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 road build bike, was his Brooks England saddle. Since reading about the intricate, careful and unique process, which creates every Brooks saddle by hand in the Birmingham factory, I really began to see the beauty of them.

Subsequently, Brooks England saddles 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. It was 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, I opted for a Brooks England Swift saddle.

I have had the saddle on my touring/winter bike for two months now, and clocked up a fair few miles. This has included the 130 mile ride 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. That may be the greatest 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 and friction; and the shape has changed as it moulds to my derrière. The comfort of the Swift comes from its shape, and its suspended leather design, which offers a surprising amount of suspension.

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 am 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 the 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 was so comfortable that I didn't even notice it on a 130 mile ride, it is beautiful, and it is built to last.

I am converted. I now realise why Brooks has such a history as a company, and I'm glad that I have a little bit of that history on one of my bikes.


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

  2. I know you are right a really good saddle,but for some unknown reason I cannot get comfortable on it even after some 3000 miles. I don't want to change it.Any ideas??


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