TDR is a big fan of Brooks saddles, though they are not for everyone and have their drawbacks. Plus, they have gotten very expensive. The street price has doubled across the line since I started riding them six years ago. Remember when B17s were about $50?
Now two new makers are seeking to get into the leather saddle game. Bill Laine of Wallingford Bicycle Parts reports from Eurobike that venerable bag, fender and rack maker Gilles Berthoud has rolled out his line.
The price will be in the premium range of…$250. See more at Bill’s Wallblog.
Meanwhile, a new Taiwan make called Cardiff Saddles is out and about. Anthony at Longleaf Bicycles posted late last month about the Cardiff Gull, which is similar in shape to the narrow racing Brooks Swallow but at less than half the price.
Chris at Velo Orange appears to have the same or a very similar model on sale right now for $75. See it Here.
I’m not yet optimistic that anyone can compete with Brooks on consistency and overall quality. There is a reason they are still going after other makers faded away (and can get away with annual price hikes). The short rails remain a problem and sometimes the leather is not very durable. But they have decades of experience and most of my Brooks saddles have held up well.
Brooks is also set to introduce the Imperial cutout versions of the B17, B17-Narrow, and ladies B17S, no doubt to compete with the Selle Anatomica line. There is an opening here for Brooks, as the Selle Anatomica have found only limited success among local randonneurs. See more about the Imperial lineup at the Brooks site.
Of course, you may remember that I posted awhile back about MG and I having worn out the Brooks saddles on our tandem. I’ve reconsidered mine at least and will give it another try. I’ve found that after I get some good size dents in the saddle, lowering the nose seems to bring back the comfort. That one has gone back into the Brooks bullpen for future use.