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  1. #1
    Senior Member Andrea Men's Avatar
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    BROOKS B17 Imperial – Looking for Testers

    Brooks England Ltd. is looking for about 10 people to test a prototype saddle called the B17 Imperial. It’s a saddle with cut out, meant to solve the problems of those who can’t sit comfortably on a traditional Brooks Saddle because they feel too much pressure at the front.
    -Why is Brooks doing this?- You may comment…
    Nowadays most saddle manufacturers are offering a range of “anatomical” saddles, claiming that they were the first to find this solution or that their invention works best. We recently discovered that John Boultbee Brooks is the inventor of the saddle with cutting. In many pages of the BROOKS 1890 catalogue you can read that the Imperial, Long Distance, Climax and many more saddles have “registered cutting that is a certain preventive to all perineal pressure”.
    I would like to have some feedback on the idea of reintroducing the original Brooks cut out design on the B17 and, maybe, on other models like the Team Pro in their men’s and women’s versions.
    As I’ve read many posts on “modified saddles”, I’d also like you to share your experiences if you have ridden a Brooks saddle with self made cut out.
    Why did you cut it? Why do you like the cut out? Why don’t you?
    I hope to see many posts on this subject.
    If you are INTERESTED IN TESTING A SAMPLE I will be able to have about 10 pieces in about a month. Please send me a PM if you’d like to get one of the samples. Shouldn’t I be able to send samples to all those who ask for it, I’ll choose among those who give the best inputs on this thread.
    Thanks
    Andrea Meneghelli
    Marketing Manager BROOKS ENGLAND LTD.

    "Brooks’ Saddles have a world-wide reputation, and in every country are acknowledged to stand pre-eminent, and neither pains nor expense will be spared to retain this enviable position." (1901)

  2. #2
    Senior Member cman's Avatar
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    Private message sent.

  3. #3
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    The lack of cut-out available in Brooks is the reason that i've been so uneasy about spending the money to buy one lately. I have been looking for a while, and the B-17 seems like the proper design to choose from - but saddle numbness is a problem for me and i'd been trying to find a solution that had both the fit of leather and the "anatomic groove"

    Its for that reason that I was starting to consider a Selle An-Atomica, but news of Brooks with a possible cut out is pretty interesting too.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea Men View Post
    Why don’t you?
    I have a Brooks B17, which I've had for just over a year. It took about 1000 miles to really break-in, but with about 6500 miles is now really comfortable. I have looked at what others have done with cutting theirs, but I'm afraid I would cut wrong or cut too much and mess it up. After all the miles I have invested, I'd hate to take the risk. Now if Brooks believes they know just how to cut them, I would be willing to give one a try. But I better get to keep it after I've broken it in. Besides, it will be form fitted for my butt.

    Walter

    PM sent

  5. #5
    Get on your bikes & ride! xB_Nutt's Avatar
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    Great news!! I would love to try a Brooks with a cut out. I actually went from a B-17 to a Selle Anatomica on the commuter because I wanted something with a cut out to ensure I didn't do any damage in that most important area. Keep us up to date on the status of the Imperial samples and most definitely put me down on the list to try and evaluate one. I do a 16 mile RT commute each day and would be willing to provide any type of feedback needed.
    Litespeed Classic
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  6. #6
    cjn
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    I would like to try one. I currently have gel/foam saddle with a groove. Have been considering leather on, would love to compare the two.

  7. #7
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    PM sent.

    I'm very interested in a B.17 with a cutout. I love my Champion Std., but I do find that on rides over 50 miles I end up standing up more often than I'd like to keep my bits from going numb.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  8. #8
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    To kick it off with some feedback: Perineal pressure has only been part of my problem. The fleshy tissue between my cheeks is also a problem. The B17 has solved some of it, but to be at a position of equlibrium I have to have the nose pointed sky high, which indeed puts pressure back on the perineum.

    It's funny, I've actually come to know that I am centered on my B17 when my perinum is resting on the nose. My commute is a short 18 miles one way, so I usually don't get numbness but just a hint of all the time pain is definitely there. I wish I could drop the nose, but when I do I slide all over. On my road bike I don't seem to fit any other Brooks, but the B17 puts WAY to much pressure on the perineum due to the severity of the drop.

    Why I stay with the Brooks is because of my sciatica. I have tried so many saddles it makes my head spin, and found the WTB SST series to fit alright, but it still puts pressure in the between the cheeks area I mentioned above. My sciatica still acts up using the SST saddles because they're just a hair not wide enough, but the B17 is wide enough that I'm no longer pinching my sciatic nerve! Having ridden most of my life this sciatica has become a real nuisance, so the B17 is a godsend.

    Now if I could just get rid of the perineal pain!

    I have not cut my B17 just yet, and will give it more time before I do. Folks say as they break in they also lower the nose. Mine will have to go down quite a distance before I'm pain free, but I'm going to give it 1500 miles before I start hacking.

    I'm at about 345 miles right now. At 150 a week I should be there in just less than 8 more weeks...faster if I do some weekend rides with the wife and kiddo. I'll definitely post up before it goes to the knife!

    I think the Imperial is a great idea. The only reason I went B17 and not Selle Anatomica is price. Were the Selle Anatomica as cheap as my B17 ($50 for me) then that is most certainly the route I would have gone. If the Imperial had been a choice then who knows?!

    Andrea, I know everyone would love to try one of these, and I want the folks who will give you the best assessment and feedback to get one. Of course I would like to think I am the best candidate, but I'm certain this thread will show us who really is and we'll get to hear feedback on a really cool new saddle!

    Thanks for deciding to do this, a very cool move on Brooks part indeed. Impressive considering the continuing big-boxization of our culture.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abneycat View Post
    The lack of cut-out available in Brooks is the reason that i've been so uneasy about spending the money to buy one lately. I have been looking for a while, and the B-17 seems like the proper design to choose from - but saddle numbness is a problem for me and i'd been trying to find a solution that had both the fit of leather and the "anatomic groove"

    Its for that reason that I was starting to consider a Selle An-Atomica, but news of Brooks with a possible cut out is pretty interesting too.
    I agree with that statement. I've had previous saddles that did not have a cutout that caused numbness within 3 miles of riding. Now that I ride just about every day (as long as the snow isn't too bad) I need to ensure that I have a comfortable saddle. The OEM Bontrager saddle that came on my Garry Fisher Nirvanna is not bad, but on longer rides I can realy feel it. Around 10 to 15 miles my posterior realy feels tha saddle. By the 20th mile I must be going slightly numb because the pain becomes less.

    I have also been looking and getting a Brooks, but have been a bit hesitant. My Mom still uses her Brooks 66 that came on her 1960's Raleigh. When I was growing up in The Netherlands that was her only source source of transportation, and was used to ferry my sister and I to and from school, and do all the shopping. The fact that the saddle has lasted this long and is still in excellent working order is a testiment to the quality of the Brooks. A brooks with an anotomical cutout would seem like a perfect solution.

    Happy riding,
    André

  10. #10
    Dirty old man in training
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    Dear Andrea, PM sent

  11. #11
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    New Brooks Imperial saddle

    Interested in testing your new Brooks Imperial. I've ridden Brooks for a number of years (B17) (have a brownie and a blackie) and it's my only long distance saddle I use... I wouldn't leave home without it.
    I do have to tilt the nose ever so slightly to relieve pressure....but I haven't had any ill effects to name.
    Would love to test this new cut out. I have a full slate of randonneuring events scheduled in the USA.
    I start with a 200K March 29th in Ohio a 300K in Kentucky the following week. A 400K and 600K are also
    scheduled.
    I'm doing a 12hr event on May 3th and a 1200K in Virginia in June... Your seat will get a good workout.
    I also commute 14 miles to work...
    I can forward you my address if you want...anticipating hearing from you.

  12. #12
    Senior Membre doraemonkey's Avatar
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    Seeing how there have been now 10 replies, it is too late for me :-(... oh well.

    As long as I have been cycling, have not ever used a Brooks saddle, and from these forums and others I have been looking into them. Since I usually commute 25km a day, and tour from time to time I have been considering one for quite a while. I have been oscillating between a B17 and Team Pro, but don't know which would fit my style best...

    Anyway, if you decide to send one I'm, just across the channel in Brittany!

  13. #13
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    I'd like to test the Brooks Climax because it's called the Climax. If you need testers for that, I'm in!
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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    saddle tester reporting for duty

    i have never owned a brooks before was planing of adding a brooks to my commuter this spring. the reason for the switch is my current nonbrooks saddle causes a lot of numbness pretty quickly. i have heard good thing about brooks and i would be very excited a new saddle with a cutout. pm sent with more details about me.

  15. #15
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    Hello,

    I purchased a B17 Champion but quickly found perineal pressure to be my only problem with this saddle. I've since gotten a Selle An-Atomica as a present and am using that on my main bike.

    My problems with saddles in general has been perineal pressure combined with pressure and irritation due to ill-suited to the purpose plastic saddles. I'm a big fan of leather saddles at this point and would be greatly interested in a Brooks saddle with a cut out.

    I'm beginning training for a tour of Europe in the summer of 09 so I'll be testing both the Selle An-Atomica and the Brooks Champion (didn't want to give up on such a great saddle so quickly) to see which will be the most comfortable for the long haul. Adding the B17 Imperial to this would be a very good test indeed! I can honestly say that I think a Brooks saddle with cut out would be the best of both the more supportive less stretchy Brooks saddle leather and the pressure relieving cut out.

  16. #16
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    I'd be very interested to test the B17 Imperial. I've never owned a Brooks, though a randonneuring friend has given it a strong recommendation. Mostly I have been using relatively cheap ($30 Canadian or less) gel seats with cutouts. They do the job, but my communte is only about 8 km a day round trip, plus maybe a couple km more on a typical day.

    I'm planning on a serious tour in a couple months' time (down the Pacific Coast Bicycle Trail) and would really like to have a saddle I can count on for that.

    --JB
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  17. #17
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    Andrea, is there a .pdf version of the original 1890s catalogue? I would love to read about the history a bit more and especially see what the original cutout saddle looked like!

  18. #18
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    +1 on the 1890s catalog PDF

  19. #19
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    I'm pretty excited to see that Brooks is looking at rolling out a saddle with a cutout... that shows me that the folks at Brooks actually look at what their customers are doing once they get their hands on the product.

    I live in the southeastern USA, and my Brooks saddles are probably the single most important piece of gear that makes it possible for me to ride daily in the brutally hot and humid Georgia summers. As a commuter and longer distance cyclist, I fought chafing, bruising, soreness, and excessive sweat in the shorts until I tried my first Brooks...

    I'd love to try out one of these saddles to see how it compares to my trusty B17's. Especially since I have the Bike Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) coming up in June. I always end up preaching "the gospel of Brooks" to all of those riders suffering from saddle sores while I run around without pain!
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

  20. #20
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    I love my B-17, but still breaking it in. At times I feel that the top of the saddle digs in a bit more into my crotch. I find myself trying to slide back more into the saddle to relieve the pressure. It's a bit annoying, and would be interesting to see if a cut out would alleviate this problem.
    Every time we let a vehicle pass there is a little bit of compromise. But compromise allows the city to function and allows cyclists to function in the city. The trick is not to eliminate compromise but to learn how to work safely within it.

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  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    This is wonderful news! I sent you a PM about testing a sample. Last year I had a bout of prostatitis that made any kind of perineal pressure uncomfortable. I was able to ride for an hour or so, but all-day rides were out of the question. I considered ordering a Selle-Anatomica (who makes a Brooks-like leather saddle with a cut-out), but I ended up taking time off the bike while we packed and moved across the country.

    I am concerned that this problem will return as my mileage increases over the next several months, so a cut-out saddle is something I am planning to purchase and try out. Outside of those bad months last year, I have always found my B17 to be extremely comfortable. I also ride my wife's bicycle with the sprung version of this saddle, and I have used many other saddles including a leather Lepper Voyager.

    If I don't end up being in the test group, I would like to read more technical details so I can figure out how it compares to the Selle-Anatomica.

    Sean

  22. #22
    crash survivor tate65's Avatar
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    Great news I'm looking forward to it...PM sent..

  23. #23
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    I think one thing to consider might be that the An-Atomica is made of a different sort of leather than the Brooks, softer and more water resistant, but tending to need more tensioning and adjustment.

    Do you think that the current leather used on the B-17 would still provide good results? I would like the appeal of not having to tension and tweak the saddle as much, so if so, that might be good.

  24. #24
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abneycat View Post
    I think one thing to consider might be that the An-Atomica is made of a different sort of leather than the Brooks, softer and more water resistant, but tending to need more tensioning and adjustment.

    Do you think that the current leather used on the B-17 would still provide good results? I would like the appeal of not having to tension and tweak the saddle as much, so if so, that might be good.

    The adjustment notion is a good one. While I haven't had to tweak mine yet I see it coming because my B17 already has more flex in it than when new. Right now I can push down on it with my hand and get some flexing outwards of the skirt.

    At 200 lbs. and riding every single day at least 36 miles I can't imagine I'm easy on a saddle. It makes me think that the Selle Anatomica would perhaps NOT be a good choice for me, though...

    Andrea, what do you think the Imperial would retail for compared to the B17? That is also a consideration...as I said in my first post what got me to buy the B17 was the price...no matter how people complain that Brooks is expensive a B17 is relatively similar in price to comparably good saddles. However, the Selle is WAY too expensive unless it really is just that good. If the Imperial is similar in price I think you'll have a winner even without thorough BF.NET testing and input!
    Last edited by climbhoser; 02-26-08 at 12:22 PM.

  25. #25
    Wet Cyclist
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    It sounds like a great idea. I love my B-17 and commute on it daily 25 miles rt. I traded a terry cut-out saddle for it. The way the B-17 has molded to my body over the last 2 years makes it a really comfortable saddle, but combining with the cut-out could make for great ride. I've recommended Brooks saddles to many other cyclists and often the response I get has to do with skepticism about their perineum. I think this could bridge the gap to those customers and I would love to find out myself.

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