Tuesday 2 June 2020

I have got it all wrong with Brompton!!

Over the last few years I have bemoaned the steady release from Brompton of various 'Special Editions' despite the fact I have one - in the form of an Orange, Black Special Edition! I have even gone as far as mention the fact that Brompton has not embraced innovations like disc brakes for example. When I write a blog entry I normally make a few notes on paper beforehand using one of my favourite fountain pens - a Montblanc 149 - and it was when I looked down at this very pen, I knew I had got it all wrong with Brompton.

The '149' is pretty much the most iconic pen Montblanc make bar none. Introduced almost 70 years ago there have been almost no changes to its classic looks. It is a large pen with a large gold nib and for decades this classic black and gold pen has been instantly recognisable.

The classic black and gold

Not that long ago Montblanc released a Platinum Line version where the gold bits were replaced with a platinum coating. It was this pen that I was using when it dawned on me I had got it all wrong.

Oooooh! Look at the platinum version - it's different!!

The only real thing Montblanc can do to make their pens slightly different is to offer them in slightly different colours.  Some of these are 'Special Editions' only available for a limited period of time. Do you see where I am going with this?

The '149' is a design classic from an iconic brand. It is a pen design that doesn't really need fixing. There are dozens of pens that have the look of the '149' mainly for the fact, that for many, it is bordering on perfection. Could the same be said of the Brompton?

Well, this argument is strong. The Brompton has become over the years an icon in terms of design and the ways it looks. Like the '149' it has been tweaked a little here and there but the original concept still plays a huge part. 

The Brompton is recognisable by many and when out on a group ride with a bunch of other people on their Brompton bikes, I have heard pedestrians say, 'look at all those Brompton bikes!' I have never heard the same said of people on Trek, Specialized, Canyon, or Colnago bicycles!

When out on one of my Brompton bicycles whether it be for my daily commute, Friday night adventure or clocking up some serious miles I do not think to myself that I wish I had disc brakes, more gears... I don't. I just happily cycle along knowing that when I reach the train back to London from a night ride to the coast, I love the convenience of being able to fold and carry on. 

Like the '149' what could Brompton do to make their bicycle better for me personally? It is a question that if I really give some pause for thought I come up with very little.

So, I have to admit - for me at least - I think I have got it all wrong with Brompton.  Bring out all the  'Special Editions' you like. You won't find me questioning it again!

Stay safe out there people!


  1. As someone who's ridden road bikes for 25+ years, I'm late to the Brompton party, but I've owned my M3L in Graphite Grey for three months and absolutely love it. Now trying to tell myself I don't need an M6L with dynamo lighting for the winter...interesting that the n+1 rule applies to Brompton too! I've been reading your blog for a little while and have found it entertaining and informative; thank you for sharing your experiences. So far, I've ridden only from home, but an looking forward to taking the bike on the train, and perhaps having a crack at an audax, too; I used to ride 200s quite regularly, but haven't done so for about 10 years.

    I was moved to write to you when I discovered you to be a Mont Blanc devotee as well as a Bromptoneer; we are truly kindred spirits. I was lucky enough to receive a Meisterstuck Classique for my 40th birthday (now rather longer ago than I would like) and still use it every day. And yes, it is a special edition (Hommage a W A Mozart) but happily that extended only to the packaging: the pen itself is the traditional black and gold, as it should be. And I concur that both Brompton and Mont Blanc are pretty much perfect, whatever form they take.
    Stay safe

    1. Many thanks for leaving a comment and glad you are liking your new Brompton. Yes the n+1 is very much in force with owning a Brompton. Stay safe brother!

  2. New S3L graphite grey owner chopped in my super heavy Kona Sutra for Gordon the Brompton.So im slowly getting used to the special handling.Now I was looking at Tern for the disc brakes and other supposed embellishments but at the moment I really dont feel like im missing anything on my Brompton.Its quick on the road and the frame feels as stiff as anything else I have ridden.Anyway thanks for the blog I will keep reading.


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