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Back at the Races: Brooks Cambium C-13

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The Brooks Cambium C-13

What’s the winningest saddle in cycling history? There are no stats tracing which saddle won where, but we think we know the answer: Brooks England Ltd. It’s true, no rider in the pro peloton has raced Brooks for many years. Leather saddles are heavy and thought of as vintage, comfort saddles, yet the phrase “on the rivet” was coined by racers sliding forward over the iconic rivet on their Brooks saddles. This was in the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, when almost the entire pro peloton rode a Brooks (or an Idéale of France) leather saddle.

peloton

RELATED: Check in with Brooks to learn about the 2016 Line and 150years of Brooks history. 

Brooks has its sights back on the pro peloton with the Brooks Cambium C-13. This is the lightest in the Cambium line and lightest Brooks saddle, but it’s not light by current standards: 259 grams. Most race saddles are 100 grams lighter. Brooks knows that pros are riding bikes under the UCI limit, so why not use those grams to improve comfort? The C13 uses natural, vulcanized rubber to provide support and padding in one. It is topped with organic cotton and mated to continuous carbon rails with, you guessed it, alloy rivets.

Unlike Brooks leather saddles, the C13 requires no break in time or adjustments. There is no cutout or chopped nose and the profile is essentially flat, but the carbon and rubber structure sag slightly to create the hammock effect Brooks is so well known for. It’s a narrow saddle, 132mm, with a pronounced arch at the tail which makes it a wonderful saddle for the spinners of the peloton, but perhaps a touch narrow for those who use their sit bones to carry weight. The cotton top provides an ideal amount of traction, allowing you to hunker down and deliver watts, yet slide easily to the rivet.

The C13, cutting-edge for Brooks, will be seen as a throwback in the pro peloton, but it deserves a place there. Will we ever see Brooks produce a cut-out or a sub-200-gram saddle? Before riding the Brooks Cambium C-13 we would have said: “Never!” Now, who knows?

Price: $200 Weight: 259 grams More: brooksengland.com