Spa leather saddles

Please be fair and thoughtful in your opinions. No rants please.
JohnW
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by JohnW »

Malaconotus wrote:......................viz. the fancy box with a copy of the Brooks Bugle etc., which seems to be targeted at the Amercian market...............


I've often wondered about that myself. I've had a couple of duff Brooks saddles in the last two or three years - both sorted out by the retailers - after no little effort on their part, I understand - and I've wondered whether Brooks ever meant the saddles to be used, rather than kept as collectors' item, to be flaunted by rich Americans in front of less-rich Americans. The saddles do look very good indeed, and together with the boxing and accessories included, are certainly attractive.

The replacement for my Duff 'Pro' isn't satisfactory really, but the replacement for my B17 has done 5,000 miles+ in the last few months, and I have to say it is perfect so far.
boblo
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by boblo »

Decent imported (plastic) Fizik's start at ~£70. Apparently they are full of hi tech and are used by all the Pro teams. That'll be a large percentage of their cost going on marketing then....

Unfortunately there's a premium to be paid for a UK locally sourced, locally manufactured product. This is not the 3rd world and the cost of manufacturing in the UK is much higher than China/Cambodia/Taiwan/Vietnam/India/Romania/Poland/Hungary etc.

If people don't want to pay the premium, they won't and if Brooks want to survive, they'll have to move offshore like a lot of other companies have.
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georgew
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by georgew »

JohnW wrote:Can ypu give us a report/review on the Spa saddle please George? I'm very interested.


At this time I can only say that I'm impressed with the overall quality of materials and construction and see no reason why it wouldn't perform well in use. It is strikingly similar to the B17 in that the frame, thickness of leather and rivets used are the same. It beats the Brooks in my opinion by having an Allen-headed bolt instead of that daft, odd-sized tensioning bolt and by having the means to pull together the skirts using opposed holes and nylon cord. The leather on my version is "Brown" as opposed to "Honey" in colour. It comes in a tasty drawstring bag along with Allen key and looks the business.
Unfortunately I can't use it at the present time as health problems prevent me from riding. I bought it as I saw it as really good value and intend to use it on my winter bike when I get around to building it.
Malaconotus
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by Malaconotus »

boblo wrote:Unfortunately there's a premium to be paid for a UK locally sourced, locally manufactured product. This is not the 3rd world and the cost of manufacturing in the UK is much higher than China/Cambodia/Taiwan/Vietnam/India/Romania/Poland/Hungary etc.


This is true, and I am buying a new Brooks saddle today rather than a Chinese clone, and am happy to do this even at the current price. £60 for 20,000 miles of comfort is fair. And the costs of production are likley to have risen sharply, accounting for some of the increased price. But the more than doubling of the price in four years does mean that either...

(A) The saddles were previously too cheap to be profitable, and the new price reflects the true cost.
(B) The profit margins have been increased by more astute packaging and marketing, aimed at affluent Americans.

I am happy to pay whatever premium is required to ensure continuing UK production of a design classic and an essential component of a touring bike, but not happy to pay more than that to make rich Americans feel good or to line the pockets of shareholders of the parent company (Selle Royal S.P.A.). I fear that a significant element of recent price increases is doing the latter, rather than the former.
JohnW
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by JohnW »

georgew wrote:
JohnW wrote:Can ypu give us a report/review on the Spa saddle please George? I'm very interested.


At this time I can only say that I'm impressed with the overall quality of materials and construction and see no reason why it wouldn't perform well in use. It is strikingly similar to the B17 in that the frame, thickness of leather and rivets used are the same. It beats the Brooks in my opinion by having an Allen-headed bolt instead of that daft, odd-sized tensioning bolt and by having the means to pull together the skirts using opposed holes and nylon cord. The leather on my version is "Brown" as opposed to "Honey" in colour. It comes in a tasty drawstring bag along with Allen key and looks the business.
Unfortunately I can't use it at the present time as health problems prevent me from riding. I bought it as I saw it as really good value and intend to use it on my winter bike when I get around to building it.


The Allen key adjuster bolt is a deffinite step forward. The difference between "Brown" and "Honey" will disappear after a couple of thousand miles anyway. The rivets - are they like the normal Brooks rivets, or are they the large head copper rivets, like the B17 Special and the Pro?

With respect to your health problems - "get well soon".
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georgew
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by georgew »

The rivets are the normal small ones as used on the B17 as opposed to the larger, flattened variety as used on the B17 Champion. Very handsome saddle though.
Many thanks,
George.
JohnW
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by JohnW »

georgew wrote:The rivets are the normal small ones as used on the B17 as opposed to the larger, flattened variety as used on the B17 Champion. Very handsome saddle though.
Many thanks,
George.


Thank you George.
chris1959
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by chris1959 »

I would not hesitate to buy an alternative to a Brooks, they are profiteering. How good are the Spa saddles?
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georgew
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by georgew »

chris1959 wrote:I would not hesitate to buy an alternative to a Brooks, they are profiteering. How good are the Spa saddles?


I see no reason why these saddle should not perform as well as a Brooks. The leather used and the steel former look identical.
geocycle
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by geocycle »

georgew wrote:
chris1959 wrote:I would not hesitate to buy an alternative to a Brooks, they are profiteering. How good are the Spa saddles?


I see no reason why these saddle should not perform as well as a Brooks. The leather used and the steel former look identical.


Quite, you wonder how well their copyright is protected :?
cyclofabrica

Spa leather saddles

Post by cyclofabrica »

I was lucky enough to receive a Spa Aire leather saddle for Christmas, have to say the quality looks great! I fitted it to the bike today and took it for a spin. Time will tell how it wears in but certainly plenty comfortable enough over a 15 mile spin. Made of Australian cow hide on cromo rails and for £45 certainly looks great value compared to a £137 brooks swallow. If I get on with it can see a few more being purchased for my other bikes.

Saddles in general seem to be getting more expensive year on year, good to have a well made range of leather saddles at £35 - £45

Will update this post when I have put a few hundred miles through it.
Michael R
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Joined: 9 Jul 2008, 10:40pm

Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by Michael R »

On my bikes I use Brooks B17

One is from 1986 and has done about 25000 miles and the other from 2003 with 23000 miles, both seem to have a lot of life left in them

What have I done right?
cooper_coleraine
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Joined: 6 Feb 2009, 6:21pm

Nidd saddle.

Post by cooper_coleraine »

Very pleased with my Nidd saddle. Gives very.good support to sit upon bones. Very surprised that such a firm saddle was so comfortable on my Very first ride .
jimlews
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by jimlews »

Another 'Aire' fan here.
The cantle is broader than the Brooks Swallow that it is "referencing"
and the reinforced construction works well, whereas on a previous 'Warfe', now retired,
I couldn't get comfortable even with considerable "adjustment" to the underside fabric and lacing.
BTW the honey version is nearer to toxic orange - the brown is much nicer.

I sometimes forget it's there; the ultimate compliment for a saddle.
cooper_coleraine
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Re: Spa leather saddles

Post by cooper_coleraine »

Thanks for your informative reply. The broadness of the Nidd saddle probably explains the greater comfort I referred to which was noticeable on my first outing

Best wishes
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