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View Poll Results: Modify or Replace The Historian's Brooks B-66

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  • Modify it! It's partly broken in.

    12 34.29%
  • Get a Brooks Imperial! It's laced and has the slot already!

    6 17.14%
  • Do both! One can never have enough Brooks saddles!

    9 25.71%
  • Get a recumbent!

    5 14.29%
  • Fat, middle-aged chess historians with chafing shouldn't ride bicycles.

    3 8.57%
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  1. #1
    Neil_B
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    My Brooks: The Verdict - cast your vote!

    To modify or replace my Brooks B-66? That is the question.

    Modification pros:

    - cheaper than buying a new Brooks Imperial.
    - saddle is already partly broken in.

    Modification cons:

    - While I could have the anatomic slot put in, the lacing I'd have to do myself.
    - the saddle might be the wrong size for me anyway.

    New saddle pros:

    - Brooks Imperial already laced and 'slotted.'

    New saddle cons:

    - it's 145 bucks and not broken in.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Why is this even a question? You've already got the saddle and you know it doesn't work. There doesn't seem to be much downside to trying to modify it yourself. Guess you might destroy any value it would have on the used market. I guess the key question is: how much does a used, partially broken-in Brooks fetch on the used market?

    Anyway, I'd say: go for it. If it doesn't work, you can always buy a new Imperial at some point in the future. Of course, riding the modified saddle might convince you that the slot isn't going to help and that you'll need to try something else entirely...

  3. #3
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    You already know my advice, my friend.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  4. #4
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    My advice is try and cut the slot yourself and it doesn't work out then go to a specialized dealer and have a seat on the @ss-o-meter and purchase a properly sized saddle for less than half of what a new Imperial will cost.

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I was reading a bit about the tour and saw mention of the chafing issue, but didn't catch precisely where it was an issue. That's going to be a big determinant of whether or not modification will do you any good.
    I ride a B-17 Imperial, was one of the testers, and have over 5000 miles on the saddle now. The cutout provides pressure relief against the transverse vein and nerve across the perineum, but won't help with any chafing issues if that's where the problem exists. The only things that will help there are the right shorts; some companies' chamois just bunches up wrong and can rub you raw after too many miles. Chamois creme; even when they fit right, a long sweaty day in the saddle can still cause fabric 'sticking' issues. And finally the saddle; wrong angle, wrong width... both can cause unnecessary perineal pressure.
    If the chafing issues were more of a groin/inner thigh problem, then lacing the saddle could help. The skirts do tend to flare a bit more under the weight of a Clydesdale. I had this issue with my original B-17 and laced it up around 2000 miles which restored it to a "like new" feeling, with the exception of being broken in at the sit bone contact points. The Imperial was laced from the start, and aside from having to replace the stock lace after it broke, the saddle has been fine.

    I'm split on the modification vote:
    For - lacing the sides to alleviate groin/thigh chafing problems
    Against - "Imperial" modification of an upright springer like the B-66
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  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    I was reading a bit about the tour and saw mention of the chafing issue, but didn't catch precisely where it was an issue. That's going to be a big determinant of whether or not modification will do you any good.
    I ride a B-17 Imperial, was one of the testers, and have over 5000 miles on the saddle now. The cutout provides pressure relief against the transverse vein and nerve across the perineum, but won't help with any chafing issues if that's where the problem exists. The only things that will help there are the right shorts; some companies' chamois just bunches up wrong and can rub you raw after too many miles. Chamois creme; even when they fit right, a long sweaty day in the saddle can still cause fabric 'sticking' issues. And finally the saddle; wrong angle, wrong width... both can cause unnecessary perineal pressure.
    If the chafing issues were more of a groin/inner thigh problem, then lacing the saddle could help. The skirts do tend to flare a bit more under the weight of a Clydesdale. I had this issue with my original B-17 and laced it up around 2000 miles which restored it to a "like new" feeling, with the exception of being broken in at the sit bone contact points. The Imperial was laced from the start, and aside from having to replace the stock lace after it broke, the saddle has been fine.

    I'm split on the modification vote:
    For - lacing the sides to alleviate groin/thigh chafing problems
    Against - "Imperial" modification of an upright springer like the B-66
    Chaffing is in the rear inner thigh - where the leg joins the, ah, you know. Also the pubic bone area, at the base of the scrotum. Incidentally, numbness was never a problem when on tour.

    OK, I've decided to lace at least.

  7. #7
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    That sounds like the saddle is simply a bit too wide, Neil. I'm thinking you really need the B17 or -17 Imperial, honestly. That B 66 might work really well on your Navigator, though with it's more upright stance.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  8. #8
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    I agree with Tom. The B-17 is a completely different shape and doesn't tend to rub due to flaring.

    On a brighter note, just about any Brooks in good condition sells on the 'Bay if it would work on the Navigator.

  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by txvintage View Post
    I agree with Tom. The B-17 is a completely different shape and doesn't tend to rub due to flaring.

    On a brighter note, just about any Brooks in good condition sells on the 'Bay if it would work on the Navigator.
    OK, after reading this thread, a previous one, and various comments on Bike Forums and elsewhere, I've reached a decision.

    I'm ordering a Brooks Imperial saddle from Wallingford. They have an unconditional 6 month offer - if I don't like the saddle they'll exchange it or issue a refund. The chafing on the B-66 is a combination of the saddle being too wide for me and the sides flaring out. The sides chafe me on the thighs, and the sinking in the middle of the saddle combined with the pebbled finish is what's irritated the pubic bone/base of the scrotum. (The three little vent holes probably didn't help matters.) The key to determining the cause of the pubic problem is the fact my chafing was a lot less once I rode with the saddle cover on.

    What I'm going to do with the B-66 I don't know. I've had at least one offer for it. I may keep it and try to lace it, which might reduce the pubic bone chafing by keeping the center of the saddle taught, preventing the 'hammock effect.' Also, I found an article on a Rivendel fan group about making your own anatomic slots on a Brooks.

    Please keep the comments coming, folks.

  10. #10
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    I bought a Ladies B-17 for my wife and she ended up liking her old Advocet saddle better. I put the B-17 up on ebay and ended up getting a few dollars more than I'd paid for it.

    I'd say put the B-66 up on eBay rather than messing with modifying it - especially if you end up liking the Imperial...

  11. #11
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    will all of the Brooks have the "hammock" effect if not laced for Clydes? I am seriously thinking of buying a Brooks Swallow or Team Pro, but I am 6' and 300lbs. I really don't want to modify a saddle I paid over a hundred bucks for, and I'm really not into how the lacing looks when people do it. I really dig the idea, tradition, and looks of Brooks saddles, just curious how well they stand up to clydes. I have also looked at the Brooks Imperial, but think that with a measurement of 154, the Swallow with 153mm width shouldn't be a problem. It's going on my Fisher Presidio.

  12. #12
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    The Swallow or Team Pro has narrower skirts. They're a more minimalist saddle.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

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    is the skirt the flaps on the side of the saddle? Not sure why they are there in the first place or what function they perform. Are you saying with me being bigger a minimalist saddle wouldn't be appropriate?

  14. #14
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerocool33 View Post
    is the skirt the flaps on the side of the saddle? Not sure why they are there in the first place or what function they perform. Are you saying with me being bigger a minimalist saddle wouldn't be appropriate?
    The skirts are the flaps, yeay, and no, I'm not saying that. The flaps serve different purposes based on your riding position, etc. Mre upright or tucked down and aero.....

    The more minimalist saddles are suited for different backside architectures and riding positions, mainly. If you do buy one of these saddles, do it from Wallingford ( http://www.wallbike.com/ ). since they have that 6 month no questions asked return policy.

    And no, I'm not saying that they aen't suitable for you. They mght be the best thing since buttered white toast with strawberry jam. I just like the idea that Wallingford uses n that if it doesn't work, you can trade to another model to try to get the right butt fit.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  15. #15
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    10-4. I wasn't being defensive, just newbly curious is all. Although I have heard of Brooks in the past, it's not till a day or two ago that I started doing some serious research. I actually have a B15 Swallow saddle that's like 30+ years old. It still has the long flaps, unlike the newer B15s that have no flaps (which I definitely like). What purpose do the flaps serve? I would think that could rub on the inner thighs on a clyde more. I will certainly check out wallingford though. Being able to try different seats is a plus.

  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    OK, after reading this thread, a previous one, and various comments on Bike Forums and elsewhere, I've reached a decision.

    I'm ordering a Brooks Imperial saddle from Wallingford. They have an unconditional 6 month offer - if I don't like the saddle they'll exchange it or issue a refund. The chafing on the B-66 is a combination of the saddle being too wide for me and the sides flaring out. The sides chafe me on the thighs, and the sinking in the middle of the saddle combined with the pebbled finish is what's irritated the pubic bone/base of the scrotum. (The three little vent holes probably didn't help matters.) The key to determining the cause of the pubic problem is the fact my chafing was a lot less once I rode with the saddle cover on.

    What I'm going to do with the B-66 I don't know. I've had at least one offer for it. I may keep it and try to lace it, which might reduce the pubic bone chafing by keeping the center of the saddle taught, preventing the 'hammock effect.' Also, I found an article on a Rivendel fan group about making your own anatomic slots on a Brooks.

    Please keep the comments coming, folks.
    Darn. The Imperial is out of stock.

    In that case, I'm ordering a B-17 from Wallingford. On my B-66, numbness was never an issue, and since I suspect the pubic bone chafing was from the pebbled finish, I think I should be OK with a B-17.

  17. #17
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerocool33 View Post
    10-4. I wasn't being defensive, just newbly curious is all. Although I have heard of Brooks in the past, it's not till a day or two ago that I started doing some serious research. I actually have a B15 Swallow saddle that's like 30+ years old. It still has the long flaps, unlike the newer B15s that have no flaps (which I definitely like). What purpose do the flaps serve? I would think that could rub on the inner thighs on a clyde more. I will certainly check out wallingford though. Being able to try different seats is a plus.
    The longer flaps are an older design is all. They've found out they didn't need quite as much material as the early assumptions were. Remember, the original Brooks Saddlers started out making cavalry saddles for horses, and a lot of the assumptions in the early designs come from making horse saddles.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    OK. A black B-17 is on the way to me from Wallingford. I look forward to breaking in again another Brooks saddle. Is there an emoticon of a Clyde rubbing his sore butt?

  19. #19
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  20. #20
    Neil_B
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    My Brooks B-17 will be here Monday! Hurray!

    Now to remain calm and not assume that this saddle will be the one that allows me to ride forever. All I've wanted to do is get on a bike and ride without hurting myself.

  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    My Brooks B-17 will be here Monday! Hurray!

    Now to remain calm and not assume that this saddle will be the one that allows me to ride forever. All I've wanted to do is get on a bike and ride without hurting myself.
    Well, I did hurt myself - my back. I didn't ride the new saddle until today. We rode my usual 6-7 mile route across and along French Creek, crossing back over the Sheeder-Hall Bridge after the obligatory photos:





    The saddle is a decided improvement over the B-66. I didn't miss the springs, the pebbled finish, or the width of the back 'platform. The only concern was pressure at the pubic bone. That was where I felt the chafing on the wider saddle the most keenly. I'll probably need to tinker with the saddle tilt and placement. Only time and riding will tell if this is the saddle for me, or if I need to get the Imperial with the slot.





    Thanks to everyone, and especially Cliftongk1, for advice.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerocool33 View Post
    will all of the Brooks have the "hammock" effect if not laced for Clydes? I am seriously thinking of buying a Brooks Swallow or Team Pro, but I am 6' and 300lbs. I really don't want to modify a saddle I paid over a hundred bucks for, and I'm really not into how the lacing looks when people do it. I really dig the idea, tradition, and looks of Brooks saddles, just curious how well they stand up to clydes. I have also looked at the Brooks Imperial, but think that with a measurement of 154, the Swallow with 153mm width shouldn't be a problem. It's going on my Fisher Presidio.
    I can't say too much about width, I think for a Brooks it's driven more by your upper body position than anything else.

    But sagging! I weigh around 175 to 185, and tend to keep my weight on the saddle. I have a Brooks Pro that has few problems with sagging, and a B-17N Imperial that has had zero sag in about 400 or so miles. I also have a Velo-Orange Swallow clone, and it has sagged enough to require the screw turned up 1/2 inch, in about 200 miles of use! I thought it was the leather, but I checked with another rider who uses Brooks Swallows, and he has had the same issue.

    I think the Swallow is going to sag -- not that it won't be comfortable! I'm posting hoping another racy Clyde who uses one will pitch in and share experiences.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Also, I found an article on a Rivendel fan group about making your own anatomic slots on a Brooks.

    Please keep the comments coming, folks.
    Neil

    Do you have link?

    Thanks

    Doug

  24. #24
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcullen View Post
    Neil

    Do you have link?

    Thanks

    Doug
    Doug,

    Here's a link to a thread that contains a link to the thread on the Riv group:

    Do it yourself anatomic slot!
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  25. #25
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    Before you cut a slot, try playing with positioning the saddle. I would try angling the nose down a little bit, while at-the-same-time dropping the height of the seat post. I know from reading your previous posts, that the saddle height is good for you, so you want to measure and/or come as close as you can to keeping the rear of the saddle at the same height.

    When you drop the nose, the back of the saddle will rise. You will want to lower the seat post just enough, so that the back of the saddle is at the old height. Small adjustments can make a world of difference with stuff like this, so I would move it just 1-3 degrees at-a-time, take it on a test ride, and repeat until you know what works best.

    I had a similar issue, and that is how I adjusted my saddle. It took numerous adjustments to find the position that worked for me. The right combination can relieve that pressure, and still not kill your hands. It is possible.

    Hope you get it worked out. Let us know.



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