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Old 01-10-12, 01:57 PM   #26
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From personal observation, the new Brooks saddles do not always seem to present the same quality, I am used to in a Brooks product. Perhaps this is just my imagination, but I do prefer the vintage saddles, as opposed to the high priced stuff that comes in a box or bag, these days.

I find that the newer saddles tend to stretch or break in much quicker. To me this suggests a lighter grade of leather. Of course I am not expert when it comes to a cow or bull. I do know that my best friend used to work in a factory that made leather products. He commented on the quality of the leather on a new saddle I had,comparing it to an older but identical model. He thought the older one to sported better leather. So...

If Brooks has lowered its standard to include neck leather, rather than back leather, then the quality will be lowered, also. Bottom line has little to do with how ones bottom feels, or so it seems.
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Old 01-10-12, 02:27 PM   #27
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Brooks said it was okay, I do not agree!
What me do?
Looks fine to me. The real test is what my butt thinks about it.
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Old 01-10-12, 02:55 PM   #28
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In my mind, when paying the price for a Brooks these days, I expect one that is pretty much defect free. Were I the OP, I would try to exchange the saddle if it was going to bother me. If he, or she, can live with the flaw and think of it as part of the natural beauty of the product, so be it, and keep the saddle.

The issue is cosmetic only and my guess is that it will look just fine as the saddle breaks in and develops its own patina of age/use.
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Old 01-10-12, 05:22 PM   #29
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I have tried buying a piece of leather to make a saddle out of it, and I could not find anyone who would sell me a small piece. They would sell me a large piece, that is, a whole side; which is, well, about the size of one side of a cow. It's enough to make quite a few saddles. Now I suppose Brooks may have ways of buying partial hides that I don't have, and they may well prefer to make saddles from the butt of the cow, where the best leather is; but frankly I suspect they, too, have to buy their leather by the side, or by the hide; then what do you want them to do with the rest of it? I suppose they could charge a different price, depending where the leather came from... and maybe they do. But using the whole hide is the environmentally responsible thing to do.
Try a Tandy Leather retail shop. They usually have a table of remnants out.
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Old 01-10-12, 09:37 PM   #30
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... frankly I suspect they, too, have to buy their leather by the side, or by the hide; then what do you want them to do with the rest of it? I suppose they could charge a different price, depending where the leather came from... and maybe they do. But using the whole hide is the environmentally responsible thing to do.
That's a very good point. Brooks do seem to have widened their ranges considerably, what with all the 'specials' now being offered. Also, if what we're seeing is a result of them using whole hides, instead of maybe in the past discarding the neck area, I guess we would be paying higher prices per saddle than at present.
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Old 01-10-12, 09:58 PM   #31
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At times my crotch has thought the title to this thread.
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Old 01-10-12, 10:16 PM   #32
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If you're into CV, it's obviously not just about the comfort of your bum, and if you're not happy with it, you should return it or have it replaced. I totally understand. But that probably needs to happen at the retail level. At least you seem to have some recourse. I bought a B17, an alleged takeoff, only to discover it had a bum rivet. Just had it repaired; cost half as much as the saddle with the 2way shipping. How do you like the "gold tooth"?

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Old 01-10-12, 10:55 PM   #33
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At times my crotch has thought the title to this thread.
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Old 01-10-12, 11:15 PM   #34
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If you're into CV, it's obviously not just about the comfort of your bum, and if you're not happy with it, you should return it or have it replaced. I totally understand. But that probably needs to happen at the retail level. At least you seem to have some recourse. I bought a B17, an alleged takeoff, only to discover it had a bum rivet. Just had it repaired; cost half as much as the saddle with the 2way shipping. How do you like the "gold tooth"?

Now drill out and replace the other 5 and you have a deluxe!
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Old 01-11-12, 12:02 AM   #35
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I'm really doing my best to restrain myself from replying, "get a life." Leather is an organic material that, inherently, has "imperfections" such as streaks.That's a big part of its draw -- uniqueness. That's what my Bomber Jacket looks like. But, if you can't deal with it, send it back. No big deal.

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Old 01-11-12, 12:34 AM   #36
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I'm really doing my best to restrain myself from replying, "get a life." Leather is an organic material that, inherently, has "imperfections" such as streaks.That's a big part of its draw -- uniqueness. That's what my Bomber Jacket looks like. But, if you can't deal with it, send it back. No big deal.
Have fun,
Brooks did not agree to replace!
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Old 01-11-12, 12:57 AM   #37
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Have fun,
Brooks did not agree to replace!
Perhaps for good reason.
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Old 01-11-12, 01:24 AM   #38
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Perhaps for good reason.
Maybe...

Although I am sure the saddle is 100% functional I can understand being at least annoyed. Brooks sells a supposedly premium product at a premium price. They benefit from the perception of their product and it makes sense that customers expect pleasing aesthetics to be part of that.

Last year I had a super fancy Brooks B17 special. I could tell right away that something was off when I looked at it. It turned out that the hide was mounted to the frame crooked, by a decent amount. It annoyed me a little, but I still would have used it. In the end I traded it for a B17 imperial, which looked perfect. I have pictures of the crooked saddle, I can post them later.
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Old 01-11-12, 01:36 AM   #39
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Maybe...

Although I am sure the saddle is 100% functional I can understand being at least annoyed. Brooks sells a supposedly premium product at a premium price. They benefit from the perception of their product and it makes sense that customers expect pleasing aesthetics to be part of that.

Last year I had a super fancy Brooks B17 special. I could tell right away that something was off when I looked at it. It turned out that the hide was mounted to the frame crooked, by a decent amount. It annoyed me a little, but I still would have used it. In the end I traded it for a B17 imperial, which looked perfect. I have pictures of the crooked saddle, I can post them later.
+1
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Old 01-11-12, 04:01 AM   #40
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Now if someone could just find a way of making all cows exactly the same, then surely someone would have found a way to make all beefburgers taste exactly the same too.....

Oh.....sorry I forget, McDonalds already did.

Buy a tin of black shoe polish, rub some in, leave for a day, buff it up and you'll never know any different. The saddle will smell nice for a while too!
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Old 01-11-12, 04:09 AM   #41
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I don't think anyone is asking for these saddles to be exactly the same. They and I just don't expect to see wild swings away from the average.

It's really easy to say it's no big deal.... until it's your money. What if someone told you "these two saddles are the exact same price, one looks crappier." Which one do you want then??? Is it no big deal at that point? Would you take the crappier looking saddle and "just ride it" knowing that the nicer one cost the exact same amount?

Guitars are made out of wood - Wood is a natural product that varies between each piece. When paid good money and bought my Gibson SG, I went somewhere that I could examine and play and compare each one. Did it really matter that much? Maybe not... but it sure did to me, considering how much they cost. It's a premium item, so I wanted the best that was available to me.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:23 AM   #42
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If you're into CV, it's obviously not just about the comfort of your bum, and if you're not happy with it, you should return it or have it replaced. I totally understand. But that probably needs to happen at the retail level. At least you seem to have some recourse. I bought a B17, an alleged takeoff, only to discover it had a bum rivet. Just had it repaired; cost half as much as the saddle with the 2way shipping. How do you like the "gold tooth"?

Who did that? Seems to me they should have been able to match the original rivets better than that.
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Old 01-11-12, 01:09 PM   #43
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I don't think anyone is asking for these saddles to be exactly the same. They and I just don't expect to see wild swings away from the average.

It's really easy to say it's no big deal.... until it's your money. What if someone told you "these two saddles are the exact same price, one looks crappier." Which one do you want then??? Is it no big deal at that point? Would you take the crappier looking saddle and "just ride it" knowing that the nicer one cost the exact same amount?

Guitars are made out of wood - Wood is a natural product that varies between each piece. When paid good money and bought my Gibson SG, I went somewhere that I could examine and play and compare each one. Did it really matter that much? Maybe not... but it sure did to me, considering how much they cost. It's a premium item, so I wanted the best that was available to me.
It's for this reason that I feel the OP should go to shop that stocks Brooks saddles and choose one. If he doesn't have a shop like that in his area then that's just tough. If the seller from whom he purchased the saddle online won't let him exchange it, then that's tough. The saddle is not defective, though, and I don't blame Brooks one bit for not replacing it. I mean, it's a handmade item for less than $100 that will provide you with years, perhaps decades, of service. Boo effin' hoo if it is not a "show quality" leather top.

We're talking about a B17 (the entry level saddle). I agree with RHM, that the responsible thing for Brooks to do is to use the neck of the hides. I'm sure the Brooks site has a disclaimer that addresses inconsistencies with the leather hides they use.
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Old 01-11-12, 02:53 PM   #44
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I'd be bummed, but I'd probably still ride it. Heck, send it to me and I'll ride it right now

But yeah, when you spend $100 or more, you'd like it to look nice. Are returns for refund to your store (not brooks unless you bought it direct) an option?

I wouldn't be surprised to find a store that has both a brick and mortar and online presence to sell most of the not quite pretty ones online and keep the prettiest ones for display in the store.
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Old 01-11-12, 06:46 PM   #45
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Who did that? Seems to me they should have been able to match the original rivets better than that.
I had a choice between two repair shops. Aaron Goss in Seattle explained he only did brass, while Simon Firth in Philly did both. Aaron was a little less expensive and I liked the idea of making it more unique and less valuable to thieves -- yet still "charming", shall we say? I know what they look like after a few thousand miles, so really, a few streaks shouldn't matter, but the OP has every right to complain. This one retired last summer after 25 years and three bikes.


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Old 01-11-12, 06:57 PM   #46
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The name is evading me, but I seem to remember reading that one of the British online stores carried Brooks at a good price and had really good customer service. Was it Wiggle?
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Old 01-11-12, 07:05 PM   #47
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It's for this reason that I feel the OP should go to shop that stocks Brooks saddles and choose one. If he doesn't have a shop like that in his area then that's just tough. If the seller from whom he purchased the saddle online won't let him exchange it, then that's tough. The saddle is not defective, though, and I don't blame Brooks one bit for not replacing it. I mean, it's a handmade item for less than $100 that will provide you with years, perhaps decades, of service. Boo effin' hoo if it is not a "show quality" leather top..

I think we are basically agreeing. That is what I was getting at with the guitar example. Still, there is a range that I consider acceptable, that range will vary from person to person. Seeing a product in person before you buy it is really important when you are picky. Short of that, maybe you could email one of the online retailers before making an order and ask them to have a look at the leather. That would mean finding someone that is probably small with really, really good customer service... like Harris Cyclery or Velo-Orange.

I'm lucky, one of our local shops always has a handful of Brooks saddles.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:11 PM   #48
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Here is a picture of the Brooks B17 Champion Special I had. I would be lying if I didn't admit the uneven sides bothered me a little bit. I would have used it, but I traded it for a Black B17 imperial... which is completely perfect looking.

The truth lies somewhere between the two arguments. Some of us are asking for too much, some of us aren't admitting that a brooks aesthetics are as important to us as their comfort. If Brooks weren't a beauty product, we wouldn't be posting pictures of them or even having this discussion.

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Old 01-11-12, 09:42 PM   #49
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Those who like a little "character" in their leather saddles are probably the same ones who can appreciate some "patina" in their paint, while others will have none of it: Tastes vary widely, simply because people are so different - which goes to show that we're like cows.
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Old 01-12-12, 06:28 AM   #50
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Comes a letter from chainreactioncycles
Sends a saddle back ...
I will take
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=11669
instead of him.
I hope the result will be positive.

Or better yet
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=11649

Thank you everyone for your responses!
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