Proper Saddle Maintenance? (This saddle was misidentified recently by a Brooks Stories
contributor as having originated from our factory)
Over recent years, Brooks has been discovered by a constituency of buyers that might not normally be found spending its money on a leather bike saddle. In fact, said constituency might previously not have been found spending its money on any type of bike saddle, or any other component part of a bicycle, for that matter.
The idea of using a bike as one’s default mode of transportation has partially skipped a couple of generations, but is steadily taking hold again. Under vastly different circumstances, it must be said, to the times when it was barely even an idea, rather merely what everybody did.
Of course, it’s indisputably a good thing to see more bikes on city streets with every passing year, regardless of their levels of foldability, locked cog-ness, Dutch provenance, or other currently fashionable quality.
For starters, the benefits accruing to our air on account of the combined trips made by all of these machines must surely somewhere down the line heavily outweigh the carbon footprint of their collective manufacture.
All of which concerns are a far cry from the generally perceived heyday of urban cycling, let’s say sixty years ago (when the streets of most major world cities were packed with cyclists to a degree of saturation we see today only in Copenhagen or Amsterdam), and the reasons people used bikes.
Back then, barring theft or serious accidents, owners typically reckoned with a lifetime’s use from their machine; frames and parts were built with this in mind. Saddles too. And not just those made by Brooks, which perhaps renders the achievement of almost a century and a half at the top of our tree all the more impressive.
But nowadays, many people buying saddles have different priorities, and other criteria in determining their choice of seat for seatpost.
Some people want the most expensive one, full stop. Others base their decision on how a saddle’s colour might look in combination with their frame or bar grips. And others “just want a (insert preferred brand here)”.
Of secondary importance is often whether that which is being bought is any good or not. But while this marks a decided change in buyer approach from the 1950′s, the Brooks method of saddle manufacture has not changed appreciably over the last hundred years.
It requires little intelligence to make the connection between a company’s longevity and the quality of its product. That they’re easy on the eye doesn’t hurt either, of course, but many models have been in production since the turn of the 19th century without a single material alteration. Which I suppose, makes them “design classics”. Without trying to be.
There are few other sports or pastimes that present its practitioners with so many new things to covet, or ways to justify spending their disposable income. And while debating over one’s choice of spoke nipple is probably at the far end of the scale, it is by no means unheard of.
We believe that the number of people choosing to use a bike for getting around will continue to rise over the coming years. And obviously, we hope that many of them will choose a Brooks to put on top, ideally basing that choice on nothing else but the primary conviction that they’ll have a saddle to outlast every other part of their ride.
Assuming they care for it properly.
Brooks, after all, does not ascribe mystical properties to its saddles. If misused, or not properly cared for, their useful life is undoubtedly shortened. Anyone who has spent time at our online shop will know that we sell replacement parts and treatment kits for all our models. We’ll be dealing with the subject of saddle maintenance ourselves here in the coming weeks.