If you’re buying a new top of the line bike today, chances are it would be very different from an equivalent bike a century a go. The one exception could be the saddle, which in both cases might well be a Brooks.
Brooks originate from Birmingham, the powerhouse of British bicycle building in the twentieth century. They stand out as British components exported all over the world, along with Reynolds tubing and Sturmey-Archer gears (all three Companies were part of the TI Raleigh group for a time). Brooks managed to weather the storm of the European cycling industry’s fallow years and are now booming again, producing both classic designs and new models. Even in France, which had it’s own Ideale brand, Brooks were reputed as the best.
Shown here are three common models; the ubiquitous B17, a Team Professional and a B66. The B17 is often referred to as the most comfortable saddle in the world – the choice of club riders and long haul cycle tourists. The Professional is a narrow racing model with characteristic copper rivets. The B66 is a sprung model for upright bicycles.
I’ve been riding a San Marco Rolls saddle for years and it’s very comfortable, but for my Coppi build I want something more classic. I’ll be putting either the B17 or Professional on it, depending on which I find more comfortable over a few test rides.