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If you need proof that retro is the new futurism then look no further than this Brooks Colt. It's a retro throwback from 1979 but it's a more modern design than pretty much anything else Brooks sell. The shape is redolent of the period, all solid sides and snub nose and if you've got an early 80's steel framed project on the boil, this is the saddle to stick on top.
The first thing you notice is just how sturdy it looks. Brooks road saddles usually have some texture, a grooved line, a stamped logo or a few holes to leaven the leather. Not so here, it's a smooth unbroken curve from side to side, an intimidating lump that positively smirks at the idea of comfort. I'm blessed with a Brooks shaped backside so I had high hopes of breaking this Colt before it broke me.
Once smeared with the regulation layer of Proofide and left to cure overnight I fitted it and went for a spin. Now, I know the drill with setting a Brooks saddle - it's usually a case of fiddling with it over the course of a couple of rides and then simply growing old together. After a few rounds of fiddling I'd got the angle just so but I wasn't expecting the damned thing to be so unyielding. The rounded profile means that pressure is concentrated on a smaller contact area, much more so than the wider and flatter B17s and Swifts I'm used to. Not only is the shape different but without grooves the leather doesn't give as much. That should bode well for it's longevity, hopefully avoiding the dreaded Brooks Splay, but the tradeoff is that the breaking in period is longer. Even once I'd sorted the angle I still spent a good few miles shuffling awkwardly but after 100 miles the tell-tale dimples had appeared either side of the central ridge, a sure sign that my buttocks were winning the battle. Full comfort was achieved after 300 miles, longer than any previous Brooks of my acquaintance, but once broken it's proved to be an extremely comfy saddle. On a recent audax (the blisteringly cold Glastonbury 100 Miler) my bum was the only part of me that wasn't tired and aching by the end.
Bearded touring types will instantly spot the lack of bag loops but really this is a saddle designed to appeal to fashion and aesthetics as much as anything. Just look at the colours it comes in: turquoise, violet and pink, as well as the regulation black. It's a perfect match for a candy-coloured fashion fixie and the deep, smooth sides and narrow profile mean it's ideal for fast spinning single-speeders. And portly middle-aged audaxers, of course.
At a retail price of £120 it's certainly not cheap but Brooks saddles have a reputation for being a worthwhile longterm investment.
A proper old-fashioned modern classic.
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Make and model: Brooks Colt saddle
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Brooks say: "Today the Colt appeals to a new generation already romanced by the 80's retro look, and has been re-introduced in colours that appeal to this younger, style-conscious demographic. The vibrant colours are achieved through natural vegetable dyes, as are all leathers in the Brooks product line."
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 40 Height: 5\' 8 Weight: er....86kg
I usually ride: GT Rave - singlespeed conversion My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,