Brooks England is a household name — err, at least it is among bike commuters and those looking to outfit their ride with something that’s nicer than a stock accessory. The English manufacturer has been issuing bicycle saddles since founder John Boultbee Brooks learned that bike saddles were nowhere near as comfortable as their equestrian counterparts, an incident that spurred Brooks to file his first saddle patent in 1882. These days, however, the company has moved away from “Real Crocodile Saddles” and toward a modern aesthetic.
Take the company’s Cambium line, for instance, a new generation of racing saddles designed for precision control and the utmost comfort. The innovative saddles — namely the C13 ($220), C15 ($160), C17 ($160), C19 ($160), and the “Carved” versions thereof — feature vulcanized rubber and cotton tops instead of stretched cowhide, both of which help with comfort and freedom of movement, thus allowing the rider to pedal naturally without inhibiting his or her control. A thin layer of structural textile aids with flexibility and resilience, while company’s classic “hammock” construction — a design that positions you between the two saddle ends with greater suspension than is afforded by most saddles — helps reduce road vibrations and keep you firmly planted when on 20-, 60-, and 100-mile rides.
When it comes to biking, though, comfort is only one part of the equation. Most people would agree that a proper saddle should be built to withstand everyday abuse, and to that point, Brooks designed its latest lineup with both durability and longevity in mind. Each Cambium saddle is equipped with die-cast aluminum construction, a maintenance-free top, and tubular steel rails that are intended to last for years, regardless of how and where you ride. The geometry and dimensions of saddles like the aforementioned C17 also take a cue from the Brooks’ most iconic model, the B17, but make use of a waterproof exterior that’s built for the wetter regions of the globe (we’re looking at you, Portland).
As for variety, the Cambium currently comes in four colors and eight sizes. Some, like the race-centric C15, shed excess weight and opt for a narrower design, while others such as the C19 revel in a slightly wider frame that’s more apt for touring and daily commutes in the city. The aforementioned Carved iterations of each saddle also feature an ergonomic cut away, which offers relief for cyclists who are more prone to perineal pressure. And did we mention that each hard-wearing saddle comes with a 10-year warranty? Peace of mind is rarely as easy to come by.
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