Sunday, September 30, 2012

Brompfication Hinge Clamps Review

After seeing a bunch of my Brompton blogging contemporaries post reviews of gear I figure I'd better get off my ass and finish the one I've been sitting on for a while.  I ordered the brass & black hinge clamp set from Brompfication a few weeks ago and have had some time to try them out.  They are made and shipped from Singapore and costs $88.86 shipped to Arizona and taking Euro conversion rates into account.

Brass & Black Brompfication Hinge Plate Set on my Brompton.

Brompfication Hinge Clamp Set Video (by Brompfication)

The hinge plates are asymmetrical so that, when properly installed, they are not allowed to rotate when opened.  This makes closing the clamp much faster because the hinge plate is locked in place and no manual alignment is required.  I didn't think this would be a such big deal, but the more that I use the Brompton the more aligning the plate bugged me.

There are a couple of other features to this product.  A spring that surrounds the lever bolt keeps the plate pushed out away from the hinge when clamp is loosened.  This keeps the plate "ready" to close anytime that the hinge is open.  The other feature is the locking nut on the end of the lever bolt.  The locking nut, when properly adjusted, stops the lever bolt when there is enough clearance for the hinge to open.  This eliminates wasted effort and quickens both the opening and closing of the clamp.

Here's my experience:
The upper hinge clamp works beautifully.  The lower hinge clamp, however, is kinda rough.  I think the spring surrounding the lower lever bolt is not clearing the hole between the two sides of the hinge and it's getting caught, not allowing the spring to function normally.  Perhaps I have closer tolerances between the the two halves of the clamp on my particular Brompton.

Although the brass lever bolt looks very nice, it is not as comfortable to use as the stock lever bolt.  The stock lever bolt is too short to accommodate the locking nut, but Brompfication states that the bolt part can be pressed out of the stock part and replaced with a longer bolt (M8 x 55mm).

A bonus benefit of the locking nut is that I'm no longer worried that some hooligan will steal the clamp bolt on those rare occasions that I have to lock up the Brompton outside.

Overall, I think this hinge clamp set is very nice and makes folding and unfolding less of a hassle.  It's a solid upgrade.  


Monday, September 17, 2012

I could walk 500 miles...

I could walk 500 miles, but I'd much rather bike them on my Brompton.  And I just did tonight!  Well, I surpassed 500 miles since I've gotten the B.  I've been keeping track of stats on my handy dandy google doc spreadsheet hopefully viewable with this link.  I hope to make this spreadsheet a sticky on the front page somehow... gotta figure that out.

Anyway, here's some pics of today's momentus ride into downtown Tucson.

The beautiful Santa Cruz Church

One of my favorite signs... so real!

Believe it or not, this is a newly renovated sign.

Friday, September 7, 2012

GoPro mounting hack - FAIL

I tried shooting with the GoPro while coming down Independence Pass.  The camera was mounted using the hack I had posted about here and here.  Unfortunately, I forget one thing... a band that helps the mount stay in place in the luggage block.  You can see in the video that I had to stop a few times to re-secure the mount, and eventually it fell off the block.  The GoPro case landed in such a way that it really scratched up the lens, so no more video from the rest of the trip.  Here is what I have of the video for your enjoyment / constructive criticism / laughter. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Yo Colorado! Part 3: Bonus - New Belgium Brewery

I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a tour of the New Belgium Brewery in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  Tours usually book up weeks in advance... I got the last spot for pretty much the only day I could go, and they were able to accommodate my buddy Saul, even though he didn't have a reservation.

Instead of me writing on the history of New Belgium, I'll let you read their version here if you want to.

One of the most impressive things about the company is that it is employee owned, so everyone has a stake in making a quality product and everyone profits when they do well.  They are consistently named as one of the best places to work in America by Outside Magazine.

They are also very energy conscious, capitalizing on opportunities for not only minimizing energy loss through innovative processes, but also utilizing alternative sources of energy.  New Belgium was the first brewery to harness wind power in the United States.

New Belgium is the third largest craft brewery in the United States, behind Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada.  But New Belgium is only sold in 28 states, while the other two are sold in all 50 states.  Apparently lots of big names in the industry had taken tours just to see what all the hype was about, namely Guinness and Samuel Adams.

In addition to checking out the big machines used in the brewing process, we got to sample a few types of beer, including sour La Folie.  Sounds gross, but it's actually very good if you give it a chance.

On to the pics!

New Belgium Brewing HQ

A slide and a foosball table?  What kind of business is this?

How many bottles on the lamp?  I think it was 154 if I remember correctly

Electric car pump

Rare La Folie sour brown ale

Massive oak barrels for some of their more experimental beers

Badge of honor

The enzymes and $#*% are collaborating together to make some kind of mixture...


Salud! or Prost! or something.

Spongebob Squarepants

Decisions, decisions

These are the company issued bikes after your first year of employment.

With the new headbadge, we are now kindred spirits.  And share magical powers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Yo Colorado, Part 2 - US Pro Challenge

In this installment of my Colorado trip is about the 2012 US Pro Cycling Challenge.  The tour took place from August 20 to August 26 and went throughout the state.  This was my first time spectating a cycling race and it is remarkably similar to the WRC and SCCA rally races I used to frequent.  The following is the list of stages I saw and the accompanying photos I took:

Stage 3 - Gunnison to Aspen: This was the first stage I spectated.  Saul and I tried to beat the racers up Independence Pass on our bikes.  Yeah... that didn't happen.

Glamour shot!

Stage 4 - Aspen to Beaver Creek:  I got to check out all the teams before they started off.  Great atmosphere!

Mine can go in the hatch.
Finally!  Someone interesting to interview!

There's gotta be room for a unicycle!

Cycling legend George Hincapie.  This was his final race event, aka retirement party!
Stage 4 leader (and eventual winner) Christian Vandevelde.
Start line

Stage 5 - Breckenridge to Colorado Springs:  Again, we just hung out around the start and enjoyed ourselves.

Nice spectator area in Breckenridge.

Stage 6 - Golden to Boulder:  We spectated in downtown Boulder.

Peloton being lead by BMC

Stage 7 - Denver Time Trial:  The time trial course circled downtown Denver and we were fortunate enough to catch the start and finish of the race leaders.

Levi Leipheimer
Christian Vandevelde
Tejay van Garderen
Tom Danielson