So I took the plunge and bought a Brooks Imperial, here it is:
It’s the same basic saddle as the Brooks B17 with the addition (subtraction?) of a perineal cutout and lacing holes to allow some lateral tensioning. I wasn’t too happy that they only come in black but I’ll live with it. The design dates back to 1890 and was manufactured into the 1950s so Brooks were way ahead of the modern trend to split or cutout saddles.
So I’ve given it some proofhide to suck on and we’ll see how we go. First commute today was OK, the saddle was quite hard as you would expect but there seemed to be a slight easing when I’d been riding for a short while.
The saddle was nicely packaged and they include a tensioning spanner. I had to buy one separately for my previous B17 which has been relegated to my hybrid bike for occasional use when the Brompton is not available. No proofhide but I had some already.