Urban Velo

Brooks Swift Chrome Saddle Review

Brooks Swift Chrome

Most people either love or hate Brooks saddles. And those who do in-fact love them are reluctant to ride anything else. On the other hand, those who aren’t a fan seldom give them a second chance. Personally, I’m somewhere in between.

Brooks SwiftOne of the biggest issues people have with Brooks saddles is the break-in period. Although I’ve heard people claim that it took just a few weeks to break in, I’ve never been so fortunate. Even after a significant amount of time, both of the Brooks saddles that I own fall squarely into the category of extra-firm. Still, I can appreciate the logic behind the design, and I certainly admire the aesthetics.

This particular saddle began its tenure on a fixed gear commuter bike, but eventually found its way on to my classic Raleigh grocery-getter. But make no mistake, despite its substantial weight (510 g) the Swift is designed as a high-performance saddle.

It’s 272 mm long and 150 mm wide, making it significantly more svelte than some of the classic Brooks designs. The chromium plated steel rails look good and should stand the test of time. And the copper rivets are a beautiful example of old-world craftsmanship.

In addition to comfort, one other consideration is that you need to maintain your Brooks saddle. Care for a genuine leather saddle includes periodic treatment with a leather dressing. And environmental conditions, especially moisture, can have a negative effect on the appearance and longevity of your saddle.

The Swift Chrome retails for about $180. Check out www.brooksengland.com

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  1. BenzoOctober 29, 2012 at 7:49 am

    It took me a couple months to break in my brooks b17 narrow. It definitely gets more comfortable after the break in, but I think it’s about 500 miles or so of saddle time and an application or two of leather dressing before it feels right. I’m definitely enjoying it now that it has softened up.

  2. Randal PutnamOctober 29, 2012 at 10:59 am

    For those that have not been happy with their experience atop a Brooks saddle, make sure you weren’t using a narrow version on a bike with an upright riding position or a wide version on a bike with a leaned over riding position. Although I’ve broken this rule with some success, I am much happier when I adhere to it.

  3. Joe PeraltaOctober 30, 2012 at 4:24 am

    Leather needs moisture to break in and stay supple. It doesn’t pay for occasional rides, it’s likely to stiffen up, as boots do. But for a bike ridden frequently I’ve found it by far the best, and haven’t had any problems with weather exposure. The key to maintaining the shape is adjusting the tension after the saddle breaks in to your weight and riding style, and then keeping an eye on it. They’re pricey, but in the right circumstances the comfort and durability are worth it.

  4. B. OuyangOctober 30, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I’m with Randal Putnam on this one. Most people I see chose a Brooks saddle that was too narrow for intended use and thus ran into break-in issues. This may be due to the mental block of switching over since non-Brooks saddles tend to be significantly narrower and it just plain feels strange to switch from those to a much wider saddle. However, if one chooses appropriately, one should not suffer from break-in issues (assuming one’s behind is already accustomed to bicycle saddles in general) and indeed, my B17 felt good if not great from day 1. It’s a fairly wide saddle for a bike that has the handlebar lower than the saddle.

  5. MikeTNovember 5, 2012 at 2:23 am

    My Brooks B17 experience holds true to the above comments. It definitely took at least 500 miles before I was firmly convinced that it was indeed comfortable and showing signs of conforming to my butt. I think I treated it a couple times with Dubbin to help that process out (i.e. reduce the pain) I can’t remember the last time I treated it with anything other than bumsweat (going on 3 years). A sprinkling of rain is ok and don’t throw away the little wrench-like took that comes with it; it’s the key to future comfort, but I do attempt to keep it dry.

    I agree that fit is paramount to accessing full Brooks potential. If the seat is too far forward, one tends to push back onto the rear where the rivets and metal frame are – not as comfy as leather. As Randal mentioned, getting the right width for your ride is worth figuring out. If you are willing to spend on a Brooks, it’s worth a bit more to work that out.

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