The Brooks Swift

When I was first getting into cycling I read Robert Penn's 'It's All About The Bike'. One of the most interesting and historical additions to his dream custom build bike was his Brooks saddle. Since reading about the intricate, careful and unique process that creates every Brooks saddle by hand in the Birmingham factory, I really began to see the beauty of them.
Subsequently they have caught my eye adorning so many great bikes, from the Rapha film steeds to B17s on famous round-the-world bikes.

As a result, in the back of my mind I developed a deep desire to own a Brooks at some point in my life, a desire that was amplified as I started doing longer miles and in particular when I saw how few saddle problems my touring companion Francis had with his Brooks compared to my standard saddle on our 1400 mile trip to France and Spain last year.

So it was, that when my 21st Birthday approached this spring and my parents wanted to get me something "memorable and special, that will last a lifetime"; instead of a watch, wallet or cufflinks which might normally come to mind, I opted for a Brooks Swift.

I've had the saddle on my touring/winter bike for two months now and clocked up a fair few miles, including the 130 miles epic that I did from the Isle of Wight to Exeter. When I got back from this most recent trip a friend asked me "how was the Brooks" only then did I realise that I hadn't even noticed it. Potentially that's the biggest praise that you can give a saddle; for a 130 mile ride I hadn't even had the slightest saddle sore or discomfort!

In fact despite the claims that it takes hundreds of miles to 'bed in a Brooks' I found that straight from the intricate box, the Brooks was very comfortable. There have been subtle changes in the saddle, the colour has changed a bit with the heat on the saddle and the shape has changed as it moulds to my derrière, but the comfort of the Swift comes from it's shape and its suspended leather design, which offers a surprising amount of suspension to your behind.

I chose the Swift because it has more of a race bike geometry and lends itself better to a drop-bar bike than the famous B17. I'm very glad I did, not only is it fantastic on my steel training bike, it is a real craftsman's art; the chamfered sides, bashed copped rivets and chrome rails really look special and should last a long long time.

So there it is, an answer to my friend's question, "How was the Brooks?". It's so comfortable that I didn't even notice it on a 130 mile ride, it's beautiful, and it's built to last. I'm converted, I now realise why Brooks has such a history as a company and I'm glad that I've got a little bit of that history on one of my bikes and a saddle that will undoubtedly grace many more bikes in the future. So if you're looking for a comfortable, unique saddle and a little bit of cycling history, invest in a Brooks.
Available from Wiggle Bike Shop (Link)


  1. Yes, I have a vintage Swift, and a new one. Mind bogglingly comfy! The vintage one in particular.


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