The Brooks England Lexington Briefcase: Utility Meets Classic Style
For 150 years, Brooks England has been making tough gear that also looks great.
Brooks England is a "forever" brand. First founded by John Boultbee Brooks in 1866 in Birmingham, England, the company invented the first sprung bike saddles in the 1880s, created saddle bags, courier bags, and motorcycle panniers during WWI. In the 1930s they even bought a moto brand—called Brookes, with an “e” on the end—and even today it’s possible to find some motorcycle fans favoring a Brooks saddle.
Thanks to modern Italian ownership, the line has once again expanded well beyond saddles, and there’s noticeably more élan in what they do, despite an inherently conservative stylistic streak. That’s in keeping with an ethos that favors longevity over fashion. Still, the Lexington Briefcase manages to look both timeless and of the moment; we credit an array of hues that, in anything but black, actually look oh-so-Italian rather than stuffy Brit.
Naturally, though, because it’s made by Brooks, the waxed cotton canvas is of a substantial heft and have heavily-reinforced seams and a frame that holds its shape. There's also an outrigger for attaching to the pannier rail of a rear bike rack.
More useful stuff: a padded laptop sleeve and dual exterior pockets, the larger of which closes via a magnetic clip for more security. Off the bike it’ll carry comfortably via two stand-up handles. And you can pedal with it messenger-style, too, using the removable shoulder strap.
At $340 the Lexington isn’t exactly cheap. But like classic Brooks saddles it should break in rather than break down. And perhaps, like former RAF pilot Len Levesley, who used the same Brooks bike saddle for 68 years, you might one day find yourself writing to the company at the age of 90 to let them know of your fondness for your Lexington Briefcase.