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  1. #1
    Senior Member jlstrat's Avatar
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    Yet another Brooks question

    I got a Brooks B17 for my birthday 5 months ago. It doesn't look slack at all, but you can see some wear already,which I know is to be expected.

    I've been noticing some perineal discomfort and some in my sit bones, too, so I'm following a couple bits of advice I read here:, e.g., moving the seat back a bit and tilting it up a quarter bubble on my level. Now, should I just give the spanner a quarter turn for good measure? I've ridden the thing about 10 times in the rain, but I always put one or two plastic grocery bags over it and at worst it's gotten a little damp and I let it dry before I ride it again. If I push my hand down at the back, I can see a bit of splaying on the sides, but not much. Any guidance appreciated. I'm riding a Litespeed Blue Ridge, with the handlebars only a couple of inches below the saddle.

  2. #2
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The advice I always followed with good result re: the tension adjusting spanner is to put it away somewhere and forget where I left it. YMMV
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Have you treated it with Proofide or something similar?

  4. #4
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    As said, put the tension spanner away especially if the B17 is taught. Use the Proofide sparingly but properly so as not to make a gummy mess that marks up your kit.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  5. #5
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I have two B17's and a third backordered.The two I've broken in have never been in the rain without me on it. The first one has only needed a 1/2 turn tightening after 500 miles. The second one has needed 3, 1/2 turn tightenings as it broke in. I have swapped the seats around on my bikes and it was the seat itself and not the bike that was the variable. One thing I did notice was that as they broke in was that on my road bike I would slowly lower the nose as they broke in but on the hybrid the nose angle remained constant.

    As far as throwing the spanner away, Brooks has been making seats for a long time. If they never required adjusting they wouldn't make it adjustable. I do doubt that they'll need to be loosened.

    +1 on a little proofhide goes a long way.

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    I only adjust mine if when I can grab it midway between the front and back and pull up and down I see movement at the front adjusting nut. If I see movement then I tighten it to take out the slack plus a little extra.

    This is a pretty rare occurrence, usually only after the saddle has been thoroughly soaked.

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    If you put the spanner on it, train your "feel." First loosen it a quarter turn or so. Tighten to where it was, and see if it takes any extra force to tighten beyond that. If it does, back off to where you started.

    I suspect, though, you don't have the seat adjustment (particularly the angle) just right.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jlstrat's Avatar
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    I treated the underside a few times during break-in, and I've put a small dab up top a couple of times after it got damp and dried out.

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    Sitbone discomfort is normal for a while. The seat may still be flat, and those butt divots under the sitbones may not have formed fully yet.

    Perinneal discomfort is not, and indicates that the seat nose may need dropping, not lifting as you have stated. You need to get the adjustment so that you feel you are sitting entirely on your sitbones, with no significant pressure on the perinneum.

    Another little point. As the butt divots appear, you are effectively lowering your saddle position by a millimetre or more, and you may need to increase the height of your seatpost, and move the seat forward on the rails by a similar amount.

    Finally, how is your core strength? Maintaining a posture so that you are on the sitbones and with no pressure on the perinneum requires a degree of core strength -- abs and back muscles. You also should have minimal pressure on your hands. The principles apply to all saddles, not just Brooks'.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #10
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    A lot of people contend you should mever adjust them. I think the manufacturer built that in for a reason. Try a 1/8 turn to start,but I would not do more than 1/4 in any year.

    Marc
    Read Simply Cycle

    "I can still do everything I used to, but now I'm mature enough to take a nap without being told." - Me

    "You don't deteriorate from age,you age from deterioration" --Joe Weider

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The point is not that you should never adjust them but that they need adjustment very rarely and that you can do more damage than good by overadjusting. A little goes a long way.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    I have a honey B17 that just refused to break-in, so I forced the issue. A trick that worked for me is carefully tightening the spanner for a few long rides, then backed it off completely. That's seemed to accelerate the stretch nicely, perfect. No such break-in problems with my black ones. Caution, your results may vary.

    If you think a B17 takes a while to get compliant, you haven't ridden a new N or a Pro.

  13. #13
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Jethro,
    Certainly not advocating to throw his tensioner spanner away, just remember to use it very sparingly, when necessary do so. As known each Brooks saddle will differ according to the rider and their riding. That was all I meant.
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  14. #14
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    Jethro,
    Certainly not advocating to throw his tensioner spanner away, just remember to use it very sparingly, when necessary do so. As known each Brooks saddle will differ according to the rider and their riding. That was all I meant.
    Didn't mean to sound extreme. I think we're in agreement on it won't need much. Maybe some don't need any at all.

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    1) Heat the oven to about 130 degrees, or lowest setting. If summertime in the south, find a nice sunny spot on concrete on the south or west side of a brick wall.
    2) Coat the B-17 in Proofhide
    3) Put saddle in the oven or outside at the designated warm spot.
    4) Apply an extra coat of Proofhide as needed
    5) Repeat for about three or four days
    6) Install saddle and ride.

  16. #16
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    The OP might also let us know how far he goes on his bike each ride, his handlebar height in relation to the saddle, and what "wear" actually is on the saddle (a change in the patina or butt divots appearing or scuffing).
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  17. #17
    Senior Member jlstrat's Avatar
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    I ride about 150 miles a week, dropping to 100 or so during the winter. The handlebars are maybe an inch lower than the saddle, an inch and a half at the most. I don't have a camera, but the seat looks a bit dull, somewhat worn around the holes, and you can see some small scuffing near the rivets at the back. Saw a new saddle at the LBS tonight and mine definitely has move give when you push down with your hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlstrat View Post
    I got a Brooks B17,
    I've been noticing some perineal discomfort and some in my sit bones, too. Any guidance appreciated. I'm riding a Litespeed Blue Ridge, with the handlebars only a couple of inches below the saddle.
    IMHO - a B-17 is a great saddle, but not optimal for your set up. B-17 usually works better when the seat and handlebar are more nearly level. A Champion Flyer probably would match your needs more effectively, an Imperial might be a good choice also.
    ride long & prosper

  19. #19
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    I can't comment. While I have a Team Pro and a Ti Swallow, I am not old enough to use them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlstrat View Post
    I ride about 150 miles a week, dropping to 100 or so during the winter. The handlebars are maybe an inch lower than the saddle, an inch and a half at the most. I don't have a camera, but the seat looks a bit dull, somewhat worn around the holes, and you can see some small scuffing near the rivets at the back. Saw a new saddle at the LBS tonight and mine definitely has move give when you push down with your hand.
    OK. First, the give is what provides the Brooks with its "suspension" It's nothing of concern. Without it, you would definitely be riding on a plank of wood for the rest of your riding days.

    The second is that the surface appearance really has no influence over what the saddle does. If it has been moistened while riding (rather than soaked) the number of times you say, the saddle is probably nicely advanced in the break-in process. The moisture also tends to dull the surface finish, but that is going to happen over time anyway.

    As to using the spanner... avoid it unless it is really obvious that there is sag in the shape of the saddle when viewed from the side. And by sag, I mean pronounced downward curve in the profile.

    The fact your bars are below the height of the saddle indicates to me that raising the nose of the saddle isn't going to solve the perinneal issue, and the comments in my previous post still apply. martionone is correct to a certain extent about this.
    Last edited by Rowan; 12-23-11 at 08:46 PM.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlstrat View Post
    I got a Brooks B17 for my birthday 5 months ago. It doesn't look slack at all, but you can see some wear already,which I know is to be expected.

    I've been noticing some perineal discomfort and some in my sit bones, too, so I'm following a couple bits of advice I read here:, e.g., moving the seat back a bit and tilting it up a quarter bubble on my level. Now, should I just give the spanner a quarter turn for good measure? I've ridden the thing about 10 times in the rain, but I always put one or two plastic grocery bags over it and at worst it's gotten a little damp and I let it dry before I ride it again. If I push my hand down at the back, I can see a bit of splaying on the sides, but not much. Any guidance appreciated. I'm riding a Litespeed Blue Ridge, with the handlebars only a couple of inches below the saddle.
    One's body changes with continued riding or just the passage of time. Looking at the symptoms now ... I usually associate my perineal discomfort with not being on the back of the saddle, where the nice wide rear provides good support for my sit bones, combined with excessive hip rocking. Hip rocking for me is the result of the saddle being too high. As my foot descends in a downstroke, it reaches an effective (not actual) full extension and my hip rocks to apply power at the end of the stroke. Lowering the saddle incrementally usually finds a more comfortable position.

    I also try to be aware of how my hips may be sliding forward or how my arms may be pushing me back. Two theories about falling forward off the seat spot: My saddle is a little too far back, or my saddle nose is not pointing up high enough. I try to level the saddle and find the best fore/aft position before working on nose-up/down.

    The saddle may be just fine - it does not sound like you've damaged it.

    One may be nervous about making these position changes after having evolved a decent saddle position over perhaps years. First, I make only very small changes at one time, just a millimeter if i can manage it. Second, the body and styles change over time, and we should have a strategy for adjusting the fit to accommodate these changes. A better position should be your new position.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    The point is not that you should never adjust them but that they need adjustment very rarely and that you can do more damage than good by overadjusting. A little goes a long way.
    Yes! Another issue is that if you over-adjust it, the leather may not recover if you loosen it back up. The Selle AnAtomica is designed for tightening and loosening.

  23. #23
    Senior Member jlstrat's Avatar
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    Thanks again far the comments. When I return to Pennsylvania, I'll try to take a photo of the saddle. I should also mention that I pulled a hamstring muscle a couple of weeks ago and that may be having an effect on my position on the saddle without my being aware of it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlstrat View Post
    Thanks again far the comments. When I return to Pennsylvania, I'll try to take a photo of the saddle. I should also mention that I pulled a hamstring muscle a couple of weeks ago and that may be having an effect on my position on the saddle without my being aware of it.
    this is very likely to have had an effect.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  25. #25
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Okay, as to the OP question, I ride my Brooks about 1-1-1/2 " lower than the bar flats. I keep it dead level. I do get a rub mark or slight "scuff" where the pelvis contacts the leather. Merry Christmas!!

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

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