BOBBIN GENTS LEATHER SADDLE
636g £71.99 600 mile test
The Bobbin gents leather saddle is made from high quality Texan cowhide, offered in a several colour options and gender specific versions. Compared with Brook’s iconic B17, which, breaking in is a slower process, taken 600 miles and regular helpings of Proofide before confirming perfectly to my derriere. However, the Bobbin is a tenner or so cheaper and delivers similar standards of comfort over tour typical distances.
In common with most men’s specific models, it’s a long, narrow shape 280mm long and 155mm wide. Compared with Brooks, the Texan cowhide feels noticeably thicker, slightly coarser; this is because outside of the EU cattle do not have to be slaughtered so young. This may also account for the additional 58g over my usual B17. Stainless steel rails, bag loops, rivets and tension adjuster won’t succumb to the dreaded orange freckling.
That said; a vague notion of turning the latter is one of the fastest ways of destroying a decent saddle. Thoughtfully, Bobbin has also treated the hide’s underside to a satin laminate layer, which may help counteract stretch and offer some defence against rain and spray should you shun mudguards but we’d avoid getting it wet with any regularity.
Lace up sides also supposedly go some way to helping prevent the sides splaying-an all too familiar story in my case. Breaking in has been a slow, though strangely rewarding experience and as the miles, piled on the honey hide developed a fetching contrast striping that looks like gentle sunlight.
Initially introduced to my tourer, its firmness took some adjusting to, although a gentle zing stopped things from turning harsh and with decent shorts, there’s been no blistering or sores. The rails are a little taller than Brooks, so be prepared to drop the post a little during those formative rides. Rider tenure is sound - no slips - depsite the smooth texture.
Ported over to my sit up n’ beg Pashley Roadster, which places much greater weight on the saddle posed no problems, although I had to tweak the positioning a bit before Arrrgh turned to ahhh but its been surprisingly comfy since.
Saddle covers are a wise investment, although deliberately exposing ours to long, wet rides and leaving it outside café’s while warming up with good coffee and conversation hasn’t caused any staining. Scuffs and light distress are seen as characterful but ours is holding up very nicely despite the inevitable brushes with brickwork and everyday carelessness.
I’ve grown very fond of the Bobbin and it has a lot to offer. That said; there are some store branded models boasting similar spec for half the money and those riders seeking a faster route to a bespoke saddle might find Brooks more tempting.
There is an equivalent model for women.
Verdict; 4/5 A well-made saddle at good price - a genuine alternative to an iconic brand so long as you’re prepared to put in the miles first.
PUBLISHED AUGUST 2016