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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 08-08-11, 08:55 AM   #1
roadnoob412
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Brooks B17 - Any Clyde Reviews?

Hey guys/gals,

I'm looking to squeeze every inch of comfort out of my existing Cannondale R5 road bike on long training rides and the local MS150 charity ride. I'm thinking about replacing my Specialized Body Geometry seat with a Brooks B17 because of all the rave reviews I've heard about them. I've yet to talk to a Brooks saddle rider who HATES their seat!

Having said that, I'm wondering if there are any folks out there that have gone this route already and would be willing to share their experiences with road riding and their Brooks saddle. I'm about 255 and looking at a Brooks B17 Special saddle.

Any thoughts/comments would be great!

Thanks,
Tim
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Old 08-08-11, 09:05 AM   #2
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Adding a link to the saddle I'm looking at...

http://www.brookssaddles.com/en/Shop_ProductPage.aspx?cat=saddles+-+touring+%26+trekking∏=B17+Special
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Old 08-08-11, 09:20 AM   #3
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Were you to use the search function, you would find a gazillion threads, including many in the Clydesdale forum, on Brooks saddles. I'll help you out and point you at the most recent...look here.
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Old 08-08-11, 09:31 AM   #4
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I'm a Clyde, though not excessively so- about 220, 6'-2". Let's just say that riding Brooks saddles eliminates my need for cycling-specific pants. I typically ride in twill shorts comfortably with Brooks saddles (including a B17 on my drop bar hybrid).
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-08-11, 09:42 AM   #5
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Thanks Doohickie!
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Old 08-08-11, 10:27 AM   #6
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Fat guy in training.....

The saddles I've tried in two months time would include a Specialized my sit-bones were measured for, a B17'S', and a B17 Imperial. One thing you NEED to know before you buy your Brooks, it's gonna take time to get it adjusted juuuuust right; that's the nature of a Brooks.

Mine is so dialed in now, that I no longer bother slabbing on a bunch of butt-grease before I ride. Yeah, it works, and I like it THAT much!
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Old 08-08-11, 01:13 PM   #7
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Thanks Rider - Yeah I've heard that the breakin period can be a bear, but once it's done these saddles are second to none. I'm going to start saving for the B17 Special! BTW - does the saddle come with any sort of breakin 'kit' or any sort of conditioner for the leather? Purely curious at this point... Thanks again!
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Old 08-08-11, 01:49 PM   #8
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I'm 5'7" and 230 lbs. I have the B17 standard and it only took about 50 miles for it to break in for me. I think the break in period varies on your weight and how the leather is when you first get the saddle. My B17 was rock hard when I first got it, while others say the leather on theirs was a bit soft. The first few rides for me were a bit painful. I didn't understand how people could consider it comfortable at all. I applied proofide before my first ride and also after the first 20 miles. After a few rides it has softened up a great deal and actually flexes under my sit bones now. Adjusting the nose tilt was a crucial part to being comfortable for me. I adjusted mine with the nose slightly up, which forces my weight to the widest part of the saddle. It feels better than my previous gel saddle.
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Old 08-08-11, 01:58 PM   #9
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When you buy your first Brooks, buy a small can of proofhide, and follow the instructions on initial treatment of your saddle.
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Old 08-08-11, 03:12 PM   #10
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Why not try just the b-17?
Either that or use wallbike.com for their return policy.

I'm 6'4 and 265 and have ridden brooks for so long, I can't remember not using one.

In fact I tried a rolls in ti, nope my butt said back to the b-17.
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Old 08-08-11, 03:19 PM   #11
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If your handlebars are below the saddle, the B17 prob is not for you.

It's intended to be used with the bars close to the height of the saddle.

Btw, I have that saddle in green, and the Imperial.
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Old 08-09-11, 06:57 AM   #12
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I love my brooks. I wish I would have spent the extra and got the model with springs though.
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Old 08-09-11, 07:15 AM   #13
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I love my brooks b-17 and I am a real big guy. Break in period wasent bad for me at all and my seat is about my handbars.

Your butt will thank you!
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Old 08-09-11, 07:20 AM   #14
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I'm 220 or there-a-bouts and the B17 was noticeably more comfortable right out of the box
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Old 08-09-11, 11:02 AM   #15
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Nope - my saddle isn't higher than my handlebars - no Lance wannabe racer here...

Why not try the plain 'ol B17? I dunno - I figured the special was essentially the same thing with a little pizzazz to it, that's all. No real rhyme or reason. Being that's it's got so many good reviews, I'm willing to take the chance and spend a little extra $$$ for what I'd really want, given it's probably going to be a good change for me, that's all.

I can't wait to buy!
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Old 08-09-11, 11:57 AM   #16
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I have had a B17 for the past 6 mos. and love it! In my riding (up to a century) I don't think about the saddle or my tush.
Something to consider, the saddle rails on the Brooks don't allow for as much setback so I had to go with a seatpost with 45 mm setback to get my proper position. It was expensive but worth it.
Mel
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Old 08-09-11, 12:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Were you to use the search function, you would find a gazillion threads, including many in the Clydesdale forum, on Brooks saddles. I'll help you out and point you at the most recent...look here.
+1

that said, my B17 Imperial was better than my stock seat right away...after a 10mi ride on the first day I got I decided to keep it on for the 40mi group ride I was going to ride two days later...my butt was about as sore after 40 mi with the Brooks as it was after 10 on the old saddle. 'can't imagine how it will feel once broken in.
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Old 08-09-11, 12:18 PM   #18
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I have one B-19 that has been with me since 1988. that includes a 15+ yr layoff with no riding due to back issues.

I sold all of my cycling gear and bikeswhen my back issues started, except that saddle. Glad I kept it.
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Old 08-09-11, 12:25 PM   #19
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Brooks Champion Flyer here, which is the B-17 with springs.

First time sitting on it, it was remarkable how much more comfortable it was. My butt did hurt by the end of the 20 mile ride however. Second time I went 30 miles without stopping to get off, a new record. Third time I went 35 miles without stopping. Bunch of rides since then.

It seems to get more comfortable every time I ride it. By far this is the best cycling purchase I've ever made... well except for the bike
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Old 08-09-11, 01:38 PM   #20
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I'm wondering if a previously used Brooks saddle (2 months) that's potentially broken in for someone else is still a viable option for someone else? SO in other words, would a used Brooks saddle work for a new user or do they each develop a 'memory' of sorts from their initial owners?
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Old 08-09-11, 01:41 PM   #21
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And THANK YOU to the folks who've pointed out that I should have searched the forum for Brooks posts beforehand. I get it - I'll search first next time. Thanks.
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Old 08-09-11, 02:24 PM   #22
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I'm still a new guy, only been cycling for 2 1/2 months.... but here's what I've concluded about a very small cross section of the Brooks models offered (oddly, while riding my bike this afternoon):

B17S - if you're a woman who wears a dress/skirt/whatever and wants to decrease the liklihood of sitting on the back of it while riding.

Yer basic B-17 - A traditional time proved design with no frills, racers/racer wannabe's will chafe on these as they are wider and flair out at the thighs.

B17 Imperial - Has yer central cutout if you've discovered that yer junk goes numb w/o the relief. It also came with different colored strands with which to pull the sides of the saddle together in an attempt to narrow the saddle.

B17 with springs - Can mess up yer cadence if you pedal over 75rpm. To be avoided if the rider ever rides on the drop-downs. Better suited for upright seated positions with handlebars as high or higher than your saddle.

New Brooks constructed with the "Aged" leather - It sounds like, and has been suggested to me by a dealer, that these tend to be made of a thicker, more substantial leather. Longer break-in time. Kinda wish I got one for my forest-green touring roadie.

About buying a used one..... I did, twice. The B17S I bought had 300 miles on it, but the lady could NOT get used to it.... she was very anxious to sell it. It was in every bit as new a condition as when she bought it. My current 'Imperial' had 500 miles on it when I bought it. The gentleman's sit bones were weird, one higher than the other; he was an experienced cyclist who has been uncomfortable for years, now going to a recumbant. My first couple rides on his Brooks seemed to reveal how the saddle was broken-in more under one of my sit-bones than the other. After repeated applications of Proofhide and logging on the miles, the seat began to conform to MY sit-bones, and it no longer felt like it was mal-adjusted beneath me.

Some people insist that Proofhide's better function is to return the leather to it's original healthy appearance, as well as a preventitive measure against water/rain/salty butt sweat. Others insist that if you go to yer local "football"/soccer supply store, that they sell stuff designed to help heavy-duty leather soccer shoes conform to the foot. Apply this to both the underside and top of your Brooks, and it'll "break-in" and better conform to your sit-bones. Still others wrap the top of their Brooks in aluminum foil with a serious lip to prevent spill-over; they then pour in Neets foot oil or some other choice of leather conditioner over the underside of the seat and let it sit & soak. Your rides thereafter better be in black shorts though.....

Last edited by RandoneeRider; 08-09-11 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 08-09-11, 10:12 PM   #23
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I'm 255 today, roll a Champ Special on my touring bike, and after 10years finally destroyed a Team Pro,and have just gotten the B17 Special (just like the one you linked to) broken in good. This took around 500 miles for me, but I was carefull NOT to use TOO much Proofhide. Too much will speed up your break in period, but reduce the usefull life of the saddle. My break in method is to wet my shorts and ride them dry while on the saddle. I run my bars 1 1/2 inch below my saddle and run comfortable on aerobars as well, with the B17. I also lace the skirts of my Brooks saddles as well, this keeps them from sagging as bad, and keeps the chaffing down. I will confess that I bought a Swift and try with all my might, I could never get comfortable on that saddle after suffering for months!
One hint I will provide for the Brooks is that very small adjustments in tilt can make a great difference! I find I do have to make adjustments to a new saddle as it becomes more broken in as well.
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Old 08-10-11, 05:27 AM   #24
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B17 with springs - Can mess up yer cadence if you pedal over 75rpm. To be avoided if the rider ever rides on the drop-downs. Better suited for upright seated positions with handlebars as high or higher than your saddle.
Having used one of these for almost a month now, I would peg that number closer to 90. I can maintain 85 with no issues, but sometimes at 90 I start bouncing if the gear is too low. If the gear is high enough I can get up to 105 before things start feeling "out of control".
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Old 08-10-11, 06:17 AM   #25
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And THANK YOU to the folks who've pointed out that I should have searched the forum for Brooks posts beforehand. I get it - I'll search first next time. Thanks.
It's normally not a big deal, but when it comes to Brooks saddles, this same discussion takes place about every other week.
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