Brooks of England B17 Special Saddle

Brooks of England B17 Special Saddle

 

Length: 275mm - Width: 175mm - Height: 65mm - Weight: 540g - Frame: Copper Plated Steel - Made in England

They Say - The B17 is Brooks flagship model, ideal for long distance sports touring, trekking and ATB use. It has been on the market for over 100 years, being featured in as early as the 1898 catalogue. The model is available for gents and ladies: the B17 (gents) and B17 S (ladies). The Standard models feature black steel rails, the B17 Special features copper plated steel metalwork. The B17 Special also features hand hammered copper rivets. The B17 Special is available in Green, Honey or Black colours.’

We Say - After years of coveting a Brooks saddle I finally decided to purchase one for my retro BSA racer. Brooks have a massive selection of saddles on their website and choosing one is a challenging (you have the choice of Select, Special, Unique, Classic, Imperial and Aged ranges) but ultimately enjoyable experience. I decided to plump for a fast touring model. Not too skinny as I don’t race competitively and not too wide or with springs as mine is not a sit up and beg ‘Dutch’ style bike.

When the saddle arrived it included an adjustment spanner and a rain cover. The rain-cover has a Velcro strap on it so it tucks nicely rolled away under the saddle, strapped to the rail. All Brooks saddles have two little loops at the back of the saddle to hang a saddlebag off, which is so handy I can’t believe other saddle makers don’t have it.

First impressions were…’What a thing of beauty!’ This object could easily be put on a plinth in a gallery; as a ready-made it’s so sculptural it wants to be touched.

On my first ride I instantly felt an improvement on comfort over my last saddle. I think this was partly due to the shape but mostly I believe to the absorption of bumps and extra width. I did get some wear on the inside right leg seam of several of my shorts. This could be due to the low leather sides of the saddle or more likely my riding technique and saddle position.

Although it is not a light saddle and may not appeal to the weight conscious racer I feel the trade off between comfort and weight is very justifiable as the saddle is one of the main connection points between rider and bicycle. A good saddle is the difference between an enjoyable day on your bike and a painful one. If you enjoy the day more, then that’ll make you ride more…

In Summary - ‘OK, now, after 3 months of using a Brooks saddle, I totally get why people swear by them. The hand-moulded leather sits on a chassis frame that runs from the front to the back of the saddle. What this means is the saddle is allowed to mould itself to the rider over time and has a level of spring that partially absorbs some of the road vibrations. Nearly all other makes of saddle have leather and/or synthetic uppers that are stuck to a rigid plastic lower. There maybe some form of padding between the upper and lower but ultimately there is little or no give in terms of the whole saddle. Brooks saddles are different from this.

I’m still breaking in the saddle after applying some Brooks Proofide to the underside. They do say that it can take a couple of thousand miles before it begins to mould itself to the rider. I can understand this due to the thickness of the hide. A good quality rugged pair of hiking boots will take longer to break in than a not so good pair, so it makes sense that the same should apply to a leather saddle. I do think though that the more sit-up-and-beg models will break in quicker simply because more of the riders body weight is further back and thus pressing down.

I have ridden on more than a handful of different saddles over the years and can honestly say that this is the best yet.’

To see the B17 Special on the Brooks website, please click here - http://brooksengland.co.uk/en/Shop_ProductPage.aspx?cat=saddles+-+touring+%26+trekking&prod=B17+Special

To find out more about Brooks and to see their full range of saddles please check their website out - www.brooksengland.co.uk

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