Brompton (and other foldies)
Yes, there are other folding bike companies, but Brompton stays in the news because they keep innovating. New colours, and a never-ending stream of own brand accessories offer city riders practicality on a scale other folding bikes struggle to emulate. On top of that, other bikes may fold well, and may be just as light – but never fold quite as well or quite as light as a Brompton.
However, Bromptons are premium and come with a premium price, and they attract the leading accessory brands, which meet Brompton’s build specification. When you roll up to Harvey Nicks with your £455 Vivienne Westwood leather bag, designed specifically for the Brompton bag mounts, heads will turn.
Going to a tower block to borrow your friend’s dutchie? A mixie is what you need. Bike design gurus Fixation, and hip hop entrepreneur Rick Ross have both put their names to this new trend for mini-fixies.
Although likely to be bought up by street-smart fashionistas, the mixie’s smaller wheels have less inertia when you step on the pedals, resulting in quicker acceleration, and responsive braking. The resulting ride is nippy and the smaller frame makes the bike easier to stash, making this an urban bike you have to consider. A mixie has another amorphous urban quality – a sense of danger. When the streets turn ugly, this bike invites you to dip and bounce into the night.
Vanmoof make sexy looking bikes, but more importantly, they make a sexy looking electric bike. The signature thick top-tube has always housed the front and rear lights, so the beautiful frame geometry isn’t compromised by the inclusion of a battery. The design is pared back and quintessentially urban, a fusion of 1950s austerity and Soviet futurism.
The motor is on the front wheel and the pedals power the rear wheel – so you get to enjoy a two-wheel drive cycling experience. Another bonus is you can wear what you like on this bike, knowing you won’t arrive hot and flustered. Just remember to keep it charged, electric bikes are heavy and no fun to ride without any juice.
Bomb Track – Trinity
I’m usually disappointed by nearly everything about bikes designed by Bomb Track – they once displayed a 26” steel framed fixie with high rise handlebars and pegs. The roadie snob in me snorted in disgust at the impracticality of all these design choices. But take a look at the Trinity. It’s clearly designed for women – yet I still want one. Just look at it.
The thin lines are proportioned perfectly to the size of the step-through frame, the matching colour mudguards will protect your clothes from the surface water – its design is elegant and clean. Look at how the rear brake bisects the stays, and how the colour of the saddle matches the bar tape. Everything about this bike screams urban cycle chic, but it remains a practical town bike, right down to the mid-range gearing, 2 speed hub gears, and front luggage rack. And yet, those slick tyres are begging you to drop the hammer.