Thursday, March 3, 2011

From caster wheels to in-line skating wheels to Easy Wheels

Unlike other folding bikes,  Brompton can be rolled in its folded state making it easy to transport it across the floor, like when at the mall, the train station or the airport.  You don't have to carry it.

The basic Brompton comes in caster wheels.  But these can be replaced by the Brompton Easy Wheels or any other kind of wheel like in-line skate wheels.

In this post, we'll compare the caster wheels, the in-line skate wheels and the Brompton Easy Wheels.
First up is the stock caster wheels that come with the Brompton.  It is hard and made of plastic.  So far, it only rolls on smooth floors.  Not so good on rough surfaces or carpets.  I think it's designed more as a stand than a roller.

I wasn't happy with the caster wheels, so I immediately looked around for a replacement.

Enter the generic in-line skate wheels you see on rollerblades and razor scooters.  I bought these for less than P100 from a friend (Thanks, Brznf!) who got it in Divisoria.  They are big, probably 3 inches in diameter.  They have ball bearings for a smooth roll and a rubber exterior to provide some cushion.
There's no problem when you use it as a roller.  It glides over all kinds of surfaces.  Marble, carpet, cement, gravel or whatever.  However, one concern is that the screw gets loose while in transit.  There was one time when one of the wheels fell off while I was rolling the bike.

Another issue is that the wheels are chunky, such that when the bike is unfolded and I start pedaling, sometimes my feet hit them.
And then there's the issue of balance.  When the bike is folded and is resting on the wheels, the right side of the bike is heavier than the other. And because of this the wheels tilt towards the right.  I do not have this problem with the caster wheels.  Probably because they bring the bike closer to the ground, so there's no imbalance.  The in-line skate wheels, however, elevate the bike a little higher, hence the tendency to tilt to one side.  This is not good because it's the handlebar grip that touches the floor.
Again, I was not satisfied with these big wheels and wanted to replace them.

Brompton designed the Easy Wheels to provide support to the bike when in its folded and resting state, and to roll smoothly on any surface.  On why Brompton didn't install the Easy Wheels in all of its models escapes me.

But these things are expensive.  They are $30/pair in the US, or approximately P1,300!  Grabe naman, P1,300 for two 2-inch wheels!  Mahal!  But I really disliked the caster wheels AND the in-line skate wheels, so there was no other option but to buy the Easy Wheels.  I asked my brother-in-law to bring home a set when he visited, and they have arrived.
The wheel is approximately 2 inches in diameter.  It has a hard plastic center, and a soft rubber exterior.  It is fitted with industrial bearings for a smooth roll.
It's not as small as the caster wheels.  It is able to roll smoothly on any surface.  And it's not as big and chunky as the in-line skate wheels, that would obstruct my pedaling.  It's just the right size.

If you're thinking of getting a Brompton, make sure to have the bike shop install the Easy Wheels.  It's expensive, but the stock caster wheels are really ugly.  Again, i don't know why Brompton doesn't make these its stock rollers.  These should be in all Bromptons.

26 comments:

  1. kris, you should have tried a smaller set of inline skate wheels or bigger skateboard ones! balance is the biggest issue when replacing wheels for those without a rack, but they say it's easily fixed by making sure you put the right wheels.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, bananamatronix! I might consider smaller set of inline skatewheels. I've noticed there's still a slight imbalance with the easy wheels.

    ReplyDelete
  3. btw, si diane from tsp to! haha :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Its interesting articles,i already enjoy read its.


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    ReplyDelete
  5. You have share a really wonderful information about castor wheels in this article. I really enjoyed to read this interesting about castor wheels. Balance is one important thing which need to consider during replacing castor wheel.

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    ReplyDelete
  6. you can actually overcome the imbalance issue by getting a longer screw and few more washers to extend the wheel or get a broader wheel with same diameter on tilting side,just to make it more balance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip, James! You are correct with your suggestion. I guess I was just too lazy to get a longer screw. Hehe.

      Delete
  7. Hi there would you mind telling me where did you guys bought those skate and scooter wheels from? i intend to change mine badly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The skate wheels? Some of us got them at HMR over at Pioneer St. in Mandaluyong. Others got theirs at Divisoria in China Town.

      Delete
  8. Its really innovative skate wheel..Nice article..

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  9. In skating, it's wheel always have very important part, and the castors wheel are very good skate wheel.

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  11. This is the mainline version. It's going to have different wheels and more detailed paint for the Entertainment line.

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  12. It would be nice if someone could try multiple skate wheel sizes and hardness to see if they would work better. Considering that they are relatively cheap, skate wheels might well be as good or better alternatives to the overpriced Eazy Wheels.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh, but very nice article btw. Interesting and informative.

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  14. Thank you for sharing valuable information about wheels. Very Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.

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  15. It is very important to take some time and do some research before making a purchase.

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  17. Castor wheels are the wheel device used for different type of industrial and household devices. The wheels come in various designs like compound, single, undriven and double. These are available in many sizes constructed of metal or heavy-duty components. Some configuration of castor and wheel are designed for rolling forward or backward only.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey my very first comment on your site.I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note.It is great stuff indeed.
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    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey my very first comment on your site.I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note.It is great stuff indeed.
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  20. Check out the bikefun eazy wheel extender. It's life changing.

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  21. Check out the bikefun eazy wheel extender. It's life changing.

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  22. you are providing great and quality services, i appreciate you.
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