Yesterday I had a grand day out with a handful of leather nuts to the Brooks saddle factory in Birmingham, UK. We were split into 2 groups and had a tour on the factory floor. Where we could see, hear and smell the production of these beautiful leather saddles. The whole production is done in true industrial style, e.g big and noisy with oil and steam (ok just added that last bit for effect).
I do have a weak spot for old industrial craftsmanship, ok CNC, robots are great but each has its place. The Brooks factory is any one’s dream to go and see, you can get right up and close to see, smell and hear how it is done and the craftsmen are happy to answer your questions.
You really get to get a feel of the craftsmanship and the hard work and skill they put into their saddles. We got to see every step of the way nearly from the raw metal to the finished product. And none of the steps is a computerised conveyor belt knocking out 1000 units an hour.
I had taken the old neglected Brooks saddles I got the other day with me. Our tour guide had a look and told me that the B66 could be re leathered though compared to getting a new one I wouldn’t save much. The Team Pro could be saved if I got the paint off and re applied some Proofide. He provided a damaged pot free of charge along with a spanner since it was a sin not to tighten the Brooks after use. A quarter of a turn every half a year was the advice, just don’t let the saddle turn into a hammock, as it will put extra strain on the railings.
We finished the day of with a ride into the city centre along Birmingham’s many canals, for lunch. And then we had a short ride out and back to make room for what turned out the be the best pie I ever have had in a pub. The ride on the canals was quite wet, not muddy just plenty of water to ride through, which caused my Surly to be the dirtiest that any of my bicycles has ever been.
I really do think that the Green B17 Special with copper railings, drool, would suit my Green Surly Long Haul Trucker just spot on, can I get one please ?