Dozens of manufacturers offer hundreds of “emergency” and “rescue” bike tool kits. Ranging from the minimal to the do-anything, which one would work best with the odd components of the Brompon folder?
The quick answer: none of them. You’ll have to assemble your own kit.
BROMPTON’S TOOL REQUIREMENTS
// A quick look
The Brompton’s not a mountain bike. So, you won’t need any Torx tools.
A chain tool is probably overkill in the city. The straight chain line of non-derailleur Bromptons, including my own, further reduces the risk of unexpected chain failure.
You’ll need a Philips screwdriver. For example, to change the dead batteries in your rear light. And a flathead as well.
And, oh yeah, a 15 mm hex wrench to fix that flat tire. Clever folding contraptions, but no quick release skewers on the Brompton.
// A thorough analysis
When riding a Brompton, I used to carry just a sawed off 15 mm wrench (AKA home-made tire lever), a set of tube patches and a micro-pump. The purchase of my latest P3L became an incentive to optimize my take-along tool kit.
So I first proceeded to measure almost every component of my new Brompton.
The results of my survey brought up the following needs:
- hex Allen keys: 2 mm, 2,5 mm, 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm
- metric hex wrenches (flat): 7 mm, 7,8 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm, 15 mm, 19 mm
- metric hex wrenches (socket): 14 mm
- thin (cone) wrenches: 13 mm, 15 mm, 16 mm, 36 mm
- flathead screwdrivers: 9 mm
- Philips screwdrivers: size 1
- Pozidriv: size 1
- spoke wrench: 3,2 mm
Quite a variety! Let’s trim it down:
- I doubt I will ever need cone wrenches on the road. However, I might need a thin 15 mm wrench to tighten my MKS AR-2 Ezy removable pedals with toe-clips. These allow max 3,6 mm of tool purchase.
- I have rarely seen the cranks loosen up after a day of riding. Carrying around a 14 mm socket wrench just for the pedal cranks would be overkill.
- The only Pozidriv screw is used in a non-critical area of the rear hinge retention clip.
With these parameters in mind, I’ve assembled the lightest and most compact combination of tools I could find.
Photo: the majority of my take-along tools to field-repair my Brompton P3L
MY TAKE-ALONG TOOL KIT FOR THE BROMPTON: CONTENTS
// Park Tool AWS-10 fold up hex (Allen) wrench set (x1)
- Covers my needs for 2 mm, 2,5 mm, 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm hex Allen fasteners.
- The only unused tool is the 1,5 mm hex Allen key.
- Features a “multi position” plastic “composite handle that is comfortable, lightweight, slip-resistant, and 40% stronger than steel”. “Keys have chamfered tips for a perfect fit and are made from Bondhus Protanium high torque industrial steel for long life.”
- Unusual for marketing copy, but Park Tool’s description is 100% accurate. I’ve used this multi-tool to assemble IKEA furniture applying maximum torque. The tool would not even squeak. Absolutely great. Would buy another one any time. Highly recommended.
- Weight: 105 g (3.7 oz).
// Park Tool RW3 36 mm x 15 mm open-end wrench (x1)
- 36 mm headset wrench on one end.
- If you’re wondering why I need a headset wrench… Well, since my early childhood, I keep having bike accidents. Some of them result in misaligned handlebars. Yes, and on the Brompton as well. I ride hard and often. Shit happens.
- 15 mm pedal wrench on the other end.
- The RW3 is only 3 mm thin. Unscrewing or tightening hurts, but the tool fits my MKS AR-2 Ezy pedals. Suboptimal for the wheel’s 15 mm nuts – it leaves small dents – but OK for an occasional roadside flat tire repair.
- Heat-treated steel.
- Rather compact size.
- Park Tool no longer makes this tool. Fortunately, Rando Boutique in Paris still had it. Eternal thanks, guys!
- Weight: 110 g (3.9 oz).
// Facom 113A.4C adjustable wrench (chromed, unsheathed) (x1)
- Adjusts from 0 mm to 13 mm.
- Covers my needs for a 3,2 mm spoke wrench, as well as 7 mm, 7,8 mm, 8 mm and 10 mm hex nuts / bolts.
- So far, I’ve torqued really hard with this wrench, without any problems. Best quality available in France.
- Nicely contoured handle for comfort.
- Tapered jaw tips – better access.
- Non-protruding moving jaw at maximum capacity.
- Graduated to pre-set the jaw opening or use as an improvised caliper.
- Clockwise rotating worm screw.
- Very compact.
- Weight: 65 g (2.3 oz).
// Spokey flathead + Philips interchangeable screwdriver (x1)
- This tool features a disk-shaped handle with a hexagonal insertion tube running along the handle’s radius. A hexagonal steel shaft inserts into this tube and has a flathead screwdriver on one end and a Philips screwdriver on the other. To convert, pull the shaft out, flip over, push back in.
- Covers my needs for a flathead and a Philips screwdriver (OK, with a stretch).
- Super compact, allows sufficient torque, German quality.
- Of course, its limitation is the shortness of the shank.
- Yet another amazing, hard-to-find product sold to my by the Rando Boutique guys. I definitely recommend this LBS if you’re in Paris.
- Weight: 17 g (0.6 oz).
// Rema Tip Top sandpaper, patch and glue kit (x1)
- A zip-lock repackaged version of their Touring Kit.
- Pure luxury.
- Tip Top’s sterility and ergonomics easily outdo Soviet-era medical bandages… yet another experience from my childhood bike crashes…
- Weight: approx 10 g (0.4 oz) (varies depending on the current quantity of patches and glue).
- Compact, flat, light and very strong tire levers that can lock onto the spokes.
- Clip together for easy storage.
- Weight: 23 g (0.8 oz) (for 2 levers)
// Park Tool MG-1 nitrile rubber mechanic’s glove (x1)
- One glove used mainly to remove the chain and keep the hands relatively clean.
- Weight: 4 g (0.14 oz) (size M).
- Note: not shown on the photo above.
- An incredible, super-minimal pump that does work. Especially when inflating the smallish 16" Shwalbe slicks.
- Carbon fiber barrel and handle (lockable).
- Aluminum thumblock.
- Maximum attainable pressure: 7 bar (100 psi). I floor-pump my tires to 100 psi on the front and 110 psi on the rear, so for an urban repair pump, 100 psi is plenty.
- Weight: 52 g (1.8 oz).
- Note: not shown on the photo above.
// Jean-Christophe LEBEAU and Anatoly IVANOV Ultralight Brompton Tool Pouch (x1)
- I describe this DIY pouch in a separate post.
- Weight: 10 g (0.4 oz).
MY TAKE-ALONG TOOL KIT FOR THE BROMPTON: TOTAL WEIGHT
- 400 g (14 oz) including the carrying pouch.
- Give or take several grams for tube patches variability.
You’ve got a nice bag to carry your kit ! ;-)
Just wanted to say thanks for posting this and your brompton measurement survey – these bikes have been quite an adventure to find parts for in the US!
ABOUT ANATOLY IVANOV / PROSE
Find out more about my posting and comments policy, as well as publishing frequency and copyright issues.