Monday, October 11

Another Side of Brooks

Brooks Made - GASP! - Low Cost Vinyl Saddles in Addition to Leather
When I was young, Brooks saddles, and particularly the “Professional” were the best available, and all the best bikes had them. I was taught that a real leather saddle breaks in while synthetic saddles break down. Much has changed - coming full circle. Brooks abandoned its original saddle principles to try to compete on cost, and started making cheap, vinyl saddles. Before you knew it, Brooks was part of the Sturmey Archer collapse. They were then acquired by Selle Royal before returning to their roots and making the classic leather saddles that originally made them renowned. These saddles are quite comfortable, much as my Wright’s saddle is comfortable, but they are also heavy, with their steel hardware and thick leather. In a nod to current sensibilities, Brooks makes saddles with titanium rails, but that strikes me a little bit like putting racing stripes on a minivan. A Brooks is simply not about being state of the art. It is about being traditional and elegantly comfortable.

I only have the one, vinyl Brooks saddle. I may acquire a real leather Brooks saddle someday, but it’ll not go on either my cyclocross or road bike. Those will retain modern, lightweight saddles. Somehow, it seems best to reserve it for a bike that I wish to ride traditionally, and over long distances.
This is My Only Brooks Saddle at Present


Rat Trap Press said...

Strange, it sounds to me like you may be contemplating purchasing a new (or old) bike with an upright seating position.

Velouria said...

They made some really ugly mattress saddles too, as no doubt did everyone during the period they were popular.

So are you finally getting a new upright bike? : )

PM Summer said...

All Brooks all the time in my fleet. B-72s on the utility bikes, B-5N on the Birdy folder, B-17 on the Trek aluminum/carbon road bike... and a Team Pro waiting for the right Mercian.

Big Oak said...

We bought a used Raleigh for my wife around 1990, and it had one of those vinyl covered Brooks saddles. Even the "Brooks" nameplate on the back was made from cheap material!

No complaints, however, on my new Brooks B-17. It gets better each ride. I put it on my Tricross.

Hugh said...

I agree, there is something special about a Brooks
leather saddle. For months I could not sell my 1973 Raleigh Sprite. Even though it was in near mint condition. Once I switched the Brooks vinyl quilted saddle for a Vintage 1973 Brooks leather Saddle, it was gone within a week.

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