Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Choosing the right Brooks saddle is not easy. Saddles are a completely individual decision, as everyone has a different body type. Some saddles can be individually adapted to the cyclist’s weight with special elastomers, or with bare carbon saddles that contain no shock-absorbing materials.

Saddles with special recesses relieve sensitive areas very effectively. In general, women prefer wider, shorter and more comfortable saddles due to their slightly wider pelvic structure. Trekking and touring riders who sit on the saddle for a long time tend to look for comfort and more suspension.

Often racers use more of the upper body and tend to use lighter and slimmer saddles for cycling. Mountain bike riders also tend to use lighter and slimmer saddles, as it is very important to change the centre of gravity quickly on the terrain. This article will help you find out which Brooks saddle is suitable for your individual use.

In our Brooks saddle test 2022 we answer your questions about buying a Brooks saddle. We present you with detailed information on the topic of Brooks saddles, as well as different types of Brooks saddles and explain some criteria that you can use to choose the right Brooks saddle.




Summary

  • Because every person has a different physiognomy, it is not possible to make a general distinction between good and bad saddle designs. What is safe and comfortable for one person is uncomfortable for another. The saddle is usually an individual decision.
  • You should pay attention to the size and shape of the Brooks saddle, as these are the two most important factors that make a good saddle. As soon as you feel a pain in the sit bone, in the coccyx or the back becomes numb, the Brook saddle is definitely the wrong one.
  • The price range for Brooks saddles can be between 100 euros to over 250 euros. However, it is worth spending more as Brooks saddles are very high quality and durable and the price is only incidental.

The Best Brooks Saddle: Our Choices

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate Brooks saddles

In the following, we show you which aspects you can use to choose from the wide range of Brooks saddles. The criteria you can use to compare saddles include:

In the following sections we explain what individual criteria are important.

Size

The size of the Brooks saddle is the most important aspect to consider. The buttock bone must be on the contact surface of the saddle. If the saddle is too narrow, the pressure will be between the bones and pressure pain will result.

If the saddle is too wide, you slide back and forth, causing irritation which also leads to pain. Check the position of the seat. If you sit too far back, the Brooks saddle is too big. If you sit too far forward, the saddle may be too narrow.

A test ride is the best way to find the right size bicycle saddle.

The size of a Brooks leather saddle is different from a padded Cambium saddle. The classic Brooks leather saddle is stretched between the metal plate in a hammock style and curves at the back of the saddle.

If the saddle is too narrow or too big, you sit on the metal plate and this causes pain in the sit bone area. This means that you have to increase the width of a Brooks saddle by 20 to 30 mm compared to a Cambium saddle.

Hardness

Depending on the use of the Brooks saddle or bicycle, a distinction is made between a soft and a hard saddle. However, here too the choice is a matter of taste. In the table you will see what to look for when planning to get a new saddle.

Hardness of the saddle Use
Soft Brooks saddle Soft Brooks saddles are suitable for city and trekking bikes that are not used extensively. They are ideal for day trips and everyday use.
Hard Brooks saddle However, experienced riders swear by harder Brooks saddles, especially those made of leather, because they are more comfortable over a longer period of time. Although the leather saddle is very hard at first, it becomes softer and softer with time and use of the saddle and thus adapts to the user’s anatomy.
Soft / hard saddle (gel saddle) It is important here to ensure that a soft saddle, for example with gel pads, is not used so much that the soft part is completely pushed through and the ankles are already resting on the seat shell.

Material

Most Brooks saddles used to be made of steel, but over time new materials have been discovered and developed. Inexpensive Brooks models still use steel, while titanium is increasingly being offered to save weight. For those of us who take every opportunity to save a few grams, there are also struts made of carbon fibre. Struts made of carbon or titanium generally offer more comfort than steel.
No matter what is used at the bottom of the struts – steel, carbon or titanium – the model of saddle you have chosen remains unchanged in its shape and form. Carbon seems to be the obvious choice when it comes to saving weight.
Pure carbon saddles are still the exception: usually the surface of a saddle is made of a synthetic material. Because when it comes to the surface of the saddle, pure carbon is not necessarily ideal. The processing of the carbon results in a very smooth surface, which gives some people the feeling that they slip around on the saddle more.
Brooks is one of the best-known manufacturers when it comes to leather saddles. Brooks saddles are not just made with leather on the seat: Leather is used to make the entire saddle. The saddle is kept under tension by the braces. Over time, the leather adapts to the rider’s body and anatomy, offering the best comfort. Apart from the purchase price, this comfort also costs in weight.

Weight

The weight of a Brooks saddle can vary greatly depending on the material of the saddle. A leather Brooks saddle is usually heavier than a plastic/Cambium saddle. The weight plays a smaller role for hobby cyclists. Racers feel the weight of a saddle as soon as it is rather a heavy saddle or a light one.

The big difference is the padding on the saddle, which makes the difference in weight. The weight of a Brooks racing saddle is much more decisive for professionals than the padding, because they always don’t feel the saddle itself very much anyway with the cycling shorts and including the seat pad. If you want to be a little more comfortable, you can opt for a gel saddle, which is heavier.

Lighter rail materials also make a big difference to saddle performance. The slight curve of titanium rails helps absorb shocks, while carbon fibre rails save a lot of weight.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Brooks saddle

Before you buy a Brooks saddle, you should get some general information. We have clearly summarised this information in the following sections.

What distinguishes Brooks saddles from other manufacturers?

For many years, Brooks has stood for particularly high-quality cycling accessories with its products such as the classic leather saddle. For almost 150 years, Brooks has been considered the inventor of the bicycle saddle, which makes the brand a pioneer and trendsetter. A comfortable saddle is indispensable for long-lasting riding pleasure. With a Brooks saddle, you are choosing comfort, quality and sustainability.

The bicycle saddles, which are mostly made of leather, are preferably used by professionals, but for this very reason they are also a first-class choice for leisure bikers. Especially on long tours, such a comfortable saddle is essential to really enjoy the ride. No more constant shifting and no more pain after dismounting. With a Brooks saddle you can enjoy the riding experience without any problems.

What is the price range of Brooks saddles?

First of all, you should be aware of the area in which the saddle is to be used. Depending on the sitting position, the pressure distribution on the saddle – and thus also the forces acting on the buttocks – vary. The Brooks saddle must match the intended use so that you can use the full potential of your saddle.

Saddles with more specific features can be more expensive.

As Brooks saddles are designed to be very professional and high quality, the price tends to be higher than other saddles. Brooks saddles start at a purchase price of 100 €, so you can call a high quality Brooks saddle your own. However, if you want to use a Brooks saddle for mountain biking or for long distances, you will have to calculate a higher price for the right Brooks saddle.

Even the most comprehensive saddle should not cost more than €230-250. For the longevity you get, however, even this purchase price will be worth it.

What are the alternatives to a Brooks saddle?

An alternative to regular cycling, where you always use a saddle, would be to cycle without a saddle. This can often be seen in trick riding (BMX riding).

Brooks Sattel-1

There are not many alternatives to a Brooks saddle, but one example would be a BMX saddle. (Image source: pixabay.com / hotpix)

When riding tricks, you remove the bicycle saddle for more freedom of movement on the bike. But also for safety in the event of a collision, as the saddle could get in the way and cause serious injuries. In other variants, however, the bicycle saddle will be used as a control element.

Everyone who likes cycling knows that you have more power in your legs when your leg is straight at the end of the stroke. At that moment, you don’t need a saddle to use more power, which is often seen in the pros.

What types of Brooks saddles are there?

The purpose of the bicycle saddle is to allow the rider to adopt a different riding position and to provide support on their bike. In addition to the rider’s body structure, the riding behaviour also plays an important role in the shape and structure of the saddle. If you want to buy a Brooks saddle, you can choose between 4 different product groups. These are the following types:

Short distance

For trips to the shops in the city, the so-called Holland bikes or city bikes are often used. As a rule, the rider sits upright on such a bike. A Brooks bicycle saddle suitable for this should be soft, wide and offer plenty of seating space.

A straight sitting posture puts more strain on the spine and intervertebral discs when it comes to vibrations, as the back muscles are not strained. A large support surface for the buttocks reduces the strain on the spine and intervertebral discs.

Cycling tours/day trips

On long tours, the rider tends to tilt his upper body and shift his body weight onto the steering wheel. This fundamentally changes the sitting position. Sitting shifts from the ischial tuberosities to the pubic tuberosities due to the pelvis tilting forward.

A Brooks step saddle has proven itself here and is also recommended by doctors. It reduces the risk of damage to the genital area. However, saddle length and width must be selected individually, depending on duration, intensity and posture.

Mountain biking/downhill

On uneven terrain, the shape of the saddle is not necessarily the decisive factor. Rather, the load-bearing capacity of the material under high stress is an important criterion here. The rider is not so much sitting on his mountain bike as standing or squatting. Saddles for extreme conditions as well as mountain bike racing tend to be narrow cut and long.

Bicycle saddles for children

Bicycle saddles for children are proportionally smaller than those for adults and are robustly made. In addition, they are usually simply equipped, as the child’s rapid growth makes elaborate finishes not worthwhile.

What kind of Brooks saddle materials are there?

As bicycles have evolved, so have saddles, and now many companies have focused on specific, ergonomic shapes and materials. Brooks offers two different materials in which they specialise:

Leather

The most popular and best-selling Brooks saddle is the classic leather saddle. A handmade saddle made of stretched, high-quality leather, as Brooks produces it, has a decisive advantage over a Cambium saddle: the leather adapts to the individual shape of the rider’s buttocks over time. This requires a longer break-in period for the saddle, but for some riding styles, leather saddles are considered the most reliable and comfortable bicycle saddles.

Advantages
  • If you take care of the leather saddle, it will last longer than a Cambium saddle
  • A leather saddle is much more comfortable in the long run
  • A leather saddle can also be repaired if necessary
Disadvantages
  • Leather saddles need care and a &#8220
  • sitting-in&#8221
  • period
  • Leather saddles unfortunately do not tolerate moisture, so they should not be left out in the wet
  • Leather saddles cost more to buy

Cambium

Since development never stands still at Brooks, another material is used for some saddles in addition to leather: Cambium. Just like leather, cambium is a natural material. It is extracted from trees and is also known as natural rubber.

In vulcanised form, cambium acquires properties that are otherwise only known from leather. It is extremely resistant, durable and adapts optimally to your movements. This makes the Cambium models extremely comfortable saddles. The comfortable properties of the natural rubber are further supported by cotton and textile, which give the product additional stability.

Advantages
  • A Cambium saddle is usually very comfortable
  • Requires less maintenance time than a leather saddle
  • The Cambium material is very weatherproof
Disadvantages
  • Less comfortable in the long run than a leather saddle
  • A Cambium saddle cannot be repaired once it has a damage(crack)

Interesting facts about Brooks saddles

How do you care for a Brooks saddle?

To maintain your Brooks leather saddle, which is essential with leather, you should grease it every 3-6 months during the break-in process with a leather conditioner and a soft cloth from the top and bottom. Lubricate the saddle well, let the grease soak in completely and then polish with a new dry cloth. Note, however, that you should only grease a leather saddle when it is dry. If it has just been soaked by rain, let it dry thoroughly first.

Do not dry it in the blazing sun, but rather in the shade, otherwise the leather can dry out too much. After the running-in period, re-greasing is usually sufficient about every 6 months, depending on weather conditions and use. At the latest when the surface becomes dull and matt, it is time to re-grease.

Brooks Sattel-2

Proper care of the Brooks saddle is enormously important and guarantees a long service life. (Image source: unsplash.com / switch_dtp_photography)

Caution: A lot does not always help a lot. If you grease too often, the leather becomes extremely soft and stretches excessively. This means you have to retighten the leather all the more often. The grease gives the leather the necessary moisture and suppleness.

Without regular re-greasing, the Brooks leather saddle would crack over time. It also offers a certain protection against moisture. To protect the leather saddle when you are not riding the bike, you should put a saddle cover or rain cover over it to protect it from rain and sunlight and then remove it if necessary. This is done in a few seconds and increases the life span immensely. In addition, the appearance is preserved and you can extend the maintenance intervals.

What should be considered when adjusting a Brooks saddle?

You should take enough time to choose the right Brooks saddle. However, you also have to align the right saddle correctly. You can see what points you need to pay attention to in the following list:

Alignment of the saddle:

As a rule, the saddle should be aligned horizontally in order to be able to develop its full functionality. A perfect bicycle saddle prevents pain and back problems and should support the pelvis and the intervertebral disc.

Centring the saddle nose:

The saddle nose should point exactly to the centre of the handlebars, because even a bicycle saddle with a slight tilt to the left or right can result in unpleasant pain.

Orientation of the bicycle saddle(top):

Many find it more comfortable to turn the bicycle saddle into a tilt position with the saddle nose facing upwards. This position suggests a comfortable and relieving posture. However, tests have shown that after only three minutes this sitting position can lead to critical health risks. The genitals are strained and can be injured. The pelvic area is also subjected to disproportionate strain and blood and nerve pathways can be permanently damaged.

Orientation of the bicycle saddle (down):

If the nose of the saddle is tilted downwards, the rider’s weight is shifted to his hands and the handlebars. This could lead to less pain in the pelvis, but at the same time it could lead to new pain in the genital and perineal area.

Saddle height:

The height of the saddle is always adjusted according to the rider’s height. The perfect height is achieved when the leg is still slightly bent when pressing down on the pedals.

Fitting the saddle:

When fitting the bicycle saddle, you should test ride a few times in succession and adjust the fastening slightly if necessary. The fine adjustment is in the millimetre range

How popular are Brooks saddles?

Brooks was founded in 1866 in Birmingham, England, as a small leather-processing workshop.

With almost 150 years of experience, Brooks is considered the inventor of the bicycle saddle.

The Brooks company has become a byword for noble and high-quality bicycle accessories. When Brooks’ founder’s horse died, he got himself a bicycle as a replacement means of transport. The saddle of the borrowed bike was so uncomfortable that he thought about how he could bring a little more comfort to cycling. The idea of the comfortable, seat-friendly Brooks bicycle saddle was born.

Brooks Sattel-3

Since not everyone is built the same, there are a variety of different Brooks saddles. So you can choose the saddle that best suits you according to the above criteria and your personal needs. (Image source: pixabay.com / MabelAmber)

Today, the name Brooks still stands for luxury quality in bicycle accessories. The leather saddles, tool bags and saddle accessories are not only particularly noble in design, but also of solid and high-quality workmanship. Because the saddle of the bike plays a supporting role in the truest sense of the word.

How do you protect a Brooks saddle from theft?

Since you spend a lot of money on a Brooks saddle, you should also make sure that it is not stolen, which can sometimes happen with expensive brand saddles. The three most common methods to protect a valuable saddle like Brooks from theft are:

  • Method 1: With a flexible cable lock, for example, you can lead the cable through the saddle stays of the saddle and connect it to the frame. Unfortunately, such a cable lock can be cut in no time with bolt cutters.
  • Method 2: Another method is to secure the bolt of the seat post – e.g. with the Pitlock saddle lock. However, a thief can still loosen the other bolts on the saddle (between the seat stays and the seat post, for example). You can also make it difficult for thieves to unscrew by replacing the bolts on the seat post and saddle with matching hexagon socket bolts.
  • Method 3: Finally, we would like to introduce the Aldi bag method: Put a crumpled aluminium bag over the saddle. On the one hand, this protects the saddle from rain, and on the other hand, you don’t suspect that a Brooks saddle is hidden under an Aldi bag.

Image source: Ngamnithiporn/ 123rf.com

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