Bill Amberg – for the non-fashion aficionados among us – is a London-based purveyor of stylish leather products to the great and the good. He’s now lent his name to West Country company Charge’s newest saddle. In typical Charge style, the perch has a kitchen-related moniker.
The Pan is available in black with red stitching and detailing, and tan with cream stitching as pictured. It’s designed to fall somewhere between the company’s Spoon and Bucket saddles.
Weighing less than fixie’s fave the Bucket and being more plushly padded than the Spoon, it tips the scales at 298g – compared with just 221g for the racier Spoon.
Although it’s not visible from above, flip it over and you can see that the central part of the shell has a large cutaway towards the front.
Where this comes into its own is in its long-distance comfort. It has a thicker layer of padding than a racing saddle, but it’s not overly spongy and you don’t get the overpadded feeling you can with more cushion-like affairs.
And while the heavy seams on the surface feel prominent to the touch, you can’t feel them through Lycra shorts, let alone thicker casual shorts.
The Pan is probably best suited to riders who prefer a slightly more upright position – more leisurely sportive riders, commuters and tourers – but that pressure-relieving cutaway is effective when you’re riding with more pressure on the nose of the saddle.
Construction quality is decent – the stapling on the underside functional rather than neat – but there’s no sign of the hide covering coming adrift and the stitching on top is very neat. The big advantage of leather, though, is that it’s a very long-lasting material.
Our Pan looks nearly as good as new after several months’ use, and if you do scuff the surface you can polish out the worst effects of wear.
The Pan is likely to prove another successful product for Charge. At 40 quid it’s very competitively priced for a decent quality leather saddle, and if you can pick it up more cheaply it becomes a genuine bargain.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.