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Old 11-25-08, 09:15 PM   #1
imabeliever1
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Brooks break-in observations

I have read the many post concerning the long miles required for Brooks saddle break-in with interest and a bit of confusion. Confusion, because typically it takes about 75 miles for me to have a saddle that well on the way to being broken in. This has been with a couple of B17's , a Champion Flyer and a B67. When I say well on the way to being broken in I am talking about them having fairly pronounced "dimple" as a result of the sit bones. Also note , that I weigh in here at 170 lbs. All this changed today.
I was riding a brand new Champion Flyer. Did about 35 miles and it looks like it was just taken out of the box. There appears to be NO dimpling whatsoever. There has always been some forming of the saddle to my backside. I think I know the reason. When I was first riding my other saddle it has been summer. I am talking about south Texas summer. In other words hot . Downing 2 water bottles in 15 miles or so would be the usual for me. Not today. One half bottle and one small 'ade when I was done. What I am getting at here is that I was not sweating much at all. Started out with temps in the 40's and then ended in the upper 60's. My theory is that because of the lack of sweat, the saddle remained had and did not have the opportunity to from at all to me. Often in the summer, the saddle leather is damp after a ride.
So, if you live in cooler climes and do not ride in the rain, this may account for the high miles you have to put in to break in your Brooks. The leather with this saddle does not appear to be any thicker . YMMV
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Old 11-25-08, 10:10 PM   #2
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Interesting. I've been worried about my Brooks because it seems to be quite broken in already after only 50 miles or so (not an accurate measurement, but I've only had it on for a few weeks).
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Old 11-25-08, 10:44 PM   #3
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B-17's seem to break in very quickly. Thinner leather, I suppose. You really need to have access to a loaner-butt to get tame a Professional though.

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Old 11-26-08, 05:04 AM   #4
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Outside of Schwinn discussions, Brooks saddles, well any traditional "hide only" leather saddle is my next favorite. Even a brand new out of the box Professional fits me. It's all in how it is adjusted, tilt, height, forward-aft, etc., that makes the difference.

imabeliever1, can you put up a picture of your Champion Flyer?
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Old 11-26-08, 06:40 AM   #5
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I love my Swift, and I've only had it about a month, and ridden it about 40-50 miles. It seemed to break in almost as quickly as my B17. It's definitely not as soft, but it started "giving in" at the sit bone area at about 30-35 miles. I can only see it getting better. It's on my Moto GT, being broken in until my Grand Record is done. I just need paint/decals/clearcoat, and a decent set of wheels, so not too long now.,,,,BD
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Old 11-26-08, 08:37 AM   #6
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B-17's seem to break in very quickly. Thinner leather, I suppose. You really need to have access to a loaner-butt to get tame a Professional though.

jim
Yea, I thought I had written in B17 somewhere in my post but apparently not. That's good to know. I was sort of afraid it was breaking in too quickly, considering all the things I hear about it taking hundreds of miles. I think it felt damn good right out of the wrapping.
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Old 11-26-08, 08:59 AM   #7
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I have a B17 on my touring bike and a Swift on my modern and vintage racers. The new Swift took me a good 300 miles to settle in and I weigh about 200LBS. After a thousand miles it is even better, now it's like a nice broken in pair of Italian hiking boots. Speaking of boots one way to break them in is to hike through wet grass and wear them while wet. So it's probably the same with a sweaty saddle on a hot day too I'd guess.
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Old 11-26-08, 09:54 AM   #8
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I have a dozen bikes. Nearly all have leather saddles, most are Brooks, plus I have had & later sold numerous other bikes with used Brooks saddles that had an unknown history. They were all comfortable enough from the first ride & most broke in to a better fit after 300-1,000 miles of riding, but a few had thick, stiff leather which required an extended break in period of 2,000-3,000 miles. One, a green B17 Champion Special, only began to show dimples after 2,000+ miles. I mentioned this to a shop owner I know. He said this was his experience also but he had one B17 that never did get fully broken in, even after many thousands of miles it remained stiff & un-dimpled.

I once found a $10 B17 at a swap meet that had received to much Proofide or other break-in treatment. It was oily, soft, very flexible & sagged badly. I wiped it down with alcohol, tightened it up & laced the sides but it was only comfortable for rides of less than 1/2 hour, so I think its a bad idea to try and hasten the break-in. Don
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Old 11-26-08, 10:34 AM   #9
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It's going to take longer to break in a sprung saddle
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Old 11-26-08, 10:36 AM   #10
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I have forgotten the break-in period, but after 35 years and 50k mi / 80k km, my Brooks Pro is certainly nicely broken in and extremely comfortable. I bought a slightly used Team Pro on eBay and found it required almost no additional break-in.
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Old 11-26-08, 10:46 AM   #11
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It's going to take longer to break in a sprung saddle
Has a lot to do with riding stance too.
My B33 broke in all at once after about 60 miles. It's on a bolt upright bike, the handlebars are well higher than the seat.
My first Champ Flyer and Imperial never did develop the dimples like the B33, and it took well over a hundred miles before it settled on its final shape. Both were/are on my commuter, a much more aggressive riding stance, handlebars being slightly lower than the saddle.
My second Champ Flyer is on my mountain bike, I ride it more upright than the commuter and it has more pronounced dimples, and broke in rather quickly.
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Old 11-29-08, 03:47 PM   #12
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Saddle comparison

Here are 2 Champion Flyers. The one with the wedge pack is on the Schwinn. It has 35 "no sweat " miles of riding. It is as new to my eye. The Schwinn saddle was comfortable for the first 20, but was becoming a uncomfortable for the last 10 or so.

The one with the blinky on the seat post is on my Trek. It has maybe 250 hot sweaty miles on it. It began to "mold" to me after the first 20 mile ride. As mentioned before this was summer and sweat was flowing . My theory is that the moisture, provided by me, during the hot weather riding made the difference. I guess it my sweat is the best "proof hide" for my leather .

I guess my point in all this is that Brooks saddles break in faster in the hot weather because of the "natural " fluids you provide.

YMMV
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Old 11-29-08, 03:52 PM   #13
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My B17 Imperial was uber comfy from day one and has only gotten better and better and the many other leather saddles I have restored have also broken in fairly quickly with little to no discomfort at all.

My B66 probably took the longest to get to that state of perfection.
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