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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 04-27-12, 04:36 PM   #1
rearviewbeer
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Brooks Seats

So I ordered the B17 Imperial last week. I had been wanting a leather seat, and was starting to get numbing issues after about 30 miles. Has anyone had experience with these? And has it helped?

Thanks
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Old 04-27-12, 04:45 PM   #2
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Some people swear by leather saddles and others swear at them. They take time to break in so it's not suprising your butt hurt at 30 miles. I broke in a B17 once and it took time.
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Old 04-27-12, 05:31 PM   #3
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What was numb? Don't be too specific mind you but maybe you have the saddle tilted in the wrong direction somehow. What kind of bike did you put it on?

From what I've heard, those Brooks saddles are comfortable immediately and become sublime when they're broken in. They shouldn't be causing numbness or pain right off the bat.
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Old 04-27-12, 06:08 PM   #4
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My B17 was comfy out of the box. I suspect that you may have and adjustment issue.
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Old 04-27-12, 06:14 PM   #5
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My B-17 was good out of the box, and GREAT after 200 miles of breaking in.
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Old 04-27-12, 06:21 PM   #6
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I read the OP differently than the responses, I think. It seems to me like the OP was experiencing numbness issues so they ordered the Brooks in hopes of alleviating it.
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Old 04-27-12, 06:51 PM   #7
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I read the OP differently than the responses, I think. It seems to me like the OP was experiencing numbness issues so they ordered the Brooks in hopes of alleviating it.
+1 that is my interpretation of his post as well.

I haven't used an imperial but my impression is that the cutout is intended to alleviate pressure on those sensitive areas as well as allow the saddle to move more.
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Old 04-27-12, 06:57 PM   #8
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Correct kj - I have not received the saddle yet. Was supposed to come this week, but the company I ordered it form shipped it the wrong way. I am going to try to tilt the current saddle a bit more forward until the Brooks arrives. I had a pretty aggressive drop on the bike, 5+ inches, that I have lowered a little - about 4" now. Hopefully the combination of those will help.
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Old 04-27-12, 07:17 PM   #9
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With that kind of drop you may well find the standard B17 Imperial too wide?

They do make a narrow version as well.
http://www.brooksengland.com/catalog...rrow+Imperial/
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Old 04-27-12, 07:21 PM   #10
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I have 3 B17's and two things about them are 1.) The frame rails are short so getting a seatpost with the proper setback for you is more critical. 2.) The seatpost needs to be continously adjustable for tilt. Like a two bolt design. Just a 1/4" adjustment on the nose can make a big difference.
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Old 04-27-12, 07:37 PM   #11
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Most people who have serious issues with brooks are adjustment related.. You need to use a level when adjusting the saddle - eyeballing it does not cut it.

Most brooks b17 user prefer a saddle with a fraction of upward tilt. I did not have any issues with the B17 in terms of breaking in - the saddle just got better over time.

You will read a million ways to soften the saddle - a better term should be RUIN YOUR SADDLE. You do not soften brooks saddles. Use proofide or Obernaufs on the saddle. One coat top and bottom - wipe top clean..

The saddle will feel slippery - slippery is hard to get used too at first - just remember slippery equates to little friction.. No friction is GOOD.

Just adjust - ride and enjoy.

You will need a seatpost with at least 20mm of setback - fsa makes a good one - the best is velo orange seatpost but only comes in 27.2

http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...g-setback.html
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Old 04-27-12, 08:11 PM   #12
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I have an Imperial.

It needs little break in because the slot lets the saddle flex.

It needs no softening for the same reason.

A pic of you on the bike from the side with the facing leg as far down as the pedal allows
might help.

But I think what you need is to slide the saddle forward.

Sometimes a tiny bit of nose up helps.

It's a nice saddle, spend some time fiddling with the position.

If that doesn't work, consider the new Selle anatomica saddle.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rearviewbeer View Post
Correct kj - I have not received the saddle yet. Was supposed to come this week, but the company I ordered it form shipped it the wrong way. I am going to try to tilt the current saddle a bit more forward until the Brooks arrives. I had a pretty aggressive drop on the bike, 5+ inches, that I have lowered a little - about 4" now. Hopefully the combination of those will help.
The B17 seems designed for a very upright riding position. I put a couple of hundred miles on one before returning it. The bike I was riding had a 3-4" drop between the saddle and handlebars. When sitting bolt upright, the B17 was almost, but not quite, comfortable. Lean forward much and it became downright painful. I'd rate it as the second-worst saddle I've ever tried. Brooks makes other leather saddles that are more appropriate for bikes with a lot of saddle to bar drop.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post

The B17 seems designed for a very upright riding position. I put a couple of hundred miles on one before returning it. The bike I was riding had a 3-4" drop between the saddle and handlebars. When sitting bolt upright, the B17 was almost, but not quite, comfortable. Lean forward much and it became downright painful. I'd rate it as the second-worst saddle I've ever tried. Brooks makes other leather saddles that are more appropriate for bikes with a lot of saddle to bar drop.
I missed his second post.

A B17 is meant for a bike where the bars are close to the level of the saddle.

I'd be surprised if he likes it.

I wonder if he should send the package back unopened.
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Old 04-27-12, 09:04 PM   #15
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Yep, send back the package unopened, say sorry, and order a Team Pro which is designed for bars lower than the seat.
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Old 04-27-12, 09:04 PM   #16
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I had the same issues w/ the B17 on a roadie w/ saddle to bar drop. IME, it's better for more upright seating position. For more aggressive drop, I'm using the Brooks Swift. Not as comfortable as the B17, but more comfortable than all the other Specialized BG and San Marco saddles I used before.
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Old 04-28-12, 01:43 AM   #17
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I use the Team Pro's on my road bikes and b17 on my MTB and Cross Bike.
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Old 04-28-12, 12:15 PM   #18
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I run a Brooks B33 on my cruiser and it keeps getting better and better the more I ride on it!!!!!!

Leather saddle can/will absorb moisture to stretch this way and that until it's so "your butt" that you won't ride on anything else.
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Old 04-28-12, 02:19 PM   #19
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You guys got me thinking I should reconsider, but I think I am going to try it out. I have a decent drop, but I think that the seat should work for my build, and my bike setup. My current seat has felt a little narrow for may sit bones and the Brooks is about 1" wider. Will find out this week.

I really like the seat post suggestion, and I think I will get one of those and a matching stem.

Hopefully I can have an update next weekend.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:04 PM   #20
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I had issues too and my LBS said it was because the Brooks (esp Imperial) is too flexy instead of giving you the firm pedaling platform of a modern saddle. I thought it was hogwash at first but agreed to try a Specialized Romin Expert. Pain vanished, power improved, and I sold the Brooks the following week. Haven't missed it.
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Old 04-28-12, 09:34 PM   #21
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"...I had a pretty aggressive drop on the bike, 5+ inches..."

Pretty good bet you've ordered the wrong saddle. Although I like B17 standard and N for the right bike, that profile doesn't work in a rotated position. I think you are setting yourself up for more misery.
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Old 04-29-12, 02:07 AM   #22
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I had issues too and my LBS said it was because the Brooks (esp Imperial) is too flexy instead of giving you the firm pedaling platform of a modern saddle. I thought it was hogwash at first but agreed to try a Specialized Romin Expert. Pain vanished, power improved, and I sold the Brooks the following week. Haven't missed it.
And I still think it's hogwash.
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Old 04-29-12, 09:54 AM   #23
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Love my Brooks. I've got two and both were comfy out of the box with no break-in required. I have a theory that heavier people do not require break ins as much as lighter people, as most people I know who didn't need any breaking in tend to be uberclydes such as myself.
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Old 04-29-12, 10:22 AM   #24
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Love my Brooks. I've got two and both were comfy out of the box with no break-in required. I have a theory that heavier people do not require break ins as much as lighter people, as most people I know who didn't need any breaking in tend to be uberclydes such as myself.
+1 I think you are on to something there, and I have a good set of riding shorts. The only thing is that there are some seats out there that I get on that are not instantly comfortable, so the Brooks have something going for them.
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Old 05-04-12, 10:33 AM   #25
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So I got the saddle in the mail Wed. looks very nice, proceeded to treat the leather and begin the modifications. I cut the lower part of the saddle off just below the "Brooks" emblem, basically the area with the holes for the laces. I will be adding holes for the laces after a few weeks of riding once it is broken in a bit more.

Received the Velo Orange seat post yesterday and installed everything, put on the trainer and made adjustments. (thanks for the suggestion socalrider!) I definitely needed the new seat post as the old one would have put me sloping way too far forward, ended up getting matching stem as well.

Fitting seemed best with the saddle perfectly level and a bit further back. Adjustment are easy on the VO post. On the trainer, the saddle felt pretty nice, even in the drops. It is a little slippery, and the cutout felt odd at first but I was just in running shorts. in the cooler months, cold air from the bottom may cause issue, but that should be an easy quick fix.

I am actually glad I stuck with the B17 as my sit bones are fairly wide, and I did not want to look like my a$$ was eating the saddle. So far I am optimistic that it will work well, as the comfort was better after the first 20 minutes of pedaling.

This weekend I will take it out on longer rides, a truer test (hopefully I will not need further adjustments, but doubt it).
It definitely looks great, and so far I am super happy about the purchase. If it does not work, I can always get a different saddle, and put this one on the wife's bike
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