[Cycling Gear] Part 1: Why I’m In Love With Brooks Saddlery

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little bit of a gear junkie.  When I find a new hobby or something that I really get into I want to buy the latest and greatest to outfit myself.  Sometimes I go a little overboard… which makes for some cramped storage space in our basement that my dear hubby can attest to.  My upcoming cycling tour in Italy has been no exception, except for the fact that if you’re not an avid cyclist from birth you really do have to acquire some stuff to make training easier (or endurable at all).

I’d like to tell you about some of my absolute favorite things so far.  This is Part 1 of a multipart series on my cycling gear.

Brooks B17 S – The Most Comfortable Saddle You’ll Ever Own

I’ve ridden my entire adult life on various gel saddles and I’ve absolutely never been comfortable.  Usually my rear goes numb after some period of time which will bring a welcomed relief to the pain I was experiencing.  In Ciclismo’s package that they sent out they said the best remedy for sore butt is to practice, practice, practice.  Basically, if you’re not in the saddle your butt’s just not going to build up a tolerance to the kind of abuse it’s going to take.  I believed them.

Until I got my Brooks saddle.

I had read on some of the cycling forums out there that Brooks made an exceptional saddle and that it was leaps and bounds beyond any gel saddle that you could buy.  Enough people were saying this that I got curious.  I had just bought a highly recommended gel saddle constructed specifically for women and I was kind of determined that I would love it (though we were quickly beginning to think that our relationship would end badly).

Perusing the Brooks site, I was skeptical.  Here was a whole line of bicycle saddles that were really nothing more than some leather stretched over a metal frame.  *sarcasm* Yeah, sure…. that sounds really comfortable *sarcasm*.  But the one thing that was getting to me was the fact that the design of these saddles hasn’t changed since 1898.  112 years is a pretty sufficient time to have a tried and tested product that is still on the market with literally no modifications.  So I figured what can it hurt?  These guys offer a return policy… what’s the worst that can happen?  I hate the bike saddle and return it?

Let’s just say that even though it doesn’t rhyme, once you go leather you’ll never go back!

I didn’t know that cycling could be this comfortable!  And I don’t need a seat the size of an overstuffed armchair to get that comfort!!  The best part is that this bike saddle is going to last forever.  There’s no gel to wear out, no neoprene to tear, nothing to get in the way of miles and miles and miles of cycling in total comfort and fashion.

I purchased the Aged version of the B17 S (“S” for short, which is what they recommend for their female cyclists) because I wanted total comfort up front.  Their site indicates that there is a nearly non-existant break-in period for the aged version vs. the normal leather B17 S.  If you’re really into coordinating your bike saddle with your bike’s paint scheme you might opt for the regular version that comes in a variety of colors.  The aged comes in only one color… beautiful untreated, undyed, leather.

Who this saddle isn’t for

I can only imagine a few situations where this saddle wouldn’t be for you.

  • Mountain biking — I don’t know that I’d want to put this saddle on a bike that I knew would likely be getting splattered with mud and generally being wet and wild on each adventure I took it on.  I’m not exactly convinced that a leather saddle would be at all good for that, let alone the aged leather one.  Seems like that could cause some damage and stretching.
  • Vegans — Sorry guys… Brooks doesn’t offer a vegan-friendly option here.  If you’re not into the use of animal products you’d better just skip this all together.  Brooks saddles are all made of genuine animal hide leather.
  • Serious Speed Cycler — Just from browsing the “road cycling” saddles that Brooks offers, I’d say the B17 isn’t the best option for the next up and coming Lance Armstrong.  It’s nearly 100 grams heavier than the average road saddle offered in their catalog.  Weighing in at 530 grams it’s probably not going to break you, but they do have road saddles that are as light as 310 grams.  And from what I understand, every gram counts, right?

So, now that you’re ready to run out and buy one, I’d also recommend that you buy one of their rain covers as well.  After all, you’ve just dropped a significant amount of money on this new, awesome saddle.  The last thing you want to do is throw a plastic “Thank You” bag over it and pray that there’s not a hole.

Up next: My intro into clipless pedal cycling.

Note: I am not a representative to Brooks Saddlery or a marketing affiliate.  I do not receive compensation for anything that I have written about Brooks bicycle saddles or on any purchases that may be made from links posted on this site.

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