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Old 08-10-06, 12:14 PM   #1
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Installed Another Brooks B17 - Black is Softer?

- installed another Brooks B-17 today on my old Allez after i got fed up with an azz-busting 25-miler this morning thanks to a Selle Italia Flite Ti Gel seat (i would have been *very* disappointed if i had purchased the Italia saddle separately from a bike a purchase - it is simply awful [to me])...

- i have two Honey browns and two black B-17s (one Honey is a special)... both honeys arrived rock hard, while both black saddles arrived soft and springy!

- is this normal? i had to actually tighten up my first black saddle, and it looks like i may have to do the same with the new one (which cost $40 from Nashbar due to a wicked sale a few weeks ago - w00t!)... i did not apply any preservative, water-proofing, or You-Must-Only-Use-Brooks-Proofhide™

- one thing is for sure... i'm riding in comfort from now on!

:-)
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Old 08-10-06, 12:42 PM   #2
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I have a few new black ones that were rock hard as well as the newest honey so I did not have the same findings.
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Old 08-10-06, 02:15 PM   #3
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I am not aware of any initial hardness difference between black and honey colored Brooks saddles.
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Old 08-10-06, 03:31 PM   #4
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I suspect they all feel like a 2"x4"

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Old 08-10-06, 05:14 PM   #5
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Three of mine were purchased new, two black and one honey, all seemed to be the same hardness.
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Old 08-10-06, 05:27 PM   #6
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There are 2 different B-17s ... the champion special is somewhat thicker and harder (and more costly) than the standard in my experience.
Here's wallingford bike for reference: http://www.wallbike.com/brooks/stand....html#b17stand
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Old 08-10-06, 08:43 PM   #7
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It's made from a real piece of leather, so there can be variations in thickness and I suppose hardness between individual saddles of the same type. Could be that you just happened to get a distribution of characteristics that randomly fall into what seems to be a pattern but really isn't. Luck of the draw.
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Old 08-10-06, 10:02 PM   #8
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I think hubs nailed it--I have two honeys and a black, and the honeys are thicker leather (I just went out and looked at 'em). Seems to me I remember reading somewhere that Brooks made some "special edition" saddles or something that had thicker leather.
I don't remember feeling a difference when they were new, but I've had them for years and got them at different times, so I might not have noticed.
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Old 08-10-06, 10:17 PM   #9
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I got the pre-aged Brooks so my break-in is a year ahead of you.

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Old 08-11-06, 06:16 PM   #10
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I'm glad this thread is here. When I had my Gunnar street dog built up, I considered a Brooks B-17. I have heard the same two things:

-They're great. A lot of serious riders won't ride on anything else.

-The break in can be a beast, and sometimes painful.

So, how tough is the break in? Yes, I'd be willing to spend more for one of the pre-aged models. I've also heard that the "Pro" models, with the large copper rivets, will break in much slower, but are truly wonderful and will probably last forever.

Opinions and experiences please.
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Old 08-11-06, 07:12 PM   #11
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Of the B17s I bought recently(past 5 years), 2 std honeys, a std maroon & a green special edition, they were all comfortable enough right out of the box, somewhat slippery for a 100 miles or so and they steadily improved as I rode the miles. Average break in on the standards was 500-700 miles. The special edition has thicker leather and is not fully broken in yet as I approach 2000 miles but it has never been uncomfortable, just taking longer. Hard to say how long they will last as I'm still riding a B15 that came off a 1967 Schwinn Super Sport & it looks to have many years left in it. Don
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Old 08-11-06, 07:28 PM   #12
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I just put the first 25 miles on a black B-17 standard. It's hard, stretched, and shiny. I don't have it quite tuned in yet, but it's comfortable enough. I also have a B-17 champion narrow (brown) on the 73 Raleigh I bought used. I'm busy rebreaking it in. It's slightly less stiff.
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Old 08-12-06, 01:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub
I'm glad this thread is here. . . Opinions and experiences please.
Understanding that there are lots of differing opinions about this, for what it's worth, starting with the aged model, moisten the top surface with mink oil and buff it off after a day or two, Do it again one or twice. During this time, work the wings so that you can curl them past the frame and under the seat.

Finally, moisten the saddle again, place a folded towel on top of the saddle toward the reat and tighten something like a toe clip strap around the saddle, cinched up tight (the towel will allow you to get the proper leverage). This allows you to manually ratchet the wings well under the saddle and hold them like that--with the towel pressing down on the top of the saddle--and let that set for a day or two.

The above, I think, accomplishes the same thing as stitching the wings together (or cutting them off entirely which is something that I don't think is necessary for a saddle that is broken in) and seems to put a lot of flex in a new saddle.

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Old 08-13-06, 01:57 PM   #14
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Okay, now let me ask about the "sensitive issue": On a B-17, is there any pressure on the "household plumbing?" You know, numbness, any other problems. People rave about these saddles, I cannot believe there would be any problems here.
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Old 08-14-06, 05:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub
Okay, now let me ask about the "sensitive issue": On a B-17, is there any pressure on the "household plumbing?" You know, numbness, any other problems. People rave about these saddles, I cannot believe there would be any problems here.
+1

The reports I've read seem to indicate that some people still experience numbness with a B-17 even when properly setup. I seem to be a bit susceptible so I'm very interested to hear from owners who either do or don't suffer. FWIW I'd typically ride longer than 2.5 hours so longer distance comfort is important.

// kak
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Old 08-14-06, 10:42 AM   #16
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I'm sure that for any given saddle, there are some people who will experience numbness while riding it. For me, the B17 is the one saddle I've found that I do not get numb during long rides. Properly set up, there is no pressure on the 'taint area to produce numbness. I do a lot of long rides. 57 miles yesterday and 100 last Sunday for example, so I spend a lot of hours in the saddle. If something else worked better, I'd go for it. But for me, there is no issue at all with numbness riding on a B17.
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Old 08-14-06, 04:57 PM   #17
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Yes, I'd also like to hear from anyone who has experienced a problem with a Brooks saddle, and had to return it.

If you're like me, you probably read the various catalogs that stuff your mailbox, and you check out some of the saddles on the market. And you think "Ouch!!" when you see some of them.
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Old 08-15-06, 09:07 PM   #18
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I installed the Champion Flyer Friday, and if you think the black ones are soft, you are way tougher than I. Can't wait for the sit bones to conform to it, but I don't have plans to send it backe, either. Love the guarantee, though.
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Old 08-15-06, 10:16 PM   #19
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I have two B-17s, one with 500 miles on it and one with 100 miles on it. The former was treated initially with a couple of moderate coats of Proofide and the later with a couple of moderate coats of baseball glove oil. The later was more comfortable on mile 1 than the former is on mile 500. Neither have ever been uncomfortable, but the one treated with baseball glove oil is noticeably more comfortable. Try it. Just don't soak the saddle in the oil. Oil mainly the part of the saddle your sit bones contact then sit it out in the sun to soak in. Wack it a few times with a rubber mallet to help the softening process along. The result is you can't tell the difference between the two saddles looking at them but the one treated with oil is softer to the touch... and to your sit bones.
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Old 08-17-06, 06:06 PM   #20
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So, opinions on the B-17 "Pre aged" model?
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Old 08-17-06, 06:19 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub
So, opinions on the B-17 "Pre aged" model?
It's medium brown color and modest sized brads are a better look, to me, than some of the Brooks saddles.
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Old 08-17-06, 10:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub
So, opinions on the B-17 "Pre aged" model?
Little Bobby Zimmerman said:

"You never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you"

translation: What's the hurry? Age it yourself.
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Old 08-17-06, 10:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Little Bobby Zimmerman said:

"You never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you"
Big Bobby Zimmerman sez, "I'm gonna get my kicks suing your ass, BluesDawg!!!"
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Old 08-18-06, 10:28 AM   #24
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It's allright, Ma. I'm only riding.
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