I've been using Selle San Marco Regal saddles for a long time. Never had a problem with them right from the start.
Well, the saddles I had been using hurt me so bad that it was like a screaming pain after 20 miles or so and I'd have to put up with that for the 35 miles or so of ride that was all I could stand. I finally broke down and bought an expensive Regal. On the first ride I managed to get about 1.5 miles before it hurt so bad that I couldn't ride any further. I pulled over and readjusted the saddle tilt down one click. IT WAS PERFECT after that and I could ride any length and just get a sore bottom and none of that perineal pain that I had been having.
Over the years I've beat up a whole lot of Regals and never had a complaint with them except that they aren't comfortable. Not UN-comfortable mind you - but you'd think that there must be some saddle somewhere that is better than that.
So after reading all of the praise for a Brooks B-17 I bought one for my touring bike. I installed it and went out today to break it in. At first it wasn't very comfortable. It was shiny and slippery and I kept sliding forward which put a lot of strain on my arms.
It was supposed to be an easy ride because I've heard that until Brookes are broken in they are pretty uncomfortable.
After 12 miles I was sitting in a coffee shop and decided instead of going back the flat route I'd go up to Mountain Blvd. Via a knee breaker route. Well, my touring bike has a granny gear from a mountain bike so what the heck?
Up through little Mexico and then up through Big Bucks Junction onto Mountain Blvd. There are several sections up to 1/4 mile long that are over 16% here. A 24/34 may look funny but it sure comes in handy at times like that. And since it is friction shifting I can make it completely silent on the quiet back streets.
At this point I decided that Skyline might be a better route so I started up the side roads. It was at this point that I realized that the saddle wasn't hurting and that I wasn't sliding forward on it. I figured that it was because of the uphill holding me back on the saddle.
But after I hit Skyline and was riding along the ridges I still wasn't sliding around on it.
I also noticed that when I hit a bump, it wasn't transmitted full force through the saddle and up my spine like on the plastic based saddles. What started out to be a 25 mile flat ride ended up a 32 mile ride with a thousand feet or more of climbing.
When I pulled up to my house and went up the bump of the driveway there wasn't any large jolt.
While it's plain that the saddle still needs a lot of breaking in, I can see now that there are definite advantages to a leather saddle of this design.