I have a friend who absolutely hates bicycles. CY went on his very first bike ride with me once on a cheapo hand-me-down bike (mistake no. 1) at Pulau Ubin, Singapore many years back and went home with a very bruised bottom. It didn’t help that his pain continued for a few days. Up till today, I dare not ask him for another ride!
Indeed, how can anyone get comfortable on 3 tiny square inches of support? I will admit that when I first started cycling 30+ years ago, the first point of discomfort was my bottom especially after half an hour on that torture device called the saddle. My best friend Simon ingeniously wrapped around his saddle a whole gunny sack to lessen the pain when we were school boys in the 70s on a long ride. It was a case of comfort over style.
The technology behind Brooks goes way back to the 1866 and remains largely the same. Good old fashion leather stretched out on a metal frame. Like a good pair of moccasin leather shoes, Brooks saddle will break-in naturally into the shape of your bottom after 1000km (usually less) of riding. I got my B17 about a year ago and toured across Sumatra, Laos, Malaysia with a very happy bottom. No wonder it remains the favourite among many adventure cyclists.
More info on leather saddles can be found on this excellent article by the late guru Sheldon Brown:
Update: One of my regular readers and fellow LHT rider, Nat, adds that Brooks saddles come in different designs (racing, titanium, woman specific etc) as well. Thanks Nat!