In Praise Of… The Brooks Saddle

In my book, Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie (have I ever mentioned it?) I make the following comments about Brooks saddles;

“I did at one point in my two-years of preparation consider changing to a Brook’s leather saddle which apparently moulds itself to your backside. I can’t help wondering however if proponents of the Brook’s have ever considered that it might be their buttocks that are moulding to the shape of the saddle, rather than the other way around. Check next time you see someone cycle past with a large, brown leather saddle although if you get arrested in the process, don’t quote me…”

Well, I seem to have found one of those keen proponents of the Brook’s saddle. Not only is Joe Phillimore using one, he is using it on a Ridgeback Panorama bike. As you are probably aware, Reggie is also a Ridgeback Panorama. Joe is planning a very exciting trip involving most countries that happen to find themselves between Leicester & Australia and his plan is to set off on the 1st October. Here is his bike – called Phinneas Philius – complete with Brook’s saddle. I asked him whether the new saddle is indeed significantly more comfortable than the one that Phinneas (& Reggie) came with;

“The saddle I have is the Brooks B17 Flyer model so I think it’s actually intended for touring – it is actually very comfortable and, whilst it started out as a hard piece of leather, although not uncomfortable, it has shaped itself to my sit bones very nicely. Being just one piece of leather the saddle needs regular application of wax in the early days to keep the leather supple, as well as intermittent application later. This also increased its water resistance and is quick and simple to apply. My bike and saddle has sat through the rain of this glorious british summer a few times and is still looking beaut! I would have thought that sunlight wouldn’t be great for it to be honest as it would dry it out but there’s not exactly been a lot of that kicking about… As the shape of the leather gets hammered out by my weight of my arse bouncing along on it for 5hrs at a time the saddle also has an adjustable rod running the length of it to allow you to adjust and increase the tension of the leather to keep it comfortable and not too squiggly. The only thing against it is that, what with having the springs, it does squeak some when supporting me. Although, I’ve come to quite like the sound, gives my bike more personality. Clearly the guys at Brooks know what they’re doing. This saddle is awesome. When I buy another road bike in the future I expect I’ll pick up a classic Brooks B17 for it.”

As ringing endorsements go, that one dings louder & longer than the Soma Fabrications Crane Suzu Lever Strike Brass Bicycle Bell. I may invest… If I do, I will, of course, let you know.

Catch up with Joe on either his website or on Twitter.

2 replies »

  1. The saddle is always hard one to get right and can be an expensive exercise to get right. I think it is more about finding the right saddle shape to accomodate your sitting position. Rather than the saddle adjusting to you I think it is more likely that you adjust to or get used to the saddle.

    With the Brooks (which I have a Team Pro on both my road bike and MTB ) I find their shape perfect for me and they have been really comfortable straight out of the box, no wear in period needed. I had a friend who bought one a while ago but ended up selling his because he just couldn’t get used to it.

    I did my JOGLE ride on a nice looking Selle saddle which was actually more expensive than the Brooks and ended up being the most uncomfortable saddle I had ever ridden on, I would have been better off on one of those old plastic BMX saddles.

What do you think?