As there’s no pedal today due to resting my injured Achillies Tendon, (It’s a bit better by the way and will be ready for battle next week) I’m doing a tribute to that Doyen of pampered cycling posteriors everywhere, The Brooks Saddle.
Which you can find here: http://www.brookssaddles.com .
My first ever “proper” bike which was a Raleigh racing bike of some description came already fitted with a Brooks B17, and as a kid I quite naturally didn’t pay it the slightest bit of attention. I did many miles on that bike and with that saddle until the day came to get a new bike as I had grown out of it.
What I didn’t realise was that not all saddles are created equal and my new bike, which I can’t remember what type it was, came with a modern saddle made of synthetic materials, plastic, PVC and some sort of padding. Weeks of pain followed in trying to get the adjustment right and in the end I gave up and got my Dad to get me a B17. Still used on my Marin MTB by the way.
Since then every bike I had and ride now has been treated to a Brooks Saddle.
On the left is my Ridgeback Commuter with a B17, in the Middle is my original B17 from about 1980 on my Marin and on the right on my new Giant is the Team Pro Classic. As you can see the MTB B17 is definately showing it’s age, but is as comfortable as ever and even though it is a bit worn round the edges it’ll still be in use for years to come.
I do have a bit of an advantage as I quite literally work 5 minutes away from the Brooks factory in Smethwick, so if I do need to get a saddle repaired then I just pop round and they do it while I wait. Great service and very rare I feel these days.
Indeed I emailed them this on the back of such excellent service, which they were kind enough to put on their website.
Downsides? Ok, they are a tad heavier than modern saddles and maybe the price is pitched where it is as they trade on their skill, tradition, quality and a penchant for retro products. And why wouldn’t they? I also know of one or two very rare people who just couldn’t get on with them. But they are in a minority to my knowledge.
Practically they need about a 100 miles of breaking in, which can leave the Gentlemen’s area a bit tender while in progress and you do need to check tension and treat the leather regularly with a proofing treatment so they’re not fit and forget like modern saddles.
But for sheer comfort (for me) and for a quality British hand made product they’re the dogs, and I wouldn’t park my posterior on anything else.
Saddles are a very personal thing and are pretty much crucial to your pedalling pleasure, get it wrong and you may very well give up cycling altogether. Get it right and you’ll be in for miles of smiles. With a Brooks you have the added advantage of having a saddle that moulds to you personally, becomes your very own perch and a saddle that needs a bit of old fashioned TLC in return. A very amicable arrangement if you ask me.
Below is a couple of films about the history and manufacture of the old school items.
A weight update will be posted tomorrow folks. Not expecting anything good.