Brooks has been making leather bicycle saddles since the 19th century and its products are the stuff of legend. That said, they’re generally pretty heavy and they don’t suit every bike, and while they eventually offer armchair comfort they do take some time to break in.
The company developed the Cambium range with an eye to recreating its renowned comfort, but in a much lighter and sleeker-looking saddle that will add to the aesthetics of any bike – even a modern road machine.
I’ve tried this stunning Bronze/Orange C17 on both my everyday road bike as well as my folding bike, to get a feel for how it performs in all circumstances.
I was impressed both ‘towards the rivet’ – I tend not to ride ‘on’ it on my steel bike with mudguards – and sat back in a more upright position on the folder.
Designed for all-day comfort from the off, the Cambium range uses a vulcanised rubber shell with a cotton top to produce an effective and stylish seat.
The original Cambiums exposed that cotton top to the elements, so the addition of a weatherproof nylon coating here is a welcome one, particularly when it comes to commuting.
There’s very little option to be a ‘fair weather’ cyclist, so any kit has to be able to hold its own in the wet on the filthy city streets. The Cambium does so, and in my case has added a real air of class to an otherwise standard-issue, workhorse Brompton.
The rubber used to make the saddle flex exceptionally well, which helps to recreate the famous slung ‘hammock’-style flexibility of Brooks’s leather seats. This ensures excellent comfort and keeps you in contact with your saddle, rather than bouncing around on rougher surfaces.
I found this to be especially true in the more upright position on the Brompton, where I was nearly always planted on my sit bones, but even in a more aggressive position on the road bike I felt the flex take the sting out of the local roads.
There is a small weight penalty over a performance saddle due to the C17’s steel rails, and you might not want a Cambium on your full-on race bike – there is surely a trade-off in power for this much comfort – but for an endurance or touring bike, commuter or winter trainer this is a perfect saddle when it comes to performance and looks.
Matching bar tape (or bar grips for non-drop bar bikes) are also available for styling perfection.
Brooks Cambium All Weather C17 details
- The C17 comes in three finishes: black, octane (blue) and this stunning bronze/orange. I felt this colour hinted at the timeless appeal of a classic Brooks
- The flexibility of the vulcanised rubber top ensures excellent comfort, and unlike a Brooks leather saddle it doesn’t require breaking in
- The updated reinforced back plate bears the Brooks logo and has loops for attaching a saddle bag or for other accessories