October 12, 2016
In 1866, Mr. John Brooks founded a small manufacturing company, specialising in leather equestrian-ware. Based in Birmingham, BROOKS produced leather harnesses and saddles for horse riding, the main mode of transport at the time.
Cycling and bicycles were in their infancy, however upon the death of his horse Mr. Brooks was spurred to try the new ‘fangled’ technology of bicycling. It was during this unwilling transition from horse to bike that he first experienced the discomfort of the saddles upon the bike which he rode. He vowed to solve this issue, utilising his previous involvements of horse saddle and harness production. In 1882 Mr. Brooks patented his first saddle design, his earliest recorded steps in what is a continuing legacy of finely made UK leather bicycle saddles.
Based in Smethwick, BROOKS now offer 40 different models of leather saddles all of which are made inside their West Midlands factory. Aimed at varying types of cycling, their classic line of leather saddles has experienced very little change in their method of construction. Their leather range hosts some of their most popular saddles including their famous B17 & B66 designs. More recently, BROOKS have ventured into more contemporary and technological materials as part of their Cambium collection. Using vulcanised rubber in replacement of their iconic leather, the saddle body is covered in organic cotton offering comfort and durability for performance applications.
Renowned for their excellence and manual sturdy construction, the brand manufacturer proudly retain UK based production. With their classic and clean aesthetic, their range of saddles commonly feature on high end bicyclce frames by UK based bike builders such as Rowan Frameworks. Increasingly fashionable, the growing market for bespoke bicycle frames often deserve the finest of components, a demand met by BROOKS no matter the frame, no matter the rider.
By far one of our favourite bicycle orientated brands, the BROOKS Instagram feed is charmingly composed with clean images of urban and travel based cycling. Extensive to their saddles, BROOKS offer a range of their own cycling bags and accessories via their website. We urge you to head over for a look.
Photo credits to Brooks
NATIVE is a blog series intended to showcase select brands who implement product manufacture here in the UK. Admittedly, not all aspects of every product can be made here, however we are most interested in those that can.
UK production has changed dramatically over the decades. Like every industry, embracing change is vital, not just to survive but to thrive in conjunction with social, economic and technological advancement.
Recognition of businesses, old and new, that implement outright or even partial local production is something we are genuinely passionate about. As designers, it is our belief that people should know more about how, why and where great products are made in the UK.
NATIVE is our way of sharing this information.
"Every contrivance of man, every tool, every instrument, every utensil, every article designed for use, of each and every kind, evolved from very simple beginnings."
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