The Staff
of Valet.

An early model featured in an 1890 catalog.



Whenever a product remains popular for more than a century, you can bet that it does what it promises and it does it well. Such is the case for Brooks England Ltd., which produces handsome, hand made leather saddles for cyclers of the traditional sort. The kind of guy who polishes his shoes and carries a serious umbrella on rainy days. Out of the box, the flagship B17 touring saddle looks like a benchmade shoe—all stiff leather and hammered steel—but quickly wears in like a pair of raw jeans—soft in all the right places and better looking for it. In fact, since the seat is not padded, it actually makes for a more comfortable ride. Mushy, foam-laden seats not only add extra heat, they also wear down unevenly, keeping a rider from easily shifting his weight on the road. Plus, the smooth leather of a Brooks saddle prevents chafing and wicks away moisture. B17 saddle, $110 at Brooks England or $99 at REI


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