Posted by: audaxing | March 28, 2012

Spa Cycles Saddle

New Saddle

I got a new saddle for the commuter bike. This is because the loverly, old Brooks B17 on it is going to be redeployed onto my born again Ti bike

For an extra saddle I did get a Selle Italia SLR Flow but this didn’t prove a success with my backside so I started looking for another Brooks. Then I saw that Spa Cycles were doing cheap Brooks copies branded with their own name. I like Spa Cycles so I thought I’d give one a go and picked the “B17 like” model.
It came with a little spanner and Allen key to adjust the tension.

It really is like a Brooks in shape and design. It even has similar bag loops.
It seems a bit harder than a new B17 and this wasn’t helped by the lacing it comes with. First thing I did was remove the lacing.
The main difference is the material that the saddle is made of. It seems to be leather on the top but with a laminate of some sort bonded on the underside. I’ve not examined a Selle Anatomica saddle but what I am seeing on this Spa Cycles saddle seems to match the descriptions of the Selle Anatomica on it’s web site. Perhaps they are made in the same vast far east manufacturing facility.

This composite material seems less resilient than the 100% leather that Brooks use. The other feature of this arrangement is that the underside of the saddle cannot be exposed to water. This is an advantage in everyday use. The laminate looks like it will wipe clean. But it is a disadvantage for breaking in the saddle. The method I was going to use for my next Brooks was wrapping it in a damp cloth for 24 hours and then riding two or three hundred km on it. But this probably will not work as well as the water will only affect the top of the saddle.

As I’m only using this bike to ride 5 miles a day to the station I can probably ignore the breaking in the saddle phase and just use it.

I also got a new rear mud guard and fitted it.



  1. Good luck with the new saddle, and please keep us posted (and do try a few longer rides!). Like you I’m a Spa cycles fan, and might be tempted.


  2. If you end up not getting on with it, or are in need of other saddles for other bikes, I have a number of saddles that are near brand new that Ive gone through in searching for a comfortable arse for long distance rides.

    – Specialized Romin 143mm
    – Specialized Romin Evo 155mm
    – Charge Spoon (white)
    – Brooks B17 original

    • subsy,

      If those are the saddles which ‘failed’, what saddle have you ended up with?

      • There were actually a few more failures πŸ™‚

        – Specialized Avatar Gel 155 – great on my MTB (hence keeping it) but not good for anything over 35/40 miles on the road

        Then a number of saddles that I loaned from LBS:

        – Fizik Kurve Snake – did a 110k Audax on this and it felt like I was sitting on the roof of a house the whole time – still trying to get over the bruised sit bones as it was also too narrow
        – San Marco Regale – classic design which was perfect on the sit bones, but even with as much forward tilt as I could get away with, still a little too much perineal pressure for my liking
        – Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow – too narrow

        The Romin and Romin Evo were the most comfortable I’d tried (and the ones I’d been using for the past 2000km). Great on the perineum due to the cutout, but 60 miles plus and I’d get sore sit bones.

        Ended up with the Selle Italia MAX Flite Gel Flow and the Selle Italia Turbomatic Gel Flow.
        Can’t really decide between them, both seem good to my behind.

        Its only 2 weeks now til my charity ride to Liverpool via Sheffield, and very glad I’ve got this sorted πŸ™‚

  3. You are obviously convinced by the Gel Flow concept.
    My problem seems to be perineal pressure. So a cut away should be in order (get some ‘Flow’). I have less problem with sit bone soreness (probably because I ride 50 miles maximum), so I’m unsure about the Gel part.

    Recent saddles:
    Specialized Alias 155 (reasonable standby)
    Specialized Rival 143
    Fizik Antares (razor sharp edges on the front saddle projection)
    Fizik Aliante (perineal pressure).
    Chinese copy of Brooks Swallow (OK, but heavy)

    Any suggestions, most welcome.

    • After my experience, with seemingly similar pains to you, I can only say what I ended up with – what worked for me.

      From your previous saddles you also seem to have similarly fairly wide site bones. See if you can get a Max Flite Gel Flow on test.

      The Gel isn’t all that thick. You definitely still feel connected.

  4. Looking around the web, it seems that the Flite range of saddles is more rounded in profile than the SLR range which are flatter.
    Did you ever consider a Max SLR Gel Flow, rather than the Max Flite Gel Flow?

    • Stepen – no I didnt.

      But the Max Flite Gel Flow is pretty flat (viewed from both side and rear)

  5. I’ve just done my first audax, an easter arrow to York, and had a few problems with my posterior.
    Sit bone soreness and sweat-induced sores.
    Was thinking of trying one of the Spa saddles, partly because experienced audaxers have told me that the 100% leather saddles breath, allowing some of the sweat to pass through. If the Spa saddles have a composite underside, it sounds like they won’t breath like a B17 Brooks.
    What’s your experience of the saddle now you’ve had it for a few days?

    • I’ve had the saddle for a little while now, it’s maybe done 50km on short commuted to the station

      It is a lot harder than a B17 and I think it will take a long time to break in

      As I haven’t ridden a long hot ride on it I can’t say how breathable it is

      I like it though. It is a good shape and suits me fine.

  6. I used an almost new Spa cycles saddle on the Elenith ans it was fine .

  7. […] 4)Spa Cycles Saddle A short description of the Spa Cycles B17 a-like saddle. I have no idea why this is such a popular post! They are great saddles but are they really of the zietgeist? […]

  8. Any chance of a report/pic now you have had it a while?

    • Well it’s been on the bike for a while but that bike isn’t getting much use. I am only doing about 5 miles a week on it. Saddle doesn’t usually get wet when it’s locked up at the station. Saddle seems ok, still a bit hard but nice with it. Would I buy another one for another bike? Yes I probably would.

  9. […] Spa Cycles Saddle People want cheap […]

  10. I have had a lot of bother this year with numbness and pain in the vaults.After trying 8 saddles I finally ended up with a selle smp pro and an smp extra.There was imediate improvement with both so I will stick to them for the time being.

  11. Any update 6 years on? Looking to buy a spa saddle but hearing stories of breaking in taking 3000k!!!
    I want one for Audax, can’t afford a brooks swallow……

    • Ok so several years on…I have two Spa cycles saddles. Both of them are on bikes which I’ve used for regular commuting but I don’t tend to use for long distance. I also have two expensive B17 with Ti rails that I’ve modified ( see One B17 is 12 years old. These two Brooks are much much more comfortable than the Spa cycles. They spring more, they have moulded to my shape and they have softer leather. The Spa cycles ones are more solid.

      One thing you must understand with saddles of this sort is that your backside adopts to them as much as the saddle breaks in. It is partly you that changes and partly the saddle. The advantage of this is if you have similar saddles then the personal adaptation you have experienced also applies to these. I find that despite the Spa Cycles saddles not being anywhere nearly as “plastic” to mould to a shape and not being as springy they are very close to the shape of a B17. So, my B17 adapted backside likes them!

      The above is comparing the Spa Cycles Nidd with a B17. They are the same shape. You are talking about getting a Brooks Swift. I did previously have a Swift but sold it. I didn’t think it was for me for two reasons. First, it was too narrow. Second, it was made with thicker leather than either B17. Although I got it to be broken in in the end (after 1000 miles+ being left in the rain etc etc) it wasn’t the same type of saddle really. It might be that the Spa cycles Swift copy is more like the Brooks original. This is because the Spa cycles saddles have thick leather and so in my experience (of a sample of one!) does the Swift. Of course the Brooks saddles vary in materials due to the manufacturing process from natural materials

      • Thanks for that, I managed to pick up a Brooks swallow but it seems to stretching at an alarming rate, I have contacted Brooks and they are looking into it.
        I find the saddle very comfortable for a while but then it stretches and becomes uncomfortable as the nose then raises too much.

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