Monday, March 19, 2012


An article contributed by Darren Siow 
A few months after I got my Brompton, the right side pedal began creaking. I tightened the screws but the creaking didn’t go away. A quick check around showed that this was a common issue. Recently, my left folding pedal began creaking too! As I had been used to riding with clipless pedals for many years, I took this opportunity to change the stock pedals to clipless ones. For the Brompton, I was going to use it as a commuting bike as well as for short rides around the neighbourhood to dao bao lunch, run errands etc. I wanted a pedal that would allow me to do all the activities. Searching online, I found few pedals that offered this functionality. I chanced upon the Shimano M324 and immediately bought it along with a pair of shoes which I could use on and off the bike. I like the Shimano M324 for its versatility; one side offers mountain bike style SPD cleat entry whilst the other side is a standard platform. Just right for me! (Weight weenie warning: they are about 530 grams per pair!)
The challenge I faced in replacing the pedals was the removal of the left stock Brompton pedal. The bolt that holds things in place is massive and I didn’t have any tools to match this bolt. During one of the LCSG gatherings, I spoke to someone who had also changed the stock pedals. I found out that he had used an unorthodox method to remove the pedal. So I followed suit.
 Removing the stock left Brompton pedal
I used a standard size adjustable spanner and a plier. The typical way to use a spanner is to fit the spanner at right angles to the bolt shaft. I made the adjustable spanner ‘bite’ onto the head of the bolt, parallel to the bolt instead of the correct orientation. This allowed only very little grip on the bolt. I tightened the jaws around the bolt head as much as I could. Consulting Google, I double-checked that the correct way to remove a left pedal is to rotate the bolt clockwise. With that confirmed, I gave the spanner a good swift tap with the pliers. The bolt seemed to turn but I wasn’t sure. So I gave it another tap. This time I could see the bolt turning! I was very happy and relieved that this unorthodox method worked! It helped that the stock pedal wasn’t very tight.
The picture below gives you an idea how the spanner gripped onto the bolt head.  
Left Folding Pedal, Washer, Big Bolt & Right Pedal 
Here's how the pedals looked after removed from Brompton
new left pedal
looking down from the saddle
Pearl izumi Mens' X-Alp seek IV cycling shoe 
I bought the shoes from Amazon and if you do decide to get shoes online, read the reviews first! For this model, many buyers advised that you need to order the next bigger size. I followed the advice and I’m glad to say that they were very accurate. I typically wear size US9.5 shoes, so for this pair I ordered US10, and it’s perfect!
I chose this pair of shoes because I can use them on my commute to work and then still wear them during the office day. I’m lucky that my work doesn’t require me to wear formal leather shoes. J The cleat (the metal piece that connects to the pedal) is bolted on in a recess of the shoe. This clever design was why I bought the shoes. The only thing that bugs me about walking around with this is that on certain uneven surfaces, I can feel and hear the cleat grinding against the road. On pavements and tiled surfaces, it works well.
The downside of having a non-folding left pedal is the increased size when the bike is folded. However, I know that I hardly need to transport or store my Brompton in the folded state, so I bit the bullet and switched to the clipless.
Today (18Mar2012), I went on my first ride with the clipless pedals and I have to say I love them! It makes me feel like I’m riding a real bike! :-P

Photo credits - Darren Siow


  1. Thanks for this review! tomorrow I'm going to get exactly this pedals. Any other suggestion or comment. Thanks,

  2. Hey,

    I'm thinking of doing the same type of thing. Does the pedals still fold? What's the bike like when folded?


    1. It doesn't fold up. Just stick out a little.

  3. You make me want to visit Chicago for the bicycling scene. Thanks for sharing this great, fun adventure. Next time ask a pal to join you! Recommended Reading

  4. Thanks for your method on removing the left brompton peddle. I will give it a try.

  5. Thanks for your method on removing the left brompton peddle. I will give it a try.