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  1. #1
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Brooks Imperial Saddle Reviews

    This thread is expressly for reviews of the Brooks Imperial
    saddle that will be tested by Bike Forum members.
    It is a central location for all reviews, and to make it
    easier for Andrea_Men (and other Brooks employees?) to read our comments.

    This thread will remain stuck for the duration of the evaluation period, or until such time
    as Andrea requests it be taken down.

    Any Non review post will be either deleted, or moved to the Brooks status thread (which
    will be unstuck as soon as the reviews start).

    Marty

    Andrea posted the following guide for reviews:

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea Men View Post
    To ease the reading I suggest that everyone starts their post with the following information:

    Test Ride Nr xy
    Miles xy
    Total Miles xy
    Comfort Rating xy

    For the rating I suggest to use the following scale:

    10 SUPREME – best saddle ever
    9 OUTSTANDING
    8 EXCELLENT
    7 GOOD
    6 OK
    5 SO SO
    4 UNCOMFORTABLE
    3 PAIFUL
    2 VERY PAINFUL
    1 AWFUL
    0 IMPOSSIBLE TO RIDE - worst saddle ever

    From 6 to 10 the rating is positive, from 0 to 5 it is negative.
    Please use this format for all reviews of the saddles.
    Last edited by lotek; 04-22-08 at 09:56 AM. Reason: inserted review format.
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  2. #2
    Snail-paced new boy AlexTaylor's Avatar
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    Just got back from my first ride, a quick 15 miler.

    Never ridden a Brooks before. If it gets better with time then Oh. My. God.
    I set off then after about a mile I had to readjust saddle and post, then I thought that I hadn't tightened up the clamp enough due to the flex. Then I realised it was clamped mega tight. Then I rode.

    I am very very impressed indeed! I have no pains in the 'perineal' area although it was a short ride, but straight from the off it was probably the most comfortable saddle I have tried. One issue that might present itself on a long ride is that the insides of my thighs rub a little near the nose of the saddle, we'll have to wait and see.

    Looking forward to many miles of riding now

    Alex
    Twitter - @NapD
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  3. #3
    Senior Member gregam's Avatar
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    Installed it yesterday on my 1972 Schwinn Sports Tourer, replacing a Brooks B15. Took it for a short ride, boy I had forgotten how stiff they are new. I will ride a couple of miles each evening and then do at least 10 miles on Saturday maybe more, depends on how its breaking in.
    1st bike - 1962 Schwinn Varsity (bought new and wish I still had it, left it in Siagon, Viet Nam 1965)
    1962 Schwinn Varsity (could be a twin of my first bike)
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Andrea Men's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexTaylor View Post
    Just got back from my first ride, a quick 15 miler.
    Never ridden a Brooks before. If it gets better with time then Oh. My. God... Alex
    How does it compare to your current saddle? Fizik Aliante?
    Andrea Meneghelli
    Marketing Manager BROOKS ENGLAND LTD.

    "Brooks’ Saddles have a world-wide reputation, and in every country are acknowledged to stand pre-eminent, and neither pains nor expense will be spared to retain this enviable position." (1901)

  5. #5
    hi YoKev's Avatar
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    I got the saddle this afternoon and put it on the bike just in time for my group ride. I just got back from it, and the stats were 30 miles at a pace of about 17mph. Flats, hills, sprinting, and just lazy pedaling.

    Comparing it to my recent B17, it initially felt "harder" on my sit bones. About halfway through though, I seemed to find the comfort spot and all was well. I did not shift around nearly as much as my other saddle (Velo crap) and I did not experience any discomfort! Truly amazing, and I am really looking forward to getting some more miles on it. I'm toying with the idea of loosening up the lacing just a smidge, but will leave it as is for now.





    Last edited by YoKev; 04-18-08 at 06:10 PM. Reason: pictures

  6. #6
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinsubaru View Post
    Comparing it to my recent B17, it initially felt "harder" on my sit bones. About halfway through though.
    I think that's going to be a common theme. Lacing the saddle will greatly increase the stiffness.

  7. #7
    hi YoKev's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad thing, it was just....different...

  8. #8
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    Received standard Imperial

    Hello all,
    I received my Imperial in the mail this afternoon (it's the normal-width version). I installed it on my commuter and took it up and down the block, just to get a quick sense of the saddle adjustment--I'll put some more miles on it tomorrow.
    Offhand, the one aesthetic comment I'd make is that it looks a little chunkier than my B17 Champion Special--it looks like the skirts extend lower to make space for the lacing holes, which gives it a less svelte appearance from the side. It also made me notice how much my B17 CS had actually broken in! I have it laced as well (home-made holes) and tensioned tightly, so it's actually a bit firmer than the Imperial, but I can clearly see how the leather has curved over time, in contrast to the flat top of the new Imperial.

    More later, and thanks again Andrea for the chance to test the saddle.

    Daniel

  9. #9
    Senior Member gregam's Avatar
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    Well colour me supprised, Took the bike out for a short ride expecting the saddle to be fairly stiff for the whole ride (memorys of breaking in my B15). After about two miles I noticed that the saddle was starting to feel quite comfortable. I think this weekend it should be quite easy to do 20 miles or more. My guess is that the cutout is making the difference. Very impressed.
    1st bike - 1962 Schwinn Varsity (bought new and wish I still had it, left it in Siagon, Viet Nam 1965)
    1962 Schwinn Varsity (could be a twin of my first bike)
    1969 Peugeot PX10E
    1972 Schwinn Sports Tourer (bought new)
    1982 Peugeot PH19 Mixte
    1989 Novara Aspen

  10. #10
    Snail-paced new boy AlexTaylor's Avatar
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    Posted this on a PM to Andrea in response to how it compares with the Aliante...

    The Aliante is also new to me, I only got it about a month ago but already it's looking rather favourable for the Brooks! The Brooks was comfortable straight from the off, just a bit of tweaking height and position was needed straight after fitting, the Aliante is also pretty good for me but when I got in from riding the Brooks I had far less feeling of pressure down below. I'm looking forward to getting it run in.
    I'll be taking it on the commutes this weekend, one issue that may rear it's head on a longer ride is that I noticed the insides of my thighs rubbing slightly against the sides of the nose of the saddle. It wasn't uncomfortable at all on a 45 min ride so we will have to see...

    Alex.
    Twitter - @NapD
    Current number of working legs - 1************X****2
    eWang - 3X******************4 w/kg

  11. #11
    Senior Member blacksquid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexTaylor View Post
    Just got back from my first ride, a quick 15 miler.

    Never ridden a Brooks before. If it gets better with time then Oh. My. God.
    I set off then after about a mile I had to readjust saddle and post, then I thought that I hadn't tightened up the clamp enough due to the flex. Then I realised it was clamped mega tight. Then I rode.

    I am very very impressed indeed! I have no pains in the 'perineal' area although it was a short ride, but straight from the off it was probably the most comfortable saddle I have tried. One issue that might present itself on a long ride is that the insides of my thighs rub a little near the nose of the saddle, we'll have to wait and see.

    Looking forward to many miles of riding now

    Alex
    What did you do, if anything, to prepare the saddle? I have read a number of posts, in this and other fora, where riders rub neatsfoot oil into the saddle.
    Visit my blog -->MyOrangeBike
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  12. #12
    Snail-paced new boy AlexTaylor's Avatar
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    I rubbed in the 'proofide' stuff that came with it as per the instructions...

    Smells nice too!
    Twitter - @NapD
    Current number of working legs - 1************X****2
    eWang - 3X******************4 w/kg

  13. #13
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Got mine today! What a beautiful saddle! I noticed that there's scoring just outside the actual cut for the cut out. Is this supposed to make the cutout softer?

    So far, it's very comfy. I'll post more when I get some more miles on it.

    Az

  14. #14
    ?que? Live2Die's Avatar
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    Just got it and put it on bike #1 with bull horns and off for the first test ride. The UPS guy said he'd never had any one have to sign for a saddle before and I told him about it and showed him and he was real excited for the results and he said if it worked well and went to production he'd think of getting one after stating that it was the best looking B-17 he'd laid eyes on.

  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    Initial shakedown impressions are as follows:

    - Wow these things are slippery, but I have never used a brand spankin' new black brooks before.
    - Presence of cutout is almost imperceptible
    - I don't remember my new B17 champion special being this uncomfortable
    - at least it's better than the B17N I tried.
    - thoughts of butting it on my road bike with some handlebar drop were quickly squelched
    - Perineal pressure was immediately apparent and uncomfortable. The cutout could be farther forward but in general a B17 seems to be too short for my personal geometry, the nose itself cause the discomfort.
    - My ideale 92 is still top runner for next long distance tour, however I will continue to use and break in the brooks and hope things get better, I know the cutout may not seem to do anything right now but in the long run it may alloy flow in the soft tissues which ultimately prevents numbness... but I remain skeptical that this is an improvement.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  16. #16
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Mine arrived today, hope you don't mind linked pics in this thread.

    I was going to put the saddle on the commuter/tourer/MTB but noticed the seatpost on that bike protrudes and I thought it might interfere or affect the lacing, so I mounted it on the Fillmore instead. I'll be looking at a different seatpost tomorrow at the shop since it has a different size post than the Fillmore.

    (sorry about the blur, this camera doesn't do closeups well)


    mounted on the Fillmore


    Might be a little atypical flareout on the right side, but don't notice it while riding


    I did a short 5-8 mile loop around town, some city streets, some lakefront sidewalk, some paved bike path, and some dirt path shortcut through the woods.






    Initially set it up the same height and tilt as the stock Bontrager saddle that came on the Fillmore. Stopped about three times on the ride to adjust it some. Lowered it a little, tilted the nose up a little, then tilted it back down a little, then slide the saddle a little forward. Felt a little hard at first, but softer than I remember a B17 I broke in years ago. Did not get any numbness, but the ride wasn't really long enough. Overall I think it will feel good once it conforms a bit. It is slippery and I found myself sliding myself forward and backward to see where the sitbones felt like they settled in best. I was also getting just a little ('scuse the lingo here) nut bumping, but I was riding in street clothes so things weren't exactly under control so to speak ( sorry ).

    Comparing it to the stock Bontrager, at this point the Bontrager might be a little more comfortable, but I think once the saddle breaks in and looses some of the slipperyness I won't miss the other saddle at all.

    The other bikes have a Selle Italia MaxFlite on the Colnago, a Vetta TriShock on the track bike, and some unknown brand of saddle with medium padding on the commuter bike. Once the Brooks is broken in I'll do some back to back comparisons on the other bikes.

  17. #17
    Evil Genius oopfoo's Avatar
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    I have just installed my Imperial on my Gary V Titanio.
    • Placement of the saddle was simple, as it replaces a Swallow. They're identical sizes, of course.
    • The lacing impeded the installation of the saddle completely. I loosened the laces and still felt that, even if I could mount the saddle still laced, they would be in constant contact with the top of the seatpost, a Thomson Elite. Thus, I removed the laces entirely. I don't think this saddle can be mounted on a Thomson seatpost in any fashion while the laces are installed. I definitely recommend removing the laces and relacing while the saddle is on the bike.
    • I decided to try re-lacing the saddle in a different pattern, which while possible, proved difficult with the saddle on the bike. Mounting the bike on the workstand helped a lot.
    • My lacing pattern moves forward several holes of the default, makes two crosses, then runs inside the saddle to the rear, behind the seatpost, where I crossed again and tied it. This way, the laces don't contact the seatpost head. It was tough to get any tension--even light tension--in this manner, but I used a set of vice-grips to hold my knot while tying, neatly solving the problem.
    • I notice the laces still contact the seatpost head a bit, as does the saddle skirt. I wonder how frequently the lacing will need to be replaced?


    Anyway, that's my installation rundown. It's a beautiful saddle, and I'm looking forward to using it. I wonder if the removal of the long skirt and a metal clip like that on the Swallow might work instead of the lacing?
    -- Michael

  18. #18
    hi YoKev's Avatar
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    ^^^

    One of the first things I noticed as well is that the lacing interferes with the seat post clamp. I'm going to play around with it tomorrow.

  19. #19
    ?que? Live2Die's Avatar
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    Initial thoughts after just a short 10 mile ride to work on fit. First as said above, lacing made install difficult but I was able to leave the lacing and got it installed though it was difficult. After jumping on the bike I initially noticed how slippery the black leather is. I played with my fit a few times on the ride and still need some more tweaking before it is dialed in completely which may include a different seat post that can micro adjust better. The cut out certainly has a sweet spot that is a bit tough to initially find due to the stiffness and un-contoured shape at this point. When the saddle was in a proper spot the saddle was very comfortable and stable in the sweet spot. However, I can't say that I can notice the cut-out too much with the stiffness currently but this may be due to the lacing which makes the forgiveness considerably less initially. I am excited to keep riding on it and get it broken in. Initially the saddle shows promise after some tweaking but I'm optimistic.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by treebound View Post
    Mine arrived today, hope you don't mind linked pics in this thread.

    I was going to put the saddle on the commuter/tourer/MTB but noticed the seatpost on that bike protrudes and I thought it might interfere or affect the lacing, so I mounted it on the Fillmore instead. I'll be looking at a different seatpost tomorrow at the shop since it has a different size post than the Fillmore.
    I have a similar issue. I use a post with a 2 bolt clamp, not a Thomson but similar design. The bolts and upper part of the clamp are trying to occupy the same space as the lacing. I got it together,it didn't seem like there should be a problem, the laces shifted slightly, but I've never had a laced saddle before will this cause problems? Might try swapping the post from my MTB, it's a one bolt type.
    Last edited by ad6mj; 04-18-08 at 07:10 PM.

  21. #21
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinsubaru View Post
    ^^^

    One of the first things I noticed as well is that the lacing interferes with the seat post clamp. I'm going to play around with it tomorrow.

    I was always under the impression that one would lace the saddle after it was mounted, that way you could weave the lacing above/below the rails, etc, etc.

    Least thats the way I did my DIY version.

  22. #22
    Evil Genius oopfoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber View Post
    I was always under the impression that one would lace the saddle after it was mounted, that way you could weave the lacing above/below the rails, etc, etc.

    Least thats the way I did my DIY version.
    Way back when, I perforated my B17 much higher than down at the skirt. This was done under the guidance of a "pro" who knew about these things. Unfortunately, there's a fine line between "just right" and "rubs your thighs."
    -- Michael

  23. #23
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Mine came today. I proofided it and installed it on my Raleigh One-Way, replacing the B-17 that was on it.
    I have a Truvativ XR teo-bolt seat post and found that the lacing actually helped keep the top piece in place , making it easier than usual to seat the retaining cams and thread the bolts into them. I'll be riding 20-30 miles in the morning, so I'll have more to report later. Excuse the poor pics, photography with cheap digital cameras is not my core competency.


    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  24. #24
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    First thoughts:

    It definitely has more give than my B17 CS standard did brand new. I haven't sat in it, this is just from hand manipulation. Proofided it and will be mounting tomorrow. Hope I have time for a spin
    View my blog: climbhoser.blogspot.com

  25. #25
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    I had a bit of an experience mounting the Imperial. I had to remove the lacing in order to mount it on the Campagnolo style two bolt seat post (mounting any saddle in this set-up is always a bit of an ordeal). I did a rather ineffectual job of tensioning the lacing afterwards. I have a suggestion for improvement. Make the lacing out of a more cord-like material and add one of these (appropriately sized). It will make adjusting the tension properly so much easier.



    Tomorrow I give it the first ride. Note, I may be he first person to mount a tubular tire holder to an Imperial. Mounting positions were limited to being underneath the saddle. I note though that it probably does not make sense to make changes to the width of the rails in the rear.
    Last edited by USAZorro; 04-18-08 at 10:18 PM.
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