Trish’s bike came with a very ordinary saddle. Somehow it was just, well, dull. It had to go, and in its place we’ve added something with real class.
If you think about quality saddles, the first name that comes to mind is Brooks. All these fancy modern saddles with their gel and contouring and heaven knows what are all very well. And yes, there are stories of people having to ride a million miles (or thereabouts) on a leather saddle before it’s broken in. But just look at it…
We won’t be able to write a review until we’ve put a lot of kilometres on our saddles. (Yes, I bought one too. At present, I have a saddle and no bike.) But here are some first impressions.
After lots of research, we went with the B67 – basically the same as the classic B66 but with standard rails for modern seat posts. It’s a wide saddle – suitable for the upright riding position. And it also comes in the shorter-nosed B67S version, intended for ladies, which Trish chose. That research, by the way, included help from Brooks itself. Trish sent the firm a detailed description of what type of riding we’d be doing, our bikes, lengths of rides we’re expecting to do, our heights and weights, and my health issues. The latter included my arthritis problems, which mean I can’t put too much weight on my hands and so need a supportive saddle for an upright riding posture. Brooks responded quickly with recommendations. The company’s site is also very useful as it carries unfiltered comments.
The saddles are generously sprung – again, ideal for the upright position of our Dutch-style bikes.
When they arrived, I thought perhaps we’d made a mistake. Trish tends to suffer from coccyx pain, and I’ve found my recent return to cycling has caused some discomfort in the gentleman area. Taking the saddles out of the packaging, I was struck by just how hard they are. If you didn’t know they were leather, you might be forgiven for thinking they were hard plastic.
The chromed springs and other hardware help to make this saddle a thing of beauty. In fact, it’s crying out for a classy saddlebag.
The saddles are supplied with a small sachet of Proofide, Brooks’ saddle wax that provides waterproofing (but isn’t designed to soften the leather). Once that was applied, I fitted the saddle to Trish’s bike and off she went for a test ride. I figured she’d be back in a couple of minutes. A series of short rides would be the best way to start breaking in the saddle.
So I whiled away a few moments by playing with the dogs. And we played and played and…
Half-an-hour later, Trish was back with a big smile on her face. The discomfort she’d been getting on the original, modern, wide, gel saddle had gone. No trouble at all on the even wider Brooks.
So now I’m really impatient to get a bike to attach to my saddle.
The comfort that the Brooks saddles offer is important to us, given our age and physical condition. But there’s something else, too. Swapping out the old, black saddle for the honey-coloured Brooks instantly added an element of elegance to the bike. There’s something about that deep blue metalwork and tan leather that puts me in mind of a drophead E-Type. And we all need that kind of glamour in our lives.