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Old 10-05-07, 03:06 AM   #1
dalmore
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Brooks Saddle Fit Question

I'd like to try a Brooks saddle on one of my commuter bikes but I've never been comfortable on a wide saddle. Even the Brooks B-17 Narrow is about 10 mm wider than anything I've ever felt comfortable on in an upright riding position and a whooping 19 mm wider than what I use on my road bikes.

Do they fit differently as far as width goes?

My problem on wider saddles is the transition area from nose to seat. When I get my sit bones back on the seat area, the transition area is too wide to fit properly between my thighs. So I end up sitting more forward on the nose and that's just bad. For reference, the E3 Form is my favorite saddle and it's got almost no transition area
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Old 10-05-07, 05:37 AM   #2
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This is tough to judge, you just have to get the wider saddle and go for it.

My folder came with a wider saddle that what I was used to, and I bought a narrower saddle that I though would be more comfortable. WRONG! after two rides, I ditched the new saddle and went back to the wider one!
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Old 10-05-07, 10:37 AM   #3
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They do fit differently, and are designed that way. However, the 17Sandard is built for the widest range of riders, since human skeletal structure usually varies by only 15%. If you are on the outer range of that ergonomic, like me, at the upper end, you will likely have issues of fit and adjustment. For me, the 17Standard is just a smidge too narrow at the widest part. My ischials are 145mm wide, which is the real useable area of a 17 Standard. Not a problem except on rides extending beyond 70 miles or so. Then, the steel frame under the sides begins to make itself known.

If you are at the lower range, having ischials that are about 125mm and you have a narrow distance between the hip sockets, you can experience some pressure at the saddle shoulders (the part that flairs to form the seat area).

Other variables come into play when considering riding posture. If you are bent over a B17Standard, having your bars lower than the saddle peak, you can definitely have problems at the shoulders. The piniforis muscle digs into the top of the flair and developes a charlie-horse. An aggressive posture calls for a narrow saddle like the Pro, which has a shoulder that is set far back on the saddle to allow for thigh room in a race posture. They also have a pronounced arc cross section instead of being more flat, like a touring saddle (B17). The arc eases the transition from the shoulders to the skirts removing that "edge" which presses the piniforis.

The B17 Narrow is not as wide as the Standard, but the flair begins at about the same place as it does on the Standard, thus, the charlie-horse issue may still be there. The 17/Flyer series are all designed for a semi-upright riding posture.

So, things for you to consider. Hope I didn't give too much in one swoop.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:14 AM   #4
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Just to throw it out there, Wallingford Bike has a 6 month satisfaction return policy so essentially you can try out any Brooks saddle you want and if you don't like it just send it back. They're slightly more expensinve at wallbike but the peace of mind was worth it for me
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Old 10-05-07, 11:38 PM   #5
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+1 for Wallbike. They sell the returns on E-bay if they're not too used looking.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:42 PM   #6
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Brooks are great. i love mine, but ride on what feels good. you do not have to ride on a Brooks just because "everyone" else does.
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Old 10-06-07, 12:07 AM   #7
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thanks for the biomechanics/anatomy lesson jcm. that certainly explains why i'm a brooks pro fan and prefer it over the b17 standard.
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Old 10-06-07, 03:50 AM   #8
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They do fit differently, and are designed that way. However, the 17Sandard is built for the widest range of riders, since human skeletal structure usually varies by only 15%.
I believe this widely spread assumption is wrong. Brooks saddles are not designed for different anatomies. On the contrary, the perfect thing about a Brooks is that it will mold to a wide variety of different anatomies!

They are however tailored for different handlebar/saddle positions. See, your ischium/pubic arch tapers to the front of your body. This means that when in an upright position, you will sit on a wider part of your sit bones, therefore you'll need a wider saddle (e.g. B17)

If you prefer a more aerodynamic/racier position your ischium/pubic arch will tilt to the front, causing you to sit on a narrower section, requiring a narrower saddle. (E.g. Swift)
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Old 10-06-07, 05:30 AM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback. I'd really like to try a Brooks and see what all the rave is about but I can't talk myself into dropping the coin on one of Brooks narrower saddles. After all it's just a curiosity - not a problem I need to solve. And I can't see being comfortable on a wider saddle given my experiences to date.

I'll probably talk to the Wallbike guys and see what light they can shed ...
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Old 10-06-07, 10:05 AM   #10
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I believe this widely spread assumption is wrong. Brooks saddles are not designed for different anatomies. On the contrary, the perfect thing about a Brooks is that it will mold to a wide variety of different anatomies!

They are however tailored for different handlebar/saddle positions. See, your ischium/pubic arch tapers to the front of your body. This means that when in an upright position, you will sit on a wider part of your sit bones, therefore you'll need a wider saddle (e.g. B17)

If you prefer a more aerodynamic/racier position your ischium/pubic arch will tilt to the front, causing you to sit on a narrower section, requiring a narrower saddle. (E.g. Swift)
Yes, quite correct, Swifty. Actually, that's what I was saying, but in a different way. The fact that a 17 is built for the widest range of riders, but conforms to the differences within that range is what I meant.

Different riding styles require different Brooks models for best comfort and efficiency.
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Old 10-06-07, 10:08 AM   #11
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Thanks for the feedback. I'd really like to try a Brooks and see what all the rave is about but I can't talk myself into dropping the coin on one of Brooks narrower saddles. After all it's just a curiosity - not a problem I need to solve. And I can't see being comfortable on a wider saddle given my experiences to date.

I'll probably talk to the Wallbike guys and see what light they can shed ...
The higher performance models are expensive, and the price just went up due to the weak dollar.
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Old 10-08-07, 10:12 AM   #12
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request for fit help

My ischials are 125mm apart.

I'm riding fairly upright on a 1986 specialized rockhopper about 2 hours/day. (an hour each way)
do I want a B17 standard or a B17 narrow?

Current saddle is a trashed out 1991 Selle Italia Turbo special. It was once leather, now it both appears and feels, to be made of petrified wood. (It even has been chewed on by a small creature.) I find it somewhat uncomfortable on my sitting bones. Sometimes I hear some squeaking from what is probably thigh rub.

I am LEANING towards the narrow. I appreciate the experiences of other BF commuters.
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Old 10-08-07, 01:54 PM   #13
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My ischials are 125mm apart.

I'm riding fairly upright on a 1986 specialized rockhopper about 2 hours/day. (an hour each way)
do I want a B17 standard or a B17 narrow?

Current saddle is a trashed out 1991 Selle Italia Turbo special. It was once leather, now it both appears and feels, to be made of petrified wood. (It even has been chewed on by a small creature.) I find it somewhat uncomfortable on my sitting bones. Sometimes I hear some squeaking from what is probably thigh rub.

I am LEANING towards the narrow. I appreciate the experiences of other BF commuters.
The 17-Standard would likely be just fine for you. Most riders are near 130mm-ish. Incidently, I often ride a '92 Trek 930 which is another old school MTB, converted to road use. I have B67 on it, one of those wide sprung jobs. You might consider a Flyer. It's B17 with springs.
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Old 10-08-07, 03:52 PM   #14
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I've been using a B17 normal width with a drop from saddle top to top of bars of 4.5" I was fine with it although I always wished it set back a bit more and it was firmer. My sitbones rested on the curved metal bar in back mostly. The sitbone indents which took over 6000mi to develop are right over that metal bar, almost looks like the metal is bent a bit now at the sitbone contacts.

I am trying a Team Pro which should arrive Oct-11.

I haven't measured my sitbones.

Al
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Old 10-08-07, 04:08 PM   #15
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I always wished it set back a bit more and it was firmer. My sitbones rested on the curved metal bar in back
My Brooks problem exactly! I'm surprised there are not more posts about Brooks setback problems. I had to return my B67 recently to Wallbike and I really loved the saddle but couldn't handle the tailbone pain from riding on that back edge with the metal plate underneath.

I'm currently debating buying another B67 with the Titec S-bent seatpost which has to offer the most setback possible? but it looks rather odd. Sheldon Brown needed one on his Thorn bike he recently sold.
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Old 10-09-07, 07:00 AM   #16
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The standard is a pretty wide saddle. I have to tilt mine down a little to get comfortable. It is fine when sitting straight up, but if you crouch down you naturally slide back a little and I find the B17 standard not quite ideal for that.
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Old 10-12-07, 03:45 PM   #17
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I just received the Team Pro yesterday. I put it on for a 7mi RT errand and had a slight tilt up nose like my old B17. I guess a mistake as the taint pressure was quite bad after 3mi. I rode hard the rest of the ride and that helped floating above the saddle. I had forgotten how slippery a new Brooks was too.

So I leveled the saddle for my 8.5mi commute in this morning. Much better and I started to like it perhaps more than my old broken in B17. However I found myself sitting even more so on the rear bar - the leg cut-aways are even deeper on the Team Pro (relatively longer nose) and allow oneself to push further back on saddle with butt nearly over end of saddle. That I don't like as much.

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Old 10-12-07, 06:16 PM   #18
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I rode 140 miles on my champion flyer Wednesday.

I wore underwear and shorts...no bike shorts, no lycra and no padding.

My butt feels fantastic and did for the whole ride. No sores, no pain, and at times I actually thought out loud.....man this feels good.

Thank you BROOKS : ) : )
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Old 10-12-07, 06:45 PM   #19
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I just received the Team Pro yesterday. I put it on for a 7mi RT errand and had a slight tilt up nose like my old B17. I guess a mistake as the taint pressure was quite bad after 3mi. I rode hard the rest of the ride and that helped floating above the saddle. I had forgotten how slippery a new Brooks was too.

So I leveled the saddle for my 8.5mi commute in this morning. Much better and I started to like it perhaps more than my old broken in B17. However I found myself sitting even more so on the rear bar - the leg cut-aways are even deeper on the Team Pro (relatively longer nose) and allow oneself to push further back on saddle with butt nearly over end of saddle. That I don't like as much.

Al
Most of the Pros I've seen are set dead level or even a bit down in front. A whole different animal than the 17 series.
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Old 10-13-07, 11:01 AM   #20
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Most of the Pros I've seen are set dead level or even a bit down in front. A whole different animal than the 17 series.
I just got back from a 43mi ride with the new Pro and had it set level. It was very comfortable. I think its a keeper.

Al
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Old 10-13-07, 04:04 PM   #21
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I just got back from a 43mi ride with the new Pro and had it set level. It was very comfortable. I think its a keeper.

Al
...especially with your bars low. I think the Pro also has longer rails for adjusting the for/aft position.
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Old 10-13-07, 05:08 PM   #22
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...especially with your bars low. I think the Pro also has longer rails for adjusting the for/aft position.
A question about the for/aft position on the Professional. Where should the sit bones be on the seat, for riding with arms bent most of the time or in the drops? i.e., a more aggressive rider
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Old 10-13-07, 08:29 PM   #23
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...especially with your bars low. I think the Pro also has longer rails for adjusting the for/aft position.
It doesn't allow for a further back position and the rails are not longer. I did a side by side check with the B17. In fact the feel is of a more forward relative to the rear leather support bar as the leg cutaways are futher back (making for a longer nose for the same total length saddle) so one sits (or can sit) futher back on the pro. I kinda like sitting on that bar though.

Al
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Old 10-13-07, 08:34 PM   #24
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so one sits (or can sit) futher back on the pro. I kinda like sitting on that bar though.
Problem with sitting further back on (a leveled) Brooks Pro is it crushes the soft-stuff. When the saddle was new, I moved my seat forward and lowered the seat post slightly. That fixed the pain but forced a more upright position.

Now that the saddle seems more broke-in, I'm thinking about raising the seat back up and sliding it back on the rails.
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Old 10-13-07, 11:24 PM   #25
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You know, I don't ride a Pro, but I can't imagine that the sitbones would be comfortable anywhere but the same place that you would be on a 17. That seat area, the web, for want of a better term, is meant to provide the support you need. There are two people that I know well, that ride Pros, and they defintely are positioned on the seat area.

Noisebeam reports that the rails for fro/aft adjustment are the same as the 17, so maybe a seatpost with more setback is in order. Butt, it's a matter of individual comfort level.
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