Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Brompton M6R: Cateye Rapid Mini Rear Light

After changing the front light on the Brompton to a Cateye Volt 400, I decided to also change the rear light to a Cateye rear light. Another reason for changing was that I wanted to use the Moon Comet rear light on another bike.

Previously, I did not want to buy a new rear light for the Brompton, which was why I created a DIY mount for the Brompton. Now, I decided to do it the easy way and get a proper light bracket for the Cateye rear light.

There are a few Cateye rear lights that can be used with the rear rack bracket. I decided to get this Rapid Mini as it is compact sized, and can be recharged easily using USB, instead of changing batteries.

Cateye Rapid Mini rear light

The different operating modes available and also the battery runtime for each of them.

Comes with a bracket for mounting to seatpost, plus a rubber band and a wedge.

1 large LED in the middle, supplemented by 2 smaller LEDs at the sides

Cateye light bracket for rear rack

Using these stock mounting points on the Brompton rear rack, mounting the Cateye light bracket will be easy.

Easily done with bolts and nuts to fix everything together.

One problem I found was that this rear light bracket is actually not compatible to the Cateye Mini rear light. The shape is similar, but the dimensions are a little bit different. It is a very tight fit, which is a problem if I want to remove the light for charging next time.

Therefore, I had to file down a bit of the mounting point on the Cateye rear light, in order to make it fit better into the bracket. I did not anticipate this as the Cateye light mounting shape looked the same to me.

In any case, the modification was successful and I could fit this Cateye Mini rear light onto the Cateye light bracket for rear rack.

With Cateye Mini rear light mounted. Height can be adjusted if required. If angle adjustment is necessary, the metal brackets can be bent.

The light is nested within the diameter of the Eazy wheels, protecting it from damage.

Good clearance between the light and the ground, to prevent damage when rolling over uneven ground.

This is a very simple modification, what you need is just the Cateye light bracket for rear racks, and a compatible Cateye rear light. Compact and lightweight, yet bright enough for good visibility.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Brompton M6R: Cateye Volt 400 Front Light + DIY Bracket

My first attempt at installing a front light for the Brompton was to simply wrap a Moon Comet front light around the stock front light bracket. Although this is simple and works well, the light tends to tilt towards one side due to the shape of the rubber strap. Therefore, I wanted to change the front light on the Brompton. Another reason was that I wanted to use the Moon Comet front light on another bike, so I needed to get another front light for the Brompton.

This gives me an excuse to get a new front light for the Brompton. Many Brompton owners like to install the Cateye Volt 300 front light onto the front of the Brompton, using a custom light bracket available from Mighty Velo. I wanted to try and see if I could reuse the stock light bracket or not.

Cateye Volt 400 front light. More powerful than the Volt 300, at only 5 dollars more.

Rechargeable via USB or a removable cartridge battery.

Decent battery runtime for the different lighting modes.

Can turn on the light either by pressing and holding it, or double clicking it. Double clicking jumps directly to the high beam mode, while pressing and holding brings you to the last selected mode before it was turned off.

The stuff that comes with the light.

Light weighs 108 grams

Light plus Cateye light bracket is 126 grams

Lens for focusing the light at the front, with the power/mode button on top

Micro USB charging port is at the bottom, protected by a rubber cover to make it splash proof.

Original light bracket, with the top half secured to the clamp band by a single fixing bolt.

After testing it out, I have an idea on how to attach the Cateye light bracket to the original light bracket on the Brompton. First, the Brompton light bracket needs to be removed for some modifications.

Brompton light bracket is mounted to the front fork using the axle from the front brake caliper. A quick photo to show the arrangement of the spacers before removing it.

Just before the light bracket is removed from the front fork. Note the small clearance to the bottom cup of the external headset.

Light bracket resides within a custom casted metal part, to ensure that the clamping force of tightening the front brake axle is evenly distributed to the frame.

Original light bracket from the Brompton, before modification.

Top part of the Cateye light bracket can be removed by just unscrewing the single fixing bolt.

After that, just slide the top part off the clamp band. We will only need the top part to hold the light.

Top part of the Cateye light bracket. This part will be fixed to the Brompton light bracket, acting as an adapter between the light and the Brompton light bracket.

The Brompton light bracket will be widened slightly, where it will then be slotted into the Cateye light bracket.

After some work with a bench vise and some straightening of the Brompton light bracket, here is the result.

Due to contact with the tools and vise, the surface coating on the light bracket has been worn off, exposing bare metal.

To protect the bare metal and to improve the appearance, a black marker is used to touch up the exposed metal surfaces.

This modified Brompton light bracket is then slotted into the Cateye light bracket. It is a good fit!

View from the top

With the light installed to test out the fitting. All seems good!

The two brackets are then fixed together with a bolt and nut plus some washers.

Reinstalling the Brompton light bracket to the front fork. No interference between the tail end of the light and the frame!

Sufficient clearance between the light and the surrounding parts when folded.

Light can be easily removed for charging when required

The actual modification required for this is only the original Brompton light bracket, which had to be straightened out. It is rather difficult if you don't have the proper tool or equipment to straighten it nicely, otherwise this is not a challenging modification.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Brompton M6R: Brompton Tool Kit

Previously, I had already managed to mount a Lezyne pump, a spare tube and tire levers to the Brompton. Those items have been mounted to the rear rack, which means that I don't need to store those items separately in a bag.

However, one other very important tool that I need for puncture repair on the Brompton is a size 15 wrench! This is necessary to remove the axle nuts on the front or rear wheel, as it does not have quick release axles. Only then can the wheels be removed to change the inner tubes.

I thought of how to mount a size 15 wrench to the rear rack, but can't seem to find a neat way to do so. Most of the ideas involve tying or taping the wrench somewhere on the rear rack, which is not so neat or secure.

Then, I came across the Brompton Tool Kit, which is an integrated tool kit specially designed by Brompton for the Brompton! It seems to be the perfect solution for carrying tools on the Brompton.

Brompton Tool Kit designed by Brompton

The most interesting part of this tool kit is how it integrates the size 15 wrench into the tool kit.

This complete tool kit weighs about 199 grams. A reasonable weight, but not for weight weenies.

Upon removing the outer cover, the tools inside can be seen.

The size 15 wrench, with a ratcheting tool bit at the end.

Two metal tire levers are included, although I still prefer to use the Schwalbe tire levers.

Wrench removed from the base

Metal tire levers also double as size 8 and 10 wrenches. These two levers snap together with magnets for neat storage.

Main base holds the different sized Allen key and screwdriver bits.

Sandpaper and one patch is included. I added the Park Tool tube patch to this kit.

The full range of tool bits available, very useful! Allen key sized 2 to 6, plus cross head and flat head screwdriver bits.

The tool bits are inserted into the ratcheting mechanism at the end of the size 15 wrench for good leverage.

Based on the available tool bits found in this tool kit, it is very well designed. Allen key bits, screwdriver bits and wrenches can cover 99% of all required adjustments. Best of all, the whole package is very compact and fits directly into the Brompton frame!

Brompton Tool Kit slots into the front part of the frame

The innermost end of the tool kit has a magnet that holds it securely against the head tube. Also, the rubber around the other end allows the tool kit to fit snugly within the frame.

The only part that sticks out of the tool kit is the size 15 wrench.

One thing I noticed is that the wrench might interfere with the Imperium Cycle Hinge Clamps which I installed earlier. The stock hinge clamps have no problem as there is no nut at the end of the threaded rod, unlike this aftermarket clamp.

What I found was that when the hinge clamp is fully unscrewed, such as when the bike is being folded or unfolded, the wrench can just manage to clear the nut.

When the hinge clamp is fully unscrewed, the nut will clear the wrench by about 2mm.

After closing the hinge, tightening the hinge clamp will cause the nut to pass through the centre of the wrench.

Basically, under normal operating circumstances, the wrench will not interfere with the nut of the hinge clamp, as the nut will be fully retracted when opening or closing the frame. Then, once the frame is closed, tightening the hinge clamp will push the nut through the centre hole of the wrench. Not sure if this is lucky design or ingenious design, but it works well.

I am pleased with this Brompton Tool Kit as it completes the list of tools required to repair or adjust the Brompton while on the road. Not only does it add the essential size 15 wrench, it also includes the other tool bits for adjustments. Highly recommended for those who want to bring a complete tool kit on the road.