The benchmark touring saddle, in a deluxe form. More B17’s have been across the country and around the world than any other model or brand of saddle. Still made in England, using thick leather tops and beefy steel rails. The Special model uses big hand hammered copper rivets to attach the leather to the saddle rails. The rivets spread the force of your sittin' weight over a larger area, theoretically making the leather last longer. They also look nice. The Special models have copper plated saddle rails, which look fancy and won’t rust. Unlike most saddles out there, Brooks leather saddles are semi easily repaired, and many repairs we can do in house. Usually if you have a saddle with a major issue, it’s trash. Not so a Brooks. We can add new rivets, repair cracked leather, and repair heavy sagging. If a repair goes beyond that, we have a place we send it to for bigger repairs.
On comfort: we are often asked about this. ‘Is it comfortable?’ The answer is complicated, but the short answer is yes, it’s comfortable. It wouldn’t be the benchmark touring saddle if it was uncomfortable. Here’s the deal: you want to run it with your handlebar tops anywhere from 1cm below to 5 cm above the top of the saddle. If it you bend over more than that, say on a race bike, it’ll be uncomfortable, you’ll get pressure, and you’ll think it’s the saddle’s fault. It’s not, it’s the bar height’s fault.
If your saddle and bars are set up right, the saddle is good right out of the box, but gets BETTER as you ride and sweat in it, and break it in. It’ll eventually form to your sit bones, like a good hiking shoe. Just like with a good hiking boot though, that doesn’t happen over night, so just enjoy the saddle as it is until that happens.
You don’t need to wear cycling shorts with a Brooks. Everyone I tell that to thinks I’m nuts when I tell them, until they actually try it. Just wear lightweight hiking shorts, or jeans with some stretch or that are baggy enough not to need stretch. Brooks saddles were invented before synthetic fabrics and huge thick chamois pads. They were made to be comfortable in a pair of shorts. Padding just compresses under your sit bones then bunches up where you have soft tissue, often causing numbness, not relieving it.
Brooks saddles don’t like the rain, but the solution is simple. Cover it in the rain. If it’s pouring rain and you have to leave your saddle out over night, put the saddle cover over it and then put a dry bag or zip lock bag over that. Totally dry in the morning, no worries.
Oil these up once a year. Only a few products work well for that. We like Brooks Proofide best, but Obenauf's makes a fine one too, and it's a lot more affordable! Neither soften the leather, just hydrates it. Softening the leather (see Mink Oil) is bad, the saddle will sag out prematurely.
Last bonus with the Special: they come with a saddle cover, which would cost 12 bucks otherwise.
17cm wide where you sit. DO NOT BE FOOLED by most saddles that say they are 17cm wide. The part you can sit on is usually way narrower than that, because of the arch of the saddle. B-17’s are flat across the back, so you sit on the full width.
Veggie Tanned Leather and Copper Plated Steel
We only stock the standard length, not the S model, which has a shorter nose. The shorter nose does not exist because women need a shorter saddle, they exist so if you riding in a dress, you don’t have a frontal protrusion. Remember when these saddles were first designed! Short saddles have less control, because there is less saddle to hold against your thigh when cornering. We can special order those saddles, and have no problem doing so, just know the limits of the shorter nose.