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Tag: brooks

“For a period from the 1930s onwards every single rider at the Tour de France was using Brooks saddles. That includes riders such as Eddy Merckx and Fausto Coppi who, despite the fact they might change bikes and bike sponsors each year, they’d still swap over their Brooks saddles. They had the same philosophy that we maintain with modern Brooks products — the idea that it’s a saddle you break in and then move from bike to bike.” 

Mark Needham, Brooks

You all know about Brooks. We’ve talked about them before on the blog.The brand is famous for its extraordinary work on comfortable saddles and quality luggage, suited to urban cycling and long-distance touring alike. But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time it would’ve been rare to see a rider in the Tour de France that wasn’t using a Brooks saddle – such was their pedigree for racing excellence. Now, in a quest to return to the peloton, Brooks have drawn on their heritage and created the C13  – a saddle that they hope will scale the heights of the racing world.

An ultra-light, carbon model it is light and strong, futuristic and cool. While benefiting from their heritage at Brooks, the designers were careful to make sure they didn’t build a relic. They used the feedback of more than 100 test-riders, who pulled no punches – either with their tests, or with their analysis. They even had the great David Millar take his saddle, at high speed, across the infamous cobbled road at Paris-Roubaix.

The C13 is the seat for a big performer. It’s for those who enjoy hurtling through torrential rain with a crackle in the throat and fire in the legs. This could be the saddle to take your current set-up to the next level, or maybe even to be the crowning glory of a complete new custom machine.

You see, traditionally any performance saddle is a Faustian pact with your bum. You sacrifice your comfort for the first mile or two in exchange for improved speed and reduced weight. With a more traditional Brooks model like the B17 or others from the Cambium range you’ll benefit from a wider seat which maxes out the comfort, but you lose that speed. The C13 aims to bridge that gap – offering greater comfort than most performance saddles and still delivering the low-weight, aero shape you want to really go fast.

The C13 looks brilliant. Classic and cool, it combines striking looks with raw speed. It’s exactly what you want from a saddle, and as we count down to a long-awaited summer it would be a brilliant purchase for anyone who looks forward to spending the long, warm days turning their legs to jelly so that they can feel the whip of wind on their reddened cheeks.

Images, Brooks.

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Over the past ten days, British ultra–endurance cyclist Josh Ibbett has covered 4,239 kilometres, travelled through 10 countries and tackled Mont Ventoux in France, the Strada dell’Assietta in Italy and the 25 switchbacks to Mount Lovcen National Park in Montenegro. 

Why did he do it? It was all part of the third edition of the Transcontinental Race. The rules of the Transcontinental state that each competitor must complete the distance alone and unsupported – that means no team cars, no help with repairs and nobody to take a share of the work when there’s a brutal headwind. In short you have to be completely nails to finish the thing, never mind win it.

But win it Josh did, in a stunning time of 9 days, 23 hours and 54 minutes – that means he averaged more than 400km per day. Ibbett finished second to Kristof Allegaert in last year’s edition, so he had plenty to prove this time around, but also plenty of experience to draw on.

His victory was largely down to his savvy racing skill and a small dash of good fortune, with several of his close competitors faring worse than he – with a host of punctures, minor traffic accidents and injuries befalling many of the participants.

175 people started the race, as yet none but Josh has finished. There have been many withdrawals – as is to be expected with such an attritional contest. To be honest, just completing is a monumental achievement worthy of a lot of respect.

Riders in the Transcontinental – which is supported by Brooks England, one of our favourite bike brands – have to make their own way between a set of checkpoints that are scattered roughly along the way to the finishing point – but there are no hard and fast rules about the route each rider must take. This year competitors had to travel from the finish to checkpoint one atop Mont Ventoux in the south of France. Next they headed east to Sestriere in northern Italy, before striking out again for the Hotel Lav in the town of Vukovar, Croatia. After that it was the mere matter of popping down to Montenegro to a fourth control point, then through Albania and Macedonia, into Bulgaria and all the way across to the Turkish border. 150 more kilometres and Josh reached Istanbul. 

The word epic just doesn’t do it justice

So next time you’re not really feeling it when it comes to getting out on your bike, just remember this simple acronym, “W.W.J.D”*

 Josh Ibbett's epic route in full.

Josh Ibbett’s epic route in full.

*What Would Josh Do?


You can read more about the Transcontinental on the official website. Or follow them on Instagram

Cover image property of the Transcontinental. 

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