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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 12-25-10, 05:25 PM   #1
Baldar538
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Defective Brooks?

I received a Brooks Flyer for Christmas, and looking at it, it seems like the top is uneven (left/right uneven). My wife ordered it online, so I've left a message for the vendor. I was just wondering if anyone here could give me a second set of eyes on this. Does this really look off? Is this something I could adjust without having to go through the whole exchange process, or am I better off getting a new one?
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Old 12-25-10, 05:43 PM   #2
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One of the common characteristics of a Brooks saddle is slight imperfection. I don't have any experience with sprung Brooks like yours, but I have a lot of experience with B17's, Team Pros, Swifts, B17N's, etc. None of them are ever exactly alike, and a little misalignment or some other minor imperfection has to be considered "normal" for these saddles. My guess is that if you install that saddle on your bike and ride it, it will be fine. As time goes by, chances are the misalignment will become less pronounced if not non-existent as it "breaks in."

If it really bothers you, you can return it, but don't be surprised if the replacement also has some type of imperfection.
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Old 12-25-10, 05:48 PM   #3
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are there instructions for adding tension to the spring?
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Old 12-25-10, 05:49 PM   #4
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Eyeballing it unloaded may not be the right approach. Mount it on a post (wrap paper around the rails and don't tighten fully, in case you want to return it later) and sit on it and see if it feels right. The springs may may not match perfectly unloaded, but might settle in perfectly balanced under load, which is what you care about.
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Old 12-25-10, 06:06 PM   #5
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If you ride a saddle like that, your left gluteous maximus will develop more than your right muscle and if things are left that way too long, you will eventually walk in circles.

Just kidding. I think it looks fine.

Brooks saddles and buttocks have a hit and miss relationship. Some love them from the first ride, others after they are broken in, and others still never get comfortable. Mount it, and see how you like it.

I think it is nice that your wife supports you in your riding and would get you such a gift.
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Old 12-25-10, 06:09 PM   #6
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The B-72 on my Sprite was drilled off center and seemed to work for 40 years until I straightened it out and welded on a tab that wore off. It kinda twisted the nose over the years.
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Old 12-25-10, 08:00 PM   #7
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Ahoy, Matey! Looks like it has a 'port list' to me. I have a couple B67's, and neither one has that. If the vendor will replace it, I would do it.
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Old 12-26-10, 11:55 PM   #8
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QC on British-made stuffs can be hit or miss. Verify that the rivets are symmetrically spaced relative to the center line. I've seen quite a few Flyers with the left-most rivet too far in. Also the right side of the saddle tends to "deform" more than the left side. Not sure if this is unique to my bottom.

The B17s tend to have a little less imperfection.

Finally, these saddles are supposed to have a nominal thickness of 4 to 5 mm. I've measured a few as thin as 3.6 mm, but never too thick. The Permaco saddles tends to be thicker with better QC.

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Old 12-27-10, 02:19 AM   #9
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The B-72 on my Sprite was drilled off center and seemed to work for 40 years until I straightened it out and welded on a tab that wore off. It kinda twisted the nose over the years.
40 years? Unbelievable for that.
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Old 12-28-10, 02:56 PM   #10
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"QC on British-made stuffs can be hit or miss."

Who can forget Lucas Electrics, "Prince of Darkness".

Sorry, I could not resist. I have just this seat on my MTN bike. It was off a bit, but rides fine. Again, if it bothers you, ask to send it back.

Best of the New Year to All,

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Old 12-29-10, 04:31 PM   #11
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My B17 is similarly slightly off centered. This is the nature of handcrafted hard leather products. If you want a perfectly balanced saddle be prepared to inspect them at a LBS.
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Old 12-29-10, 04:42 PM   #12
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My B17 is similarly slightly off centered. This is the nature of handcrafted hard leather products. If you want a perfectly balanced saddle be prepared to inspect them at a LBS.
This is clearly not a "leather may have some imperfections"-type problem.
I would try to return it. No sense in paying hundreds of dollars for a saddle if it isn't ever going to sit straight. I'm really surprised at how many people have said "just live with it." You don't buy a Brooks to save money or to look good—you buy it because its the best, most comfortable saddle.
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Old 12-29-10, 05:38 PM   #13
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decades ago when sprung Brooks leather saddles were standard on Raleigh and other 3-speeds, non-level ones were fairly common. We used to insert a bar across the top coils and gently nudge - cold set - them level. Not a big deal, took a few seconds, but there's a lot of spring back so it took some touch to be good at it.
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Old 12-30-10, 10:04 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Frosty861 View Post
"QC on British-made stuffs can be hit or miss."

Who can forget Lucas Electrics, "Prince of Darkness".
In engineering, we kick around these stereotypes that the subject countries seem to be happy to perpetuate. The English tend to make everything look handmade, even if it's machined; the Germans tend to make everything look machined, even if it's handmade. The Chinese wish they were Taiwanese. And Americans seem to have no middle ground.

My B17 arrived noticeably asymmetric. It was canted to the left and the rails are very different from each other in shape. Awesome fit and finish for the money! </sarcasm>
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Old 01-26-11, 01:01 PM   #15
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Just wanted to thank everyone for their help on this. I contacted the reseller and sent them the picture, and they agreed it was cockeyed and agreed to RMA it. Although the RMA process took weeks for some reason, I have a saddle that isn't slanted sideways now.
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Old 01-26-11, 11:00 PM   #16
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Did Brooks repaired the bad saddle or replaced it with a new saddle? This is clearly a QC issue most often associated with the Flyer line.

The Brooks Imperial generally comes with 5mm thick leather taken from a stiffer section of the hide. QC is quite good with the Imperial line. I believe the Brooks Pro is also around 5mm thick.
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Old 01-27-11, 05:25 AM   #17
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It sounds like the seller stood behind it. Doesn't say what Brooks did or didn't do.
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Old 01-27-11, 07:39 AM   #18
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The seller stood behind it, told me to return it and that they would deal with Brooks on the issue.

I also sent the picture to brooks, who didn't reply at all (which I found odd because I've always heard good things about their service). But then again, they were on holiday break when I sent it to maybe it got lost in the shuffle. Since the seller backed it, I didn't persue it any further with Brooks.
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