The ‘Marmite’ of saddlery……
……or ‘to brook’ no pain
Brooks saddles are not only famous worldwide (and I saw many in Japan), but they are touted as the best saddles in the world. No surprises, perhaps, that the company is British and has a very long prestigious history, and it is unquestionable that their carefully engineered leather saddles are premium products……..at premium prices, of course.
When I had my Dave Yates trekking bike built, I included a Brooks Professional saddle but, knowing that these saddles usually require a long breaking-in process, I never dared to set off on a multi-week trek in case I was going to have serious comfort issues. But now the time had come to make some commitment, and I decided that my recent 6 day venture to York would be the ideal scenario……long enough to get the feel for it, but not too long to have to endure weeks of discomfort, with no escape route.
The leather on the Professional is very hard (not necessarily a bad thing in a saddle) but I realised after a few days that the comfort was compromised by the relatively upright posture I have on the trekking bike. A lower profile on the frame (as on my road bike), where the level of my head and shoulders is much lower over the handlebars (akin to a racing profile) would have rendered it much more comfortable. So I am now attempting to ‘neatsfoot-oil’ the leather into submission…..in other words, seasoning the leather with saddle oil to try to make it more supple and more forgiving.
Talk to others about their experiences of Brooks saddles and you quickly realise that they are the Marmite of the saddle world……..you either love ’em or hate ’em. There’s no in-between. I’ll let you know how our relationship develops in the coming months……..
As it was