Brooks Cambium C17 Carved: 600 mile review.

Update August 2018: The saddle is still doing well with over 10,000 miles on the bike. Nothing has broken or come off. All weather riding. No mudguards. Some long distance rides along the way. I’ve no complaints. A good buy. Worth the money in my view. 

There was nothing much wrong with the saddle that came with my bike. A Specialized Body Geometry Phenom Comp. I’m fortunate in that pretty much every saddle I’ve had till now has seemed comfortable enough to me. I don’t wear padded shorts. I have never found a pair that feel good to me.  A bearable degree of discomfort after a good few hours on the bike is I think normal and expected, at least by me. I’m OK with that. So why shell out £100 for the C17 carved? Nothing more than succumbing to the Brooks mythology I guess. 


Fitted the C17 on the bike 12 days ago. I have cycled pretty much every day since. Covered just over 600 miles on the C17 to date. Averaging around 30 miles a ride. One ride of 130 miles. This is not that out of the ordinary for me. My first impressions of the C17 have been mixed. The C17 has not in my experience been “out of the box” comfortable as it is often touted as. I can’t help feeling that there’s maybe a bit of the sunk cost fallacy going around. I will be watching out for that myself. 

I’ve experienced minor but noticeable sores on the site of each sit bone. I very rarely suffer with sores. It’s usually down to what I’m wearing than what I’m sitting on. The C17 is a bit wider than other saddles I’ve had. It feels like I may never have been fully sitting on my sit bones before. I have felt it most when climbing hills. It is taking a bit of getting used to. I think that I may now have almost adapted. The sores are getting better. Witch-hazel cream is excellent by the way for promoting sores to heal. Each ride I’m in less and less discomfort in that area. 

The nose of the C17 is very well-shaped for my anatomy. That end of things is all good. I’d go as far to say that the C17 in this respect offers a level of comfort which surpasses that of all other saddles I have had before.   

Many people have mentioned the amount of flex the saddle has. You know it’s made from rubber right? The C17 carved is noted to have more flex than the regular C17. I  noticed it in the first 30 miles or so when pushing real hard and mashing the pedals. I tend not to do that a lot. I’ve read in other reviews how much the flex soaks up the bumps in the road. I have not noticed that benefit. Hoping this will change when the sit bone sores have disappeared. 

It is a fine-looking saddle. The surface of the Phenom Comp blistered and peeled with about 4 to 5,000 miles on it. Looked a bit nasty and I suppose what prompted me to justify a replacement.


I am pretty confident that is not going to happen with the C17. The textured cotton surface looks and feels robust. It has the trademark rivets and stamped name plate which add a tough of class and flair. None of the rivet heads have fallen off. This has been a problem reported by some. 


Fingers crossed I’ll not lose any without at least noticing it if they do go for a burton. It’s not rained since I bought it so can’t say yet how the wet will affect its appearance. You will have to check back for news on that.   

To sum up I’m sticking with it for the time being. Once I’ve got through this bedding in period I’m really hoping all the hype and testimonials I’ve read about the saddles comfort will shine through. It feels like it should and may well eventually be very comfortable. I’ll revisit this post after another 600 miles to let you know how I’m getting on with the acquisition.