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Thread: Brooks Saddle?

  1. #1
    Senior Member PirateJim's Avatar
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    Brooks Saddle?

    Hi all, sorry if I'm plowing old ground here...

    I'm thinking of getting a Brooks and looking for input, feedback, kudos, red flags, whatever. I recognize that they take a bit to break in and that they aren't the lightest, but I am planning to be riding for years to come and I'm not and will not be a racer so the fractional weight differences from plastic don't matter that much.

    I will be putting the new saddle on a Trek Pilot 5.0 that I ride about an hour a day after work most days and 2+ hours a day on the weekends (there are other things going on in life too). As noted I don't race and I don't ride in mass group rides, at least I haven't yet and the thought doesn't really appeal to me. I enjoy the quiet Zen-like me, the bike, and the road feeling. A bunch of other bikers wouldn't enhace that for me.

    I've been pondering Brooks website and the selection seems to be the Team Professional, the Swift, and the B17. Suggestions? Alternatives I should look at?

    Thanks in advance. Jim
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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I've got 3 Brooks - 2 Team Professionals and a Swift. I've found the break in stories to be wildly over stated. It only took about 25 miles to start putting some shape into them and all three have felt great after around 100 miles.

    Current Wallingford prices are $150 to $355 for the Team Professional (ti rails cost extra), and $175 to $348 for the Swift. If you want top of the line a limited edition Swallow retails at $673.

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    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The B17 is the perfect saddle for me. I have two on road bikes and a Flyer, a B17 wth springs, on a rigid MTB. I'm sure the expensive models are nice, but the B17 is a fantastic place to sit.

    As for bringing up this topic,
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    There's enough Brooks info at BikeForums to last a lifetime if you want to do a search.

    The general consensus is that the B-17 is best for a more upright position like when the saddle is about even with the handlebar or higher. The Team Professional and the Swift are supposed to be best on bikes with a lower bar. This has been the guideline, but saddle choice is very personal and what works for someone else may not work for you.
    Wallingford Bicycle Parts www.wallbike.com has a nice return policy which minimizes risk.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    Here are my experiences with brooks:

    The Pro and Swift are almost the same except for the rail length (swift is longer). If your saddle position is currently centered on the seat post this won't matter. If you are at an extreme this will matter. Possibly leading to needing a new seat post. The b17 also has short rails.

    The web is filled with break in procedures. Follow the manufacturer's suggestion and use only proofide. Forget all the rest. Most break in issues are related to proper setup, especially the angle of the seat. Experiment. A slightly tilted "up" angle is generally preferred.

    Leather that has been properly maintained can get wet. Perhaps not left soaking in bucket of water, but contrary to some things you read, the Brooks saddle will not melt if rained on.

    The leather is not the same from model to model. The pro and swift use thicker leather than the b17. Leather is hard. It's supposed to be.

    The three holes on the b17 are put there for ventilation. They make very little (if any) difference.

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    The B-17 Special has bigger rivets and, just maybe, better leather. I think it looks better. I find the break-in to last upwards of 500 miles, with the first hundred or so being a real pain in the butt. After that there are many years of using this much loved saddle. It's a good thing Brooks doesn't know how much I WOULD pay if I had to. There are a lot of ideas out there for making the Brooks comfortable right off the bat. I'd say, follow Brooks' recommendations and avoid the temptation to get clever. When the saddle gets soft, it's worn out. So there's no hurry in that department. With my current saddle, I plan not to tighten the adjuster nut maybe ever. When the leather sags, after many years of use, lacing it up sees to me the way to go. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    My old saddle was wearing out. I read all the hype about Brooks and decided to buy one. I bought a Flyer, which is the B17 with springs. I'm a tourer and on my summer tours I'm usually on my bike between 30 and 70 miles a day for two weeks straight. I haven't taken a tour with the Brooks yet so I'll report back in a few months.

    My local rides are usually 25-30 miles, but I rode a century in September so I upped my mileage in preparation for that. I had my Brooks by then. I noticed when the Brooks was new that my butt often felt on the verge of getting sore, but it never quite did. As I added more mileage and got up to 50 or 60 miles rides it was the same - after a long period in the saddle I felt like I was starting to get sore, but I never really "got there".

    When I rode the century I had the same feeling early in the ride, but I stopped at all the rest stops, and after each one my butt felt fresh again. When I finished the 100 miles I still had no pain. I think that made the Brooks a success. Since then I've continued my normal schedule of 25-30 mile rides on weekends. The Brooks has gotten more comfortable. Now, after 30 miles there's none of that "I'm starting to get sore" feeling. Butt discomfort simply isn't an issue.

    I'll be taking in on a tour across northern Washington, Idaho, and Montana this summer. That will be the true test.

    As far as waterproofing and leather go, I've used Proofide all along as prescribed in the directions that came with the saddle. I'm not worried about the saddle in the rain. I always carry a plastic bag and cover my saddle in the rain when I'm not riding - mostly so I won't have to sit on a soaked saddle. I also put the bag over the saddle before I go to bed, again so I won't have to sit on a wet (from dew) saddle in the morning. I think those precautions along with the Proofide should be enough to keep the saddle from any water damage.

    I'm giving my Brooks a preliminary thumbs up, with a final rating to come after my summer tour.

  8. #8
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    1+ for the B17. Very comfortable saddle with an easy break in. Lp

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    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    My first real road bike, 1972 Raliegh Super Course TT, came with the Brooks B17N (N is for narrow). It took a good many miles for it to be comfortable. Back then I only rode in gym shorts so that was part of the issue. I purchased a B17 N for a Cannondale about 5 years ago and it broke-in within 5 or 6 rides. The other posters make a good point about the saddle height/bar height. If you place the bars lower than the saddle the seat might not be able to adjust as easily as the newer saddles. It seems that to make the seat comfortable, and it is, it needs to be tilted up in the front slightly. With a low bar height this may make you slide back.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    You either suit a Brooks- Or you don't. I am in the Don't section.
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    I could ride Brooks, any model, right out of the box. In fact, I can pretty much ride any brand and style of saddle. I've been very lucky in that regard.
    I don't know why I like Brooks. Most of my bikes are equipped with different models of Brooks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    You either suit a Brooks- Or you don't. I am in the Don't section.
    IMO, There's no such thing as a perfect saddle. It's a fairy tale. Propaganda! Don't believe anyone that tells you,"it just disappears under me" They've either just come back from the store, 5 miles round trip, or are self-delusional. I own 2 Brooks and have owned and ridden several over the year's. I've also owned or tried almost every saddle I can think of. I always come back to the Brooks. After mile 50 or so, everything starts to hurt. A saddle is no exception.

    Richard

  13. #13
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    I have a B-17 on an older touring bike. It's OK but not not my favorite saddle. I would agree that the B-17 suits a slightly more upright riding position.

  14. #14
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    Well, I like my B-66. When coupled with northroads style bars, I have a very comfortable ride.

  15. #15
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    B-17 Saddles here.

    Just bought a new MTB (08 Fisher Paragon) and this bike has a Brooks on order for it as we speak. The stock Bontrager Race Lite Saddle is a torture device for this Ol' Butt. I need to burn it so no one else will have to suffer with the darn thing.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    B17N for me. I had some numbness, chafing, and general discomfort issues that I tried to resolve with all of the fancy gel RX saddles. Then I found BF, measured my sitzbones, and tried the B17N. Break-in was no big deal--problems solved. Actually, the final solution for chafing was some Burts Bees Salve for the nether-regions, but that's another thread entirely...

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    I recently bought a new Dahon Curve. The saddle that came in it was really hurting my butt after riding for 20 mins or so. I happened to see a good deal on a Brooks B17 Standard at a bike shop near my house. My butt has not hurt since. Instant remedy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sotto View Post
    I recently bought a new Dahon Curve. The saddle that came in it was really hurting my butt after riding for 20 mins or so. I happened to see a good deal on a Brooks B17 Standard at a bike shop near my house. My butt has not hurt since. Instant remedy.
    I had a similar experience with a new Dahon Speed D7. The stock saddle was just too squishy. I replaced it with a B-17 Standard. It took about 20 minutes of tinkering to get it dialed in just right, but it has made a huge improvement in riding comfort.

  19. #19
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodrigaj View Post
    The three holes on the b17 are put there for ventilation. They make very little (if any) difference.
    What do you mean they don't make a difference? Without them being there to vent gas, you might blow yourself clean off of your bike.
    Last edited by Tom Bombadil; 05-12-08 at 11:53 PM.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
    What do you mean they don't make a difference? Without them being there to vent gas, you might blow yourself clean off of your bike.
    That is why you stand occasionally.

  21. #21
    2011 TCR Advanced SL Spinz's Avatar
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    Love my B17 satandard but I wish I had pruchased the B17N. Anyone have B17N to trade for a standard? Lp

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