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Old 10-26-09, 10:38 PM   #1
flammenwurfer
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Scored my first Brooks saddle!

Just picked up my first Brooks saddle and I can't wait to try it out. Got it for $35 on Craigslist. Funny story, it was actually somebody I know that was selling it. That ever happen to anyone else?

It's a little dry but I'm going to use some of my Dad's proofide on it and see how it does. Overall I think it's in decent shape.


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Old 10-26-09, 10:42 PM   #2
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Yes, it looks nice. Those rivets will polish up really nice with some brasso. What model is it? It looks as wide as my b15 but I wouldn't expect the hammered copper rivets and nice name plaque. Is it a version of the B17?
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Old 10-26-09, 10:42 PM   #3
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it's in great shape! but yes, it's dry. probably needs several applications of proofide.
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Old 10-26-09, 10:45 PM   #4
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I think it's a B17, but I'm not sure. I'm not real familiar with Brooks saddles. Is there any way to tell exactly what model it is? Markings anywhere that give it away?
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Old 10-26-09, 10:47 PM   #5
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should be embossed on the sides of the leather. could be a B17 or B15. great deal you got.
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Old 10-26-09, 10:50 PM   #6
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I believe it should be marked on the side. It's nice that it has the fancier features on it. Let the proofide soak into the saddle all night and buff it off the next day. Don't forget to apply it to the bottom too. Don't buff the bottom application off, just leave it there.
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Old 10-26-09, 11:00 PM   #7
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Will, do thanks for the tips.

On the sides it says Champion Special B.17
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Old 10-26-09, 11:04 PM   #8
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Nice. Should be gorgeous, as well as comfortable once you've spiffed it up and properly conditioned it.
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Old 10-26-09, 11:05 PM   #9
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Will, do thanks for the tips.

On the sides it says Champion Special B.17
that's a *very* nice model. but it may be too narrow for a vintage 3-speed with upright seating position. isn't that the bike you have?
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Old 10-26-09, 11:12 PM   #10
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Excellent, sounds like I got lucky.

I do have a vintage 3 speed that currently has a sprung mattress saddle that I think I will leave on it. I also have a Takara with north roadish bars on it and I also recently got a Raleigh Technium. The Takara is my store bike so I'm thinking the Technium would probably be the most logical recipient as it will probably be ridden the most when I'm done with it. I want to convert it to a 3 speed, but I haven't decided what bars I want to put on it yet.

I thought I remembered reading somewhere that a B.17 works well for bikes with the handlebars level with the seat. Is that correct? If not, what is it best for?
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Old 10-26-09, 11:14 PM   #11
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Recent production B.17, at least within the last 5 years or so.

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Old 10-26-09, 11:24 PM   #12
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Yes, looks like a B-17. Polish those rivets and get some Proofide or Obenhauf's on it right away
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Old 10-27-09, 06:54 AM   #13
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Not to be contrary, but go easy with the Proofide! Unless the leather is so dry it's in danger of cracking, I wouldn't put any on the top, and only a little on the bottom. My experience with recent B-17's was that they got too soft too fast, and I suspect Proofide was part of the problem.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:12 AM   #14
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I'm not sure how you tell if it's in danger of cracking, but it does seem very dry to me. Would I be ok starting with just a little proofide on the top and some on the bottom at first and then go from there after I give it a little time?
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Old 10-27-09, 07:20 AM   #15
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Yeah, I like the sound of "just a little." You make a good point, it is hard to tell if it is in danger of cracking until the first cracks start showing. But considering that you have an essentially new saddle, I doubt the danger is very severe at this point.

Important question: do you find this saddle comfortable NOW? Some people find a B-17 most comfortable when new; others prefer them after they have softened up. If you are among the former, then you don't want it to soften. If you are among the latter, then you do; but how much? You can make it softer, but once that's done, it's hard (impossible?) to go back.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:22 AM   #16
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Well I have proofide-ed my swift twice in the last year, bottom and top, and it still hasn't broken in. To be fair I don't ride it daily, it's in rotation.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:25 AM   #17
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I haven't ridden it yet, so I'm not sure if I find it comfortable yet. I just don't want to neglect it and have it crack.

How can you tell that it is less than 5 years old?
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Old 10-27-09, 07:29 AM   #18
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How can you tell that it is less than 5 years old?
I'm just agreeing with Kurt:
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Recent production B.17, at least within the last 5 years or so.
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Old 10-27-09, 08:04 AM   #19
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Ok, fair enough.

Kurt- how can you tell that it is 5 years old or younger?
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Old 10-27-09, 08:23 AM   #20
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Not to be contrary, but go easy with the Proofide! Unless the leather is so dry it's in danger of cracking, I wouldn't put any on the top, and only a little on the bottom. My experience with recent B-17's was that they got too soft too fast, and I suspect Proofide was part of the problem.
Go easy with the Proofide for certain, but that saddle definitely needs some treatment on the top.

fwiw - the instructions I received with my Imperial was to dress it sparingly top and bottom, and thereafter, to only apply to the top.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:15 AM   #21
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Ok, fair enough.

Kurt- how can you tell that it is 5 years old or younger?
Just a guess here. Most B17 saddles come with plain "tubular" rivets while yours is a special fancier version with the manually hammered copper rivets. There was a great video posted in the last month where it showed the rivets being hammered, it was really cool to see.

Anyway, since yours is a special version it's easier to tell when it may have been made. FYI, there should also be a two digit date code stamped into the frame in the bottom. It may be faint, but it will tell you the year it was made.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:20 AM   #22
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I'll have to look when I get home, but I think I remember there being a 0 and a 7 on the underside.

Got a link to that video?
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Old 10-27-09, 07:14 PM   #23
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I looked and it says "0C7" or it could be "007". Does that mean it was made in 07?

I haven't put anything on it yet, but it seems less dry today and looks better. Can the humidity in the air affect these saddles like that?
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Old 10-27-09, 09:07 PM   #24
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Just a guess here. Most B17 saddles come with plain "tubular" rivets while yours is a special fancier version with the manually hammered copper rivets.
That, and the badge. The previous Brooks badge from the mid-late 1990s (don't know the exact cutoff) was an uninspired twist on the Helvetica font (or something quite near it), not the traditional Brooks font:



Prior to that, a badge was used based on the revised Sturmey-Archer font - dates from the mid-late '80s, or so - whenever it was when SA acquired Brooks. It was also one of the smallest badges they ever produced. Far as I know, this spanned all models, from B.72 to Pro (I have an example of each):



The precursors to the above:

Brooks Pros (and I assume some other models), used a narrow badge w/o "Made In England" as follows - unfortunately, the lettering on this one (whatever measly bit is left of it) is about the best I have on the three examples of this saddle that I own (two 1973 small rivet, one 1979 large rivet):



During this same time period, most other Brooks saddles featured the following badge - probably the most common too. These were produced in both plastic and steel (brass?) and used on the B.72's, B.66's, B.73's, etc.:

Plastic:


Metal:


The '60s-70s badges as above were based on Brooks' 1950's era badge - metal, and with a deep stamp pattern:



The earliest badge I know of is as follows - dates from the '30s or so. Not sure if it carried over to the '40s (probably), or if it was replaced with the '50s badge above:



Note that the current Brooks badge is similar to the steel badges from the '70s as used on the B.72/66, except they do not have the typical "Made In England" at the bottom.

-Kurt
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Old 10-27-09, 09:08 PM   #25
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...I haven't put anything on it yet, but it seems less dry today and looks better. Can the humidity in the air affect these saddles like that?
slightly
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