People go in all different directions when decorating their Bromptons. Some have a taste for the garish, enduring the torturous eight-to-ten week delay for a custom-built orange and pink frame. Others prefer visual or animalistic themes, as with the star of the "Brompton Bumble B" blog.
For my own part, I think of Bromptons as having the same aesthetic gravitas as stained mahogany, leather-bound encyclopedias, well-crafted tweed waistcoats, and fine bourbon. Occasionally in the course of my day at NYCeWheels, I'll have the pleasure of meeting a Brompton owner who also thinks these bikes would not be out of place in a 19th century English gentleman's study. Such was the case today when a customer brought his heavily customized 6-speed by the shop.
Right out of the gate, you can't miss the gorgeous Brooks B17 saddle in Honey, which is complimented perfectly by the matching leather saddle trunk and handlebar stem bag. The handsome but unobtrusive red and black frame does a good job of looking nice without clashing with the bike's leather details. A small Union Jack brings some subtle patriotism to the mainframe.
A couple technical alterations have been made as well. Though a 6-speed Brompton is not unusual by any means, on this particular bike, all 6 gears are contained within the upgraded internal hub. On the handlebar, an equally slick solid metal shifter controls the gears. Finally, the standard 44 tooth chainwheel has been replaced with a 53T component, making this bike capable of achieving terrific speeds. According to the owner, "Even riding downhill, I have yet to max out."
Once again, Brompton does an excellent job of proving that form need not be divorced from function. The next step in tasteful Brompton upgrades? I'm going to say hardwood brake levers, platinum-plated spokes, and matching smoking jackets.
About the Author
Miles Schneider is a folding and electric bike specialist and blogger for NYCeWheels in New York City. He plays the 6-string electric violin and loves dogs.