A leather saddle with a cut-out, the Brooks B17 Imperial features a lacing system which not only prevents excess deformation over time, but also allows you to tailor the ﬂex by adjusting the amount of lacing as well as the tension. This might all sound a little Heath Robinson, but it actually works perfectly.
As with other Brooks saddles, the Imperial takes some bedding in, but it is noticeably more comfortable to begin with than a standard B17. As it beds in it only takes a minute to tighten up the base laces or the main tension bolt in the nose of the saddle. If you’re an old Brooks fan, you’ll love this ‘new’ Imperial.
The quintessentially English saddle maker Brooks started out in the leather trade supplying the horse market in the latter half of the 1800s. It’s one of the few saddle makers that can live up to the claim ‘been there, done that’. Modern cut-out saddles, for example, have been around for a good 10 years or so, but Brooks originally made one about 110 years ago.
The Imperial is available in three versions: the Imperial, as seen here; the Imperial Narrow; and the Imperial S (short), a shorter, wider version for women.