Brompton M3L with a Brompton A-Bag; always stylish and appropriate.
Posted 5.27.10 in Commuting, Photos | Bookmark or Share
$580 for a stylish, yet ultimately impractical and undersized briefcase!! I’m not sure “appropriate” is the adjective I would use.
Great shot, though – Brompton should hire you for their product shoots.
Perhaps I should have said, “appropriate for the boardroom“. Certainly it’s a little steep and not required for the company I slum around with as a graphic artist… :-) Pretty bag though, and it’s cool to have a Brompton-Block-specific option for the upscale businessperson. Of course, B also makes a full line of more conventional commuter and touring bags for the rest of us.
Sorry – that was a little harsh, didn’t mean to be such a downer. It’s a pretty bag, and as an attorney who commutes in by bike daily, a “boardroom appropriate” bike bag would be great. (I carry my take-home work in a waterproof Timbuk2 bag and keep a “courtroom/client meeting appropriate” brief at the office. Which is a very nice, leather bag that will actually fit a client file and a laptop and that cost me half of the price of the Brompton bag.)
But, seriously, don’t you think $580 is a little outrageous? You don’t think that perhaps you are paying more for the name here than the actual bag? How much is the “Brompton mystique” worth, and how much would you actually be willing to pay for the bag if it wasn’t a “Brompton bag”? This is the same problem I have with a lot of the Brooks accessories – not the saddles, which are priced like premium saddles, which they are. A lot of the Brooks accessories are just mediocre leather goods, but they go for premium prices “because they’re Brooks.”
I have no problem paying for quality. But this seems like just an over-the-top piece of consumerist flotsam.
That said, I bike in Keen sandals, so I’m not the guy from which to be taking fashion advice.
We’re not really in disagreement – I’m a Keen sandal guy too… :-) I certainly can’t afford a $600 leather briefcase… LOL. Part of what may make it expensive is that it’s built around a Brompton carriage so that it will slip right onto the Brompton mounting block. Considering there are only a very small number of these made, and all presumably by hand in England, I can understand why they might be unusually expensive. That doesn’t make them a better deal for the person who doesn’t want one, but for the person who does, the price may not be an issue. I can say this – it’s just about the prettiest briefcase I’ve ever seen, bike bag or not.
I agree that the price for the briefcase is outrageous. But at the same time, it is typical for a briefcase of its size and quality from a number of “luxury good” manufacturers. By purchasing this briefcase, the upscale consumer is able to satisfy the expensive tastes they are accustomed to in a way that embraces cycling. The availability of this briefcase portrays cycling as something that can be done by the sort of person who holds important jobs, makes loads of money, and wears formal attire – a link that has been difficult to establish in the US. Cycling is not “just for hippies and environmentalists” but for the rich CEO. And why not?
i agree with lovely bicycle : )
@ Lovely Bicycle
I take the point about the need for ways to bridge the perception gap so as to mainstream the idea of bicycling for more than just the “hippies and environmentalists.” And like I said, its a nice looking bag. But it also reminds me of the old “joke” regarding the difference between the space program of the U.S. versus the U.S.S.R.:
In the early days of the space program scientists realized that there was a problem with writing in zero gravity – regular pens didn’t work since they all depended on gravity to make the ink flow. The United States gave a grant to a team of top scientists, and after millions of dollars of R&D later, and numerous failed attempts, the scientists were successful and developed the “Space Pen,” which would write in zero gravity (or upside down, etc.) The U.S. President was very proud of this demonstration of United States technological superiority and presented a Space Pen as a gift to the Russian President. “This is great!” said the Russian President, “we just used a pencil.”
(I did not say it was a “good” joke.)
The Brompton bag, in my opinion, is the equivalent of the Space Pen. It’s cool, its flashy, its expensive and it really only works with the Brompton. The pencil equivalent is the simple idea of putting an “attache hook” on the side of your bicycle rack (see example here: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/03/briefcase-hooks-on-back-racks-design.html). It’s not at all flashy, bou can use whatever briefcase/attache you already own (as expensive or as humble as you choose), its simple, cheap and would work with any bicycle that can accommodate a back rack.
Which is better? For me, the attache hook idea is more elegant and practical, and I wish there were more rack options out there that included it as part of their design. Your mileage may vary.
Links doesn’t seem to be working. Attache rack hook example:
The Brompton is one of the most compact of all folding bikes, and as such, the design involves a number of compromises and requires a number of special fittings. The Brompton front carrier block is an ingenious design that makes it possible to mount nearly any bag in their line-up on the same block, all the while supporting the weight on the frame, not the fork (as to not negatively affect the steering). While the briefcase hooks shown on the above linked page make sense for full-sized bikes, they have no application on a tiny folding bike like a Brompton.
If you’re interested, there’s more information on the Brompton carrier block, carrying frame, and associated bags here:
Everyone should know and expect the pro-consumerist view of EcoVelo by now. More disturbing than the price,to me, is the idea of carrying a leather bag. How is carrying dead cow a status symbol?
Of course there is also the idea that spending more on a bag than most families of four spend on groceries in a month is a whole other issue. And with real unemployment at 20% this could be exhibit A on setting priorities.
No rant, just sayin’.
PS – Interesting post in sequence with ‘Portraits’ about Africans and their bikes
@A Bike Commuter
“No rant, just sayinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.”
Sounds like a rant to me, but at least it was a polite rant… LOL.
We do feature new products here because that’s what our readers have told us they like. If that makes us “pro-consumerist”, we’re guilty as charged. Hopefully, along the way, we’re also encouraging some folks to leave their cars at home too; from the feedback we receive, I’d say we’ve had some success in that regard.
What I fail to see is how the man (or woman) who wants a briefcase like this would ever ride a Brompton, or any bicycle for that manner. I know of various cabinet ministers here in Holland who ride a bike to work, followed by the ministerial limousine carrying their bags … There’s even a junior minister, a woman, who likes to ride a bike in order to keep fit but cannot do so on her own as she has a slight physical impediment. She has a departmental tandem on which she rides as the stoker, with her official chauffeur in front. And again, the bags following in the car behind.
RetroVelo also offers a briefcase like this, fit for a diamond frame:
for which I cannot see much use either.
@FritsB, Thanks for providing an interesting perspective on this topic. More than that, Thanks for the link! What fun looking at the pictures in the retrovelo catalog. Lots of nice looking products that I will never buy.
@Alan, I enjoy seeing this sort of bicycle related paraphenalia. I’ll never buy one of these bags. The thought of it makes me laugh out loud but I like to be aware that such things exist and I enjoy looking at them. Meanwhile I’ll continue to carry my important documents in recylcled college bookstore bags which I stuff in my panniers.
Tip for the non-consumerists out there: If you are looking for some good sturdy plastic bags hit a bookstore. They are just the right size of a change of clothes or a laptop and they will last for 6 months of daily use.
It’s interesting to me that nobody is objecting to the price of the Brompton yet the bag is causing a lot of anxiety! Don’t see why a bag like this could not also be a useful object that endures and provides joy.
A chacun son style, friends.
A Bike Commuter – Do you use electronics, items made of plastic or anything than necessitates the use or production of either? If so, you are actively contributing the the catastrophic disruptions of our endocrine systems, to cancer, to female infertility, to low sperm count in males, and to a number of other horrifying phenomena plaguing today’s society. No rant, just sayin’ : )
I think the bag is fantastic! I’ve seen some very nicely home-engineered leather briefcase panniers no doubt inspired by something like this Brompton bag. It’s totally going on my If I had a Million Dollars list. Of course the Brommy would be nice too. ;-)
It’s a nice looking bag. Given some care, is there a reason why you wouldn’t get 10 years plus use out of it? That makes the up front cost look more reasonable to me (although I don’t ride a Brompton and have no need for this bag and still think it’s expensive).
I agree with Lovely Bicycle’s initial point that such a bag, along with a well put together cyclist, could help improve the image of bike commuters in general, and would hopefully encourage other people to cycle.
As for A Bike Commuter’s opinion that such an expensive bag is unnecessary during a time of 20% unemployment: someone had to make the bag.