Brooks was founded in 1866 by John Boultbee Brooks, has one production facility and 22 employees, an annual turnover of £1m and produces 75,000 hand crafted leather saddles a year.
The company was formerly in the same orbit as Sturmey Archer but spun off on its own after Derby Cycle Corporation (RIP) bodged the sale of Sturmey Archer to a bunch of cowboys.
Selle Royal S.p.A. was founded in 1956 by Riccardo Bigolin and is claimed to be the world leader in the production of quality bicycle saddles with 30 percent share of the global market and over 50 percent share of the European market. It has two factories, one in Italy and one in Brazil, which produce over 16m saddles a year and has an annual turnover of 47.6 ml. Euro.
Riccardo Bigolin, Selle Royal’s president, believes the acquisition of Brooks makes perfect sense: “Brooks is a return to our origins, the real essence of things, to the reasons and people who invent a product. Legend has it that 19 year old John Boultbee Brooks decided to design and produce a leather saddle for his new velocipede in his father’s horse saddles factory, because he found the wooden saddle very uncomfortable. I also began making leather saddles for not too dissimilar a reason.”
Selle Royal produces LOOKIN branded saddles for recreational cycling and high performance Fizik saddles for top-end road and mountain bikes.
Barbara Bigolin, Selle Royal’s CEO, said there will be few on-the-ground changes for Brooks: “We want to revitalise the Brooks brand, by combining craftsmanship with new technologies, but respecting the spirit of the product. Our marketing capabilities will guarantee new audiences for this historic brand and ensure its place in the market for many years to come.”
“Selle Royal has always thought on an international scale, offering products mainly to the European and American markets. Up to now we have grown internally but for the future we foresee other acquisitions. This operation represents just the first step of a project to build a platform of brands to transform completely the concept of bicycle components and accessories.”