Tucked away on an industrial estate, Brooks have been at this location since the early 1960’s. Walking through the main door you see a myriad of fine leather saddles, chrome parts and boxes upon boxes of little gems. I never knew how much went into a saddle, and having been riding Brooks saddles for years I can see why they are so popular with cyclists.
Having celebrated their 150th birthday last year it was great to talk to Steven over a brew as we go into the history of the business, how things have changed and how the new ranges, most of which are made in Italy, have given Brooks a huge resurgence. Cycling it seems is becoming very popular.
If like me you love all things industrial you would love the Brooks factory. Machines from the 60’s pull metal into shapes, while other strange gadgets crop, bend and twist wire into springs. I never knew that the springs were made to oppose each other giving stiffness yet a certain amount of flex, all these little things you pick up.
As I am introduced to people I can hear the hiss of metal and the thump of stamps. The bare bones of each saddle starts with a specific frame made by machine, but finally inspected by human eye. Each component is carefully looked over for issues or imperfections. As I move round the factory every procedure aims to lovingly create a saddle that will give years of pleasure. The cards dotted around each station make sure the operator knows which model is made in which way, what kind of stamp it is to have and how the final touches are added.
I chat to Eric, a well know fella since being on TV this year about the comfort of leather and how you should look after it. He beats the rivets with a hammer never missing!
“You screw this up and the whole saddle is a gonna!” he says in his stong black country accent.
You can clearly see that the folks at Brooks like to have a laugh, but clearly take their job seriously. They know that they are making a product that will stand the test of time.
After all it is “The finest saddle in the World”.