The British saddle brand has just opened up B1886, its first ever store, in London’s Covent Garden
Brooks, the lifestyle brand with a cycling DNA, last weekend opened up the doors to its first standalone store in the midst of London’s bustling shopping heart, just off the Seven Dials roundabout in Covent Garden. Offering the entire Brooks universe (saddles, bags, etc, according to the brand motto) the store is a quick-stop solution for anyone looking for comfortable and well-crafted leather saddles, or cycling accessories like bags and tools. “London made sense to us; it’s a British brand and London is also Europe’s only real global city,” Andrea Meneghelli, the Brooks brand director, explains.
But it’s not necessarily where you go to buy a bike though: “We’re not interested in building bikes – everyone should do what they’re good at and for us that’s saddles… and we’re building our expertise in bags again, we had to re-learn the skill. They are our core products, anything else would look like a cash cow,” Meneghelli says from the store basement. His location is important, not just as our interview spot. “Here,” he explains, “we will customise saddles – people will come in and ask for a specific saddle model in a colour of their choice. We’ll also offer saddle repairs, basic bike fitting where we will install the saddle or leather grips on the bike.”
And there’s more to come. “Yes, from a bike point of view, the basement is interesting as we’ll also invite frame builders to sell made to measure bikes with Brooks saddles here.” And for Meneghelli it’s not a problem having bike brands in the store. “We will not make bikes, but enable them by using our components. In any case, a Brooks bike is any nice bike with a Brooks saddle on it. We don’t need to have our logo on the bike itself, just the saddle… we call it ‘the finishing touch’!”
B1886, Brooks Saddles, 36 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LH
Text David Hellqvist
Photography Jasper Fry