Not long time ago, just some 1000 miles ago, I happen to get one saddle. It was manufactured in England from that famous saddle producer – Brooks.
Funny thing about that particular saddle is that it happens to be B76 SELECT model. Select stands here for “organic” leather they use, which is taken off from organically raised cattle somewhere in Sweden.
I still think that no matter good wording and sound reasoning, organic leather and dead animal doesn’t go together. Or maybe I just perceive word “organic” in too naïve way.
So at the beginning I was extremely skeptical about this saddle line and somehow even got disappointed with the good old Brooks and its new marketing policies. Later, rational all-for-comfort-and-quality me started to think that this leather – which happens to be a little bit thicker and that way should serve the rider till his very last miles – might be a good choice.
I was looking for a saddle to fit my good old Raleigh and for me as to many commuters or people who ride their bikes a lot, Brooks saddles are usual choice. I already had their most popular model B17 and another gadget – Swift. Both are very comfortable for my bottom, so when the time came for another saddle, of course I was looking towards English island.
Another – organic – note. As person who consciously trying to minimize his environmental footprint I was reluctant of buying another saddle. While I already had two Brooks saddles, actually I don’t possess neither of them. Both saddles were somewhere in another side of the Ocean. Saddle I was using at the moment was really bad. My skin got irritated after longer rides and as I ride every day, so poor bottom was crying for something more organic. Kidding of course about this organic cry. After some torture and calculation all-for-comfort-and-quality me gave up and started exploring what Brooks got for me.
I wanted to try their sprung option and somehow felt that wider one should fit my commuting needs best.
I never had sprung saddle before, well I mean never in this new cycling reincarnation which lasts some five years already. I remember those quite comfy saddles which our old soviet bicycles were equipped with. Don’t even remember was it leather. No matter the fact those saddles probably were very close to its “organic” essence. Very organic times we used to live in.
All hints brought me to B67 SELECT, so my hips saluted dead organic cows!
Now after some months in use and some 1000 miles on it I have to say that B67 Select is very interesting thing to sit on.
There are two things that need to be mentioned. First – this saddle got some rain once. Second – saddle got some rain again some few weeks after the first shower. Not sure was it because of that rain, but my B67 happened to appear on a softer side between all the brooks saddles I own. Even out of the box it was quite limp. First I thought it was because of its extra width. B67 is measured as 205 mm in width. For example B17 is 175 mm and Swift is only 150 mm width.
I should point that rain itself did not scared me. My B17 had some rain experience before and somehow it didn’t affect it much. Saddle kept its firmness and same levels of comfort. So little rain on my B76 didn’t scare me. I let it dry completely before sitting on it again.
Maybe because of the rain or some other faulty factors, eventually saddle became too soft, so soft that top of it started to lean against the upper saddle rails. I never had a saddle with double railing, so was not sure how much bent was normal and when I should be alarmed.
All this happened after some 400 miles or so. I was thinking – what a nice and smooth brake in process I am going through. After another 300 miles it felt not as smooth as leather started touching upper rails fully. Riding become not so comfortable, sitting was not comfortable as it was before.
I was confused. Shall I try to claim warranty or just ask for an advice (I never tensioned saddle before and was not sure how much I should tension it in this case)?
As in majority cases other individuals were eager to share their opinions about all this. Everybody kept saying that “THIS doesn’t look normal”. Some suggested to tension saddle until it regain its normal shape other just nodded their heads. Until – Eureka! – one anonymous from Recyclery encouraged me to write to Brooks about all this. “Brooks really cares about its customers”, he said. Clever isn’t?
After few days of night dreaming and riding I finally took my camera, made some shots, wrote some little complaint and sent all this to folks in West Midlands, England.
Next day I received reply, assuring that this bent/softness is not a normal thing and additionally I was asked for serial number of my saddle and my postal address.
After few more days I received a note that new saddle was shipped and I should receive it shortly!
Wow! That was one good customer care experience. They bought me totally and here I am sharing it with you.
I still need to collect new saddle from my local post office; in a mean time I will continue using my old B67. Seems like tensioning it helped and it feels very comfortable riding on it again. We will see how long it will hold before stretching too much.
Just collected B67 replacement, Brooks sent over to me. Here are some picks. Not sure, but straight from the box this new “dead-organic-cows” saddle seems much firmer. Was I just overwhelmed with their nice gift? I might write about “proper”B67 select experience later, when I’ll try it!
trusted-ruined B67 won’t last me more than couple of years. It’s too soft – requires constant tension in order to avoid leather touching the railing.