Is the front wheel of a Brompton Bicycle designed to be symmetric or asymmetric?

I have a Brompton bicycle and I need to replace the front wheel. After installing the tyre on the new front wheel, I went to put the wheel back on the bike, but I couldn't figure out which side of the wheel should go on the "drive" side of the bicycle (along my right leg) and which side should go on the opposite side of the bike (along my left leg).

Obviously the rear wheel is asymmetrical: the side with the gears is the drive-side. But how can I tell which side of the front wheel is the drive-side? Or does it not matter at all?

Is the Brompton front wheel symmetrical?

  • Does it have a QR skewer? If that is still in place, the lever is normally to the left side (non-drive side)
    – Criggie
    Jan 14 at 0:34
  • 2
    Even if the wheel is symmetric, the tire may not be
    – Edward
    Jan 14 at 2:10

2 Answers 2


Is the Brompton front wheel symmetrical?

This depends on whether you have a hub dynamo. Hub dynamo wheels have a specific rotation direction. The connector is one side, and your bike has the wiring on the same side. If you put it the other way, it's not possible to attach the light connector wire at all.

Without hub dynamo, as it's a rim brake wheel, it's symmetric. There would be no reason to build an asymmetric front wheel in this case. I'm pretty certain as well that the types of tires used in Brompton don't have a rotation direction, although if you have installed studded tires yourself for winter usage, this may no longer be the case.

  • 1
    All tires listed on the Brompton's website have rotation directions signs (Marathon Plus, Marathon Racer, Marathon Almotion, One).
    – Rеnаud
    Jan 14 at 10:33
  • Yes the Marathon Plus does have a rotation direction. Also the amount of stuff to screw onto each axle is not symmetric. The side with the frame hook (used in the fold) uses more space than the drive side of the wheel. But that doesn't necessarily mean the wheel itself is asymmetric. Jan 14 at 14:24
  • @MichaelAltfield Well, if you got a Marathon Plus on it, that's the answer to your question. Mount it the way the tire prescribes. Not that it matters much, but the tread is better at pushing water out of the way if you mount it correctly. Jan 14 at 22:25
  • @cmaster-reinstatemonica No, some hub dynamos can gradually self-unscrew if rotated in the incorrect direction. You should mount it the right way.
    – juhist
    Jan 16 at 6:12
  • Ah, of course. I guess, I'd better delete that last comment... done. Jan 16 at 8:59

Front wheels with rim brakes are usually symmetrical, but if Bromptons were an exception, the distance between brake pads and the rim (after having mounted the wheel) should be a pretty good indicator to see if it's installed properly — considering the wheel is true.

But as pointed in the comments, tires have have a recommended rotation direction, that is better to respect when mounting the wheel/tire.

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