It needs a little bodging but it works well
I like to have toeclips to give me a bit more control and especially to allow me to reposition the cranks when stopped at a junction. I’m not particularly interested in SPD or other special pedals that require you to wear cleated shoes, I feel it’s important to be able to ride your bike in any shoes that you happen to have on (not make cycling into a ‘special’ activity that you must dress up for). I’ve also seen a couple of accidents where people just couldn’t get their cleats unhooked so they crashed to the ground.
So I find the strapless toeclips sold by Zefal ideal and have them on all my bikes. They are easy to fit to conventional pedals but it takes a bit of work to fit them to a Brompton.
First, the non-folding pedal on the newer, post 2009, Bromptons does not have any fixing holes for toeclips so you need to buy a replacement pedal for that, almost any pedal will do so it’s up to you how much you spend. The older Bromptons had a cheap plastic pedal which seemed to work OK for me.
Then the big problem.
The folding pedal is not a natural candidate for toeclips as there are various moving parts in the area where the fixing screw and nut would normally intrude into the body of the pedal.
So you have to fit it by screwing the fixing screws into the pedal body and cutting them to be just long enough to screw into the metal but not stick out the other side where the moving parts are. On the photo above you should be able to make out the ends of the two screws, two circular marks on the inside of the pedal body (click on the photo to zoom in, use ‘back’ on your browser to return to this page). I drilled two holes in the pedal, tapped them and cut two stainless steel socket screws to the correct length. I used some thread-locking compound to keep it all secure and this clip has been in use for a couple of years with no problem.
This works because the body of the pedal is made of thick aluminium so there is enough ‘meat’ to create a decent amount of thread. You’ll see this pedal is well-used, it’s from my original 2003 Brompton and has had a new bearing fitted but the main body and folding mechanism is still fine. I’m about to swap it from my old red bike to the new BWR Brompton (a bit easier than doing the job again).
Things to watch out for.
Before I drilled the holes I spent some time thinking about the correct position, it needs to be some way outboard so your foot isn’t jammed up against the hinge/bearing housing and when you drill the holes you don’t want to damage the plastic internals of the pedal, I think I managed to get two hole positions where the drill or tap could pass right through with a bit of fiddling with the hinge movement to ensure that the plastic parts were out of the way. It’s also important that the vertical position of the holes ensures that the top of the pedal is flush with the toeclip – to give your foot a flat platform.
If you are wondering what size the screw is, I can’t remember but I assume it’s the same size as the fixing screw that came with the toeclip. You could use those screws but they are not very rustproof and since you will want to threadlock them in you might as well use a durable material. I try to use stainless screws throughout my bikes, they are used in all conditions and I don’t understand why bike makers (not Brompton) use cheap materials that go rusty and look ugly in a very short time.
Postscript May 2014: Since I wrote this post 5 years ago, things have moved on and there is a good adaptor kit available from an inventive Bromptonist to allow you to fit strapless toeclips without any bodging. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and it works well, I know a number of other Brompton owners are happy with the kit.