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  1. #1
    Senior Member rjacob's Avatar
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    Brooks B17 Saddle?

    Probably the wrong sub-forum, but I spend all my time in this one so....
    My 1990 Trek 1000 came (bought it used) with a Ritchie Logic saddle, and I hate it. It's too hard! I am looking at buying a new saddle. I have read that Brooks saddles are supposed to be the most comfortable after they are broken in. I found a Brooks B17 Standard online for $52. Is this the way to go. Or would I be better off getting a different modle of Brooks seat? Or better off buying different seat altogether?
    I intend to use the bike for longer distances rides (centurys...), not touring or racing or anything like that.

    Thanks,
    RJ

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    You'll never know for sure if a Brooks saddle is for you until you try one. The B17 is their best selling model so I'd say that would be the one to try.

    My personal experience has been that the long break in period stories are significantly overstated. 100 miles should be enough to shape it to you.

  3. #3
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    Recommending saddles is an exercise in futility. The fit and comfort are so subjective that a saddle that one rider loves is torture to another.

    Brooks saddles do have their fans and the only question is does the saddle "break in" to you or do you "break in" to the saddle. In either case it seems to take a lot of riding time. A B17 for $52 sounds very good (assuming it's new) as even Nashbar wants $70 for the lowest cost version.

    My favorite saddle is the Avocet 02 Mens and I have them on all my bikes. They are getting hard to find and Avocet seems shaky so when the last ones dies I'm going to have the same problem you do.

    Specialized has a saddle fitting concept that seems to work fairly well so a trip to a Specialized dealer may be worth while.

  4. #4
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    The Brooks saddles hold their value very well and also you can buy from wallbike.com and he has a 6 month satisfaction guarantee. That said, none of us here can tell you if you will like it, we can only speak for ourselves. I own 4 of those saddles and love them.

    Search this forum and the web for Brooks B17 and you'll find that most of the world agrees.

  5. #5
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    My experience, YMMV. I have a B-17 that i found to be comfortable from day one. my caveats: I have always preferred "non-cushy" saddles (tried a gel once....didn't like), I have not put many mile on the saddle yet and no long rides (It is on my jump on and do the errand bike). I did proofride it and than it sat for several months before the build was done don't know is this made a difference. But all in all I was surprised at how comfortable the saddle was...non broken in.

  6. #6
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    The Brooks leather saddles are pretty hard - it's thick, full-grain leather. If you want a soft and padded saddle, it's not for you. But it may actually work for you even if you want a soft and padded saddle (in which case you'd simply be misinformed about which saddle works best for you.
    The Brooks saddles break in to fit your rear, and most of the comfort action is from the "hammock" effect of the leather being suspended between front and rear attachment points, and the broken-in fit.

    For some people, the Brooks shape is comfortable right away and only gets better with break-in (see my experience below). Other people have to tough it through break-in and then have a comfy saddle. A minority never get comfortable with the saddle.

    I've got a Brooks B17 on my Centurion Comp TA (see link in my sig) and found the shape fits me well even prior to break-in. Now that I've got 850 miles on the saddle, it's even more comfortable. Especially comfortable for more upright riding posture, although I don't mind mine even when I'm hammering in the drops. But the B17 isn't ideal for a really low, aerodynamic riding posture. Brooks makes some other saddles (the Professional and the Swallow) which are designed more for that function.

    I've used Brooks Proofide to break in my saddle, but other stuff can help breakin happen more quickly. This voids the warranty, but works fine and it's not as if many people end up sending their saddle back to Brooks so voiding the warranty is unlikely to be much of a risk.

  7. #7
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    I've got a Brooks B17........... and found the shape fits me well even prior to break-in.
    +1.......my Brooks B17 was comfortable enough right out of the box for me to not need padded shorts. Keep in mind, "comfortable" does not mean soft, however. Now, with a few thousand miles on my Brooks, it fits me like a glove and is even more comfortable. But as others have said, to each their own, particularly when it comes to saddles-

  8. #8
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    +1.......my Brooks B17 was comfortable enough right out of the box for me to not need padded shorts. Keep in mind, "comfortable" does not mean soft, however.


    same here. Also a big "plus one" for what 'tincuppery' said.

    My Brooks 'Pro' was comfortable straight out of the green box, and it seems even more comfortable without padded shorts. Clearly the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned. I dont even have to 'suit up' either, just hop on the bike with whatever knock around shorts I'm wearing and ride.


    love my brooks
    ~ "I like the way the brake cables come out of the top of the levers and loop around to the brake calipers!...I like those downtube shifters too!...No no no, don't take 'em off, don't take 'em off,...leave 'em on, leave 'em on! - Thats right baby!!

    ~BF - Steel Club Member #00051

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjacob
    I hate it. It's too hard!
    As I think others have pointed out, don't be too quick to blame the "hardness" of a saddle on your discomfort. Soft, gel saddles are notorious for creating discomfort on long rides as they cut off circulation to your softer bits - ouch! The Brooks are hard leather saddles with no real "padding" per se.

    Just to throw in my 2c, I would also recommend the San Marco Rolls - it has proved tremendously comfortable for me on century-length rides.

    My next saddle is a Brooks though - I need to experience the magic for myself...

  10. #10
    Senior Member rjacob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    A B17 for $52 sounds very good (assuming it's new) as even Nashbar wants $70 for the lowest cost version.
    This is where I saw it:
    http://www.lickbike.com/productpage.asp?PART_NUM_SUB='0906-05'

    I went ahead and ordered one along with the Proofride and the seat wrench. I am looking forward to trying out.

    As far as my current seat being too hard, it is hard plastic covered by only a thin padding. I think it is the only saddle I have ever really disliked.

  11. #11
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjacob
    I went ahead and ordered one along with the Proofride and the seat wrench.
    Don't use the wrench unless the saddle is stretched noticeably, which will likely be a long, long time if it happens at all-

  12. #12
    Senior Member rjacob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    Don't use the wrench unless the saddle is stretched noticeably, which will likely be a long, long time if it happens at all-
    Thanks for the recommend. I am hoping the seat comes with maintenance instructions. I have never had a leather seat before. So this will be a learning experience.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    Don't use the wrench unless the saddle is stretched noticeably, which will likely be a long, long time if it happens at all-
    You might actually want to use the wrench, but not to tighten the saddle. If you find the break-in period is taking longer than it should, turn the nut counterclockwise (to loosen) about 1/2 turn. I've had 2 B-17's that were comfortable right out of the box. I've had 2 others that still weren't quite comfortable after 500 miles. The counterclockwise 1/2 turn cured this in both cases.
    “He's all over his machine” - Phil Liggett

  14. #14
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    So what's the difference between a B17 Narrow and the Team Professional? Thicker leather and bigger rivets on the Pro, or is there a shape difference too?

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