Brooks England’s newest saddle, the Cambium C13, is aimed at road riders and represents the company’s return to performance cycling, putting Brooks firmly back “on the rivet,” a phrase that stems from a time when all racing cyclists rode leather saddles.
Brooks Cambium saddles are each made from a vulcanised natural rubber top that follows the movements of the rider for responsive control and all-day comfort. The C13 is finished with a black, organic cotton cover and aluminum rivets. Suspended over a one-piece braided carbon frame, the C13 is light and strong, weighing 150 grams less than the Cambium C15.
- Length: 275 mm
- Width: 132 mm
- Height: 55 mm
- Weight: 259 g (0.57 pounds)
- MSRP: $220
One thing is for sure, this isn’t your father’s (or grandfather’s) Brooks saddle. The Cambium is a whole new line for the storied British marque that combines Old-World materials with modern construction and style.
Unlike virtually every other Brooks saddle ever made, the Cambium line is not made from leather. It’s even vegan if you want to get technical about it. The base is made from natural, vulcanized rubber that gives is a bit of flex and give without the patience of the normal Brooks break-in period required.
It’s then covered with a layer of organic cotton that has a distinct tweed charm and is totally waterproof. No more rushing for the rain cover for your precious Brooks. Below the cotton is a die-cast aluminum substructure and steel rails. It’s then topped with a set of decorative rivets to recall the classic Brooks style. In all it’s a remarkably handsome package—one of the best-looking saddles I’ve ever seen.
Unlike those leather Brooks saddles, the Cambium is designed to be comfortable right out of the box. There is no maintenance required or special care needed. The shape is designed to mimic the classic B17, possibly the most-loved saddle of all time.
Now, I can’t say what will be comfortable for you, but in my experience the Cambium does sacrifice a bit of plushness for style. There is no padding on that rubber base, so while it does have some give it is still a fairly firm perch. The shape however is wonderful, perfect for spirited rides that fall somewhere between racing and cruising.
As advertised it’s been set-it-and-forget-it. I haven’t had to clean it or adjust it in any way. While it looks fast, it isn’t for weight weenies, ringing up the scale at 415 grams.
The Cambium is available in the C17 model pictured ($160), as well as a C17s for “short”, meaning it’s a little better suited for the female anatomy. There is also a C17 model with a cutaway, and there is now a C15 model that mimics the shape of the more racy B15 leather saddle.