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21 December 2011 1 comment

Sound Advice from the 1937 Brooks Book

Saddles, Bags, Etc. Heritage
By Alasdair
Sound Advice from the 1937 Brooks Book
A nice Illustration from page 3 of the 1937 Brooks Book of Saddles and Kit A lesson in good copywriting from our forebears Whilst researching in the archives I stumbled on this missive from a pre-war Brooks Book of Saddles and Kit for Cyclists and Motorcyclists. Simply put, it is a salutary lesson in how to write concise and informative notes on correct saddle choice. What sort of saddle shall I fit? This is a question which is asked by all kinds of cyclists during a twelve-month. The racing man in search of an extra ounce of power, the tourist in his quest for a go-anywhere seat, the expert in his desire to equip himself with the most suitable type for a particular purpose, the cycle manufacturer in his desire to provide the best for his customers – all ask this very important question in a variety of ways. Apart from certain basic principles it is difficult to generalize in matters relating to saddle selection. Slogan from p27 of 1937 Brooks bookA snappy slogan describing the Brooks emblem, still emblazoned on all our saddles The most intimate part of the bicycle. No other component calls for such individuality in choice. For this reason the makers of Brooks Saddles place their unparalleled experience at the disposal of riders. This experience, dating back to the earliest days of cycling, covers every form of saddle making – spring mattress, weatherproof and solid leather. Solid leather – best for riding. The solid leather saddle when made by skilled hands, from superfine selected material, has proved itself the most satisfactory type of seat for so active a mode of travel as cycling. Racing cyclists are unanimous in their preference for the leather saddle. Road and track events alike reveal the almost complete dominance of the famous Brooks Champion series. Amongst club cyclists and those who, from experience or observation, have decided this important question, we again find an overwhelming majority in favour of the solid leather saddle. All these riders have found in the shapely solid leather saddle those qualities which make it unquestionably best for riding. Title page and text excerpt from 1937 Brooks catalogueThe title page typography and layout is actually nicer than the rather drab cover. What are the qualities desirable in a cycle saddle? Briefly they are Shapeliness, Suppleness, Coolness, Porosity, Comeliness and Durabilty. Shapeliness. Correct shape is the first requirement of a cycle saddle. Correct shape gives ease awheel – and ease should be the cyclist's aim rather than arm-chair comfort. The smooth shapeliness of a solid leather seat permits easy pedalling, and in fact freedom for all the activity that makes cycling such a pleasure. Suppleness. Solid leather of the right tannage and properly dressed for the purpose adds to correct shape just that degree of flexibility which makes it adaptable to so many conditions. Coolness. Friction between energetic limbs and a clinging surface speedily generates heat. With the smooth shapeliness of a solid leather seat, coolness is preserved even when the pace is hot or the going is hard. Porosity. Leather is 30% air. This is one of the reasons why the solid leather saddle keeps cool. It is also the reason why it is a healthy substance on which to ride. Leather „breathes“ and even when grease-dressed (for weather-proofing and self-preservation) never becomes clammy to the rider. Comeliness. This is not a reason for buying a saddle – but the satisfaction that follows the selection of a good solid leather seat is very real. Moreover, it is a satsfaction that grows as the leather melows with use and age. Durability. To a cyclist few things can be more disappointing than short-lived comfort. Without durability all the other qualities are soon lost. Cycling makes heavy demands upon the saddle, and only the best material can be expected to give that lasting service which spells satisfaction. The gold-embossed cover is sadly not very photogenic.
I love my two Brooks saddles
jim 23 May 2016 at 16:28