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  1. #1
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    numb-bumb on a B17

    The title says it all. I'm up to riding 20 to 25 miles at a time, using my Surly Long Haul Trucker equipped with a Brooks B17. The saddle is very comfortable up to about the 15-mile point, then I start to get a "bruised" feeling in the bottom. It doesn't feel like a compression issue - not a tingly sort of numbness - but more of a painful sort of sensation that's hard to describe, almost like a bruised sensation. If I stop and get off the bike for 15 minutes or so, I can get back on and finish the ride with no further discomfort. I spend 99% of my time in the saddle, and not much time standing up to pedal. I do try, when coasting, to support my weight (about 260 lbs since the office Christmas party) with my legs, and to sometimes slightly shift my position on the saddle.

    I normally wear shorts with chamois padding, but in the colder weather I have either thermal underwear and jogging pants over them, with maybe a set of wind pants over that if it's really cold.

    I have about 300 miles on the B17 at this point.

    The only other discomfort I've experienced since switching to the B17 has been a little chafing near where I contact the nose of the saddle, but that does not occur if I use a little lubrication - even if just petroleum jelly - as I'm dressing to ride.

    Watcha think? Is this still just breaking-in pains? Should I try different shorts, maybe sans-chamois?

    Looking for help - this issue is starting to be the limiting factor in the distance and time that I ride.
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    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I think the chamois is a must as the first layer. But, my longest rides have been 35 miles and I was off the bike for a break at 12 and 24 miles approximately and that really helped me. I am in the seat for the entire rides when I am doing my normal riding, but I will push myself to stand and pedal some times, just to get my body off of the seat. It makes a difference for me, even if it is only 30 seconds at a time.
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    This type of seat has proven to be pain-free for me, no matter the duration of the ride:
    http://www.bacchettabikes.com/recumb...kes/strada.htm

    Worth a look!

  4. #4
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomo4me View Post
    This type of seat has proven to be pain-free for me, no matter the duration of the ride:
    http://www.bacchettabikes.com/recumb...kes/strada.htm

    Worth a look!
    Hey I'm glad you mentioned that. I have a bacchetta (giro 26) on backorder with the euromesh seat It was great for my little test ride but the strada is too light for the commuting I'm going to be putting it through.

  5. #5
    Banned. CKey_Cal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    The title says it all. I'm up to riding 20 to 25 miles at a time, using my Surly Long Haul Trucker equipped with a Brooks B17. The saddle is very comfortable up to about the 15-mile point, then I start to get a "bruised" feeling in the bottom. It doesn't feel like a compression issue - not a tingly sort of numbness - but more of a painful sort of sensation that's hard to describe, almost like a bruised sensation. If I stop and get off the bike for 15 minutes or so, I can get back on and finish the ride with no further discomfort. I spend 99% of my time in the saddle, and not much time standing up to pedal. I do try, when coasting, to support my weight (about 260 lbs since the office Christmas party) with my legs, and to sometimes slightly shift my position on the saddle.

    I normally wear shorts with chamois padding, but in the colder weather I have either thermal underwear and jogging pants over them, with maybe a set of wind pants over that if it's really cold.

    I have about 300 miles on the B17 at this point.

    The only other discomfort I've experienced since switching to the B17 has been a little chafing near where I contact the nose of the saddle, but that does not occur if I use a little lubrication - even if just petroleum jelly - as I'm dressing to ride.

    Watcha think? Is this still just breaking-in pains? Should I try different shorts, maybe sans-chamois?

    Looking for help - this issue is starting to be the limiting factor in the distance and time that I ride.
    My vote is to keep going. I had a similar issue. I think the bigger you are the longer it takes your ass to break in. If I consistently ride 20 miles/day with discomfort, then take a few days off I find I can get up to 30 with no discomfort. I wouldn't expect that if my saddle was a problem. Pls let us know what you discover.

  6. #6
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    I don't feel sold on the Brooks I have, it's on my beater... haven't yet gotten to like it, and I've also had a VERY bruised feeling at times after riding on the thing.

    My brother-in-law, non-clyde, much more serious rider than myself, had one for about a thousand miles on his road bike that he commutes on, and said he never got to the happy state even after the supposed breaking in that is expected.

    You see nothing but Brooks love in this neighborhood online, but there has to be some reason that you don't see every person on the road using one. Maybe it's just not the right saddle for you?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    For me my B-17 goes from perfect to killer within a couple of MM of adjustment on the angle. I have to use an infinate adjust post and get the nose perfect. Then its BUTTER! If it 1/2 cm up or down I hate it.

    Where is the pain at exactly, soft tissue, sit bones etc.?
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  8. #8
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superslomo View Post
    You see nothing but Brooks love in this neighborhood online, but there has to be some reason that you don't see every person on the road using one.
    There are plenty of Clydes and Athenas who can't stand Brooks saddles. Or, more aptly, can't sit on 'em. For some it's a matter of adjustment. KT had issues with his, but these turned out to be adjustment related, and after tweaking things the issues cleared up. I had problems with my B17 after I broke it in, and I had to lace up the skirts to make it comfortable. Some people feel they slide around too much, others can't get to the comfort level that some of us claim to find with a Brooks.
    Saddles are like opinions: Everybody's got one, and they're sure that theirs is the only right one out there.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    What's the angle on your saddle? It could be that it needs to be tilted back a touch.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    What's the angle on your saddle? It could be that it needs to be tilted back a touch.
    I think I'm going to try tilting it up just a little - it has a slight up-tilt now, but not to the degree that I've seen in photos ov other Brooks-equipped bikes - and I think I'm also going to try moving it back slightly. Right now I sometimes feel like I'm sitting on the steel "horseshoe" at the rear of the saddle.

    I should be able to do another 20 miles today after last night's rain dries on the roads.

    I also ordered a different pair of shorts - we'll see if that helps.

    I really want to get this Brooks set up right for me, and I feel like I'm close. There are times when the thing is the most comfortable seat I own.
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  11. #11
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    I think I'm going to try tilting it up just a little - it has a slight up-tilt now, but not to the degree that I've seen in photos ov other Brooks-equipped bikes - and I think I'm also going to try moving it back slightly. Right now I sometimes feel like I'm sitting on the steel "horseshoe" at the rear of the saddle.

    I should be able to do another 20 miles today after last night's rain dries on the roads.

    I also ordered a different pair of shorts - we'll see if that helps.

    I really want to get this Brooks set up right for me, and I feel like I'm close. There are times when the thing is the most comfortable seat I own.
    tpelle:
    I've seen and admired the pics of your bike. Nice setup. As a clyde myself, I can say that when I first tried a 17 on my Trek 520, I was uncomfortable enough within the first 25 miles that I gave up on Brooks for awhile. The fact was that I just didn't know what I was doing.

    As you can see by my sig, things have evolved. For me, it is all in the setup, and that takes almost as much patience as the break-in. But, it was worth it to me.

    If you experience chafing up front, I would suggest a bit more up tilt to get your ischials to roll back onto the web more. Another issue might be that, being a big guy, your ischial width may be at the extreme limit of the B17's zone. Mine are almost there, just beginning to interfere with the steel frame at the sides. Another centimeter of width would make a perfect B17 for me, or, a B18 I guess.

    With your bars up high like that, you might even consider a B72. Yes, that's right - a B72.

  12. #12
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm View Post
    tpelle:
    I've seen and admired the pics of your bike. Nice setup. As a clyde myself, I can say that when I first tried a 17 on my Trek 520, I was uncomfortable enough within the first 25 miles that I gave up on Brooks for awhile. The fact was that I just didn't know what I was doing.

    As you can see by my sig, things have evolved. For me, it is all in the setup, and that takes almost as much patience as the break-in. But, it was worth it to me.

    If you experience chafing up front, I would suggest a bit more up tilt to get your ischials to roll back onto the web more. Another issue might be that, being a big guy, your ischial width may be at the extreme limit of the B17's zone. Mine are almost there, just beginning to interfere with the steel frame at the sides. Another centimeter of width would make a perfect B17 for me, or, a B18 I guess.

    With your bars up high like that, you might even consider a B72. Yes, that's right - a B72.
    Still getting a little chafing - is this too much tilt, you think? (New pic 12/31/07):

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  13. #13
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    Still getting a little chafing - is this too much tilt, you think? (New pic 12/31/07):

    yes

    Try this. get yourself a level and a 4mm allen wrench. Place the allen wrench across the nose of the saddle. Place the level from the back of the saddle to the front over the allen and then adjust the saddle until the level is level. Use this as a starting point. Ride your bike, not just around the block, try to ride at least one hour. If you feel yourself falling off the saddle forward then raise it just a bit, ride another hour. Too much pressure behind the boys, lower it a bit, ride for an hour. You will get to a point where there will be no discomfort during your hour ride, this is the angle you should leave it at.
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    jcm
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    WheresWaldo has the right idea. I do it kinda like this: Raise the peak til only the web is level with the ground, letting the peak angle rest where it will. I make all other adjustments from that point until everything feels ok.

    One more point:
    This chafing up front thing. Is it at the perineum? If so, move the saddle forward a smidge. Get the contact area away from the perineum. It won't take much. Knee Over Pedal is not a hard and fast rule, just an approximation for the vast majority of riders. So, don't worry about it unless your knees tell you.

    Moving the saddle forward will also help roll the pelvis back onto the web, lifting the perineal area off a bit. Yes, you'll sit up more, but that's the setup you show in the pic anyway. Unless you have very long femurs or very long arms, this should sweeten things up relative to hitting the frame in back.

    Keep us posted.

  15. #15
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm View Post
    WheresWaldo has the right idea. I do it kinda like this: Raise the peak til only the web is level with the ground, letting the peak angle rest where it will. I make all other adjustments from that point until everything feels ok.

    One more point:
    This chafing up front thing. Is it at the perineum? If so, move the saddle forward a smidge. Get the contact area away from the perineum. It won't take much. Knee Over Pedal is not a hard and fast rule, just an approximation for the vast majority of riders. So, don't worry about it unless your knees tell you.

    Moving the saddle forward will also help roll the pelvis back onto the web, lifting the perineal area off a bit. Yes, you'll sit up more, but that's the setup you show in the pic anyway. Unless you have very long femurs or very long arms, this should sweeten things up relative to hitting the frame in back.

    Keep us posted.
    Ahhh.....maybe THAT'S where I've been going wrong. I've been fooling around with varying degrees of tilt, and looking at other Brooks saddles in pics (seem like most have an extreme degree of tilt-up), and not messing with the fore-aft adjustment. As a matter of fact, since it feels like I'm riding more to the rear of the saddle, I've been trying to adjust it more and more to the rear. So, I've been going for more up-tilt and more rear adjustment, when perhaps the trouble all along has been that the saddle is TOO FAR to the rear.

    OK, I've got it much more leveled-out now, and I'll slide it FORWARD on the rails.

    It's snowing to beat the band right now, and colder than a gravedigger's feet. It's supposed to warm up some for next weekend, so maybe I'll get a chance to try it out then.
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  16. #16
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    Still getting a little chafing - is this too much tilt, you think? (New pic 12/31/07):

    That looks very painful!

  17. #17
    jcm
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    tpelle:
    Here is an older road bike I have that has the sweet spot dialed in. Notice the level web, with the peak tilted up. This is an older pic, and the bike now has the bars even higher, using a stem that is somewhat like yours.

    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=6u5gdo0&s=1

  18. #18
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    Still getting a little chafing - is this too much tilt, you think? (New pic 12/31/07):

    So no more numbness, just some chafing? Chafing is usually a friction issue.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Right. No numbness. I've flattened out the angle quite a bit and moved the seat forward about 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch. Won't be able to ride until the weather gives me a little break.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    I don't think that Brooks saddles are for everyone. Especially for rides over 2 hours, I prefer saddles that are wide in the back, have a flexible saddle-frame where each side moves with the motion of my pedal strokes (usually come with a center cut-out, but the movement/flex is more important than the slot), and that have a VERY narrow nose. These days, I also much prefer hard saddles over super-cushy ones. Gel saddles are downright uncomfortable for me too.

    I currently prefer the Specialized saddles that use the width of your seat-bones (I ride the Alias 155, the widest that they make), and the saddles on my older bikes also tend to have the same basic geometry described above (Terry Fly and the non-gel Terry Liborator).

    If the Brooks does not work for you, then I say keep trying new ones until you get one that works. Saddle choice can make all of the difference in the world on your rides.

    Have fun out there!

  21. #21
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinyon View Post
    I don't think that Brooks saddles are for everyone.
    +1.

    No saddle is perfect for everyone. Although, based on the nad-mashing angle of the saddle in those pix I'll have to say that maybe levelling things out will help before having to move on to a different brand of saddle.
    It took me 3 rides of 20 miles or more to really nail down the saddle angle on my B17. Started out dead level, tipped it back too far, tipped it forward too far, finally got it just right and then bought a new bike to put it on. (My fitting almost nailed the saddle angle, but I still have a mm or two of tweaking to do.)
    Last edited by CliftonGK1; 01-02-08 at 01:34 PM. Reason: editing error
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention, that for people with wide hip-bones, not fleshy stuff - just bones (I have lots of flesh too, but that is another discussion), a saddle with a wide and hard back-platform also allows me to better move around to different positions on the saddle. I can move a little forward and down on the saddle to... lock my butt onto the seat for seated and heavy gear mashing (allows me to push more than my body weight on the down-stroke while remaining firmly seated), move forward and high-on-the saddle for super-fast cadence or seated sprints, to the middle for longer-distance and mid-upper cadence spinning, or move back and high on the saddle to stretch-out and relieve muscles that have been cramped into one of those other positions for too long. I tend to not move around as much on cushy, wide, and form-fitting saddles, and staying in one position for too long hurts.

    Have fun out there!

  23. #23
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    It took me about 1500 miles to break mine in and I wouldn't do it again for anything. I really like it now that it's broke in though. After it's been broken in, I have mine about 1cm nose up.
    George

  24. #24
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    There are plenty of Clydes and Athenas who can't stand Brooks saddles. Or, more aptly, can't sit on 'em. For some it's a matter of adjustment. KT had issues with his, but these turned out to be adjustment related, and after tweaking things the issues cleared up.
    Yep...I had some pretty bad numbness going on. Even short rides (<5 miles) would make some numbness occur.

    I had a pro fit adjustment and problems went away.

    I think 300 miles is enough to have it broken in enough to not rub you raw....you need either an adjustment on the seat still or a bike fit adjustment (like it took for me).
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Ranger63's Avatar
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    It's A Brooks

    There is probably a very good and honest reason saddle manufacturers came up with alternatives to the Brooks Leather saddles.
    I'm suspecting break in pain was one of the motivating forces.
    I rode Brooks saddles from the late 60s thru the mid 80s touring ,racing,and everyday riding.
    I have no idea exactly 'when' the pain stopped and the enjoyment of riding a brooks began in terms of time or miles.
    As I mentioned in another thread,I'm simply too old to want to break in another Brooks.
    There's an entire segment on the brooks website (as well as Sheldon Browns and several others) devoted to conditioning the saddle and tension adjustment etc.etc. You might wish to read thru.
    If you want to ride far and you want to do it now and you want to do it pain free (or at least with less pain in the sit bone region) I'd suggest checking out other saddles.

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