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Old 08-26-13, 11:48 AM   #26
droy45
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I have just installed a new Brooks on my lastest vintage restore and found it was really hard on the sit bones right away. I will try the suggestions here over time and see if that helps but if there is that much difference at first, I just can't believe that a Brooks will ever be as comfortable as a modern saddle. I have a high tech Ride Out Carbon comfort on my commuter and that was super comfy from the get go. Time will tell. Brooks may be overrated, not sure.
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Old 08-26-13, 12:29 PM   #27
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Have a Brooks B17 Flyer on 2 bikes (a Santana Tandem, captain's position, and a beater commuter, Gary Fisher Solstice)...both were comfy within 50 miles. Also have a standard B17 on my roadie...a 2000 Lemond Zurich, it's taking a bit longer....so far so good though.

What I've noticed, for me....is that I'm super critical of seat positioning with the Brooks. The first ride with it on the bike, I just keep the seat adjusting tools out, ready to make super small adjustments....and after about 10 miles and an uncountable number of stops for adjusting...I've got it pretty nailed to where I want it, and rarely change after that. So far...they've been comfortable for several 30+ mile rides (on any of the bikes listed).

Definitely used the Proofide often in the beginning...'bout every other month now.

MHO....it does take a lot of fiddling with position to get it right for you. My $0.02.....is that many give up adjusting before they get to the 'sweet spot'.

YMMV.
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Old 08-26-13, 12:43 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
I am new to Brooks saddles. I have mine set with either level or a slight upward (nose up) tilt. My Cross Check is set with the bar tops approximately four (4) inches below the saddle top.

LC
For what it is worth.

If I did that with my B17 I would hurt. My b17 likes me in a pretty upright position. But I put a swift on my road bike with about a 2 in drop and that works for me.

I tried a B17-n imperial...and that simply did not work out.

Saddles are very individual.

As for "breaking" in, I have always tended to harder saddles any way. I use only Proofide on my brookws saddles. my b17 is now showing dimples for my seat bones and really the only "softening" i feel is that the whole saddles it slighty more "hammocky"

ymmv
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Old 08-26-13, 01:22 PM   #29
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I have a Flyer on my LHT. I had to do a lot of adjusting to get it into the right spot and even so it still took about 400 miles to get it comfy. Now it's great. I wouldn't say it's soft but I would say it's supple.

I just put a Velo Orange Mod 3 on a new bike. I'm still in the process of getting it into the right position. It's much firmer than I remember the Brooks.

I have never had a problem with the honey Brooks staining my shorts but the black VO left a bunch of marks on my shorts this weekend. As someone else noted, they came right out when I washed them.
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Old 08-26-13, 01:33 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by droy45 View Post
I have just installed a new Brooks on my lastest vintage restore and found it was really hard on the sit bones right away. I will try the suggestions here over time and see if that helps but if there is that much difference at first, I just can't believe that a Brooks will ever be as comfortable as a modern saddle. I have a high tech Ride Out Carbon comfort on my commuter and that was super comfy from the get go. Time will tell. Brooks may be overrated, not sure.

It has nothing to do with them being overrated or not, it has to do with two things: 1, are you the kind of person who can be comfortable on this saddle, and 2, is it set up properly? You won't know the answer to 1 unless you figure out 2 first.

Also note there are multiple models of Brooks saddles, and just because you're not comfortable on one of them doesn't mean the others won't work. I'm very comfortable on a Pro, but I never could get used to a Swift--so I traded it for another Pro.
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Old 08-26-13, 02:39 PM   #31
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My team pro classic sucked for the first couple of days. Now after a couple of weeks I think it's pretty comfortable. I haven't put any proofhide or anything else on it yet and it's still as firm as it was when I got it. I think it's a matter of making small tweaks to the positioning and just getting my body used to it. I have mine set up pretty level with no tilt
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Old 08-26-13, 03:05 PM   #32
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Funny. I was wary with my first Brooks, a Team Pro, but it was great from Day One. The B17 was fine on Day One but really fine after a few hundred miles. Both get Proofide rarely -- mainly to hide scuffs.
I wonder if any saddle made is comfortable for all butts.
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Old 08-26-13, 06:25 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
For what it is worth.

If I did that with my B17 I would hurt. My b17 likes me in a pretty upright position. But I put a swift on my road bike with about a 2 in drop and that works for me.

I tried a B17-n imperial...and that simply did not work out.

Saddles are very individual.

As for "breaking" in, I have always tended to harder saddles any way. I use only Proofide on my brookws saddles. my b17 is now showing dimples for my seat bones and really the only "softening" i feel is that the whole saddles it slighty more "hammocky"

ymmv

Which is why I got the B17N because it was alleged to be proper for those of us who ride with the bars positioned low. And, no, I have no intention of raising the bars as that is not the issue.

LC
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Old 08-26-13, 10:24 PM   #34
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Off topic. All you Brooks users - do you have any problems with the colour/stain on the saddle rubbing off on your clothes? Specifically the black saddles? Only relevant if you ride in clothes that are not cycling specific, such as jeans or shorts.
I have the black Brooks B 17, always ride in "normal" clothes, and I haven't had any issues with the dye coming off onto my clothing. I did not treat the saddle with Proofride or anything other ointments, though...
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Old 08-26-13, 10:36 PM   #35
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It took me 800 km to break in my first Brooks. My second was still not quite broken in at 1000 km, so we did the washcloth trick and it was broken in within a few km. For my third, we did the washcloth trick after about 100 km, and it was broken in within a few km.

A couple additional comments ...

1) The saddle should never become soft. It should always be firm ... hard.

2) If you don't want to do any of the break-in tricks (and the ONLY one I would advise is the washcloth trick ... do not do any of the others), go for a ride in a downpour.

A Brooks saddle is worth being patient for.
I think you may be right. I rode in the rain yesterday, and then left the bike locked up in the rain for a couple more hours before I remembered that Brooks saddles are not waterproof, and today, it's actually a little more supple. Not soft, mind you, but noticeably less concrete-like.
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Old 08-26-13, 10:53 PM   #36
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Which brings me to another question: what happens if you ride a Brooks in the rain a lot? Will regular rain riding damage or destroy the saddle? (I have fenders.)
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Old 08-27-13, 01:43 AM   #37
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Which brings me to another question: what happens if you ride a Brooks in the rain a lot? Will regular rain riding damage or destroy the saddle? (I have fenders.)
It didn't destroy mine ... and I rode it in many absolutely torrential downpours.

But most Brooks riders keep a plastic grocery bag tucked into the rails so they can tie it over the saddle if the bicycle has to sit out in the rain.
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Old 08-27-13, 02:47 AM   #38
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I had mine for 2 years only last well got caught in the rain and Bingo
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Old 08-27-13, 04:28 AM   #39
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Old 08-27-13, 05:59 AM   #40
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My experience is that comfort with a brooks is very sensitive to the tilt (mainly up). I would try some very tiny tilting up of your saddle and see if it improves your comfort.
This has been my experience as well. The nose on my Brooks saddle has to be higher than the rear for it to be comfortable; otherwise I slide forward. Properly adjusted, a Brooks B17 is comfortable right out of the box for me.
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Old 08-27-13, 06:28 AM   #41
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It has nothing to do with them being overrated or not, it has to do with two things: 1, are you the kind of person who can be comfortable on this saddle, and 2, is it set up properly? You won't know the answer to 1 unless you figure out 2 first.

Also note there are multiple models of Brooks saddles, and just because you're not comfortable on one of them doesn't mean the others won't work. I'm very comfortable on a Pro, but I never could get used to a Swift--so I traded it for another Pro.
Yeah, I actually tried it out this morning and tilting it slightly back like suggested and WOW, what a difference. I think I can break it in this way and with padded shorts it was comfortable enough for me for 1hour 15min. I put that bear grease from Finland on it (mink oil) to condition the leather and it sure looks great on my vintage FUGI so I hope it will get more comfortable with use.
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Old 08-27-13, 06:35 AM   #42
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A friend gave me an Imperial that he didn't like. I don't think he put very many miles on it, so I don't think he broke it in or that it conformed to him at all, so I'm sure my issues with the saddle aren't that. He did put one coat of Proofide on the outer surface of the saddle but not the underside.

When I first started riding it, it felt like a rock hard plastic saddle. It was awful. I was riding 100 miles a week, riding 7 days a week, so my rear end was pretty well conditioned before I put it on. It took a couple of weeks before it improved a tiny amount from feeling like stiff, HARD plastic to something slightly more forgiving. I didn't note exactly when I mounted it, but I must have put about 700 miles on it now, if not closer to a thousand. It's improved a little more, but not a whole lot, it still isn't comfortable. My decade old, $35 gel, anatomic, double sprung, Serfas saddle is still far more comfortable, as was my first Selle Anatomica, but unfortunately neither of those saddles are compatible with my Carradice quick release bag support, so I am soldiering on, trying to break in my Brooks. You'd think 700+ miles would be enough!

What did really surprise me, was the change I noticed when I upgraded seat posts. I'd been using the old, cheap style (two 14mm nuts) seat posts forever, but I suspected that the narrow clamping area contributed to the failure of a saddle rail on another saddle, and was hoping that the fine tuning available from a better seat post would help with the Brooks.

Now, even though I had been using a cheap seatpost, I was aware of all the advice about getting a Brooks to exactly the perfect angle for you, and had managed to get the saddle perfect. I actually continued using the cheap seatpost for at least another month after my Thomson came in the mail because I was loath to start that process all over!

Interestingly, though, as soon as I mounted the better seatpost the saddle actually felt a little better! Even though I didn't have it dialed in perfectly (and am still working on that! Again!), there was a noticeable improvement in the way the saddle felt. I can't explain it, but it was discernible. I'm still not happy with it, but I'm going to give it a while longer before I throw in the towel and try a Terry Liberator.

Speaking of throwing in the towel, what is this wet washcloth trick folks are talking about? I've read a lot of Brooks threads hoping to glean some insight, I think this is the first I've heard of this. Which is surprising, because I've heard some crazy ideas (dipping in a bucket of motor oil, etc)!

The friend who gave me the saddle told me it was dark green, but it looks black. He said that is from the Proofide. At this point, I'm wondering if I should give it another coat? It is starting to become scuffed/worn through the black color in places, and although I do run full length fenders with long mudflaps, and use a saddle cover when I park outdoors, I do commute every day except during the summer, and it often rains a fair amount here, so it is going to get wet some, even if I do stay in the saddle most of the time.

I appreciate the contributions to this thread, like I said, I've read a number of other Brooks threads here before, and this is the first time I've noticed some people saying it has taken them 500-1000 miles to break them in. Of course, some people are comfortable on them much sooner, but it is actually encouraging to me, given my circumstances, to hear from the folks that it took longer. All the other threads, it seemed everyone was saying it should be broken in much sooner and you were either doing it wrong, or not suited to a Brooks if it wasn't wonderful right away or in 200 miles or less.


FWIW, I ride converted mountain bikes, with a pretty upright stance.
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Old 08-27-13, 07:30 AM   #43
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i am rocking a Brooks Flyer on my Xtracycle, very uprightish position (my bars are about 3" higher than the saddle). It was comfortable right out of the box, I did have to tilt the nose up slightly though.
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Old 08-27-13, 08:30 AM   #44
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I'm wondering if it still needs more adjustment. Once adjusted properly, my B17s felt great and I never wanted them to be squishier.
I agree with this. My B17 felt like a knife in my crotch until I bumped it forward a cm or so, and then I had the proverbial 'aha' moment. I had been sitting too far up on it. It's been 'aha' (with a few 'ahhhs' mixed in)ever since.

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Which brings me to another question: what happens if you ride a Brooks in the rain a lot? Will regular rain riding damage or destroy the saddle? (I have fenders.)
I suspect that you meant what happens if you leave it out in the rain. I have fenders too and as I tell my wife (Who was worried about me ruining my investment), when I ride in the rain the saddle is the driest place on the bike. I have indoor parking so leaving it in the rain isn't a concern of mine, but I keep a cheap shower cap in one of my bag pockets just in case.
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Old 08-27-13, 11:18 AM   #45
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Which is why I got the B17N because it was alleged to be proper for those of us who ride with the bars positioned low. And, no, I have no intention of raising the bars as that is not the issue.

LC
No intent on suggesting that you raise your bars. Just sharing my experience....that for me a swift worked with low (for me) bars and the B17 and B17n didn't. The other seat I have used for a long time is a selle italia tubor from '89. looking at this, I am prettty sure that I need a more rounded top of the seat . Which is why I went swivt, not pro for my road bike.

other people seem to be just fine with as b17 and low bars... not me.

Bottom line getting a fitting saddle is less science and more art.....and sometimes a pain
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Old 08-27-13, 12:43 PM   #46
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17 is flatter back rivet curved arch, 17N is narrower,

The Brooks Pro is arched in both directions .. top view and back viewed ..
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Old 08-28-13, 02:50 PM   #47
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I agree with everyone that proper adjustment is critical with the B-17 as well as rider position (i.e. somewhat upright); all good advice. What I haven't seen mentioned is that the rail system on the B-17 has very little fore/aft adjustment. For that reason, when I hear people complain about the B-17 being torturous on the sit bones, I always wonder if it's because they can't slide the seat back far enough for proper adjustment, and might actually be sitting on the rear steel frame crosspiece instead of suspended leather. That is torturous! Believe me ... I know! One advantage to a suspended leather saddle like the B-17 is that while pedaling you can reach underneath the saddle and feel exactly where you sit bones are positioned. If they are in the sweet spot you will love this saddle. If not ....
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Old 08-28-13, 05:03 PM   #48
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Contrary to popular belief a Brooks saddle does not "soften" as what I think people that have never ridden a Brooks think.

The saddle will start to mold to your sit bones. This does provide more comfort and support but it does not soften. It will not get all nice and soft like a well worn baseball glove.

For me, my Brooks are perfectly comfortable right out of the box and get a bit better with some age.
I disagree in part. The saddle is basically a leather hammock. The leather fibers soften where there is the greatest pressure, i.e. where you pressure points (sit bones) are. it does soften, otherwise why do they have a wrench to tighten up the saddle when it gets too soft?
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Old 08-29-13, 03:06 AM   #49
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I disagree in part. The saddle is basically a leather hammock. The leather fibers soften where there is the greatest pressure, i.e. where you pressure points (sit bones) are. it does soften, otherwise why do they have a wrench to tighten up the saddle when it gets too soft?
I agree with you. Mine was as hard as a board when I got it, still pretty comfortable but now it flexes nicely.
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Old 08-29-13, 08:13 PM   #50
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No intent on suggesting that you raise your bars. Just sharing my experience....that for me a swift worked with low (for me) bars and the B17 and B17n didn't. The other seat I have used for a long time is a selle italia tubor from '89. looking at this, I am prettty sure that I need a more rounded top of the seat . Which is why I went swivt, not pro for my road bike.

other people seem to be just fine with as b17 and low bars... not me.

Bottom line getting a fitting saddle is less science and more art.....and sometimes a pain
Thanks, I am not having the problem that the OP is but I will definitely keep your advice in mind. Next time I buy a Brooks, I may try the Swift.

Thanks,
LC
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