The Brompton Junction store in Covent Garden is part of the new generation of cycle shops.
If you see someone boarding a train with a roughly circular-shaped waterproof package in their grasp, the chances are fairly good they are a Brompton-toting commuter.
The collapsible bikes have been around since 1988 but, only now, in Covent Garden, has the company reached out direct to shoppers with a store rather than a network of Brompton-stocking cycle shops.
This shop, Brompton Junction, has been open for a little over five months. It trades from two floors and, as well as fulfilling its retail function, it almost doubles as a Brompton museum. The ground floor has a series of large, internally illuminated pigeonholes, each of which is home to a folded Brompton offered in a different colour and permutation. There are close to 40 bikes on display.
The aim is to show potential buyers the options available, but for those who want a bespoke machine there is the ‘Bike Builder’ – a large, mid-floor touchscreen that allows a personally customised Brompton to be realised.
Elsewhere on this floor there are resting points, a range of accessories and graphics about building a Brompton. Downstairs a workshop, a cafe with seats formed from Brompton bike saddles on poles and a recessed brick space where two of the original models are on display, all catch the eye. The workshop in particular is noteworthy with bright colours and not a grease-monkey in sight.
The Brompton store is part of the new generation of cycle shops that seek to take the sale of what has traditionally been a relatively workaday investment purchase and make an experience of it. Less than a mile from this store there is a cycling clothing brand Rapha shop, which occupies the same niche territory.