My preferred saddle is a Brooks Swift, although most saddles that come in a similar width also work pretty well for me. There’s something about the hammock-like feel of a broken-in leather saddle, that keeps me on the lookout for them. I’ve been following Jerry JM Smith on Instagram and a saddle he hand tooled with an Esker Cycles logo grabbed my eye so I sent Jerry a message along with a jpg. to see if he’d be able to create a custom hand-tooled Danger Gnome saddle.
I honestly thought about mounting the new saddle to my murdered out Fatback Corvus FLT, but once I saw the photos of the new saddle, I knew it was destined to get mounted on my klunker, Hank.
Fresh out of the box, the saddle looks like a piece of art. I’m not the kind of person that puts things like up on the shelf for display though. I plan to ride the hell out of this thing!
When I unwrapped the new saddle and turned it over, there was a nice surprise that Jerry added all on his own. My new saddle came personalized and signed by the artist.
Jerry hand tools the leather of his custom saddles and then hand rivets the leather onto (in my case) a Brooks Swift frame and rails. So as soon as my local singletrack dried out enough for them to open, I took Hank and the new saddle out to the Kettle Moraine State Forest for a nice ten-mile ride.
I anticipated that the saddle wouldn’t feel as good as the broken-in saddles that festoon my quiver of bikes and I wondered if the new custom saddle would feel the same as a Swift. The new saddle feels very close to the same as what I’m used to with the Swifts that I ride as far as shape and the hammock-like ‘give’ that I love about leather saddles. The most impressive part about how the new saddle felt was how soft and pliable the leather seemed. Time will tell with regard to how long it takes to break this saddle in, but my initial ride impressions are 100% positive and my guess is that the break-in period will be swift. It’ll also be interesting to see how the graphics on the leather wear or gain a patina like other leather saddles over time. I look forward to every minute I ride this work of art and the resulting smiles per mile!
For more information about Jerry’s custom leather saddles contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org