Over almost a century and a half, Brooks England has grown from a small workshop to a byword in quality craftsmanship.
Back in 1865, John Boultbee Brooks left his hometown of Hinckley in Leicestershire with just £20 in his pocket. He headed for Birmingham, where in 1866 he established a business in horse harnesses and general leather goods in Great Charles Street under the name JB Brooks & Co. In 1878, the unfortunate death of Mr Brooks’ horse led to a stroke of inspiration. Unable to afford another horse, he borrowed a bicycle in order to commute to work. He found the seat so uncomfortable that he vowed to do something about it. On 28 October 1882, Mr Brooks filed his first saddle patent. Waddling cyclists everywhere rejoiced and the new product was a roaring success.
After using your saddle for a while which can be from 100 miles to 1,000 miles depending on the leather used to make the top, the saddle visibly moulds itself to the rider and "dimples" appear where the "sit bones" normally rest. This is caused by fibers in the leather breaking down under the weight of the rider. The saddle is normally more comfortable by this stage, although some riders find that no break-in period is necessary for comfort. Leather saddles are not waterproof though they are able to absorb and dissipate sweat by "breathing" as only natural materials can. Your favorite leather tonic should be applied occasionally to take good care of the saddle.
The B17 is the Brooks flagship model, ideal for long distance sports touring, trekking and ATB use. It has been on the market for over 100 years, being featured in as early as the 1898 catalogue. The Standard models feature black steel rails, the B17 Special features copper plated steel metalwork, and feature hand hammered copper rivets. All leather is vegetable tanned.
Historically, Brooks Saddles were made with small rivets. Racers in the continental tours would have their Brooks Saddles re-finished with larger copper rivets to increase longevity, as they are gentler on the leather top. This practice was adopted by Brooks decades ago. A single badly-aimed hammer blow can irreparably damage the leather, so the utmost care must be taken during manufacture. Each copper rivet on all Special saddle models is carefully hand hammered in England by skilled craftsmen.