I think that one of the things I could never really understand on such a solidly built bike — a.k.a. the Brompton — was how flimsy the original shifters were. For most Bromptons built earlier than 2013, the shifters are made of plastic. For my 6 speed, a slight tap or accidental touch would be enough to change the gears for either the derailleur or the IGH (the IGH in particular!)… it wasn’t much of an issue unless I was going uphill.
The shifters sucked but it was manageable. I wasn’t really looking to change it or whatever. But then I did. It was just one of those things I found out about randomly. One day, as I was browsing a local Brompton group on Facebook, the nice guys at Tr Bikes posted about having options for the shifters. They had them for both the left and right sides too. I took a look at a friend’s bike — one of the earliest mods the shop did, and I was sold.
The result that day was this. The shifters worked beautifully! They were so crisp. They stayed in place! Solid as a rock. I was so happy. Once done, I went to visit my friends at another bike shop and showed them the changes. They tried it out.
Unfortunately, none of those said friends are Brommie owners, so someone (of three suspects!) accidentally tried shifting the derailleur down to a THIRD gear and somehow the stopper thingy on the shifter fell off.
Okay. First things first. You need to know that the 2 speed derailleur’s shifter is not a standard setup. I’m not really sure what you call it, but the cables usually have this flat side on one end like that on a nail. Usually that flat head is on the side of the shifter. But for the Brompton, the guys at Tr Bikes decided to switch the cable ends around, so that the flat end is at the RD. It’s better that way because if they put the stopper on the RD side, there’s a bigger possibility that it comes off. Which was pretty much what happened to my poor shifter, but much easier to “diagnose” than if it happened at the RD side.
Anyway, I let Lynten know that his stopper thing failed and he said he’d try out a different (BIGGER! STRONGER!) stopper for the cable. I just needed to go back to the shop to get it done.
This week, my friend Bless decided to change one of her Brompton’s shifters too, so we headed over to Tr Bikes to get them done together.
And I finally got the stopper fixed. Thank God for gears! It was so weird cycling on a lowered IGH gear. Instead of cycling on 6, 4 or 2, I had to battle it out using 5/3/1 on a 44 tooth crank. So low.
And the RD’s shifter cable now has an industrial strength stopper to keep it in place. For those who question its size, I can say that my hand doesn’t really touch the stopper. Then again, you can always move the shifter down the handlebar a bit.
For those interested in doing the same thing, you can get it done in Tr Bikes at the ground floor of 7 Jalan Batu. It’s near the Tanjong Rhu/Geylang PCN (if you’re cycling) or the Mountbatten MRT (if you’re taking the train). The shifters are S$110 a pair including labor, but you might incur additional costs if you need to change the cables out to something longer. It would be best to call them (+65 6345-5085) or send them a Facebook message in advance to inquire if they still have stock, and to ask them if they can reserve a pair for you.