My new career as a bicycle tour guide has me riding a company bike with one of those plastic saddles. Since I'm doing rides of just around 50 miles, I thought I could put up with the discomfort but after my last tour I decided that I need a Brooks.
Sure, I could have taken a leather Brooks off one of my bikes but I saw this as an opportunity to try out the new non-leather C17. It's basically a B17 except instead of cow hide, the saddle is constructed of rubber and canvas.
I have been curious -and a bit skeptical- about the comfort of the C17 since it's not designed to conform to one's anatomy over time the way the leather version is.
But, not to be a luddite, I took the plunge and laid down 144$ for my new saddle. I bolted my new C17 onto my Trek 520 touring bike and took it for a test ride today and my initial impression is posative. It's difficult to describe the feel of the C17. It's hard, like any good, new B17, yet it somehow seems to provide just the right amount of support and give.
One area where it shiines is in aesthetics. Mine is the slate color and it looks very cool; sleek and stylish almost like a race saddle with a very neat texture. It's the complete opposite of the classic, but clunky-looking, B17 and Champion Flyer.
Will the new C17 measure up to a nicely broken-in B17?
Only time will tell.
I'll be spending more time on my new C17 in the coming weeks and file a more comprehensive report as soon as I know more.