pain to me, and wouldn’t allow for any future adjustments in angle..)
It won’t matter if the edges aren’t cut perfectly smoothly, unless you find that sort of thing completely maddening. (In which case, take special care when cutting, and use a pipe cutter to mark the line you cut along.) Once flush against the brake supports, the edge will not be particularly visible.
Getting the angle right may take some tinkering, and may vary quite a bit from cyclist to cyclist. Argyll’s grips tip just slightly downward (Argyll has an H-type stem, which is taller than the standard model):
But Basil’s are at a much steeper angle (Basil’s handlebars have been pulled slightly forward):
It’s kind of amazing how the simplest projects become something else. I had to remove Argyll’s Mirrycle mirror in order to install the Ergons. That was a pain; the bolt was bent and had to be teased out of the handlebar. Argyll had taken a fall in the past, and apparently there had been an internal injury we hadn’t noticed.
We bought a new mirror, and I replaced the bolt. The crash wasn’t sufficient to break the glass on the original mirror, but the “protected” bolt bent anyway. Curious, indeed! No matter; the issue was easily resolved. We like these mirrors very much; the Mirrcycle mountain bike mirror fits a Brompton perfectly, and can, if adjusted carefully, swing out of the way when the bicycle is folded.
Ergons come in various sizes; I’ve heard a rumor that there’s even a version that will fit Brompton M bars without requiring cutting. When buying a model off the shelf at most bike shops, though, what you should know is that the paddle portion of the grip is sized — Argyll’s grips are size large, and Basil’s are small, reflecting the considerable difference in size between Dr. Diarist’s mitts and my own. Choosing the right size will matter for optimal comfort.
Related, with a bit more detail about installation on Basil: