Brooks B17 Select – Out of the box Impression and Review

While helping friends with their bikes, I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of really nice gear I would not have usually had come through the garage on my own budget.  This time it is one of the new Brooks Select saddles. 

First thought in my mind as I slid open the box was, WOW, everything a Brooks saddle should be is right in front of me.

The leather is thick and firm, not the thin flexy stuff of recent regular production.  Shiny Copper rivets, and all the little things like proofide, tension wrench and a cloth to wipe it down.  As I pulled it all open  there were more surprises.

 Mostly catalogs and marketing, but it looks well put together and worth a deeper look as time permits.  The best surprise was the included rain cover, hidden under the saddle.

This is a fantastic addition that alleviates the need for an additional purchase, and/or the use of bags and shower caps when caught in the rain.  The design is well thought out, with a deep nose pocket, draw-string tensioner and cut in the rear to leave room for the bag loops.

The saddle itself is beautiful.  The leather is left natural and un-died.  The saddle will likely take on a nice patina as the years stack up.  The Leather is much thicker feeling than the average brooks saddle of recent production.  I have been recommending the Berthoud saddles to those with the budget due to some of the quality issues I have had with Brooks offerings over the last couple of years.  Roughly 1 in 3 of the saddle I bought were either too thin to support well, or would sag out within months.  When the select line was announced I was excited and have been waiting for a chance to get my hands on one.    Also of note is the Organic leather, I am not exactly clear on what this means with respect to a non edible good, but will look into it further and report back.  It certainly is not a bad thing. 

The steel frame is painted with a rough black paint.  This appears more robust than the copper or chrome plating on other models I have.  The coastal ocean air has resulted in a quick decline of the appearance on my other saddles.  While the shiny finish looks god out of the box it has ever held up well. 

I applied the initial coat of proofide to the top and bottom of the saddle.  The color only darkened slightly.

This saddle will be going on a vintage Trek 650b conversion and will complement the look of the bike perfectly.  I know that the owner plans to put the miles on this bike, and I look forward to sharing reports on the long-term performance.

I would also like to note my source for this saddle.  Wallingford Bicycle Parts was and is fantastic to deal with.  They are always fast to ship, great with communication, prices are competitive and the frosting on the cake is th e 6 month unconditional satisfaction guarantee.  A few years back when the US $ was strong against the Euro and British Pound I was sourcing things from Europe directly.  As the exchange rate has settled a bit the cost savings is not nearly as great, and the service from US companies like Wallingford more than makes up for the dollar or two you might save.  In this case they happened to have the best price I could find as well.  I look forward to buying from them in the future.

 

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5 Responses to Brooks B17 Select – Out of the box Impression and Review

  1. mike says:

    Hmmm Rob, I have bought 3 Brooks B17 specials and one standard B17 and they all have held up very well and I run 190lbs. Maybe I don’t sit too much? All are on drop bar’d bikes.

    • Rob says:

      Mike,
      I am not trying to put down the regular saddles too much, they are still a great value, particularly if you can touch and feel the one you are going to buy. I had two in particular over the last couple of years that were so thin out of the box that I could feel the cantle plate and rail welds poking me in the rear on the first rides. I still have 3 variations of the b17 in my own stable, the oldest being close to 5 years now, and all three are great saddles. The leather on these was as thich and firm as the current brooks pro offerings, and is holding up great. This select saddle is in league of the vintage brooks b17 saddles that I have handled, just that much nicer, and worth the extra $$$ IMO.

      Also, with respect to handling or knowing who you buy your brooks from. With Wallingford’s gaurantee, if you did get a thin one, or were unhappy, the fix is simple compared to many other sources.

  2. I wonder how the saddle looks like after being used and being exposed to the sun. I presume that the pale colour has darkened? How did it so, evenly or do you see a print of your bum on it? A picture would be great!

    • Rob says:

      The saddle has aged into a great tone, sort of a warm oak tone. The color is fairly even, darker in the center than the edges, but far from an but stamp. I would love to grab a picture, but the bike and rider just took off for British Columbia for a month or two. I will shoot him an email and see if he can grab some shots.

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