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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 07-22-08, 10:40 AM   #1
Alathea
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Brooks and man bits

So, im looking at Brooks saddles as a future purchase based on glowing recommendations here (and 69.95 costs on Ebay for New, old stock) but Im wondering about dangly bits. There are lots of saddles that provided relief there, with grooves and whatnot, but the B17, for example, does not. Is there something about the construction of the horn or something that makes grooves and whatnot unnecessary, or are they assuming you are wearing a set of shorts (Meaning cycle type shorts/lycra, as opposed to say, board shorts, or something that doesn't already pull them up out of the way.)

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Old 07-22-08, 10:44 AM   #2
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I'mnot sure what it is, but without too much TMI, let's just say that I'm more comfortable on a Brooks than anything else I've owned "in that way". I've had a small old MTB saddle, one of those gigantic padded Bell saddles, a Specialized Rival, a Specialized Sonoma, and a Bontrager. All, eventually, caused those bits to go numb or experience some sort of discomfort. My Brooks, OTOH, caused it once - on my LHT when I first got it. The saddle was pointed up too high for the riding position, and after adjusting it's been fine.

Again, dunno what it is, but that's how I sell my wife on it.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:55 AM   #3
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On a suspended leather saddle, you're putting your weight on your sit bones for support. This (in theory) keeps you from crushing the surrounding soft tissue in the area, so your dangly bits shouldn't suffer any problems.

I say "in theory" because depending on saddle model, bone structure, bike fit and riding position, you may still have issues.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:19 AM   #4
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Brooks saddles were designed 100 years ago back when men were men that rode around in starched canvas pants and wool underwear. They were comfortable then and they're comfortable now. Try breaking it in w/o the bike shorts. You may find they're more comfortable without them.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:23 AM   #5
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Let me put it this way......I have a Brooks saddle I'm trying to find the right bike to put on vs. a bike and looking for a saddle.

Brooks Rules............

Bdinger, you actually rode a Bontrager saddle and lived? I'm in awe.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:24 AM   #6
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It's just not a problem.

Make sure you adjust it by testing it and paying attention to your behind, not by following the rules for modern techno-saddles. For myself, I find that if I ignore the nose and start with the rear half level with the floor, it needs very little adjustment from there.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:35 AM   #7
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69.95....and some 12.00 shipping. Hard to beat. Looks like ill be convincing the wife, soon.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bdinger View Post
I'mnot sure what it is, but without too much TMI, let's just say that I'm more comfortable on a Brooks than anything else I've owned "in that way". I've had a small old MTB saddle, one of those gigantic padded Bell saddles, a Specialized Rival, a Specialized Sonoma, and a Bontrager. All, eventually, caused those bits to go numb or experience some sort of discomfort. My Brooks, OTOH, caused it once - on my LHT when I first got it. The saddle was pointed up too high for the riding position, and after adjusting it's been fine.

Again, dunno what it is, but that's how I sell my wife on it.
+1

With the Brooks saddle your weight is supported by the "sit bones" as God intended it to be. Think of it this way: Your butt was designed to sit on hard rocks and logs and such, since people were sitting on that kind of stuff many thousands of years before cushy sofas and gel bicycle saddles were invented. The cushy stuff on other bike saddles is what pushes up into the soft tissues and causes restricted blood flow, pressure on nerves, etc. With the Brooks, there is no cushy stuff to cause the problem in the first place.

In my experience, even with my Brooks B17, I find that I remain comfortable much longer if I stop for a minute or two every 20 or 30 minutes or so. I usually just stand across the top tube, get a drink, look at the scenery, etc. I found that even though I could ride for an hour at a time, after that time I was feeling a kind of "bruised" feeling which then was hard to get rid of. The brief breaks cured that.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:42 AM   #9
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The B-17 was so comfy for me until I dropped my bars and added aero's. The I just couldn't make it work and had to switch to a tri saddle. The tri saddle isn't nearly as comfy, but the dangly bits don't go number now either. If I where riding in a road/touring position I'd certainly stay with the B-17.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:50 AM   #10
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Bdinger, you actually rode a Bontrager saddle and lived? I'm in awe.
It last all of 100 miles. After the fourth or fifth ride I finally said "Look, I can spend an ungodly amount of money on a new seat, or my man bits will cease to function as they're STILL numb a half hour after the ride. Your choice." Approval was instant. Those Bontrager seats should be outlawed.

OP - I suggest you use the same tactic. It's worked twice for me, and she's as cheap as I am!!
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Old 07-22-08, 11:53 AM   #11
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I don't have a gel seat or anything, just one of these Botrangers.
*cue shower scene from "Psycho"*
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Old 07-22-08, 11:54 AM   #12
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I don't have a gel seat or anything, just one of these Botrangers.
I have one of those, too. In my junk drawer.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:57 AM   #13
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I don't have a gel seat or anything, just one of these Botrangers.
*cue shower scene from "Psycho"*
I had one of those for awile, too. It was *AWESOME* for the first 5 miles. Tolerable for the next 2. Sheer torture for anything afterwards, a man's hips shouldn't hurt like that.

That being said, I know others who ride a ton and swear by 'em. And I know others who ride a ton and hate brooks. YMMV!
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Old 07-22-08, 12:09 PM   #14
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I just ride a ton. [ahem]

CAS
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Old 07-22-08, 02:42 PM   #15
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No worries. I have ridden a couple of different Brooks Saddles over the past couple of years and 7,000+ miles. There is no damage, tingling, squishing, etc. going on. Very comfortable as the pressure is back on your sit bones, not your groin.
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Old 07-22-08, 03:32 PM   #16
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I started biking with a big gel-filled padded creature. My Honore de Balzacs were in agony after a long ride. Since going with the Brooks I've had no problems in that department. Some aches develop over long stretches, but these are in the big muscles and can easily be resolved by standing up a bit while cruising.
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Old 07-22-08, 04:03 PM   #17
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One more vote for the Brooks.
I went to the LBS and sat on their Bontrager fitting seat. (It's a clear plastic "sheet" with some type of whitish colored gel in it. Below the gel is a set of stripes of different colors. After you sit on it you get up and your sit bones have squished the gel away from the color stripped material under the plastic sheet revealing stripes of color. The strip that bisects the widest part of your indentation corresponds with the size seat you need.)

So, using the number from the Bontrager device I bought a Bontrager seat that should fit. At the same time I bought a Brooks B17 because I had heard so much good about them. I put the Brooks on my hybrid and the Bontrager on my road bike. I have done 30 mile rides on both and I prefer the Brooks. The Bontrager didn't kill me but the Brooks just feels better. I still don't have more than 200 miles on it but I haven't experienced and of the discomfort I had heard about before it is "broken in."

I have never experienced any numbness in my scrotal region with either seat. Maybe I'm not doing enough miles to matter. Or, it could be that my legs are a bit short for my size and I sit more upright. I am 6'4" with a 32" inseam so even on the road bike I think I sit a bit more erect. The more upright posture may give the area in question more room. Maybe if I add aero bars I will need to pay more attention to that place down there.
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Old 07-22-08, 05:29 PM   #18
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The B-17 was so comfy for me until I dropped my bars and added aero's. The I just couldn't make it work and had to switch to a tri saddle. The tri saddle isn't nearly as comfy, but the dangly bits don't go number now either. If I where riding in a road/touring position I'd certainly stay with the B-17.
I think that's the key with the B17 - that you ride in a fairly upright position. Both of my bikes have B17's on them, but one is a Surly Long Haul Trucker with the bars about equal to or slightly lower than the saddle, and the other is a Trek 820 mtb with trekking bars slightly higher than the saddle.
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Old 07-23-08, 07:27 AM   #19
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I think that's the key with the B17 - that you ride in a fairly upright position. Both of my bikes have B17's on them, but one is a Surly Long Haul Trucker with the bars about equal to or slightly lower than the saddle, and the other is a Trek 820 mtb with trekking bars slightly higher than the saddle.
+1

I have heard this as well, and experienced it. When I played with my bars being pretty (too) low on the LHT, it wasn't comfortable at all. When they came up, it was fine.

Note that on a MTB natrually you'll sit higher, so your seat can be a bit higher than the bars and still be comfortable. At least, in my experience.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:02 AM   #20
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hey guys, I am pretty much sold on a brooks now as well, but am interested in the "imperial" model (with the cutout). Any idea where I can find one? I cant seem to find them for sale.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:09 AM   #21
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The Imperial's being tested by some BFers so it's not available yet. Check with Brooks for the release date or look for a BFer that's selling theirs.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:16 AM   #22
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Wasn't that in the prototype stage in April, yet?
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Old 07-23-08, 08:19 AM   #23
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ohh, ok. I guess ill go for the b17, then, since I need some relief.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:54 AM   #24
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I think that's the key with the B17 - that you ride in a fairly upright position.
My road bike has the handlebars a couple of inches below the seat, and I find the B17 very comfortable.

I think this may be a matter of "your ass may vary."
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Old 07-23-08, 08:57 AM   #25
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Don't quote me on that, I just remember there being a big todo on the blogosphere about people being able to try the cutout sometime around April.
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