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  1. #1
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    Brooks saddle questions

    I've never ridden a leather saddle but I figured I might give one a try.

    A couple of things:

    How do they respond to vibrations? Lacking any padding/cushioning I could imagine perhaps they're harsh, or perhaps the 'hammock' principle means you're somewhat isolated from buzz through being suspended?

    The Brooks 'S' series is supposedly for women but apparently the only difference is length and width measurements. With a shorter nose they're significantly lighter, so I'm figuring I'd prefer an S model for that reason. Unless I've missed something and there's some other differences?

  2. #2
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    My two cents. I have a Downtube Nova and changed the seat to Brooks B67 and its the best seat I've ever used. Amazing how smooth the ride. Cost a third the price of the bike, but really worth it. I'm 5'10", 180 # and 72 years old. The slight difference in weight is about the same weight as the car keys you left home.

  3. #3
    747 Freight Pilot bicycleflyer's Avatar
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    Personally, I'm a believer in Brooks saddles. But this is not true for every one. It seems you either love them, or hate them, nothing in-between. I have them on three bikes including my bike friday. There is no need for any padding. The break in period might be a bit rough, but once broken in it can become the most comfortable saddle you have ever ridden. My preference is for the team Pro, but the standard B17 is probably the most popular. You are correct on the "S" model dimensions. If you are worried about road buzz, then another model to consider is the champion flyer. This is the same saddle as a B17, but with springs. I don't really notice any road buzz with my saddles and I think the leather is a natural dampener.

    If you are going to buy one, I highly recommend you go with Wallingford... http://www.wallbike.com/
    Flying an airplane is really very simple...Push the stick forward, the house gets big. Pull the stick back, the house gets small. Keep holding the stick back, the house gets big again.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    +1 Buy a single rail with springs S is length only , the back rivet plate is the same .. so width is the same

    you need to suppress the road vibrations at the bottom. If you got Money to throw at the project

    Look at Pan Tour HUBS .. the hub itself is suspended. there is an elastomer
    between the axle and the hub-shell.

  5. #5
    Schwinnasaur Schwinnsta's Avatar
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    I personally like hard saddles, Brooks or not. If you want to take the edge off of vibration than go with sprung saddles. I like Brooks, too. I would not use the hammock analogy in describing them.

    I have never tried a woman's version. I think the only thing the nose does is help control the bike. I would like to try one just too know. I know our anatomy is different but does this really account for the top tube for men, none for women. I know it does but the reasons are weak and cultural, rather than physical.

    This was probably no help at all.

  6. #6
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    I have a Brooks B67 for commuting and surprise how comfortable it is. No break-in period for me, instant relief !.

  7. #7
    jur
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    I have 3 ladies' Brooks B17 on bikes here and the only difference is that they're shorter. They don't look as masculine as mine.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  8. #8
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    Every bike I own has a leather saddle. Most are fitted with the Brooks Conquest, a discontinued sprung model with the same shape as the Brooks Pro. But, I worked in a bike shop in the early 1970s and I grew up with leather saddles, so I have a bias towards them.

    I have tried a B17 but it was too wide and too flat for me. There are many sizes and shapes, don't shop by price, instead shop based on use and your physical dimensions and talk to several bike shop employees that are knowledgeable.

  9. #9
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    Just imagine seating on a sofa than seating on a plastic chair!
    I have got 3 of them and they are all very good!
    After breaking in, it is even better because it fits your size well!
    Last edited by x807; 04-05-11 at 05:04 AM.

  10. #10
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
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    The Brooks "butt hammock" concept works very well and is why I have them on most of my bikes. However on my training bike with bullhorns and tri-bars on which I'm far from an upright seating position, the hammock principle doesn't really work that well.

    BTW as for the womens saddles, I like them better than the men's because of their length, or lack thereof. In fact one of the most comfortable plastic and foam saddles I've ridden is on my training bike... it's a saddle that came from my grand daughter's Schwinn tag-a-long which we don't use anymore since she learned to ride a bike.
    Last edited by BassNotBass; 04-05-11 at 05:58 AM.
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  11. #11
    PDR
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    I have the Brooks Swift Titanium on my Brompton , feels great, highly recommended

  12. #12
    My legs hurt
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    I've got a Brooks flyer on my Swift and I'll echo the sentiments here. Nice and comfy. I can't tell you if it's down to the Big Apple tyres, the leather or the springs. However, If I were to set the bars much below the saddle height I'd be inclined to try a narrower model.

    Also, it's probably worth mentioning that it seems that for every person that loves Brooks saddles, there's another that loathes them.

    Isn't there a place in the US that has a really long return policy on Brooks saddles? (I'm too lazy to google it on my phone).

  13. #13
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    3 bikes, 3 Brook's. Only one required a break-in period. It is now my favorite.

  14. #14
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
    I've never ridden a leather saddle but I figured I might give one a try.

    A couple of things:

    How do they respond to vibrations? Lacking any padding/cushioning I could imagine perhaps they're harsh, or perhaps the 'hammock' principle means you're somewhat isolated from buzz through being suspended?

    The Brooks 'S' series is supposedly for women but apparently the only difference is length and width measurements. With a shorter nose they're significantly lighter, so I'm figuring I'd prefer an S model for that reason. Unless I've missed something and there's some other differences?
    Your tire choice is far more important than your saddle in terms of addressing road vibration. I've never noticed a problem with any of my Brooks saddles, but I tend to run wider tires at moderate pressure so vibration isn't much of an issue for me.

    I wouldn't select the shape of your saddle to save weight. I'd get the shape that works best for your body. The few grams that will be lost or gained either way make no difference and if lightweight was your top priority I wouldn't suggest a Brooks saddle at all.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  15. #15
    GN BIKN
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    I have a Brooks (B-17 Champion Special) but I prefer the Selle An-Atomica Titanico. Not just because of the cutout, though I suspect that the independent movement of the sides contributes to improved comfort, but it's a much more supple (also waterproof) leather that gives you much more of a "hammock" effect. I have 3 of these saddles and don't ride anything else anymore.

    For me the most important feature of the An-Atomica is the more "normal" rails, unlike the Brooks whose rails don't extend far enough forward for those of us who prefer a slacker seat position. Downsides are that they are very expensive, the rails are fairly soft and can bend with hard hits, and the leather stretches a bit too easily.

    Velo Orange, in addition to selling genuine Brooks, also offers their own self-branded leather saddles which offer more aft adjustment than the Brooks. My next leather saddle will probably be a VO.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 04-05-11 at 01:54 PM.
    I like bike lanes. I also practice VC when I'm not in them.

  16. #16
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    I use to have a Professional Brooks and now I change to http://www.selleanatomica.com/,and I love them more ten brooks will see how many km I can ride on
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  17. #17
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy View Post
    I have a Brooks (B-17 Champion Special) but I prefer the Selle An-Atomica Titanico. Not just because of the cutout, though I suspect that the independent movement of the sides contributes to improved comfort, but it's a much more supple (also waterproof) leather that gives you much more of a "hammock" effect. I have 3 of these saddles and don't ride anything else anymore.

    For me the most important feature of the An-Atomica is the more "normal" rails, unlike the Brooks whose rails don't extend far enough forward for those of us who prefer a slacker seat position. Downsides are that they are very expensive, the rails are fairly soft and can bend with hard hits, and the leather stretches a bit too easily.

    Velo Orange, in addition to selling genuine Brooks, also offers their own self-branded leather saddles which offer more aft adjustment than the Brooks. My next leather saddle will probably be a VO.
    I own 3 SA saddles they are the most comfortable saddles I've ever owned. I would give them a 11/10 for comfort vs. a 9.5/10 for a Brooks. The only issue is I've already had one SA replaced due to the leather stretching out [literally a few turns of the tension bolt a day]. I have one SA that seems to be okay and two more that are newer that are stretching a lot. My newest had to be tensioned twice on a 200K day ride.

    I'm not sure what will happen to my two stretching SAs. I hope they reach some steady state and it stops. If not I'll return them under warranty and request the clydesdale version, but I am 165-175lbs and using these on a road bike so I shouldn't need that type of heavy duty saddle.

    My lack of confidence has me ordering another Brooks so I can start breaking it in as a replacement should the SAs ultimately not work for me.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  18. #18
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    I am wondering if those with leather saddles stretching problems are getting the saddles wet by riding in inclement weather without covering the saddles. I am almost willing to bet that the the saddles that are curling are also left unprotected in wet weather.

  19. #19
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratdog View Post
    I am wondering if those with leather saddles stretching problems are getting the saddles wet by riding in inclement weather without covering the saddles. I am almost willing to bet that the the saddles that are curling are also left unprotected in wet weather.
    My SA saddles are the waterproof models. When you are riding a leather saddle it doesn't get wet as it's covered by you and presumably you've got fenders to avoid spray from the road.

    I have 4 Brooks saddles - not waterproof all of which have been ridden in the rain and I have never touched a tension bolt on any of them in several years of service.

    I do cover my Brooks saddles if I'm going to park the bike in the rain for a few hours.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  20. #20
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    I'm a Brooks guy, have a handfull and I love them all. I'm sure you know that Brooks has the Imperial with their own cutout. Selle Anatomica also can cut your existing Brooks to their cutout specs for a fee. They also recondition stretched saddles, apparently gluing leather to the underside of the saddle or something like that. I saw it on their website, but it has been so long I've forgotten the details.

    I hope to try a Selle Anatomica some day. Maybe I'll find a great deal on one on Craigslist...

  21. #21
    GN BIKN
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    My SA saddles are also the waterproof ones. For what it's worth, mine seem to have reached a steady state and stopped stretching - right at the outer limit of adjustment. Which is annoying, because it makes the nose of the saddle about an inch longer than necessary, often catching on my shorts as I'm mounting the bike.

    I haven't had to adjust any of them for a year or so, but I sure am NOT confident that at some point they won't become too stretched out to become usable.
    I like bike lanes. I also practice VC when I'm not in them.

  22. #22
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    Since we are on the topic of Brook, may I ask how to prevent oxidation of the copper rail of B17 Special saddle when use in high humidity area.

  23. #23
    Senior Member CabezaShok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawater View Post
    Since we are on the topic of Brook, may I ask how to prevent oxidation of the copper rail of B17 Special saddle when use in high humidity area.
    I got tired of buffing/compounding the bronze fittings on my lil' sailboat. An old biker-dude/welder suggested i spray the parts with a clear coat after buffing to shine and de-waxing. Its been 5 years and its only now showing
    a little tarnishing.
    the stuff i used was called "Crystal Clear U.V"

  24. #24
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CabezaShok View Post
    I got tired of buffing/compounding the bronze fittings on my lil' sailboat. An old biker-dude/welder suggested i spray the parts with a clear coat after buffing to shine and de-waxing. Its been 5 years and its only now showing
    a little tarnishing.
    the stuff i used was called "Crystal Clear U.V"
    I used that in 2008-2009 on a raw Brompton I had, great product and found conveniently here.

  25. #25
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy View Post
    My SA saddles are also the waterproof ones. For what it's worth, mine seem to have reached a steady state and stopped stretching - right at the outer limit of adjustment. Which is annoying, because it makes the nose of the saddle about an inch longer than necessary, often catching on my shorts as I'm mounting the bike.

    I haven't had to adjust any of them for a year or so, but I sure am NOT confident that at some point they won't become too stretched out to become usable.
    *fingers crossed*
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

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