Last April we published a teaser on the new Cambium C17, Brooks’ groundbreaking non-leather saddle. After seven years of product sourcing and engineering, Books was releasing a very limited number of C17 saddles for real-world testing. Well now the Italians (all Cambium C17 saddles are Italian made) are back from summer holiday and back to hand-crafting these beauties for production. For an inspiring look into this remarkable venture from such a stalwart of the industry, join us past the break…


This year’s EuroBike jury bestowed their prestigious GOLD Award upon the Brooks Cambium C17, the first time a saddle has ever won said award in the “Parts/Components” category.


Some background on the new C17: Brooks decided to turn to design specialists IDEO of San Francisco for a corroborative collaborative effort. (Designboom, Nov. 14) IDEO states the impetus for the C17 was the discovery of a “group of riders who were more in love with the idea of a Brooks saddle than the reality of having to condition the leather and earn a perfect fit for your derriere over time.”


With no need to condition the material or adjust the tension with time, with the C17, Brooks has accomplished what it set out to do. The Cambium is comfortable right out of its cotton bag.


Speaking of cotton, this was the material Brooks and IDEO turned to for the Cambium C17. Fussing woven organic-cotton onto a vulcanized natural-rubber shell, the C17 is structured upon a die-cast aluminum frame supported by stainless steel rails. The result is a “hammock” style design that is said to uniquely absorb vibrations. The entire product is waterproof treated with Brooks’ Numac and hand-crafted in Italy.

The B17 in “Apple Green” – Very Cool

The C17’s design is modeled closely on the classic B17, based on the age-old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The Cambium C17 is of limited supply and has been labeled a Limited Edition. But judging by what we know, it just might be worth the trouble of getting your butt on one.


  1. I hate to be the typical Bike Rumor hater but seriously, handcraft what? Cotton over plastic base (which will eat lycra shorts by the way) investment cast frame with rails screwed to it. Am i missing something?

  2. @Jeb
    Not a plastic base, “woven organic-cotton onto a vulcanized natural-rubber shell” for the person who wants a Brooks saddle that doesn’t want to deal with conditioning a leather saddle. It also states they’ve done real-world testing, so I’m sure it won’t eat your shorts.

  3. I’m intrigued by this saddle, but I think the idea that the Cambium is a leather saddle that you don’t have to baby like a leather saddle may leave some disappointed. I just don’t think one material can feel and behave like another material -each has it’s own unique properties and to get leather’s awesome characteristics…you’ve got to have a leather saddle. Kudos to Brooks (or Selle Italia?) for trying something new (unless it’s the same as with most bicycle innovations…someone already made it…usually in 1907).

  4. One of our customers got one of the first 1000 (number 659 if i recall) and let us stick it on the counter for a bit. It has the springy feel of a broken in Brooks (without the impression from one’s sit bones), and looks absolutely gorgeous. Given the fact that they’re in the catalog I can only assume that they will become a production item (along with the C15 as well at some point.) I can’t wait to see how the initial thoughts from the people who’ve been riding them the last few weeks compare to the long term thoughts after a few years. In any case I’ll get my hands on one once they’re more available and get some miles on it. I have high expectations.

  5. I checked one of these out at Interbike and while I liked the way it looked and the construction was nice, I’d also be concerned about my bibs. The woven cotton is only on the top and the saddle’s edges are pretty gummy. I’d be curious to know how that cotton wears, too – it didn’t feel like it would be all that durable but maybe it is.

  6. Pending the reviews, I am strongly considering this as a saddle for touring. If it offers the same legendary comfort of a Brooks leather saddle, but without the maintenance and the cruelty, I am so down.

  7. Nothing rivals the comfort afforded by my well worn in Brooks B17 atop a high end road bike. I get funny looks at races and all sorts of questions but never a moment of discomfort. I’ve tried all the tech packed latest saddles with xyz anatomical conformity and materials under the sun but the Brooks always triumphs and performs. You’ll not be disappointed with their original designs and materials. I promise!

  8. I was one of the folks that got one for review, pre-release. I actually got the saddle for review because I was one of the “group of riders who were more in love with the idea of a Brooks saddle than the reality of having to condition the leather and earn a perfect fit for your derriere over time.” I think I literally wrote that I love the idea of Brooks, but despise the actual product. All that said, they nailed what they set out to do. The saddle is exceptionally comfortable. Enough so that I opted to ride it for the CTR this year, after only having it on the bike for a week. I did not regret the choice. Which also brings up the ‘this thing eats shorts for breakfast’ assertion: it does not. While the material feels somewhat abrasive as new, it quickly smooths out and gains an almost ‘waxy’ feel. By the same token, it never gets smooth enough that its very easy to shift around on the saddle. If you appreciate the slipperyness, and the ability to shift around easily, of leather Brooks, this probably isn’t the saddle for you. In all, it’s a great saddle, but as with all things that interface with such a ‘intimate’ area, your mileage may vary.

  9. If only it had longer rails….I see it has the typical Brooks teensy weensy bit of fore/aft adjustment. As something to simply look at, it’s gorgeous.

  10. I’m trying to buy one but my sales rep at the distributor says we don’t sell enough Brooks products to get one. Hello… I have money in my hand and you won’t sell me one? Fine I’ll buy something else.

  11. David French: That’s common in the industry. Sidi and Mavic among others have minimum order policies. Sidi pretty much killed off their US business with that rule.

    You should ride what your shop sells anyway.

What do you think?