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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-11-07, 01:42 PM   #1
WhaleOil
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Softening Brooks Saddles

I've been spraying Tanners Glove Oil, the stuff you use for a new baseball glove after every ride.

Works fantastic!

$3.99 per 4oz. bottle here in the NE. Available at any sports shop.
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Old 08-11-07, 04:24 PM   #2
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Beware of oversoftening that saddle.....the rivets wil rip out of the leather and you'll have a ruined saddle.
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Old 08-11-07, 04:27 PM   #3
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I was thinking the same thing. I've opted to manuelly soften just the needed area of the leather, leaving the rest firm so it holds it's shape. We'll see how it works.
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Old 08-11-07, 04:31 PM   #4
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I use the Brooks Butter about once a month. It doesn't seem to do much though.
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Old 08-11-07, 04:45 PM   #5
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I use the Brooks Butter about once a month. It doesn't seem to do much though.
That's because it's to protect the leather rather than soften it. Really, you only need to apply it about 1 or 2 times a year.
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Old 08-11-07, 05:15 PM   #6
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Thanks. Is applying too much a bad thing?
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Old 08-11-07, 05:25 PM   #7
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Thanks. Is applying too much a bad thing?
Just doesn't do any good and winds up with a stained pair of shorts......

All it's for is to water seal the leather and too much reduces the breathability of the leather.

You're better off leaving the leather hard and have it slowly conform to the Kiester. Mine has been treated one time and is the most comfortable saddle I've ever used.....period.
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Old 08-22-07, 01:24 PM   #8
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Are they really worth it? I have been back on my bike for 3 weeks now and I'm going strong. My backside is finally starting to feel OK. I ride on a Trico gel with a cutout area. It's probably 4 or 5 years old.Would I be happy with a Brooks? Which one should I get. I am 58 years old, riding 18 to 25 a day at about 12.5 MPH. I am 5'11 and weigh in at 240
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Old 08-22-07, 03:06 PM   #9
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Just doesn't do any good and winds up with a stained pair of shorts......
Of course, if you simply dollop the proofide onto the shorts in the first place, you save a step, and you can combine your saddle buffing with your ride.
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Old 08-22-07, 03:17 PM   #10
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Are they really worth it? I have been back on my bike for 3 weeks now and I'm going strong. My backside is finally starting to feel OK. I ride on a Trico gel with a cutout area. It's probably 4 or 5 years old.Would I be happy with a Brooks? Which one should I get. I am 58 years old, riding 18 to 25 a day at about 12.5 MPH. I am 5'11 and weigh in at 240
They sure are to me.....

The only thing that doesn't hurt from my failed century Sunday (Dang knee!), is my butt!
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Old 08-22-07, 07:00 PM   #11
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Are they really worth it? I have been back on my bike for 3 weeks now and I'm going strong. My backside is finally starting to feel OK. I ride on a Trico gel with a cutout area. It's probably 4 or 5 years old.Would I be happy with a Brooks? Which one should I get. I am 58 years old, riding 18 to 25 a day at about 12.5 MPH. I am 5'11 and weigh in at 240
Only you can answer that question.

It seems to be a lover or hate relationship with the Brooks. So far my butt loves it and by taint hates it. I only have 75 miles on it and I'm still working on adjustments and break in. Once I have a couple hundred more miles on it, I'll let you know.
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Old 08-22-07, 08:37 PM   #12
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Only you can answer that question.

It seems to be a lover or hate relationship with the Brooks. So far my butt loves it and by taint hates it. I only have 75 miles on it and I'm still working on adjustments and break in. Once I have a couple hundred more miles on it, I'll let you know.
Try lowering the nose a few degrees. You should be riding on your sit bones and not the middle of your hip. If that does not work, try moving it forward a centimeter or two at a time. I have zero perineal problems with mine set up as it is today. I did have to nose down a bit to get there. Good luck.
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Old 08-22-07, 08:41 PM   #13
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Are they really worth it? I have been back on my bike for 3 weeks now and I'm going strong. My backside is finally starting to feel OK. I ride on a Trico gel with a cutout area. It's probably 4 or 5 years old.Would I be happy with a Brooks? Which one should I get. I am 58 years old, riding 18 to 25 a day at about 12.5 MPH. I am 5'11 and weigh in at 240
Brooks makes a handsome and comfortable line of saddles that a lot of people find "worth it". Me for one. But if I were a new rider and was happy with my saddle, I would not change it out for love or money until I became unhappy with it. IF that day comes, a Brooks or one sort or another is a good bet for a saddle that may be an improvement.
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Old 08-22-07, 10:08 PM   #14
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I have 2 B-17s and a woman's version (I forget the number). Have loved the men's, but I think* I got a saddle sore from the woman's. It may be because I forgot I had never ridden it before and took my longest ride on it (40 miles). Is a saddle sore like a hard little pimple that really, really hurts?
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Old 08-22-07, 11:27 PM   #15
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Are they really worth it? I have been back on my bike for 3 weeks now and I'm going strong. My backside is finally starting to feel OK. I ride on a Trico gel with a cutout area. It's probably 4 or 5 years old.Would I be happy with a Brooks? Which one should I get. I am 58 years old, riding 18 to 25 a day at about 12.5 MPH. I am 5'11 and weigh in at 240

I have three B-17s (one was a gift and one cost $1.50 in a thrift shop), and I love them, but if you're comfortable on the saddle you have, there's no reason to change. Saddle preference seems to be a very individual thing, so nobody can predict what you'll like. One of my riding buddies uses a first-gen Specialized Body Geometry, the cushy kind with the cutout, and he swears by it. I tried it on two rides and found it so uncomfortable that I gave it to him two or three years ago. He's tried my Brooks and says it's too hard and unyielding for him.
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Old 08-23-07, 02:41 AM   #16
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I agree with the others who said that: if you're happy and you know, then your butt will surely show it.
No need to go Brooks unless you have chafing, hotspots, clamminess, or pressure from gel or foam scrunching up where it don't belong.

On oiling them:
It's hard to ruin a Brooks, but over oiling is one way to push the issue. A Brooks should never become soft or grabby. It's working leather, but quite different from a ball glove. For it to be the most comfortable, it should remain slick and very firm. Eventually, it will form to the rider in a perfect custom mold, having no high or low spots to irritate. The leather will let the rider down only so far, then it will stop stretching for a very long time.

On the subject of perineal pressure:
With a B17, the typical initial setup is with the peak slightly tilted up, with only the seat portion level with the ground. This is what Brooks recommends as well. The handle bar tops should be at, or slightly above the peak. This is no racing saddle, but rather, a touring saddle meant for a touring posture. That is, a posture for all day comfort.

If the bars are level with the saddle, and the peak is slightly raised, the pelvis will naturally rotate more upright, rolling the ischials onto the seat portion and the perineum will roll up and back, away from the peak. The lower spine will bend forward, and there will be less pressure on the hands. This may seem counter-intuitive, but that's the designed intent. Most people who lower the peak will find increased hand pressure and more discomfort under the perineum. Unfortunately, the saddle often gets the blame for a poor bike fit.
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Old 08-23-07, 04:07 AM   #17
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Once I have a couple hundred more miles on it, I'll let you know.
I got my B17 back at the first of the year. It was pretty hard at first, but still not uncomfortable. It took about 1000 miles to soften very much. Now it has about 2500 miles on it, and getting better every month. I love mine.
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Old 08-26-07, 09:00 PM   #18
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Love my B17's. Broke in my first one on my mountain bike using glove oil. Have used nothing but proofide on my road bike. Both have about 200 miles on them. The one that I used glove oil on first is more broken in than the proofide treated saddle. Also coated the underside of both saddles(do not "buff" off)using proofide per Brooks reccomendation to treat against road spray.
Found these saddles to be much more comfortable than the stock Bontragers. My first upgrade on my MTB was the saddle, a big cushy sprung Bontrager. A B17 will be the first upgrade when Santa brings me a 29er this Christmas!
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Old 08-27-07, 08:19 PM   #19
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How does Snoseal compare to Proofide?
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Old 08-27-07, 08:31 PM   #20
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Proofide has tallow in it and can get a bit stinky in the right conditions, snoseal doeasn't.
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Old 08-28-07, 05:55 AM   #21
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I have 2 B17's and a Swift.
The first B17 (black) was broken in after 300-500 miles and is very comfortable.
The second B17 (Honey) was comfortable right out of the box. Becuase of these, I have not worn padded shorts for the last 2 years.
I recently bought a Swift becuase my new road bike needed a seat with longer rails, the Swift is the only Brooks to fit this one. I wish I remembered my padded shorts. 15 miles on it and my butt has been sore for a week. Think I'll put on the pads and go for a morning ride right now.
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Old 08-28-07, 07:48 AM   #22
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I have 2 B17's and a Swift.
The first B17 (black) was broken in after 300-500 miles and is very comfortable.
The second B17 (Honey) was comfortable right out of the box. Becuase of these, I have not worn padded shorts for the last 2 years.

Did you break yours in with padded shorts? I've been thinking about riding mine without padded shorts and after reading your comment, I plan to do it. I wonder if the thick padding from my shorts is putting to much pressure on my perineum. I guess I'll try it and find out.
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Old 08-28-07, 11:28 AM   #23
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How does Snoseal compare to Proofide?
SnoSeal is beeswax and contains no oils. Proofide does, plus beeswax. SnoSeal is better at water-resistance than Proofide because you can apply as much as you want without softening the leather. However, if you put too much on the topside, you will have a sticky saddle in warm weather - very bad.

Beeswax cannot soften leather - oils can and do, if over used. The temptation to apply too much oil is almost irresistable, since alot of us think: "If a little is good, then alot must be better." I apply SnoSeal to a saddle that is warm out of the oven. Bottomside only, since that is where most of the road water goes if you don't have fenders. Also, it allows the body to draw the wax up into the leather thru the bottomside just by heat and motion over about two months. Slowly, a honey saddle will take on a very beautiful bronze look.

Proofide is very good stuff, too. I don't knock it. But it is different than just pure SnoSeal. I think Proofide is one of several decent concoctions out there that are generally beneficial as leather dressings - used per instructions.

NOTE: I my conversations with saddlers in the horse business, they have all said "NO SILICONE"

Seems that silicone, while being the only really sure way to water-proof leather, is not desireable as a dressing. It has to do with wicking - something that is mis-named as "breatheability." Leather does NOT breathe. It's dead, processed hide - period. You can take a high pressure air nozzle and mash it up agaisnt a Brooks saddle and it won't blow thru. Leather wicks. Like the chamois you use to super dry your classic car. If you plug the pores with silicone, this characteristic goes away - forever. What you end up with is a leather saddle that acts like a synthetic one - all sweaty and more than willing to give you sores because it creates a grippy surface. The wicking action of leather is main reason that Brooks saddles are so comfortable over long rides. That, and the slickness of the surface, which allows the air to get in there and continually dry the rider.

Silicone is for purses, gloves, boots and other items that either don't get used much, or are throw-aways (like the work boots).

Well, that about does it. Now, the rebuttals...
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Old 08-28-07, 07:54 PM   #24
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i got caught in a downpour about a month ago. i get up the next day,my brooks is like a rock.i didnt have anything to treat it. i called my LBS. He told me - quick,put some extra virgin olive oil on it. QUICK.

So thats what i did and,it saved my saddle,MAYBE. He told me that he did the OLIVE OIL TREATMENT, a few times.
i can attest that it didnt harm my seat.and it softened it back up. WEIRD,BUT EFFECTIVE.
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Old 08-28-07, 08:12 PM   #25
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Did you break yours in with padded shorts? I've been thinking about riding mine without padded shorts and after reading your comment, I plan to do it. I wonder if the thick padding from my shorts is putting to much pressure on my perineum. I guess I'll try it and find out.
The padding in riding shorts isn't for padding your tush...it's for wicking away sweat and keeping you dry. I have no use for thick padded shorts and you'll find that the good shorts don't have thick pads.

Riding shorts are tight to keep the boys in place, rather than flopping all over creation, and to prevent loose fabric from flapping in the wind or catching on your saddle.

As far as breaking in a Brooks, thin shorts with minimal or no padding work best because the best break-in method is miles....and butt sweat!

So scrap them thick padded shorts and get you a decent pair of shorts or bibs. Performance Ultras give you a good bang for your buck. If you want baggies, try the J&G Touring Shorts with some wicking undies to keep the boys in place and flat seams to keep your taint happy.
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