A Brooks England bicycle saddle needs to be broken in, however, they hurt. So Brooks approached Ideo for help on a new painless line of saddles.
“In its day, it was like the Aeron chair of the bike saddles. A truly innovative product based on the materials available at the time,” Thomas Overthun, designer director at Ideo, says of Brooks’s line of bike saddles.
“The core insight was that some people loved the idea of a Brooks saddle rather than the reality of having to earn the comfort. Not everybody wants to put the work in,” Overthun explains. The Ideo team quickly realized it would have to step away from the 4.5 millimeters of leather that characterizes a traditional Brooks saddle (and makes it such a rock hard thing to hang your rear on). But the designers wanted to keep using natural materials. So they proposed a mix-and-match assortment of materials that could be layered around a metal frame.
Brooks decided on a vulcanized rubber base, with organic cotton lining, “because both these materials feel very real and not plastic,” Overthun says. The result is a bike seat that has all the aesthetic pedigree of the original leather models, minus the aching derriere. “The lighter version is a littler easier to love right away,” Overthun says.