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A beautifully crafted saddle with traditional British styling and a riveted leather construction. The long established flagship model in the Brooks range, the ladies B17 features a shorter, wider construction for comfort on touring and trekking rides.
Leisure bike saddles are designed with comfort over weight in mind, this means they may have more padding than a svelte racing saddle and may weigh a few grams more, but should provide a higher level of comfort for the leisure rider. A leisure saddle is usually suitable for someone who rides for up to an hour at a time, if you ride over this length of time a performance saddle may be a better choice. The reason for this is that a leisure saddle is often wider and provides a larger seating area, this causes the legs to be placed further apart than when using a racing saddle, and this can become less comfortable than a more racy saddle over longer distances.
The Brooks bike saddle story started way back in 1866, a young man of just 19 years of age was said to have bought 'one of those new-fangled velocipedes' which was fitted with a wooden saddle, this proved excruciating. As luck would have it his father made leather saddles for horses, so the young man known as John Boultbee Brooks set to work in his fathers workshop designing and developing a comfortable saddle from leather.
The rest they say is history....
Brooks experience in saddle making goes right back to the beginning - back to the period of solid tyres - and is unequalled by any other house in the world.
That said, they recognise the fact that they cannot rely on their past history alone, so they still build saddles with the same attitude as when they started, 'quality first', both in materials and manufacture. The testament to this is that there are still saddles in active use today, made many many years ago.
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Exceptionally high quality, traditionally styled British made saddle that'll give years of comfortable riding.
Historically, I've always ridden on high-tech, gel-filled, cut-out, super light saddles. Saddles that promise much, but often deliver little but discomfort. There are websites offering 'saddle trials' for those who, like me, suffer frustration in the process of finding a comfortable women's saddle. I've most often taken the trial and error approach, to the point where I currently have about four or five redundant saddles in my shed.
The Brooks B17 S is the women's version of one of the company's longest running and best selling designs, the B17. As the women's version, it is 7mm broader in the rear and 35mm shorter. The shorter length is certainly beneficial, but, as I mentioned in the review of the Flyer S, I'd have liked to have seen a couple of width options to cater for women with differently proportioned sit bones. Being female does not necessarily mean broader sit bones. The only narrower saddle Brooks produce for women is the Finesse Titanium, designed for sportives and racing, which is the same width as the men's B17 standard (170mm).
Having always used modern gel type saddles, the classic styling of the Brooks and the deceptively simple construction using leather and steel rivets was a little alien. It felt solid and well built, and at 472g a good couple of hundred grammes heavier than most 'sports' saddles. The weight and style of the B17 (and the Flyer) are best suited to the more sedate and less racy looks of tourers, commuters and hybrid bikes rather than leaner road bikes, and the B17 is indeed set within Brooks' Touring and Trekking category of saddles.
In use, the shiny leather takes some getting used to, but does help to reduce friction where it matters, and the saddle is so well crafted and shaped, that I experienced far less discomfort than with pretty much every other saddle I've ever ridden on. There is a cut-out version, the Imperial, but I found the B17 S sufficiently comfortable to feel the Imperial to be a case of fixing something that isn't broken. The additional weight over modern style saddles is not significantly noticeable in use on tourers and what tend to be heavier bikes anyway, and the durability of the Brooks definitely compensates for this, as does the way the leather moulds to the riders shape with use, making for a uniquely comfortable custom fit. Two eyelets at the back allow for easy fixing of a traditional style saddlebag.
All in all, it's a sleek, smart, well crafted saddle that's a good all-rounder for touring, recreational riding and commuting and it'll give you comfortable service for years and years.
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Wiggle Ltd. 3 Optima, Northarbour Spur Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6 3TU, United Kingdom /
Company No: 2667809 /
VAT No: 884 2571 94
There are no facilities for customer collections at this address.
Executive Director: Stefan Barden.