When my friends at Kaufmann Mercantile asked me to design a bike for them, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. Even if you know nothing about the New York based online store, just the name in itself inspires respect and intrigue, both of which the company deserves and fulfills. Not only do they curate some of the best-designed and most durable goods from around the world, they also are sustaining a conscientious culture where the history of materials, the ethics of production, and the resilience of design are paramount.
Basically, they’re pretty rad.
All my bikes and my growing family of Brooklyn-made outdoor goods follow my own philosophy of producing long-lasting, simple, beautiful equipment that makes the best and most adventurous life possible. Everything I use, from manufacturing equipment to bike components, is made here when possible, but I’ll make exceptions for exceptional quality that can’t be replicated domestically. That is the case for the Brooks leather handle grips and matching leather seat I chose for the Kaufmann Mercantile City Cruiser.
They say that it takes a cowboy to know the best saddle, and I am apt to agree.
I searched high and low for a bike saddle to perfectly compliment my nimble, sturdy, and classic bicycles, and it is harder than you would think. Ever the patriot, I exhausted a stream of American-made saddle options, but up to this point, I have yet to encounter craftsmanship, durability, and aesthetics that compare to those of the Brooks line. And Kaufmann Mercantile agrees wholeheartedly.
As you can probably tell by these photos, my inspiration in the frame design comes from the classic and lightweight design of the cycles popular in England in the late 1800s and early 1900s- bikes that John Boultbee Brooks would have ridden. Of course, I’m not a complete nostalgist; I use 4130 steel True Temper tubing (this is the stuff they use for bikes racing the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia – no joke) to produce a frame that is extremely strong yet doesn’t weigh you down. I’m sure Brooks himself would’ve loved to see it in action.
It’s an honor to get to collaborate with thoughtful curators like the people at Kaufmann Mercantile, and put into use the ideal accessories and components that bring a bike frame to life and seamlessly integrate it into your lifestyle. I hope that with the City Cruiser you’ll be inspired to ride through your city with a new sense of adventure, lightness, and agility, and you can rest assured you’ll be doing so for many years to come. I’ll be doing the same, here in New York City, on my own velocipede steed, with a Brooks leather saddle too.