Say hello to The Brogue, the result of a collaboration between jeweller Nicholas Fitch, of Nicholas James, and leather designer Simon Harcourt — and it’s so much more than just a way to get from A to B.
The idea for the diamond-encrusted, fine-leather upholstered vintage cycle came about when Fitch was collaborating with Harcourt on some jewellery boxes and saw a beautiful old bicycle hanging on the wall of his Highgate studio. Fitch told Harcourt: “You’ve got to do something with this, it’s amazing,” and Simon agreed.
Fixed-gear freestyle rider Chris Delia worked on the design and fitting of the bike and it was made at Highgate and Nicholas James’s workshops in Hatton Garden over eight weeks. “It’s a dandy’s bike,” says Fitch. “Not for rushing around on.
“There was even discussion of including a pipe-holder. Everything had to be finished to the highest quality. We are perfectionists and it is very refined.”
We take a closer look at London’s most luxe bike.
Brogue Leather Saddlebag
This bag is removable and fixes to the saddle with two straps. It is big enough to fit essential bicycle maintenance tools at 170mm wide and 90mm in diameter. The leather is the same Italian Ed Tanner Saddle leather as on the bike and it is hand-stitched with a laser-made brogue pattern. Fitch recast traditional Conway buckles, used in horse saddles, in sterling silver.
Dia-Compe BRS 202 brakes are deeper than normal road ones, at 57-75mm. They cost £26.99 each and weigh 200g.
The stops are cast in sterling silver and finished with a rim of chocolate-brown diamonds, to complement the vegetable-tanned leather. Brown diamonds have become popular “in the last seven years”. They have to be carefully selected so they aren’t too muddy or dark and are the right size for the handlebars.
Five-speed Sturmey-Archer gears cost £129.99. In order to work they are supported by a metal hub, also by Sturmey-Archer, £29.99
Simon Harcourt found the vintage 1970s Triumph frame with Reynolds 531 alloy steel tubing at an antiques sale and says he doesn’t remember how much it cost. He covered it with 1mm thick Italian Ed Tanner Saddle leather in tan that he sourced to match the classic Brooks saddle. Supple and light, this immensely tactile, fine leather gets better with age. It is handstitched but the brogue pattern was cut with a laser so it would look neat and uniform. Harcourt Designs developed this laser technique while working on chair designs for Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, Dinner.
Chris Delia chose a Gusset Expresso chain, which is superlight and very strong. Lightweight link plates and straight plates give maximum stretch. Weight 255g. £32.99.
Wheels for speed
Tyres by Halo Twin Rail Courier, £22.99 each. Not too thin, they are ideal for riding around cities. They weigh 395g. The lightweight Halo retro wheel rims are £39.99 each. They are inspired by European wheel rims from the Seventies and Eighties but are made using modern materials to make them lightweight and good for racing.