A New Generation of Bike Saddles

How Brooks England rediscovered its inventive spirit

Since 1866, when John Boultbee Brooks first wielded his iron awl and cobbler’s hammer to stretch leather over a bike saddle, his company has been known for its craftsmanship, durability, and quirky British insistence on doing things differently. Cyclists are fiercely attached to the brand.

Reinventing a Classic
So, when Brooks England turned to IDEO to design its first new bike saddle in decades, it was essential that the design pay respect to the company’s heritage. Called the Cambium C17, the seat provides the same durability as traditional Brooks leather saddles, but offers instant comfort and weather protection. The C17 won a Eurobike Gold Award upon launch in 2013.

I love this saddle. I feel like this is what my ass has been missing for 37 years.

—Brooks England rider, B B from U.S.A.

The Key Insight
Along with the devoted traditionalists, IDEO discovered a group of riders who were more in love with the idea of a Brooks saddle than the reality of having to condition the leather and earn a perfect fit for your derriere over time.

The Innovations
The Cambium is designed for these riders. Once IDEO delivered the concept, Brooks’ commitment to implementing the design was unflappable. It took them nearly 7 years to source the materials and perfect the process for creating a more comfortable saddle.

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Project date: 2013