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  1. #1
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    Brooks B17 - yay or nay?

    Read a lot of good things about this saddle and I just love the vintage look of it, especially paired with my new mini.

    Now I know that this saddle will be hard as a rock in the beginning and will eventually mold into my personal saddle.

    Now my dilemma: I ride only on weekends...maybe 5 miles per. So in other words, extrememly casual. At this rate, is it going to take ages for the saddle to break in? i.e. I'll have to be in pain for the next year?

    What if I apply leather softeners?

    Please let me know what you guys think? Yay or Nay?

    Thx in advance.

  2. #2
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    get it or you'll regret it (tm)

  3. #3
    Senior Member surgeonstone's Avatar
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    You can request pre softened, However I have a new brooks sparrow saddle which is vastly more comfortable than the very expensive fizik arione ( sparrow was more actually). The brooks is not pre softened and was comfortable from day one.

  4. #4
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Sheldon Brown also recommends some fast break-in methods. I have one on my Downtube IXFS, and love it. On the Mini, I was using a B66 (wider, and sprung), but that's now on its way to my Raleigh 20 project, because with the Butt Buddy, it seemed like overkill.

    Mini with B66:



    IXFS with B17 Champion:



  5. #5
    rhm
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    I am not as tall, nor as heavy, as Sammyboy; and I too recommend a B-17, but I don't recommend doing anything to speed the break-in. Mine was new in November and it was perfectly comfortable from the beginning. It is now considerably softer, but I'm not sure it's more comfortable; in fact, I think I preferred it before it softened.

    How well you like a particular model of Brooks depends a lot on bicycle configuration. Basically, if the handlebar is lower than the seat, you want a narrower saddle; if the handlebar is higher than the seat, you want a wider saddle). It also depends on your personal bone structure, riding style, and presumably muscle tone, etc.

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    Wow!! I think that's a Yay for the B17. You guys have convinced me, can't wait to try it.

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    Frankly, I think you should hold off on the softening process. If you want to put a few specks of dressing stuff on the saddle when it arrives, go for it. But personally, I hope mine never softens up at all. My B17's less than 6 months old and still hardish--just right for my bum in every respect.

  8. #8
    Member gdh81's Avatar
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    Definitely yea. Just got one for the Twenty, and its hands down the most comfortable saddle I've had on any bike.

  9. #9
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    Yay. Forget comfort, you are buying a handcrafted piece of class. Get a Brooks, a Carradice and you are set.

  10. #10
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    Try it - I like my B17 better than anything else I have tried. It gets better with age but started out pretty comfortable to begin with.

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    Ordered a flyer yesterday...figured that I can use the extra bounce.

    Carradice bags are nice but out of my price range...ordered this one off rivendell

    http://www.rivbike.com/products/list...product=20-172

  12. #12
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    Let us know what you think of the Brooks.

    I am sure you will like the Rivendell bag. I have an older bag by them that has held up well (now on my girlfriends bike.)

  13. #13
    in cog neato itsmoot's Avatar
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    FWIW, I used baseball glove conditioner on my B17 as recommended by Sheldon Brown in the section "Breaking in a Leather Saddle" here. 3 treatments and 50 miles it started to break in, after about 7 treatments and 150 miles I'd forgotten about it. I now only treat it every 200 or so miles. I have over 800 miles on it now with no signs of over-treatment/sagging. Stuff only cost like a buck at the sporting goods store.

  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsmoot View Post
    FWIW, I used baseball glove conditioner on my B17 as recommended by Sheldon Brown in the section "Breaking in a Leather Saddle" here. 3 treatments and 50 miles it started to break in, after about 7 treatments and 150 miles I'd forgotten about it. I now only treat it every 200 or so miles. I have over 800 miles on it now with no signs of over-treatment/sagging. Stuff only cost like a buck at the sporting goods store.
    I am a Brooks hater so take my comments with that in mind.

    Treating that often has to be a bad thing in the long run unless you want the saddle to become a hammock. 800 miles really isn't much riding and I wouldn't consider that much of a measure of whether you were going to get sagging long term. I would recommend that you stop treating the saddle once it begins to become comfortable, if you treat it at all.

    I liked the one Brooks I owned OK comfort wise when it was new and I hated it after it really broke in. Even when it was OK comfort wise it was still just a saddle, albeit a very heavy one. I never found it to be worth the weight penalty.

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    Yay if it fits your derrière and your position on the bike (ie. weight distribution), nay if it doesn't.

  16. #16
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    I've yet to find the perfect saddle. Years ago I had one well broken in Brooks that I liked a lot, one of the slim trim models, but then I remember getting another one that I hated so much I performed some radical surgery upon. I took a drill and drilled it full of holes. That made it cooler and more comfortable and lighter, too.

  17. #17
    in cog neato itsmoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I am a Brooks hater so take my comments with that in mind.

    Treating that often has to be a bad thing in the long run unless you want the saddle to become a hammock. 800 miles really isn't much riding and I wouldn't consider that much of a measure of whether you were going to get sagging long term. I would recommend that you stop treating the saddle once it begins to become comfortable, if you treat it at all.
    Sorry, I shouldn't have translated Mr. Brown's advice to re-treat "every few months" into my personal mileage. The OP would be well advised to read his article.

    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I liked the one Brooks I owned OK comfort wise when it was new and I hated it after it really broke in. Even when it was OK comfort wise it was still just a saddle, albeit a very heavy one. I never found it to be worth the weight penalty.
    In that case sitting on the seatpost clamp would probably be the most comfortable and lightest option. That, or the Real MAN ® Saddle.
    Last edited by itsmoot; 08-22-08 at 06:09 PM.

  18. #18
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    I received the Flyer yesterday...what a beauty!!

    Attempted to remove the stock seat from the mini using a topeak alien, the screw would not budge. This is my first time attempting to do anything on a bike, figure that modifying is part of the fun and why not start now.

    Is there something I'm not doing correctly? Or should I not be using a portable tool set?

    Any advice would be appreciated...I'm dying to put the flyer on

  19. #19
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    I have the B17, which has maybe 500 miles on it, and the same Rivendell Keven's Bag, which just went on its first century.

    The B17 was the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned from the first mile, and the Keven's Bag is pretty well perfect for centuries and other day rides. (And the two look perfect together. I don't like the Carradice aesthetic.)
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  20. #20
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Get yourself an allen key with a longer handle, that's my advice.

  21. #21
    tcs
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    I've ridden Brooks saddles for 30 years. Last year I bought a Persons #77 Deluxe. It is very much in the Brooks school of saddle design, but after riding it for a year I feel the Persons is a better saddle for less money.

    I see Velo Orange has also recently begun to offer their own leather saddles.

    tcs
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  22. #22
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    That Velo Orange saddle catches my attention because my B17 won't slide far enough back on my folding bike's oddball seatpost. A more-adjustable leather saddle sounds potentially great.

    Anything else you can say about why you think the Persons is a better saddle?
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  23. #23
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    That Velo Orange saddle catches my attention because my B17 won't slide far enough back on my folding bike's oddball seatpost. A more-adjustable leather saddle sounds potentially great.
    Actually it's the B17 which the oddball. The Swift seatpost has quite a bit of setback but not enough for the oddball B17.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  24. #24
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsmoot View Post
    In that case sitting on the seatpost clamp would probably be the most comfortable and lightest option.
    Because I didn't like a well broken in Brooks saddle does not mean I want to sit on the seat post clamp.

    The Brooks is after all still just a saddle it isn't some magical talisman. It suits some people well others not so much. In any case they are probably the heaviest of the likely choices. How big of a deal is the weight? That depends, if it is the only saddle that you really find comfortable then the weight might be a non issue.

    I have found that for me the saddles that came on my bikes have all been fine and I would use any of them on a coast to coast trip. I initially didn't like the one on my touring bike, but decided to give it a few hundred miles to see how it went. I wound up liking it fine and used it to do the Trans America (4244 miles 73 days). So if those saddles are comfortable enough to ride coast to coast without saddle complaints, why use something heavier and more expensive?

    On my folder it really doesn't matter too much since on really longs ride I won't be on the folder.

  25. #25
    ...poet... timo888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
    You can request pre softened ...

    But these are made in Inuit sweatshops....well, it's very cold there, so they're not actually sweating.

    Regards
    T

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