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Old 08-01-05, 04:04 PM   #1
cheeseflavor
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Brooks B.17 = Ouch!

Ok. After reading all the good stuff about Brooks saddles, my wife and I purchased a couple. She got the Pro "S" and I got the Champion Special. The first ride was great. 20 miles and we both were thinking "I'm gonna like this!". The next day, there was some soreness, but overall... not too bad.

The next day, we did 30 miles.

At the end of about 10, I was thinking this is going to be a long ride. After about 20, I was in pain, but I could still sit. Towards the end of the ride, I was standing up on the peddles from time to time. This morning, my butt feels like I've been kicked with a spiked boot a dozen or so times. The family jewels feel fine however.

We've done the proofide applications a couple of times.

I'm dreading a ride tonight. Should I be? Will this get better? Soon? Please?

Steve
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Old 08-01-05, 04:29 PM   #2
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- interesting... are you sure you have your saddle adjusted for fit? (height, fwds/bkwds, tilt)

- i just replaced a BG (Specialized) saddle w/a new B17 last week... applied some Snoseal to the bottom (heated in w/a hair dryer) and a couple light coats rubbed in on top...

- on my ride, the B17 sat higher and longer than the BG, so some adjustment was needed (IOW, not just a replace job on the seatpost)... also, the B17 slides a bit until 'worked'...

- i noticed a LOT more comfort right away w/the B17...

- on the next ride, perhaps making a mental note of how you prefer riding on the saddle could help making a roadside or end-of-ride adjustment?
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Old 08-01-05, 04:43 PM   #3
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Like a hair shirt, Brooks saddles can take some time to get used to. I would advise easing up on the length of your initial rides or the frequency until the saddles have a chance to form to your butts. Also, proofhiding them will shorten the break in period. Keep checking this thread as there are way more experienced Brooks riders than me who will no doubt be eager to help you out.

I am closing in on 3000 miles on my first Brooks in 35 years. I left the tribe for awhile, seduced by sleek tiny things that had padding and promised immediate comfort. Now that I have the new saddle well broken in, I wonder why I ever stopped. Oh yeah, that's right. It was that crash when my bike ended up under that lady's car.
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Old 08-01-05, 05:09 PM   #4
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I agree with you! I did a 50 mile ride yesterday and have a hard time sitting today! (it was my first time using the Brooks)
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Old 08-01-05, 05:38 PM   #5
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Apologies to Brooks riders....I know I'm stepping on a sacred icon 8-) but I put over a 1,000 miles on my B-17 and never really appreciated it. Adjustments up and down, fore and aft just didn't get it. Sliding around on it, sliding forward especially unless I tilted the nose to the point of sliding backwards. And I consider my bike fit and set up fairly dialed in. Someday I might try a Team Pro. A riding friend has had his Pro in use off and on for 27 years. It looks like last year's dried road kill but still works for him. Anyway, back to my plastic shell Regal. So many people report their love for this saddle, I'm sure I'm a lone voice here. Wouldn't you know, I get born with the weird butt!
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Old 08-01-05, 07:00 PM   #6
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I believe (from personal experience) that the Brooks saddles are NOT set up at the factory for heavier riders. I don't know if you fit this profile, but I do. After a couple weeks of painful riding, I noticed that the saddle was starting to sag in the middle and that the sides were starting to bow out. I took my "Brooks saddle wrench" and tightened up the thing by a turn or two. WOW! What a difference it made! I can now ride the thing without pain! I was beginning to think I'd been had..
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Old 08-01-05, 07:07 PM   #7
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Can't tell you it will get better soon, but from the first time I rode with my Brooks B17, I was sold. It has been the most comfortable saddle ever. All I did was put it on the bike, adjust it and off I went.
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Old 08-01-05, 08:58 PM   #8
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The B-17 Standard appears to be made of softer leather and is comfortable in no time. The B-17 Champion is stiff as a board and will take much longer to break in. I have ridden over 1000 km with the Champion and still find it painful after a long ride. Very slight tilting up or down may be necessary.
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Old 08-01-05, 09:37 PM   #9
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I mounted my B-17 Champion Special. I switched from a wider Brooks. I used the Shelton Brown method to break it in. He suggest soaking the entire saddle (leather) in Neet's foot oil. I've heard of people using motor oil. I used the Neet's . Place saddle on a piece of tin foil. Large enough to form it to allow level to submerge the saddle. I put mine inside a cooking pan . Let it soak for at least an hr. I did about 2 hrs. Wipe of excess. Rub the oil in . I waited until the next day to mount the saddle. The first couple of 20 mi rides weren't great, but not to bad. The third ride 70 mi. was fine. I rubbed in proofide for the first week after every ride. It worked for me. <><
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Old 08-01-05, 10:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linux_author
- interesting... are you sure you have your saddle adjusted for fit? (height, fwds/bkwds, tilt)
That's a fair question, and one that requires a long answer

First, some history...

I'm 50+, and my wife and I started riding a bit over a year ago. To say we're hooked is putting it mildly at this point. A year later, we've been through 4 bikes each. I have struggled with prostate issues for the better part of 3 years, and really couldn't tolerate sitting on a standard seat, so I've used a "hornless" saddle called the spiderflex all this time. We now average 120-150mi/wk and average 16.5 - 17.0 mph over the course of a typical ride (23-25mi). So, that saddle is the only one I've known.

The bike I have the B.17 installed on is a Specialized Roubaix, so the the handlebars are lower than the seat. I love the bike. It's been great.

The point, I think, is that I'm not so sure I have it adjusted properly. I currently have it adjusted so that there is a slight (maybe 1%) tilt up on the nose. Is it possible that I'm just going through the pains of breaking my own behind it after never using a conventional saddle?

Thanks for the response by the way!

Steve
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Old 08-01-05, 10:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeaway2003
The B-17 Standard appears to be made of softer leather and is comfortable in no time. The B-17 Champion is stiff as a board and will take much longer to break in. I have ridden over 1000 km with the Champion and still find it painful after a long ride. Very slight tilting up or down may be necessary.
No kidding? I bought it from Wallbike (who has a 6 month unconditional "buy-back" policy. I think I'll email and ask if that is indeed the case, and maybe just go for the standard. Also, I wonder if, because I ride a roadbike, if I'd be better off with a narrower model, like the pro or the B.17N?

Thanks for the reply!

Steve
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Old 08-01-05, 10:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctyler
Can't tell you it will get better soon, but from the first time I rode with my Brooks B17, I was sold. It has been the most comfortable saddle ever. All I did was put it on the bike, adjust it and off I went.
Well, the first 20 miles were deceptively pleasant I'm hoping it can break me in!

BTW, you live in a wonderful state to bike in. Wisconsin has great roads.

Take care,

Steve
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Old 08-01-05, 11:38 PM   #13
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Thoughts on some of the issues in the above posts--granted, I'm an unabashed Brooks lover. I don't even have to wear padded bike shorts to be comfortable on my B17.

Do not put muiltiple applications of Proofhide on the saddle. This will acually inhibit the softening of the saddle. Normally, Proofhide should only go on twice a year.

If the tilt or fore/aft positioning of the Brooks is off, it won't be comfortable. It took me a few adjustments to get the tilt just right. I actually used a level. And make sure your sit bones are hitting the correct spot on the saddle or you'll either be a) unsupported or b) sitting on top of steel and rivets.

If one is sliding arouding on a saddle I cannot conceive how the saddle and bike can be adjusted properly--one or the other has to be off. The leather will, of course, exacerbate any sliding since it creates (thank God) little friction.

Also, I just don't buy that a saddle will get much better after a break-in period. Sure, your saddle will get more comfortable, but if you are a frequent rider the saddle should be good to go out of the box. If it isn't, either the saddle isn't right for you of the set-up isn't right. I had to reclamp my B17 about five times to get it just right, but once I did I went for a 30 miles ride. A few days later I toured, doing 60 miles a day for several days. I wouldn't wait for a saddle that hurts to get comfortable.

Cheeseflavor, is the Brooks hurting you at the horn? I ask because if you've only been on a hornless saddle the parts of you that aren't used to toucing a saddle may take some time to adjust. Otherwise, as much as you ride I'd say either the saddle is wrong or the set up of the saddle is wrong--it isn't you.
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Old 08-02-05, 01:01 AM   #14
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my 2 cents
I used to ride brooks B17 ca. 30 years ago. When I rejuvenated my ol' bike and started riding again ca. 2 years ago after a prolonged (20 y) break, i put on my old brooks (kinda shot after extensive use and weathering). To cut it short, the sella italia flite ti (hard and flat) was much better for me. Soft does not equal comfort. And you're right - when you have an uncomfortable saddle you just don't look forward to the next ride..
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Old 08-02-05, 11:21 AM   #15
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All saddles will need some bedding in and the same goes for the backside aswell. Give it a fair chance for you to adjust to the saddle and for the saddle to adjust to you.
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Old 08-02-05, 03:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
All saddles will need some bedding in and the same goes for the backside aswell. Give it a fair chance for you to adjust to the saddle and for the saddle to adjust to you.
We took last night off to recuperate. Tonight, we'll be doing our usual 21-23 miles. I'll let everyone know how it goes. I think I may have my saddle too far back. I know with the spiderflex, my knees were directly over the pedals, now they're slightly behind. So, I know I have some adjusting to do.

Thanks again to everyone for the replies!

Steve
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Old 08-02-05, 04:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeaway2003
The B-17 Standard appears to be made of softer leather and is comfortable in no time. The B-17 Champion is stiff as a board and will take much longer to break in. I have ridden over 1000 km with the Champion and still find it painful after a long ride. Very slight tilting up or down may be necessary.
- WoW! i just verified this, but using my B17 standard vs a new-in-the-box B17 Special (honey brown)... the Special is *considerably* harder than the standard!

- boy, i'd better start riding the special, as the standard is just fine as-is out of the box!
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Old 08-03-05, 06:19 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linux_author
- WoW! i just verified this, but using my B17 standard vs a new-in-the-box B17 Special (honey brown)... the Special is *considerably* harder than the standard!

- boy, i'd better start riding the special, as the standard is just fine as-is out of the box!
That *is* interesting. I'll for sure drop a line to Wallbike today and ask them if they can verify it. The only reason I got the special was because of the large, hand hammered copper rivets, and it just looks nicer. I'll report back what their response is.

Take care,

Steve
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Old 08-03-05, 06:22 AM   #19
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Last night's ride went MUCH better. I ended up moving saddle forward a bit, tilted the nose down a bit (maybe a couple degrees) and raised the saddle. It's now very comfortable and I feel I've got my power back. My hands aren't bothering me at all (either on top or underneath the drops) and I only had some slight discomfort late in the ride.

Maybe this thing will work after all!

Thanks again to everyone for the help!

Steve
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Old 08-03-05, 07:48 AM   #20
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Also, I just don't buy that a saddle will get much better after a break-in period. Sure, your saddle will get more comfortable, but if you are a frequent rider the saddle should be good to go out of the box. If it isn't, either the saddle isn't right for you of the set-up isn't right.
I regret that I didn't save the few messages that I shared with the blokes at Brooks this last spring over resurrecting my B5N (well over 30 years old).

To paraphrase... "if you were to go to a reputable haberdashery to buy a pair of decent leather shoes (he named a couple classy italian brands), you'd expect the shoes to be a bit 'touch and go' while the leather gradually conformed to your foot -- a foot that is unique to other feet. But once the leather has acquired this form, you would expect many satisfied years of service out of the shoes." (he all but 'undressed' me when I told him that I'd soaked it in neatsfoot oil as per an on-line suggestion; Neatsfoot oil softens but it also degrades the fibres of leather, worse in the long run)

Out of the box plastic/gel saddles do have the advantage of letting you know whether they will be comfortable or tortuous RIGHT AWAY. A leather Brooks may take some breaking in.
OTOH... I have bought some leather shoes that, after some miles of walking, just didn't feel right. Any purchase is a leap of faith. HAve faith and soak your butt in a warm bath, and that Brooks saddle *might* just be the saddle you are looking for.
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Old 08-03-05, 10:23 PM   #21
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Wise advice, here, both regarding Proofide and tilt adjustment. The owner of an old shop in Chicago just told me I've been adjusting my Pro wrong: I've been setting the horn level and he says I should set the flat part level. I've been trying this, and it's working. It still needs fine-tuning and careful testing. This involves TAKING YOUR WRENCHES ON THE ROAD WITH YOU. If it starts to hurt, don't wait for it to stop, make a small change.

This nose-up setting has me sitting on the wide part of the saddle without sliding forward on to the narrower middle part, where I'll get excess perineal pressure. However, I'm now getting some inner leg chafing, so perhaps with my position (about 40 degrees forward lean) the Pro is too wide for me!

I don't really believe Brooks saddles should soften significantly. Consider that when they do, you get a pair of depressions where your sit bones go, and that settling adds pressure to the sensitive areas in the middle. That pressure, not the hardness of the leather, is what causes pain IMHO. I believe saddles with that form of "break-in" are actually collapsed, or broken!

Now that I've gotten the Pro on this one bike somewhat dialed in, I'm finding the other one to be a totally different problem, since it a much more supple piece of leather. Perhaps it's really broken!

I especially endorse Antony's final comment: It Isn't You! The saddle can be tensioned, raised, lowered, tilted, moved fore/aft, or replaced. You are stuck with your anatomy, however.

Ken


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony King
Thoughts on some of the issues in the above posts--granted, I'm an unabashed Brooks lover. I don't even have to wear padded bike shorts to be comfortable on my B17.

Do not put muiltiple applications of Proofhide on the saddle. This will acually inhibit the softening of the saddle. Normally, Proofhide should only go on twice a year.

If the tilt or fore/aft positioning of the Brooks is off, it won't be comfortable. It took me a few adjustments to get the tilt just right. I actually used a level. And make sure your sit bones are hitting the correct spot on the saddle or you'll either be a) unsupported or b) sitting on top of steel and rivets.

If one is sliding arouding on a saddle I cannot conceive how the saddle and bike can be adjusted properly--one or the other has to be off. The leather will, of course, exacerbate any sliding since it creates (thank God) little friction.

Also, I just don't buy that a saddle will get much better after a break-in period. Sure, your saddle will get more comfortable, but if you are a frequent rider the saddle should be good to go out of the box. If it isn't, either the saddle isn't right for you of the set-up isn't right. I had to reclamp my B17 about five times to get it just right, but once I did I went for a 30 miles ride. A few days later I toured, doing 60 miles a day for several days. I wouldn't wait for a saddle that hurts to get comfortable.

Cheeseflavor, is the Brooks hurting you at the horn? I ask because if you've only been on a hornless saddle the parts of you that aren't used to toucing a saddle may take some time to adjust. Otherwise, as much as you ride I'd say either the saddle is wrong or the set up of the saddle is wrong--it isn't you.
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Old 08-09-05, 12:32 PM   #22
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Update:

A week (and a little over 100mi) later, I am happy to report that the saddle is in the process of breaking me in nicely. Each night's ride feels better than the last, and I'm actually enjoying my new Brooks. The *only* thing I'm not to sure about is whether the model I went with is the correct one for my riding style and bike. I went with the b.17 Champion Special, and ride with the handlebars lower than the seat. I also ride on the drops quite a bit. Seems to work just fine, but don't know if I would have been better off with one of the narrower seats, like the pro.

Anyway... thanks to everyone for listening and making some great suggestions!

Steve
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