Monthly Archives: December 2022

A word about bicycle saddles from a seasoned rider.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. In that time, I’ve ridden another century, and I’ve done more riding as the year went on. One change I’ve made is that I’ve changed saddles. I don’t do that often, but saddles wear out or break sometimes, and looking for a new saddle will introduce you to an enormous range of choices.

The Brooks Cambium C15 saddle.

A cyclist rests on bones called the ischium, or “sit bones”. These are bones in your pelvis that support your weight as you sit or ride. These bones vary in width for every individual, which along with other factors make your choice of saddle a very personal decision. Some saddles are straight, some curved, some wide, some narrow, some have a cutout in the center to relieve pressure, and some are padded. I can’t speak to the individual needs of other riders, but I can talk about my choices.

My old saddle was a Selle San Marco Regal. This is a straight saddle with no cutout, and it served me well for 3 years. I’ve also ridden on Fizik Antares and Fizik Arione saddles, some had a channel or cutout to relieve pressure. They were straight rather than curved, and they all varied slightly in comfort. In mid October I got a Brooks Cambium C15 saddle. This one is straight, no cutout, and narrower than the ones I’m used to riding on. At this time, having ridden enough miles to get a good feel for this saddle, all I can say is that I’m impressed. The Cambium is a vulcanized rubber compound that flexes slightly, and it’s narrower than the saddles I’m used to. In many ways, it’s similar to a leather saddle. I’ve had leather saddles before. When I got my first “racing” bike in my early teens, it had a leather saddle by Wrights. This was similar to a Brooks saddle, and from what I’ve read they were purchased by Brooks in the early 1960’s. From that experience I know that leather saddles are extremely comfortable after they’ve been ridden for a while. Once broken in, a leather saddle conforms to you.

Brooks saddles are known for being comfortable. I am very impressed with the quality and comfort of the Brooks Cambium C15 saddle. Their standard is a leather saddle, the B17 model. The C15 is narrower than the B17 and its Cambium counterpart the C17. Many have said that Brooks leather saddles look uncomfortable, but once broken in, they swear by them. I’m learning the truth of this. . The Cambium saddle I’m riding on now is also very comfortable. Now that I’ve got it broken in, I’m very impressed. I’m going to stay with the Brooks Cambium, or if I do change it, I might just go for the Leather equivalent, the Brooks Swift saddle.

I can’t say what saddle would be best for anyone else, but I think at this point a Brooks leather or cambium saddle is very comfortable once you’ve ridden on it for a while. To be clear, as I make this recommendation, I get no money or other considerations from Brooks for saying any of this. I’m only stating an opinion, and I have to say that in my experience, once it conforms to you, such a saddle can be a rider’s best friend, particularly on a long ride.