Brooks Team Pro Classic – Review
I recently picked up a Brooks Team Pro Classic leather saddle to go on a road bike. At first glance the Team Pro looks like a classic Brooks B17, but the subtle differences are worth noting.
A Brooks B17 is designed for “touring and trekking” which is slightly wider than the Brooks Team Pro (by 15mm). The Team Pro is designed for “road and mountain biking” and is best suited for a more aggressive riding position (saddle is higher than the handlebars) whereas the B17 favors a rider sitting more upright. For that matter road bike saddles (leather or synthetic) are intended for performance and not primarily comfort; the Team Pro succeeds in that respect.
And a critical distinction – the Brooks Team Pro is far stiffer than the B17, in fact some people have claimed that even after hundreds of miles their Team Pro is still not broken in. I don’t doubt those claims.
Once seated the first thing I noticed about the Team Pro is the stiffness of the leather – this saddle is not going to give without a fight, it is slick and stiff. The riding position probably adds to the impression of stiffness as well as the slightly narrower profile. I’m not sure if it’s the saddle or the geometry of the bike but I find myself sitting a little farther back than I do when sitting on a B17.
I’ve conditioned the saddle with Brooks Proofide and Neatsfoot oil, yet it’s still pretty stiff. More riding and less blogging would help too. That said the Team Pro is indeed designed for road and/or mountain biking, so it’s not made to be cushy, it’s made to perform as well as retain it’s stiffness. On those counts it succeeds well.
Frame: Chromium Plated Steel
The Team Professional Classic is simpler and newer version of the Team Professional, featuring tubular steel rivets instead of the large hand-hammered copper rivets.
The Team Professional has been in production for half a century, originating from the old B17 Competition. This saddle is a pleasingly simple design, which truly deserves the description ‘timeless classic’.
MADE IN ENGLAND
Available in honey or black.
The moral to the story is if you’re looking for a comfortable touring saddle, go with a B17 or B68 (or a B66 with springs), but if you’ve got a road bike where the saddle is higher than the handlebars, all you want is a place to set your kiester for balance, then the Brooks Team Pro Classic would be a good choice. And you won’t have to worry about it ever becoming too soft, this beast is meant to stay rigid for the long haul.
Edit” Check out Justin Husman’s 1973 Brooks Professional that he mentions in the comments below, and be sure to check out his blog Seen On the Train.
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