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Tech Talk - Cleaning your Brompton

Our friends at Muc-Off are offering 25% off their cleaning products for Brompton owners. Click here to purchase from their website using the discount code MUCBROMPTON25.

For some tips on how to use your newly purchased kit check out our blog below...

Top tips for cleaning your Brompton

Cleaning a Brompton

Wash your Brompton bike

  • Use a sponge, some warm water and some specific bike cleaner. Your local Brompton dealer should be able to recommend a suitable bike detergent.

  • Don’t use household dish washing detergent, it has got lots of salt in it which won’t do your Brompton any good.

  • Don’t use a hose or Jet-wash to clean your bike, this will force water into areas like the hubs, hinges and headset, pushing out the grease inside and damaging bearings.

  • Give the frame parts, wheels and underside of the bike (where dirt will mostly accumulate) a thorough clean.

If your bike has a Sturmey Archer hub, be careful to ensure no water enters the driveside axle end (where the gear indicator chain enters the hub) as this will become trapped inside the hub and cause corrosion.

Cleaning a Brompton

Wheels and Tyres

Use a stiff brush to clean the wheel rims and tyres, removing any brake residue that will have accumulated. The black residue that accumulates on the rims is a mixture of dirt, pad material and aluminium powder worn from the braking surface of the rim, this residue is abrasive and will accelerate the wear of the rim and pads. When cleaning the pads and rims check to ensure they are not worn out and a worn rim or pads should be replaced immediately. Make sure you rinse the soapy water off the wheels with some clean cold water.

Inspect your tyres for wear and remove any bits of grit and debris that might have become embedded in the tread. Also check the sidewalls for damage, if the tread or sidewalls are damaged or the tread excessively worn replace the tyre. Check your tyre pressure and adjust if needed.

The recommended pressure range for each of the tyres we supply is shown in the table below:

Cleaning a BromptonCleaning a Brompton


Make sure your seatpost clean as any contamination on the post or the sleeve inside the frame can make the post slip down when riding and might make it difficult to raise and lower the post when folding/unfolding the bike. It is worth remembering that many cleaning products will leave a residue that can cause similar problems so rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Cleaning a Brompton


The chain, chainring and sprockets will need cleaning to remove any accumulated dirt and lubricant, before a fresh application of chain lubricant. Your Brompton dealer will be able to recommend a degreaser or chain cleaning detergent to use. When spraying the drivetrain ensure you do not get the cleaner onto other parts of the bike.

If your bike was made after December 2011 your chain will have a SRAM powerlink fitted and you can easily remove the chain to clean it. If the chain is not fitted with a powerlink you can clean it (along with the chainring and sprockets in situe). Using your chosen cleaning fluid and a stiff brush ensure that the chain, chainring, tensioner idlers and sprockets are clean. If you have a 2 or 6-speed bike, you can use a small flat-head screwdriver to remove any compacted dirt from between the two sprockets and from the chain tensioner idlers. Once the drivetrain is clean rinse with water to remove the cleaning fluid and then allow the drivetrain to dry.

Cleaning a Brompton

When the chain is cleaned and dry you can apply fresh lubricant. The best method is to carefully apply one drop of lubricant to each roller, this will take a little longer than just squirting lube on the chain while back pedaling but will ensure the lube gets where it’s needed and nowhere else. Once you have applied the lube, spin the pedal backwards for several revolutions to allow the lubricant to work into the rollers, before wiping of any excess lubricant from the chain with a cloth.

Cleaning a BromptonIf the chain is skipping over the rear sprocket/sprockets under load it is likely that the chain is worn and the drivetrain components will need replacing.

Cleaning a Brompton

Brake calipers

Once the bike is clean you should apply a little lubricant (chain lubricant is ideal) to the pivot points and spring bush on the brake caliper, as well as to the brake cable. When doing this it is extremely important that you do not get any lubricant on the brake pads or rims, should this happen clean the brake pads and rims thoroughly with degreaser before attempting to ride the bike.

Cleaning a Brompton


Apply a couple of drops of chain lube to the mainframe and handlebar support hinges on the mating surfaces between the two parts of the hinge. Open and close the hinges several times to allow the lube to get between the surfaces and wipe away any excess.

To finish, wipe off your bike with a microfibre cloth and you are then ready to ride!

Cleaning a Brompton