The 2013 brake levers can be adjusted to fit a wide range of hand sizes. Below you will find information regarding lever installation and set-up; visit your local Brompton dealer to make a purchase, seek more advice, or have them fitted.
Brake lever instillation & setup
In order to achieve a comfortable and safe brake lever position, it is important to spend some time adjusting the lever so that it’s positioned correctly to suit your hands. Depending on your hand size, you can adjust the distance of the lever from the bar; the lever can be set to be operated by one, two or three fingers. The left and right hand levers are specifically designed for their respective positions; the lever should be fitted with the clamp bolt facing upwards.
Once the levers are fitted to the bike (or when setting up the levers on a new bike) you can perform several different adjustments (fig. 1) in order to alter the fit and feel of the levers.
The angle of the brake lever (when mounted on the bar) can be adjusted, though the range of lever angle adjustment is restricted by the cable exit path; if the lever is angled too high it will cause problems for the operation of the brakes and in folding the bike. When the bike is folded, the right hand brake cable housing will contact the fork leg. The lever angle should be set so that the cable housing lightly contacts the fork leg (fig. 2); too much contact will bend and damage the housing. For this reason, the lever blade features a kink allowing the lever blade to sit higher than the lever body. This offers a more comfortable position without affecting the cable housing path.
The position of the lever on the bar can be adjusted to move the lever closer or further from the end of the handlebar grip. This adjustment will allow the lever to be positioned for one, two or three finger braking. Positioning the lever for one finger braking will give a more secure grip on the bar but allow you to apply less braking force. Three finger braking will allow you to apply maximum braking force but reduce bar grip. The range of adjustment is limited by the gear shifter and handlebar grip.
Securing the lever
Once the lever has been correctly positioned on the bar, the clamp bolt should be tightened to a torque of 2Nm using a suitable torque wrench and 3mm hex key fitting.
Lever reach adjustment is controlled by the grub screw on the side of the lever body. Screwing the reach adjuster into the lever body (using a 2.5mm hex key) will bring the lever closer to the handlebar. Those with smaller hands might find that the standard reach setting for the lever is too far from the bar (fig. 3, 4), meaning fingers need to be strained in order to actuate the lever; this will compromise both braking power and grip on the bar.
By moving the lever to a more comfortable position (fig. 5, 6) the rider can operate the lever more easily with more control over the brake.
The lever uses a cam to alter the leverage ratio throughout the movement of the lever. This means that there is a higher leverage ratio to begin with and a decreasing ratio as the lever moves towards the bar. This gives a firmer feel during the initial part of the lever travel and improves pad clearance. As the lever moves closer to the bar the power increases and the brake lever will have a softer feeling, improving braking performance and control for those with smaller hands. As the power increases through the lever travel, the brake will not feel ‘grabby’ or sharp (when the pads first contact the rim) and will be easier to control with increasing power as you apply more force to the lever.
When the lever reach is adjusted closer to the handlebar it will cause the brake pads to move closer to the wheel rim. It may be necessary to adjust the lever bite point (engagement position) in order to give sufficient pad clearance; this can be achieved by screwing the barrel adjuster into the lever body. If the barrel adjuster cannot be adjusted to give sufficient pad clearance and a satisfactory lever bite point, you may need to loosen the cable clamp bolt (10mm spanner) at the brake calliper to allow some cable to be pulled through. Be sure to re tighten this bolt to 8Nm and ensure the cable is properly secured before using the bike. Screwing the barrel adjuster into the lever body will bring the lever bite-point closer to the handlebar. Screwing the barrel adjuster outward from the lever body will move the bite point further from the handlebar. The barrel adjuster uses a lock ring to secure it in position; this should be loosened before adjustment and tightened once the barrel adjuster is correctly positioned.
Spending some time getting these adjustments right will make your bike more comfortable and improve the braking performance, making the bike easier to control. If you are unsure about any of these adjustments please contact a Brompton dealer, who will be able to assist you in setting up the levers on your Brompton. The brakes are a safety critical part of the bike we would therefore advise only an experienced bicycle mechanic carries out these adjustments.