Billed by its PR company as the "most eagerly awaited saddle of all time", the Italian-owned Birmingham-based saddle manufacturer Brooks is now shipping its Swallow road saddles. This replica of the 1930s classic will be produced in a limited-run of just 999 saddles, most for export.

Swallow ships

The new Swallow was previewed at last year’s autumn trade shows. It will retail for £175.

It has been recreated utilising the original patent books and is still stitched by hand. The original Swallow was patented on August 20th 1936. Legends such as Girardengo, Bottecchia, Bartali, Coppi and Anquetil all rode Brooks saddles to victory.

The new Swallow features titanium metalwork, although the tensioning plate on the underside of the saddle is still manufactured in steel, and features the original patenting information. The new Swallow will retain the word DEPOSÉ, meaning REGISTERED in French, on its tensioning plate.

Each saddle will contain an individual serial number and certificate of authenticity. The stitching on the new Swallow is performed solely by Robin Coleman, a member of the Master Saddlers, with over 30 years experience of the manufacture of bridle saddles.

Original Swallow saddles can change hands on auction web sites such as Ebay for £500+.

Brooks was founded in Birmingham in 1866 by John Boultbee Brooks. It has an annual turnover of £1m and 22 employees produce 80 000 leather saddles a year. The company was bought in July 2002 Selle Royal of Italy.

The Brooks distributor in the UK is Raleigh, some stock will be available from week 16 and then in limited amounts throughout the season. Only 112 Swallow saddles have been earmarked for the UK, the rest are for export.

A less expensive, non-Ti version is in development.

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