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Old 06-27-07, 10:11 PM   #1
Jeffbeerman2
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I HATE Brooks Professional

I love the way it looks on my bike, but I am never going to get it broken in. I didn't ride for the past two days because my sit bones are so bruised/sore.

Does anyone have experience for comparison of the "team pro" to the "b17"? Can anyone compare either of those to the sprung "champion flier"?

Am I not a good brooks candidate, or did I just choose the wrong saddle? I love my Koobie, but it doesn't have the same style
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Old 06-28-07, 04:42 AM   #2
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Old 06-28-07, 04:51 AM   #3
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You may need to

1 - Give it a bit more time
B - Adjust the position

What kind of bike are we using, whats our riding style?

Isn't the Team Pro a B17 with a tougher hide?
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Old 06-28-07, 05:09 AM   #4
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Old 06-28-07, 05:30 AM   #5
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My first B17 was a Champion Narrow, bought in 1971 when I lived in the UK, and was the first Brooks on which I did any real mileage. I bought it with me when I moved to the USA in 1983, and rode it for about 10 years on my Schwinn Super Sport, during which time I also bought an MTB which was fitted with a Brooks Conquest; I noticed that the Brooks on my MTB didn't need breaking in.

About two years ago I bought another road bike, and fitted it with a Brooks Professional which I liked so much that I bought another one for my Super Sport. The curious thing is that neither the Conquest nor the Brooks Pros needed breaking in, which leads me to believe that as I'd already ridden many miles on my original B17 CN, my butt was already broken in. So, in my view it's not the saddle which gets broken in, but it's the butt.

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Old 06-28-07, 06:00 AM   #6
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I like the B17s better than the Pros. They are a little wider in the rear and the holes give it a little more 'give' and ventiliation in the 'taint area. I have a Team Pro on my SS....it's great for rec rides, including centuries, but I can't use it for daily commuting. YMMV.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobber
Isn't the Team Pro a B17 with a tougher hide?
No. Team Pro is about 10mm narrower in the rear, no ventilation holes, bigger rivets (cosmetic impact only), and a little flatter on the top. There is no difference in the thickness or toughness of the leather on a per model basis, although there is some variation in thickness from saddle to saddle, even among the same models.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:06 AM   #8
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I ended up selling my Team Pro. It just wasn't comfortable. I replaced it with a Swift, which isn't much better, but it broken in a little faster and is much, much lighter. You may try soaking it in leather oil or loosening the tension on it a bit till it breaks in.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2
Does anyone have experience for comparison of the "team pro" to the "b17"? Can anyone compare either of those to the sprung "champion flier"?
I have all three, and each works very well for the bikes they are on. The B17 and sprung Champiion Flier are definitely the most comfortable. They broke in quickly and fit like a glove (literally). The wider B17 is probably best for a bike with a more "upright" position. Traditional wisdom says to put these on bike with handlebars that are level with your saddle.

The Pro is narrower, seems to be made of a thicker and tougher leather and has certainly taken more time to break in. I have one with about 700 miles on it now and it's coming along nicely. Folks say the Pro works best for bikes with a more aggressive setup, ie handlebars below saddle height.

Some folks seem to find the Pro and other narrow Brooks to be uncomfortable, could be due to having wider sitbones, or it could be a function of saddle position. Move it as far back on the rails as possible, point the nose up, point the nose down... see how it treats you both ways. Keep in mind that at 160mm wide, the Pro is still wider than most "modern" saddles.

I'm currently considering adding a Swift to the stable to see how it treats me
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Old 06-28-07, 08:51 AM   #10
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One, er, two words. Brooks Proofide! Apply it until the leather softens a bit then stop.
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Old 06-28-07, 08:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campy-me
One, er, two words. Brooks Proofide! Apply it until the leather softens a bit then stop.
Actually, Proofide is for protecting and conditioning the leather. Best break-in aids are miles and butt sweat!
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Old 06-28-07, 09:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
...little more 'give' and ventiliation in the 'taint area...
Oh, come on...is nobody gonna go there?? I have this disturbing image burned into the back of my head with chipcom's avatar in it....

No really, I am just about this close to getting a B17 myself, and the only thing stopping me is the worry about it breaking my butt in, not the other way around...
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Old 06-28-07, 09:24 AM   #13
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I'll trade you a 1974 Brooks B15 (Just like a B-17) in very nice shape and nicely broken in for the Pro you don't like. PM me if interested
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Old 06-28-07, 09:34 AM   #14
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I'm the original poster.

To answer everyones questions, it is on a Surly Crossceck (their "complete bike). I ride 6-miles each way to work probably 3-4 days per week. On weekends, I ride it perhaps another 30 miles or so. 60-70 miles per week with an average speed of around 12-15mph. I'm not a racer, just a guy who likes to get around by bike when I can.

I put the saddle on, on Sunday morning. Sunday I rode a leisurely 30 miles or so, just for the sake of riding. I didn't notice how sore my bottom was til I got home.

I rode to work on Monday. by the time I neared the office, I found myself riding like I was on my road bike, much more aggressively so as to keep my weight off the saddle and on the pedals. My butt was too sore to sit on. Monday going home from work was spent standing. Ouch.

I like to keep my saddle mostly level, perhaps the nose is a couple mm's lower than the back, but mostly level. The way I have it mounted, it pretty much just supports me by my sit bones, like a saddle is supposed to.

I used proofride on it before I mounted it.

*shrug*

I have never had a saddle rub me this badly in this short of a time period.

I like the style of the saddle, and I think I'm going to get a champion flier, but wanted to get feedback from some brooks experts before I dropped another $100 on another brooks
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Old 06-28-07, 09:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2
I like to keep my saddle mostly level, perhaps the nose is a couple mm's lower than the back, but mostly level. The way I have it mounted, it pretty much just supports me by my sit bones, like a saddle is supposed to.
That doesn't sound right; tilting the saddle forwards would tend to throw your weight away from the rear of the saddle, so that you have more weight on the nose of the saddle.

All the Brooks I've ever had, I've set with the nose slightly higher than the back by about ". Have you tried experimenting with the tilt?

- Wil
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Old 06-28-07, 09:44 AM   #16
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Yeah, good call with the tilt. I have a Crosscheck also and my Brooks (b-17) is tilted upwards at the nose, but the back, main part of the body of the saddle is level.
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Old 06-28-07, 09:47 AM   #17
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maybe it's too narrow and you're sitting right ontop of the rails?
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Old 06-28-07, 11:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2
I love the way it looks on my bike, but I am never going to get it broken in. I didn't ride for the past two days because my sit bones are so bruised/sore.

Does anyone have experience for comparison of the "team pro" to the "b17"? Can anyone compare either of those to the sprung "champion flier"?

Am I not a good brooks candidate, or did I just choose the wrong saddle? I love my Koobie, but it doesn't have the same style
Pros are tougher. It's true. The cross-section is narrower and slightly more arched. I'm speculating that Brooks buys the hide blanks by lot, buying only the best quality, then sorts the lot out by thickness. The thicker material goes to the more expensive, performance oriented Pros and such. Not much thicker, but just so.

The Pro, Swift, Swallow, are made to be used as a perch, by performance seeking riders, not a true weight bearing saddle of the type found on long range touring bikes, i.e., B17, Flyer, B67, etc. It's no wonder many people have a hard time breaking them in. Unless you are distributed evenly over the bike, a Pro can be a pain in the a$$.

For general commuting, touring, or longer recreational rides, a 17, flyer, 67, or the new springless 68 would be ideal for most people - but there are always exceptions. For me, a 17 is just at the edge of width fit, as my ischials are a tad too wide. But this doesn't bother me til I hit about 70 miles. My 17's and 67's are both tilted up in front so that just the seat portion is level with the ground. Also, I maintain the slickness to keep the cooling effect to a maximum. Boot polish works great for this. I avoid the various treatments and just use SnoSeal on the bottom side when the saddle is new, then just ride it.

Springs:
Brooks has only one gage for their springs nowadays. They are very stiff and don't cause any discernable pogo-sticking or rocking. At .93", you hardly notice they are there til you go over rough ground. Personally, as a heavy rider, I have replaced the springs on my 67's with those off a Huffy comfort seat. Much, much better. Rides like a Mercedes and still no rocking. That's on my commuter, a roadified old school MTB. My tour bike and road bike have 17Standards. The tour bike may get a Flyer and I'll replace those springs, too.

Lastly, do your ischials fit inside the horseshoe under the saddle? If you're riding the steel frame, fuhgetabahdit.
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Old 06-28-07, 01:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Davis
That doesn't sound right; tilting the saddle forwards would tend to throw your weight away from the rear of the saddle, so that you have more weight on the nose of the saddle.

All the Brooks I've ever had, I've set with the nose slightly higher than the back by about ". Have you tried experimenting with the tilt?

- Wil
I just put a B-17 on my commuter Monday night. Tuesday was not so fun on my 15 mi r/t commute because I didn't have things adjusted quite right. Dead level - to - nose down is NOT the way to go with a Brooks, apparently. I kept sliding forward off my sit bones when the saddle was dead level.
I put the nose up by just a smidge (that's a technical measurement) and now things are much happier downstairs.

Another consideration in breaking in your Brooks: How much do you weigh? (rhetorical question) I'm a mid-sized Clydesdale, and I've heard of break in times from 50 miles at the low end to over 500 on the high end. I was thinking that maybe us bigger riders have shorter break in times due to our gravitational advantage in stretching the leather.
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Old 06-28-07, 02:17 PM   #20
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I have two Team Pro saddles. One on my commuter Kona Smoke with fairly upright riding position and the other on my fixed gear roadie with bars well below seat height. No problems with either. I'm a slight 145 lbs and don't have over a couple hundred miles on either (just got them). Probably approaching 200 miles on the commuter and find the team pro to be really comfy.

Mine are both set with nose slightly higher than rear so that the wider rear part of the saddle is roughly flat. Keeps me from sliding forward. I've never ridden leather saddles before and these are the only saddles I've ever ridden "nose-up". Have to say, it does work, but it's only slightly up.

I've seen "pre-softened" team pros, does anyone here have experience with the difference in initial comfort?
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Old 06-28-07, 08:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2
I love the way it looks on my bike, but I am never going to get it broken in. I didn't ride for the past two days because my sit bones are so bruised/sore.

Does anyone have experience for comparison of the "team pro" to the "b17"? Can anyone compare either of those to the sprung "champion flier"?

Am I not a good brooks candidate, or did I just choose the wrong saddle? I love my Koobie, but it doesn't have the same style
I have a B17 on my touring bike, and I love it. I have a team pro on my "racing bike" (I don't actually race, I just pose) and I hate it. I've been trying to give it time, I've adjusted my position, etc, but I'm about to give up and swap it out for a Specialized BG or something.
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Old 06-28-07, 09:22 PM   #22
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From Sheldon Brown http://sheldonbrown.com/leather.html

The easiest and fastest method to break in a new saddle is with a liquid leather dressing, such as neatsfoot oil, Lexol, seal oil (a French favorite) or baseball glove oil.. These products are available from shoe stores and sporting-goods stores. There are probably lots of other liquid oils that would work as well-RAAM pioneer Lon Haldeman uses SAE 30 motor oil, but his saddles tend to wear out after only 300,000 miles or so (according to Cyclist Magazine). Paste or wax type leather dressings, such as Brooks Proofide, Sno-Seal, and saddle soap will work, but it takes much, much longer to break in a saddle that way.


You can just pour the oil on and rub it in by hand, or for a more drastic approach, you can actually soak the saddle. The easiest way to soak a saddle is to turn it upside-down on a sheet of aluminum foil, then form the foil up around the saddle for a snug fit. Pour in a whole 4 ounce can of Neatsfoot oil or whatever oil you prefer, and let the saddle soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Pour the remaining oil back into the can, and wipe the excess oil off with a rag or paper towel. Install the saddle onto the bike, put on your black shorts, and ride. Even the most recalcitrant saddle (the thick-skinned Brooks Professional) will be substantially broken in within 200 miles or so.


The soaking technique is best for thick, hard-to-break in saddles such as the Brooks Professional. For most leather saddles the pour-and-rub technique is adequate. A saddle only needs baptism by immersion once. After that, some oil should be poured onto the saddle and rubbed in by hand every few weeks. Once the saddle has become soft and comfortable it is only necessary to oil it lightly every few months to keep it from drying out.

Most leather saddles are dyed black. Oiling the saddle will partially dissolve the dye, which will stain on your clothes. This is why cycling shorts are black. Wear light colors at your own risk! If you must wear day-glo pink shorts, put a seatcover on the saddle.
Light colored leather saddles, such as the Brooks "Honey" models, will be darkened by any treatment you apply.

Note; treatment and break-in of leather saddles is not an exact science, and there are those that claim that some of the products I've listed are harmful to leather. If absolute safety is your primary concern, using Brooks Proofide according to directions is probably the best approach...but you may find that the break-in period is un-necessarily long with this approach.
The worst thing you can do is to neglect the saddle and allow it to dry out and crack.
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Old 06-28-07, 10:08 PM   #23
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Throw a wet/damp towel over the saddle for about an hour or so. Then, ride your bike. The saddle will break in within about two or three rides with this approach and it won't hurt the leather.

Proofhide OR Snowseal are good leather conditioners. Don't worry if the leather looks a little dull after the damp towel technique. After one ride with the saddle dry, it will shine like a new dime.
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Old 06-28-07, 10:54 PM   #24
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Just put a new B17 on today. I had to raise the nose a little more than I'm used to in order to keep from sliding forward, but once I had it dialed in, it was really comfortable. Not in a "well worn pair of shoes" way, cause it's still rock hard, but because my weight is on my "sit bones", instead of mushing down into the foam on my old seat. After only one day, I can say it's more comfortable that my old saddle.

Now if I can just get it to quit squeaking...
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Old 06-28-07, 11:31 PM   #25
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[QUOTE=Jeffbeerman2I like to keep my saddle mostly level, perhaps the nose is a couple mm's lower than the back, but mostly level. The way I have it mounted, it pretty much just supports me by my sit bones, like a saddle is supposed to.[/QUOTE]

It wouldn't surprise me if the slight downward angle of it was making you engage your hamstrings to keep you from sliding slightly forward. The engagement of your hamstrings would make you sore at your sit bones where they attach.

I suggest tilting the saddle up so the nose is a few mm above the back for a few days and seeing how that works.
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