Brompton won't change down to 1st gear

annedonnelly

Girl from the North Country
I have a six-speed Brompton. I can't reliably get it to change down onto the 1st hub gear. I've adjusted it as described on the Brompton website - with the end of the pin sticking out by about 1 mm. When I test ride it round the block it changes fine but the next time I need to use it for real it won''t change down. Changing between 2nd and 3rd is fine.

It does work occasionally but never when I most need it - uphill into a head wind.

Is there anything I'm missing when adjusting it? The wheel's got to come off tonight so it'll be a good opportunity to look at it properly.

Thanks
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Is it a 3speed SA hub? If so, you need to tighten the cable little by little until it'll click into low reliably. If there's a sight hole where the chain goes into the axle, adjusting it so the rod/chain join is level with the rim on the inside of the hole (someone must have pictures... I'lllook in a bbit) seems to be most reliable but even then hubs vary.

As for uphill into headwinds... you do need to ease off slightly (or be stationary!) for the gearbox to change down, but less so than on many derailleurs.
 

Rohloff_Brompton_Rider

Formerly just_fixed
I have a six-speed Brompton. I can't reliably get it to change down onto the 1st hub gear. I've adjusted it as described on the Brompton website - with the end of the pin sticking out by about 1 mm. When I test ride it round the block it changes fine but the next time I need to use it for real it won''t change down. Changing between 2nd and 3rd is fine.

It does work occasionally but never when I most need it - uphill into a head wind.

Is there anything I'm missing when adjusting it? The wheel's got to come off tonight so it'll be a good opportunity to look at it properly.

Thanks
Sometimes the outer gear cable becomes dislodged from the little black plastic block on the rear triangle frame. I've had it happen once or twice and I've used it as an indicator of the cable needs changing as it's lost it's bendiness. This gave me the same issues after a fold and the cable pulled out of the block.

Also you did put the lever into 2nd position before setting the indicator rod?
 
OP
annedonnelly

annedonnelly

Girl from the North Country
Well, I've followed all the instructions and photos so we'll have to see if it's sorted. Should find out in the morning unless the storm arrives and is too strong for me to ride in.
 

Brommyboy

Über Member
Location
Rugby
The shoulder of the indicator should be set against the end of the axil, not the hole in the extended nut. The gear needs to be first ENGAGED in 2nd gear before setting. Sometimes this involves turning the wheel backwards to engage the gear internally. If the hub is fairly old, a few drops of oil could be trickled down through the axil while the indicator rod is removed, for lubrication.
 
OP
annedonnelly

annedonnelly

Girl from the North Country
Thought I'd report back.... today's the first time the bike's been out since I fiddled with it.

Successfully changed down into 1st a few times so I'm much happy with it. I think the difference was in how I fitted the indicator into the hub. The link that @mjray posted said to screw in until just tight and then back it off half a turn. That's what I did and then did the cable adjustment exactly as I'd done before. Hopefully that's it sorted now - I don't always need the bottom gears but it's nice to know that they'll work when I do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mjr

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
The more you use the change, the longer and better it will work.

I usually rattle through the full range on my Brommie on each ride, even if the conditions don't call for it.
 

Ridelegalforfun

New Member
Location
Fleet or London
The tips I've learned are all mentioned above. A regular drop of oil on the hub selector works wonders and initial stiffness can be overcome by letting 1st engage before you put the power on, pedalling backwards half a turn in desperate situations!

My main point is that I learned the costly way in the first couple of years with my P6-R to pay attention to squeaks and slackness. Most are indicators of wear or problems that can cost a lot if ignored for long.
 
Top Bottom