A bike seat is your bum’s main physical interface to your bicycle making it a very important piece. Choosing a seat relies on looking at which design you think will work for you and trying it. Based off of looks a leather saddle seems like the worst thing you could choose, there’s no padding and when touched it doesn’t feel soft at all.
Also, leather saddles have been out since 1866, so one may think they’re outdated, but what if that isn’t the case, what if the design was purposeful and exact.
John Boulbtee Brooks made the first Brooks saddle at age 20, after his horse had died and he was unsatisfied with his bicycle saddle. In most likelihood, he came from a line of master leather workers who had much expertise making horse saddles which humans have ridden for millennia. Also consider the general road conditions in 1866. I believe, because of these factors John knew exactly what he was doing.
The first thing to understand about the Brooks saddle is that the finest piece of leather available is suspended by two fixing points at the front and rear of the saddle, so, compared to a modern saddle, there is no plastic bottom. With the Brooks saddle having no plastic bottom, the leather is free to flex, form and compress with your body.
To better understand the fluidity of the Brooks saddle, here is a video shot from the underside of the saddle which shows what the body is doing when pedaling.
In that video you could see how the sit bones move and that the saddle absorbs impacts, preventing pain in the bones and lower back. Also you can see how the saddle moves fluidly. Now here’s a video of a quality sport saddle with a plastic bottom.
In that video can see the saddle flexes slightly, but overall it is rigid with no fluid movement. This causes all problems associated with bicycle saddles. Adding width and extra padding cause a new set of problems and it is possible that saddles only exists in this form because at some point someone decided they could cheaply mass produce a saddle that simply suffices.
Reality is a person who rides regularly will truly appreciate a leather saddle. People who ride occasionally may not need a leather saddle but could still appreciate it. Overall anyone is qualified to own a leather saddle but it may not be best for them. In some cases they’re considerably heavier than other saddles and they require care, protection and adjustment which isn’t overwhelming.
There are modern saddles with good designs and designed to fit people of different variety. We don’t deal in absolutes, leather saddles are a great product but they’re not the only product. We stock a nice variety of saddles, padded shorts coupled with tons of experience to help you choose something based off of your needs.