Is A Brooks Leather Saddle The Best For RTW Bike Travel?

Brooks Leather Saddles: A Century of Unrivaled Craftsmanship and Comfort

This post explores the legacy of Brooks leather saddles, their varied offerings, and why they remain the saddle of choice for discerning cyclists worldwide.

In the realm of bicycle touring, few names resonate with the heritage and prestige of Brooks England. For over a century, Brooks leather saddles have been the hallmark of quality, combining timeless craftsmanship with unparalleled comfort.

Brooks B17 saddle in black leather on the Dawes Galaxy on the EuroVelo 6
Brooks B17 saddle in black leather on the Dawes Galaxy on the EuroVelo 6

The Legacy of Brooks: A Journey Through Time

The story of Brooks saddles begins in 1866, in the heart of England, where John Boultbee Brooks embarked on a quest to provide the most comfortable, durable saddles for the burgeoning cycling community.

What started as a small workshop in Birmingham has evolved into a globally recognized brand synonymous with the golden age of cycling.

The enduring appeal of Brooks saddles lies in their aesthetic charm and the tradition and meticulous attention to detail that each saddle represents. The B17 has become a classic and is often cited as the best bicycle touring saddle ever made.

Plenty of room under a B17 Brooks to carry pegs and things
Plenty of room under a B17 Brooks to carry pegs and things

The Brooks Range: From Classic to Contemporary

Brooks’ lineup offers something for every rider, from the iconic B17, a staple for long-distance cyclists, to the innovative Cambium series, designed for modern adventurers.

The B17, known for its signature hammock-like construction, moulds to the rider’s form, promising a bespoke fit over time.

Meanwhile, with its vulcanized natural rubber and organic cotton top, the Cambium series provides a waterproof and maintenance-free option without sacrificing the Brooks hallmark of comfort.

improvised water proofing for a leather saddle in the Black Forest
improvised waterproofing for a leather saddle in the Black Forest

Craftsmanship and Material: The Brooks Difference

What sets Brooks saddles apart is their unwavering commitment to quality. Each saddle is a testament to the art of leatherwork, using only the finest vegetable-tanned leather. This ensures durability and offers a unique comfort that synthetic materials cannot match. The leather, combined with Brooks’ signature riveting and steel framework, creates a saddle that is as sturdy as it is elegant.

Embracing Comfort: The Break-In and Beyond

One of the unique aspects of a Brooks saddle is its break-in period. Much like a well-worn pair of leather boots, a Brooks saddle becomes more comfortable with use, conforming to the rider’s anatomy. This personalization process is a rite of passage for many RTW cyclists and bikepacking aficiondos. Culminating in a saddle that is uniquely theirs, offering unparalleled comfort on even the longest rides.

drilled, tucked and tied B17 Brooks saddle
drilled, tucked and tied B17 Brooks saddle

Saddle Care: Preserving a Legacy

Maintaining a Brooks saddle is part of the ownership experience. Regularly applying Brooks Proofide keeps the leather supple and weather-resistant, while proper tensioning ensures the saddle maintains its shape and support. These simple care steps ensure that a Brooks saddle can be a lifelong companion on the road.

Much like the Dawes Galaxy, the Brooks B17 became synonymous with bicycle touring for a generation of riders

Beyond the Saddle: Features and Accessories

Brooks’ commitment to cycling extends beyond saddles. From elegantly designed saddle bags to ergonomic grips and bar tape, Brooks accessories embody the same principles of quality and functionality. These accessories not only complement the Brooks saddle aesthetically but also enhance the overall cycling experience.

Brooks leather saddle reclining on a stone wall in UK
Brooks leather saddle reclining on a stone wall in UK

Choosing Your Brooks: A Guide to the Perfect Fit

Selecting the right Brooks saddle is a personal journey. Factors such as riding style, posture, and personal preference play a crucial role. The B17 might suit the touring cyclist, while the racing-oriented Swift or the weather-resistant Cambium C17 might appeal to others. Brooks offers a wide range of options to ensure every cyclist finds their perfect match.

Sustainability and Innovation: Brooks’ Forward-Thinking Approach

Brooks’ dedication to sustainability is evident in their choice of materials and production methods. The move towards vegetable-tanned leather and the introduction of the Cambium line reflect Brooks’ commitment to environmental responsibility without compromising on quality or performance.

Warranty and Assurance: The Brooks Promise

Brooks stands behind their products with a generous warranty, reflecting their confidence in the durability and quality of their saddles. This commitment to customer satisfaction ensures that cyclists can invest in a Brooks saddle with confidence, knowing it is supported by over a century of cycling heritage.

Brooks B17 is the top choice for RTW bike travel
Brooks B17 is the top choice for RTW bike travel

In Conclusion: The Brooks Legacy

A Brooks leather saddle is more than a mere selection of a cycling accessory; it embraces a cycling heritage that champions durability, comfort, and personalization. Whether navigating urban streets or traversing country lanes, a Brooks saddle is not just about the ride; it’s about enhancing the riding experience, one mile at a time.

Finally, the legacy of Brooks saddles continues to ride with us. It is a testament to the timeless appeal of quality craftsmanship and the enduring bond between a cyclist and their saddle.

During my RTW bicycle tour, my Brook B17 got soft and comfy – I wouldn’t be without it!

Why Choose Brooks

Choosing a Brooks saddle is more than a practical decision; it’s an investment in a piece of cycling history. It’s about embracing a legacy of craftsmanship, comfort, and timeless style that has supported RTW cyclists for generations. Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country tour or navigating the urban jungle, a Brooks saddle is not just a seat—it’s a statement.

Brooks B17 leather saddle sits proudly on the Rhein cycle path
Brooks B17 leather saddle sits proudly on the Rhein cycle path

Expanded FAQs on Brooks Leather Saddles

Why do cyclists choose Brooks saddles?

Cyclists are drawn to Brooks saddles for their unmatched blend of comfort and heritage. For instance, the Brooks B17, highlighted on Brooks England’s website, has been a bestseller for over a century. Beloved for its ability to mould to the rider’s shape, providing a personalized fit that enhances each ride. Along with others in the Brooks range, this saddle represents a commitment to quality that cyclists have trusted for generations.

Which Brooks saddle is the comfiest?

The comfort of a Brooks saddle is subjective and varies by individual preference and riding style. However, the B17 model is often lauded for its comfort, especially for long-distance riders. The B190 and B135 models are known for their extra springs and wider seats. Offering additional comfort for upright riding positions, making them ideal for city cyclists and leisurely rides.

best of British; cycling the canals of north England on my BrooksB17
best of British; cycling the canals of north England on my BrooksB17

Can a Brooks leather saddle get wet?

While Brooks saddles are crafted from high-quality, durable leather, they are not immune to water. The Brooks England site advises using Brooks Proofide to protect and maintain the leather. Thus ensuring it remains supple and water-resistant. For cyclists caught in the rain, a saddle cover can provide an extra layer of protection.

Are leather saddles more comfortable?

Leather saddles, particularly those from Brooks, are renowned for their comfort. Largely due to the leather’s ability to adapt to the rider’s body over time. This natural material offers a level of breathability and flexibility that synthetic saddles struggle to match. The unique hammock-like construction of Brooks saddles provides a comfortable ride by reducing pressure points and adapting to the rider’s movements.

rear view of the Brooks England saddle
rear view of the Brooks England saddle

What is the best selling Brooks saddle?

The B17 model stands out as a bestseller. Celebrated for over 100 years for its durability and comfort, making it a favourite among long-distance cyclists. The B17’s thick leather moulds to the rider, ensuring a personalized fit that enhances every ride.

Can you replace leather on Brooks saddle?

Brooks doesn’t explicitly mention leather replacement services. Brooks’ commitment to sustainability and quality suggests maintaining the saddle’s integrity is a priority. Contact Brooks or a professional saddle repair service is advisable for specific repair needs.

riding high in the Tian Shan mountains on my Brooks saddle
riding high in the Tian Shan mountains on my Brooks saddle

Why are Brooks saddles so popular?

Brooks saddles are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship. The unique way they conform to the rider’s body offers unparalleled comfort. Their stylish appearance and the heritage of the Brooks brand contribute to their widespread popularity.

Are Brooks saddles actually comfortable?

Yes, they are known for their comfort, especially after the break-in period. The leather adapts to the rider’s shape, providing a custom fit that’s hard to find in other saddles. Dave’s Travel Pages share a personal testament to the B17’s comfort. Even on the longest rides, underscoring the saddle’s ability to become more comfortable over time.


Have you got a Brooks leather saddle? Is it a B17? Share your comments below: