Saturday 9 February 2013

Interview with Peter from NYCeWheels.

Bert in front of NYCeWheels

If you have ever considered buying a Brompton bike and gone for the bespoke option, you might have come across the NYCeWheels colour configure tool please click here which allows you to play around with the many colour options you can choose from.

You might have logged on to YouTube and seen Peter from NYCeWheels going through the various options when thinking about getting a Brompton in their excellent videos. You might also have seen the yellow NYCeWheels Brompton bikes on videos where prospective buyers or the curious can go on a free tour to test out a Brompton. You might even have seen the video where Peter of NYCeWheels takes his Brompton out and about in New York when it is snowing.

NYCeWheels is a great bike shop and perhaps the sort of shop you would like to have near you. The YouTube videos, blogs, Twitter feeds and FaceBook page are all very popular here in the UK and from the readers of my blog, I know that they are also popular in the rest of Europe, the USA, the Far East and Australia.

I have travelled to many countries over the years but I have not been to the USA. One of the places I have always wanted (and will one day visit) is New York. There seems to be a few parallels with London  and apart from all the tourist attractions New York has to offer, a visit to NYCeWheels would be high on my list of places to see. For those of you like me who cannot jet across to New York, I thought the next best thing would be to ask them a few questions. Peter at NYCeWheels kindly answered a some of my questions and his responses are listed below.

1 You stock lots of Brompton bikes. What is your most popular colour, gearing and handlebar type?

We stock at least one of every combination of handlebar, gearing and E/L/R configuration. The colors are a bit limited for some of the less common combinations as we tend to stick with black. Our most popular model is the M3L and we stock that in many colors and at the moment we have 150 of those in stock in various color combinations. Our most popular color is black by default because most folks want a low profile bike that's less expensive. When people do choose colors they tend to pick one for the main frame and keep the extremeties black. In that case our most popular colors are Racing Green/Black, Red/Black and Arctic Blue/Black. I'm sure Cobalt and Orange will be popular colors this year as they are , along with black and white, the colors which require no surcharge. Raw Lacquer is our personal shop favorite. Bert - NYCeWheels owner, Roberto - shipping manager and I all ride Raw Lacquer bikes. Also one of our long time sales guys Mark has one as well.

2 Do any of the staff at NYCeWheels own Brompton bikes? If so what type do they have?

Guess I partially answered that above but hey… I own an S2L Raw Lacquer that used to me an M6L. I converted it after Roberto - shipping manager - got his S2L Raw Lacquer titanium. Bert - owner - has an S1E Raw Lacquer with an Electric Motor on it and Cory - accounting has an M3L Arctic Blue/Black with an electric motor on it. Some of our previous staff have owned Bromptons as well - Mark in sales had an S2L Raw Lacquer and Shoi in shipping had an M3L Flamingo Pink. As a between the lines footnote to that question: none of us own any other brand of folding bicycle.

3 What reaction do you get from New Yorkers when they see a small wheeled, folding British made bike?

Most folks don't think British unless they know something about Brompton bikes already. Usually they ask us if we invented them - usually just after unfolding or folding them in a flash. The small wheels are a pretty common site these days what with Dahon, Tern, Citzen, Greenzone, and every other 20 inch wheel folding brand offering a slew of small wheel folders. What still grabs people about the Brompton is the way the rear wheel swings under and the slightly odd shaped M and H handlebars - not to mention the P type.

Most folks also jump to asking about the price and with a Brompton it can be a little awkward to tell a stranger you're riding a $1500 folding bicycle. I usually tell them pretty soon they'll be paying that for a years worth of Subway rides without any of the fresh air, scenery, or exercise.

4 What is the most number of Brompton bikes you have sold in one week, month, year?

Can't give out exact overall sales numbers but we have had record days of selling around 14. Yearly and monthly we sell about 3x more than the next best selling manufacturer and that 2nd place is already a huge number of bicycles. Let's put it this way, Brompton can't produce them fast enough for us to sell them.

5 How safe is it to cycle in New York?

Pretty safe I'd say. I've been riding here for 6 years and the number of bike lanes has sky rocketed in that time. Drivers are pretty aware but I've still had my share of close calls. I think the key in any city is to ride defensively and only go as fast as you are confident you can predict what will happen in front of you. That experience is invaluable. I think as long as you take it slow, cautious, and are aware of what’s happening around you everything should be fine. That said, there's always the risk of someone who just rented a car and hasn’t driven in years. Still, I'm not going to lock myself at home and watch Premium Rush on repeat with a bucket of ice cream all day long!

6 Have you had any famous customers who have bought Brompton bikes? Are you able to name them?

We've had a few. I sold two H3Ls in Black to a certain star of Bowfinger and The Jerk. Seemed like he prefered a bit of incognito though, so I wont mention his name.

7 You regularly hold Brompton tours of New York. How popular are they and how did they come about?

Jack's first tour. Looks like fun doesn't it.

The tours were very popular last year with more than half of them completely booked. We're running the same series starting in March 2013 and you can sign up here:

We run these tours to give folks a chance to test out a Brompton on a longer ride, so Brompton owners with friends in town can show their guests the fun of riding one, and just for the sheer spectical of 10 yellow Brompton bicycles parading around New York City! And when it comes down to sheer business, it all points back to NYCeWheels and helps promote our walk in business.

8 The NYCeWheels videos on YouTube and via your website are excellent. Whose idea was it to make them? How long do they take to make?

Bert has been making YouTube videos since 2006 but the channel really starting heating up in October of 2010. At that time Bert decided to commit a serious chunk of my time to planning, scripting, and producing video reviews on the products we really cared about. That Brompton video review please click here kicked off a new way of connecting with customers and offering in-depth professional information to customers in an entertaining way.

The production goes like this: plan, shoot, edit, upload, promote. Bert and I work pretty closely on every aspect and always work to make each video better than the last. Our style is not salesy, it's probably almost the opposite. We give viewers a look at each bicycles' features without any mention of competitors, price, deals, or any fluff. We want them to be informative, entertaining, and professional, while creating a personal connection between customers and the reviewer.

The main videos on bicycles take about 1 or 2 hrs to plan, 6-8 hrs to shoot, 4-6 hrs to edit, and 3-5 hrs to promote. Don't tell Bert though, he likes to think we get it done in 10hrs start to finish. :)

9 Are there any Brompton/folding bike events in New York? If so, can you explain more about them?

There's our tours, Steve Huang (from BFold) runs the super popular Brommie Yummie please click here, the Folds Up bike ride from Transportation Alternatives please click here and…. that's it as far as I know.

10 What is the history of NYCeWheels? How long as it been in existence, who owns it…?

Bert has been at the helm of NYCeWheels since 2001. We used to sell electric scooters and electric bikes strictly. Then we moved into folding bicycles. Now we are primarily folding bicycles and kick scooters. Seems like we are moving towards specialzing mostly in those last two products.

11 Have any of the staff at NYCeWheels ever visited the Brompton factory or competed at a Brompton World Champiosnhips?

Bert has been to both but he is the only one.

12 What would you like Brompton to do to make their already good bikes even better?

It seems nitpicky to criticize such an amazing and well evolved design but there are a few small details: brake calipers with a release lever to remove/install wheels with inflated tires, a metal chain guard would be cool, ergonmic grips as stock… all small things really.


A very big thank you to NYCeWheels and especially to Peter for answering all my questions. I think it is quite telling that so many members of staff own Brompton bikes and the responses to my questions certainly make interesting reading.

If you liked this blog post or have have been to NYCeWheels, please leave a comment. Hopefully in the future there will be more blogs relating to New York and NYCeWheels, so keep coming back.

You can click on the link below which will take you the NYCeWheels website which is the hub for all the good stuff they do.


  1. Hello! Do you know any bike fleamarkets or season bilemarkets, where I can buy used Brompton bike?


    1. Hello, many thanks for the reply. Here in London second hand Brompton bikes are quite rare and unfortunately many could be stolen. If you are buying second hand make sure that the seller is able to provide the original receipt. Don't know where you are based but eBay might be a starting point.

  2. hi,

    just wondering why here in Ireland, the Bromptons are way too Expensive than in United States considering UK (its factory) is only an hour away from here?
    are we being Rip Off here in the Emerald Isle??
    sorry the Celtic Tiger is already in the grave!


    1. Hello James. I can't answer that one I'm afraid. I suspect different markets involve different costs just like any other product. Drop Brompton an email if you like as I'm sure they can provide fuller details.


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