I came across the interesting, timeless and curious Brooks Swallow saddle, produced as a limited edition. In the case of the photograph below, this is one of the 2007 models where just 999 were made.
Alternative colours have also been available in white, blue and red but these are all sold out, adding to the “limited edition” claim of these saddles. The jaw-dropping feature, however, is the price. They cost a cool £590. Yep that’s right: five hundred and ninety pounds. Or is it Euros? Can’t be completely sure , looking at the Brooks website, most likely pounds. The other figures are:
According to the Brooks website, the “Swallow 2007 Limited Edition has been faithfully recreated utilizing the original patent books and has been stitched by hand, in time honoured fashion. The first Swallow was patented on 20th August 1936, a time when all Tour de France riders used Brooks saddles. The second 2007 limited edition of 999 pieces differs from the first in the colour of the leather top”.
As with all Brooks leather saddles, the would-be owner needs to be aware of a few things. Firstly they’re rather hard and uncomfortable to begin with, rock solid in fact. With the right care the leather saddle top (in Brooks lingo the leather part is called the “top”) will become more supple and mould itself to you. That means you gradually get a saddle customised to the shape of your butt. The correct care means using Proofhide leather dressing, tensioning (as per instructions) with the Brooks spanner and, if possible, keeping it dry. Do this and it will work fine. I can testify to that through my own experience of owning two Brooks B17 saddles. These B17s, by the way, are the cheapest ones in the range and I have got on really well with them.
So, who would buy such an expensive saddle?
- someone finishing off a classy restoration of a period bicycle where a Swallow would be authentic
- an exhibition bicycle
- someone wanting something a little different in finishing off their carbon fibre road bike. Such a saddle would justifiably raise an eyebrow
- someone simply with far too much money; or has more money than sense
- someone not concerned with charitable causes, humanitarian needs etc
- someone with a weird kinky interest in leather
Not suitable for:
- Vegan cyclists