Spa Cycles has brought out a range of three leather saddles at a distinctly more wallet-friendly price-point than their Brooks counterparts: the Wharfe to Brooks' Swift, the Aire to Brooks' Swallow, and the saddle here: the Spa Cycles Nidd to Brooks' B17.
The Nidd's dimensions are almost identical to the B17's with a length of 277 mm, a width of 168mm and a height of 65 mm, though at 623 grams on our scales it's a bit burlier than the B17's claimed 520 grams. At £35, it's also a heck of a lot cheaper.
Having tried a large number of female specific saddles over the years, including offerings from most of the major manufacturers (with varying degrees of success), I was keen to find out about this new kid on the block, the Forza Cirrus Women's Saddle.
Forza- or 4ZA- is the standalone accessories brand of Belgian bike manufacturer Ridley, distributed through Today's Cyclist.
Spa Cycle's Aire Leather Saddle is part of Spa's range of own-brand leather saddles that's been making waves recently at a fraction of the price of a Brooks equivalent.
That's not to say that the Spa offerings are just cheap clones; go back a few decades and you'd find other saddlers making saddles to the same basic template, it just happened that Brooks was the last man standing as the world moved on to vinyl, plastic and various flavours of artificial leather.
There's been a bit of a resurgence in interest in more traditional cycling products, and in particular leather saddles. Some would argue that they never stopped being popular, but nonetheless, there does seem to be an ever increasing amount of choice.
The Rido R-Lt saddle is a reasonably lightweight performance choice that's built specifically to avoid numbness.
The Kontact Anatomical race saddle feels precisely how a good saddle should feel and I've managed several hundred mixed-terrain miles without a hint of discomfort, and that's pretty impressive from a perch hovering around 200g.
The one amendment I would like to see are scuff bumpers - not that you'd put an 80 quid saddle on a town hack but since bikes are typically propped by their saddles against walls, posts and other street furniture, it makes sense to add some reinforcement in these key areas.
Forza – or 4ZA – is the standalone accessories brand of Belgian bike manufacturer Ridley and it has just got widespread UK distribution through Todays Cyclist. The Team Issue saddle is the first Forza product we've reviewed on road.cc and it's a really good start.
The saddle is about as flat from front to back as you'll find. If you're familiar with the popular Fizik Arione, it's as level as that. There's no wave in the shell and barely any rise towards the rear.
Selle San Marco's Concor saddle has got a whole lot lighter but it still delivers plenty of comfort.
We've reviewed a Selle San Marco Concor before although, despite sharing a name, the two aren't much alike. The Supercorsa version Dave reviewed was a vintage-style saddle; different size, different shape, different materials... different all round.
Freedom is the road brand of WTB. They describe the Racine saddle, which is similar to the WTB Rocket V Race, as a 'lightweight racing model'. Weight is pretty good for a chrome-moly railed saddle, but the price and ride feel suggest that this is an entry-level sports saddle for generic riding duties rather than one for your Sunday best bike.
The Arte Selle Dakar Print is a really good race saddle at a very reasonable price.
We reviewed the Arte Selle Dakar Double saddle earlier in the year and liked it a lot. This one is very similar.
The shell is 275mm long and 130mm across; about normal for a saddle of this kind. That plastic shell is carbon-infused and it flexes a little to reduce vibration and smooth over pot-holed roads.