My friend Hans was lucky enough to find a Brooks saddle on the street, thrown out on hard rubbish night. He’s very happy with it, so I wanted one too.
They’re clever with their marketing, those Brooks people. Saddle makers since 1866, eh?
John Boultbee Brooks came to Birmingham and took out a patent on a bike saddle in 1862. If his saddles made a penny-farthing ride comfortable, they must be doing something right.
If someone offered you a car made to a 1866 design, you’d expect it to lack some of the zip of the 2011 model. I just checked – there was a motor car available in 1866 – Etienne Lenoir’s unfortunately named ‘Hippomobile’, powered by gas. It could cover eleven miles in less than three hours. The bike was faster, even in the days before the invention of the traffic jam.
Brooks emphasize the fact that their saddles look like 19th century jobs. They smell like them too.
My Brooks Flyer Special saddle was not cheap (and I missed getting the discounted version by a week – bummer!). Nor is it light – 810 grams. It’s built for comfort, not for speed.
Brooks insist that the leather should be treated with their own Proofide leather wax. I didn’t have any Proofide in the house, but I did have some good recommended leather saddle wax which I used instead. If it doesn’t do the job, it will be my own silly fault, I’ll admit the error of my ways and immediately get myself a can or two of Proofide. Hang the expense!
The idea of a leather saddle is that, as I ride it in, it should adapt itself to the shape of my posterior. Up till now my posterior is doing all the adapting.
Any relationship goes through its rough patches. Yet with a bit of give and take on both sides, my Brooks saddle and I should eventually settle into a state of comfortable harmony until death or knee surgery us do part.
If anyone has experience of a Brooks saddle and has any advice for me on its use, care and breaking in, I’d like to hear from you.
If anyone wants to tell me Brooks saddles are a stupid waste of money, it’s too late – just shut up and let me find out for myself.