|An old badge -- pre-bankruptcy.|
|Current production Brooks name badge.|
That got me wondering exactly how old the saddle is. There was a time when Brooks would stamp a number code into the cantle plate (that's the steel plate at the back of the saddle where the rivets attach) which would indicate the year the saddle was made, but they seem to have stopped doing that. My oldest Brooks saddle is marked "72" and is mounted onto a very nice 1973 Mercian. Nowadays, there is an alphanumerical code stamped into the leather. I've read different explanations (or attempts at explanation) to decipher the code, but I've seen codes on some Brooks saddles that didn't seem to conform to any logical system. That would make sense, since I have read that for a time, the codes on the leather were "batch" codes, but didn't necessarily represent a manufacturing date. However, in more recent years at least, the letter is supposed to represent a month of manufacture, while the numbers indicate the year. My new old saddle is marked "9E9." If the E is a month, then it must represent May (5th letter, 5th month), and the year is probably '99. So this saddle would have been made not long before the company was put into receivership.
|According to the Vintage-Trek website, which has a pretty useful article on date codes for a variety of bicycle components, the number represents a year, surrounding a letter to indicate the month. That would mean that 9E9 works out to May, 1999.|
|This one is on my Rivendell Long-Low. Like the one above, it dates to the late 90s. The color has darkened a lot, and it has taken on a nice patina. It is also supremely comfortable.|
Some might be wondering about the project I'm working on that I mentioned at the start of this. More will be coming out in bits and pieces in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!