Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hell Bent for Leather, or its Rubbery Equivalent

This morning I received a visit from one of those courier companies that delivers packages all over the place in brightly-colored trucks which, despite their objectionable aesthetics, don't bother Delia Ephron for some reason.  The driver presented me with his futuristic electronic intergalactic space pad, I "signed" it, and then he gave me this box:

"Is this what I think it is?," I wondered.

Yep, it's the new cowless saddle from Brooks!

I'm very excited about this, I'm not going to lie.  Let's drop the pretense for a little bit and dork out over bike crap for a little bit, okay?  Yeah?  Good.

If you don't like it, watch this instead.

So until a few years ago I'd never even tried a Brooks saddle, but then I did and I was hooked and now have them on three (3) of the four (4) bikes I ride the most.  (Yes, I have more than four bikes.  Way more.)  Those bikes are:

1) My Surly Big Dummy, which I use for child-schleppage and general family adventures:

(Laterally larval and vertically compliant)

2) My artisanal mono-speed Engin mountaining bicycle, which I congratulate myself for owning every time I ride it because it's awesome, and which I use for my sub-epic suburban offroad adventures:

(Real men do this.  I ride half a mile from a mall with an REI.)

3) And of course my traveling bicycle, which I use for traveling, and for the sorts of rides they want you to buy gravel bikes for now, and for general inter-borough commuting:

That particular ass pedestal was hand-chamfered for me by Eric "The Chamferer" Murray himself:

And whenever I ride it I hear those five inspiring words he whispered to me when we first met:

"I'll fucking cut you, mate."

The man's as deft with words as he is with cutting tools:

You're welcome, it was the least I could do.

Anyway, I never much associated Brooks saddles with the offroad-style bicycle cycling, for no better reason than that you rarely see them being used that way.  (Or at least I rarely see them being used that way, but then again I live in a bubble and ride near malls.)  However, as it turns out, they're great in that capacity because they've got some built-in suspension.  For example, I'm sure we've all, in a moment of inattention, ridden over a rock or a root without unweighting for a moment and subsequently experienced the concomitant jolt to the scranus that makes you curse out loud.  The Brooks, I've found, mitigates this sort of thing considerably.

Given this, I'd been meaning to put a Brooks on the fourth (4th) bike I ride a lot, which is my Ritte von Finkelstein:

Because I have So Many Bikes (deal with it) I've settled on the fattish-tire-and-compact-crank configuration for this bike, which makes it perfect for the shitty roads and scruffy multi-use trails I find myself on a lot of the time these days.  I find the Fizik Aliante saddles very comfy despite the fact I'm embarrassed to say the words "Fizik Aliante" out loud.  However, I find the Brooks even more comfortable, and since this is my retirement chariot I figured a Brooks would plush it out completely and also lend it that little bit of additional foppishness that, together with my bloated gut, says, "This guy doesn't race bikes anymore."

Anyway, I hadn't gotten around to getting another Brooks for this bike, but now I've got this vegan one so I'm very excited to put it on there and try it out.  If I like it I'll keep it, then I'll get some leather Brooks handlebar tape to offset the veganism, and then I'll grow a moustache and wax it and start wearing tweed underpants, and then you can all start calling me Clive or Smedley or something.

If I don't like it I'll trade it to you for some dignity.  I could use it.

Also, the saddle has arrived not a moment too soon, because is there a better time for the enjoyment of bicycle cycling in the Northeastern United States than the Autumn seasonway?

That's my dainty little lunch ride climb.  (Obviously looking down the climb, not up it.)  Pretty, isn't it?  It's steep enough that I can pretend I'm climbing but short enough that it's never, ever demoralizing, even when I'm completely unfit, which these days is always.  In the year I've been using it I have yet to encounter another cyclist on it, and I hope it stays that way and never, ever becomes a Strava segment.  (Actually, it could be one already.  I'd never know because I'm not on Strava.)

In other news, the New York Times recently did a pictorial of nonplussed people picking up their cars after they've been towed, and this one in particular caught my eye:

Karl Rahn's car was towed from outside a bike shop.

Ouch.  Somebody send that guy a copy of "The Bicycle Wheel."

Then, this guy walked in:

Nonplussed Bib Short Guy's car was towed as he was changing into his Fred gear on Riverside Drive.

Followed by this guy:

David Byrne does not own a car, he just stopped by to gloat.

Byrne's hard up for gritty entertainment these days now that New York City belongs to the 1%.

Lastly, a reader tells me that a dubious chapter in cycling history can now be yours for the low, low price of $450:

Surly Steamroller Actual bicycle bike from movie Premium Rush!!! Fixie - $450 (Hutchinson)

I have for sale the ACTUAL bike from the movie premium rush. If you google the bike you can see that it is the same bike. I bought it three weeks ago at a charity auction from Surly directly. If you need verification that it is from the movie, they will be able to provide that. The bike has a 53cm seat tube center to top. It is set up fixed with a front brake. The bike has no paint on it to give it that worn look of a messenger bike. The wheels were not in the movie but they were what Surly had on the bike when they got it back after filming. Here is your chance to own a piece of cycling and movie history! Call me at (952) XXX-XXXX

I'm not buying it without a certificate of authenticity and a DNA ass-sweat test.


Anonymous said...


McFly said...

First of the last.

Dale said...


le Correcteur said...

Missed the podium. Top ten, though.

isiners 30

the Jimboner said...

Rad Balls!

babble on said...

Read it.... real women do that.

Anonymous said...


g. said...

Top ten and apparently a real woman. This is going to be a good day. If anyone needs me, I will be playing with my boobs.

Anonymous said...

Now I have to buy a Brooks saddle to match my new BSNYC cap.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

And I'm back.
Tep ton.

Comment deleted said...

Man, that RadBall was riveting. I watched until I stopped.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Smedley Rock Machine

McFly said...

I called Surly. They were pretty Surly.

McFly said...

Geez my doppleganger is ON IT. I think it may be my brother. He has identity issues. Something about mom being a total slut.

BamaPhred said...

Cool post. I got nothing.

Muslopt 42 robot killer

Freddy Murcks said...

One time, my bike got towed while I was picking my car up from the shop. I was definitely plussed off.

gntlis 33

babble on said...

Share share sugar bear g.

Anonymous said...


crosspalms said...

Wow, disembodied feet and a disembodied kitten? I hope you let it play with the box.

Freddy Murcks said...

Hey Snob - if you have some extra Fizik saddles laying around, I will gladly take them off of your hands. Sadly, I have no dignity to spare (I gave that up years ago).


271 hewsea

Anonymous said...

I've had the same saddle for a couple of months. It provides a different kind of discomfort than expected since "no breaking in required". It felt like riding on a wooden board and my clam does not agree with wood.

DerZoots said...


The end.

Robotcatchphrase: GMoadva 41

ouabacher said...

Whew. Thanks for the heads-up, Crosspalms....Almost missed the kitten!

DerZoots said...

Anon 12:47

Sounds like you need a clam compliant saddle.

Personal question.
Does your clam like morning wood?

I asked so you don't have to McFly.

robotcatchphrase: Custrume 397

Angie Kritenbrink said...

I'm surprised vegans have the energy to ride bikes.

3G said...


McFly said...

Now my doppleganger has a doppleganger. Snatch, snatch, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Sugar Babbs

mikeweb said...

Nice windchimes.

McFly said...

Derp derp derppleganger is faking like he's the fake McFakengger.
How many McFlies can you comment on.

Who McFly

Unknown said...

The bike in Premium Rush was actually an Affinity Metropolitan. They are based in Brooklyn and have it advertised all over their site forever that they made the premium rush bike.

mikeweb said...

In case anyone's interested, David Byrne hasn't left New york yet.

On my way home yesterday I saw him jogging in the west side bike path. Yes, I said jogging in the bike path.

Either that or he has left New York and then takes the car that he doesn't own back to New York just so that he can jog in the bike lanes. If that's the case, then he has that in common with just about every other tourist in New york.

babble on said...

To each her own...my clam loves a good woody.

mikeweb said...

Oh, and cyclist down.

Ride In Peace....

RoadQueen said...

DAMN Dale, you're on FIRE!

McFly - Looks like you're now able to be in many places at once. That should come in handy when the Mother In Law shows up and you'd rather be riding your biek.

I just can't see how plant fibers are more comfortable to rest you scranus/vulvanus on than leather.

I love leather.

RoadQueen said...

R.I.P Thomas. :(

JB said...

Mikeweb: I hope you waved to David.

McFly said...

Lick my love pump

CommieCanuck said...

Little known fact, the new Brooks saddles are cowless,because they are made of Soylent green.
Soylent Green is PEEEPUUUULLLL!

mikeweb said...


I did, but he didn't wave back. I guess he's over that.

Anonymous said...

One thing to note:
All of Bikesnob's bikes are old fashioned, yet brand new. This seems very wasteful, to me.
Has the travel Surly replaced the Scattante? That was honestly my favorite snob bike. IRONY.

Dave Moulton, the fellow that brazed my road bike, recently wrote a piece about the 20 year anniversary of him getting out of the god forsaken bike business.
Looking back, I have no regrets. I have a body of work out there that has survived longer than my California business. As long as people are interested, I will continue to write here and maintain my bike registry. Above all I can enjoy riding a bike, something I could not do while I was engaged in the bicycle business.

Today I am a writer and songwriter. I make a small amount from freelance writing, and when people hear my music, some say, “Why don’t you go to Nashville and try to sell your songs?” To that I would answer. “No thank you.” The bicycle business drove me to hate the bicycle, for many years I did not own or ride one. I love my music and the people it brings me in touch with, I will not allow the music business to drive me to hate it.

I did not realize it when I bought the bike, but MOUNTAIN BIKES killed the man's artisinal lugged road bike business. I feel like I was meant to save this particular dentist bike from a life of dust collection.

Around this same time, the legendary 24 hour mountain bike race TEAM HUGH JASS was making waves in New Caannaaaannnnn. I am glad this happened before the popularity of internets, because the legend can spread organically.

TEAM HUGH JASS was 4 guys. They shared:
-the same fixed gear beater road bike, with apehanger handle bars.

-copious quantities of hallucinogens.

-the same pair of acid washed denim look bib shorts. When each rider would finish their lap, they'd pass the baton, the bike, AS WELL AS THE SHORTS, on to the next rider. All four guys shared the same chamois for 24 hours. IN FACT, they never washed the shorts, and wore them on several consecutive years.

I must remind you that they were as high as (higher than?) cat shit the entire time, AND TORE PEOPLES' LEGS OFF WITH COMMANDING AUTHORITY.

Chamois Juice LIKE WHOA!

CommieCanuck said...

I love leather.

Seriously, fuck cows. There is nothing better than sitting naked in a leather club chair, with a tall glass of milk and a plate of fresh baby veal.

Try it on a plastic lawn chair, with a glass of soy and a vinyl hamburger. Not the same.


JB said...

As a guy who generally just rides a bike stock unless there is an issue, and typically doesn't have issues with saddles: how would I intelligently choose fancy saddle (such as, say, a Brooks)?

How will I know it will be "soooo comfortable," even though 90% of saddles are "pretty comfortable" to me? I do not want to drop ~$150 on a saddle and have it be worse or same comfort level as my Giant-branded scranus supporter.

B17, B15, Team Pro, who the F knows?

Yarpo said...

Snob, hardwood flooring instead of the time-honored sisal mat for your indoor Snob-house pictures? Is that what this blog has come to?

Oh yeah, you might want to WASH your Sock Guy socks 'cuz one of them just sprouted a tail...

Spread out breakaway, Anon 12:03pm had time to zip up the jersey and make the finish line gesture of his/her/it's choice. Congrats! Silver and Bronze Salutes to McFly and Dale!

Me? Just Gorka Verdugo-ing it in at the back.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the brooks, have a swift on my commuter and a swallow on my steel road bike. although i still have a f%izi@@#k Arione on my crabon road bike. although I've noticed a design flaw on the swallow, the brooks stamp on the side of the saddle creates some friction which isn't great for your pants and a couple of the rivits have raised slightly at the edges adding to the pants shredding. May have to change it out which sucks because i've had it for about 3 years and it is comfortable as hell.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLTVwaJiDVg This is going to make people plotz but I love it!

Anonymous said...

@ commie

go kill one then

Anonymous said...

Totally missed the cat.

T said...

"Bike Snob does not use Strava" is now officially equivalent to "David Byrne does not own a car".

flatulence_punctuates_the_still_night_air said...

I would argue "the end" for Dave Moulton was only peripherally actually the mountain bike

It was contract manufacturing and TIG welding aluminum alloys all at once. Taiwan's quality was excellent at very favorable currency trading terms.

As he mentions in the story, "Italian" product that wasn't made in Asia died too.

It's still a terrible business that pays worse than a barista at Starbucks for most. I don't miss it either.

leroy said...

Well this is odd.

My dog convinced me to dress up like ET for Halloween and pose for a photo on the handlebars of one of his old bikes.

Now he tells me we can't go trick or treating because he sold the bike on Craigslist as an old movie prop.

I didn't even know there was a bike in the chariot racing scene from Ben-Hur.

Good thing Brooks didn't pick us to test the new saddle.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:26pm,

Congrats on being special.


If you're already comfy I say why bother, unless you happen to borrow a bike with a certain saddle on it and find it so comfy you want one for yourself. Seems pretty simple to me.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:53, fixed your link..
Mac Ride - Child Bike Seat. For Adult Mountain Bikes.

Added a few of my favorite "taking inappropriate risks with children on bikes" AKA having fun videos

10 Year old Seth Sherlock, owning Squamish B.C.

Africans kids doing sweet poppa wheelies

Sustainable Big Dummy
Wise African Bike - Chikuli, Malawi

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Radball would really be rad if it was played on gravel.

Topcheese911 said...

Indeed Snob, the B-17 narrow is my mountain bike bicycle cycling saddle of choice for the same reasons. And yeah, like Commie said, "fuck cows."

also...Fuck Fiz:k

babble on said...

Oh maaaaaaan!

I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride it where I liiiiiike!

Eight days without a ride is seven days too long. :(

Anonymous said...


I would recommend you go for the swallow titanium. It's only like $350.

McFly said...

McFly Monkeys Attack!
I refuse to be aped or monkeyed.
Babbled yes. Babooned no.

NorthCoastr said...

My ass is happy with WTB saddles of all sorts and vintages, but they can't touch my Team Pro as far as comfort is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man, now I need an iPad Air!
Imagine how great Babble will look at Wreck's beach with retina display.
Even with the road rash.

CommieCanuck said...

@ commie
go kill one then

I live in Canada. When we want a comfy saddle, or anything, we go out and get the cutest animal, with the biggest eyes, and club that fucker on the head. That's how we have these amazing beaver shoes.

I've been rocking the same Selle San Marco Regal saddles since my scranus was an adolescent. No pussy cutouts, titanium rails.

JB said...

I agree, WCRM, but I worry that I'm missing out on scranal bliss and/or the meaning of life.

JB said...

DB, "even with the road rash"??

The road rash is HOT.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

3 out of 5 of my upright cycling bicycles have WTB Rocket seats. They are the comfortablest seats I've found. I have an old Bontrager OEM seat that came on my LeMond that I still use. It's not bad.

Of course one seat blows them all away. It required no break in and was amazingly comfortable from the very first moment I reclined into it.

mikeweb said...

I used to have a WTB saddle on my commuter-ing bike. It was a leather one that was very comfortable, but it had rough fabric 'bumbers' on the 2 rear corners and I found that the rough fabric was quickly wearing holes through all of my pants.

I have a crappier spe-shul-ized one now with a smooth rubbery cover. It's almost as comfortable, though would be more so if there were more space from the rails up to the inside of the shell. It tends to bottom out onto the saddle clamp bolt when the shell flexes.

Finally, I think that it would be very easy to re-arrange the words in the previous two paragraphs to create a fairly good 'Penthouse Letters' submission.

babble on said...

Double vision be damned.

I need a new noggin protector so I can go go gooooooooooo!! Anyone know if Scott's Mips helmet is all it's cracked up to be?

And road rash or none, anyone would look like a freshly plucked chicken on Wreck beach today. Brrrrrrrr....

Anonymous said...

You are correct, of course.

Anonymous 12:03 PM said...

yay upside down is hah!

Anonymous said...

I think it's actually heh!

McFly said...

I rock spiderflex on the hybrid. Condor. erectile. dysfunction.

Anonymous said...

flatulence_punctuates_the_still_night_air said...

I would argue "the end" for Dave Moulton was only peripherally actually the mountain bike
-contract manufacturing
-TIG welding aluminum alloys
-"Italian" product that wasn't made in Asia died too.

The early and mid nineties killed many brands defined by old world craftsmanship.

Tig welding, Aluminum, Crabon, titanium, maximum stiffness/weight ratio, road bikes becoming excessively race oriented with no tire clearance, short stays, stiff rides, fad of mtbs.

Moulton gone in 93.
Bridgestone gets out of reasonably priced, quality japanese lugged bike biz in '94.

1993 Schwinn sold to Walmart and close their Waterford factory.

U.S. production didn't go away. Klein, Cannondale, Litespeed, Merlin, Kestrel, Trek were all selling Lance's various wunder bikes.

Grant Peterson stuck with his selling other people's craftsmanship through the lean times.

db said...

Dammit, I had good money on Stein/Eberstadt (couldn't be bothered to click to the final score).

Jan! said...

Between the time you took the screenshot and copied the text from that Premium Rush advertisement, the price dropped by a $100. (The screenshot still says $550.)

Time to check the Surlydex; I might have to get rid of all my Steamrollers before prices crash completely.

Anonymous said...

The MIPS helmets seem like they over the most protection out of any styrofoam safety kippahs. The most popular shred dood helmet these days is the $220 POC, in kermit green or baby blue.

Scott's bike MIPS helmet for 2014 swagger jacks the POC's steez. The AM style comes lower on the back of road head.

The 2013 Scott Lin, looks more like a typical road healment if you take the visor off.

I rock this Technologically advanced aerospace carbon / composite shell construction.
Inner dual-density shock pad system helps absorb smaller impacts, withstands multiple hits and add greater durability for the single impact absorbing EPS liner.

Brain damage is no joke.

Olle Nilsson said...

Yarpo, that was a not so subtle cry out to Sock Guy to step up their game and send another shipment already. Nice product placement within an unboxing.

Lumpen Fredetariat said...

See, talk about shifters or saddles, and everyone is happy, no-one is dissing the women commenters, and even CJ is ashamed to use his own name. Cranksets next?

Dooth said...

Quite a Blazing Saddles collection you got there, Wildcat.

Anonymous said...

a mall with an REI...must be ridgehill mall in yonkers...there's a Dick's next door....that's the way we roll in westchester...it's all Dick's, Dyke's & BJ's

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:26...
Awesome team Hugh Jass link. That photograph is a keeper and the best part of today's blog - really made my day. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

...after all, who really cares about brook's new marketing niche.

le Correcteur said...

For unequalled comfort in the scranular region:

Selle Italia Turbo saddles from between 1986 and 1991.

Nuf said.

And 13 nstryar to you, too!

Anonymous said...

Try a sprung b17 on your MTB Mountain Bike bicycle. Big big difference.

Check out the Selle anatomica seats...leather, broken in from the 1st day, lighter than the brooks, nice cut out (or not) and far more comfortable. I've ridden brooks seats for 40 years, the Selle is an interesting option and worth trying out.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Saddle debates are pointless because we all have different undercarriages and different tibial tuberculosities, or "sit bones." What may be dreamy comfort to one may be an ass hatchet to another.

babble on said...

Thank you, anon @3:38. Yes, that last one looks like serious cranial protection indeed. I am trying to find the very lightest, best overall protection possible, not only cause I need all the help I can get when it comes to going fast, but also because neither is whiplash a joke. Breaking your neck would suck, too.
A friend of mine who works in the Lion's Gate Hospital on the North Shore said that he sees an awful lot of broken necks coming off the mountain in full face helmets.
The medical professionals I met last week were a lot more concerned with my neck than my head, despite the obvious brain damage...

Anonymous said...

Hmm what'd I miss? Another experiment in actually talking about bikes.


Anonymous said...

Hell bent, hell bent for leathaaa
derr na nee nearr na neh nerrr na neh nerr

There, my work is done here.

Anonymous said...

Wow, CJ never shuts up does he?

anonymoose said...

no helments for muah 'less i'm in the woods. no full face shit either. seen too many get caught on twigs and branches and then snap goes the nuck-ular vertebrae. no helment means two inches/50 mm per side clearance. i'd rather wear an old school leather football helment and goggles. but noooo body makes one. do they?

Olle Nilsson said...

Anon 5:33 - he even likes his own comments. Maybe he even tells himself to shut up for all we know.

Jan! said...

For what it's worth, I am very happy with my Cambium. I put it on my mountain bike, and it immediately was a vast improvement over the stock f͠i̛:źi͟k saddle it came with.

Highly recommended for other Hugh Jasses.

Also, I purchased mine after seeing the "advertorial" on this here site. Damn you/thank you, Snob.

McFly said...

Babble I use a LEATT Neck Brace when I am astride my Honda CR250. They make a crabon fibre model. Maybe you should look into one.

As soon as you get done looking into my eyes.

I am joshing of course, how could you look into my eyes with your face buried in the arm of the sofa.


Unknown said...

Professional carbon bicycle,carbon wheels,carbon rim,carbon frame,carbon components supplier.

Anonymous said...

Great post today -
even greater than the last one... I use a Brooks B17 - got it cheap in LBS and its on the 'commuter'. Saves the scranus from pot-hole-induced damage.I'd love to try the new Brooks but the price...no.You can buy another bike for that.