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-   -   Is my Brooks too short? (http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/144460-my-brooks-too-short.html)

Longhorn 10-06-05 10:37 PM

Is my Brooks too short?
 
I have the Brooks Champion Flyer "S" -- the "S" stands for "short." It's supposed to be especially good for women and I happen to be female. However, after about two months and at least 200 miles, it is really uncomfortable.

I started off with a level saddle. There was too much pressure in front so I lowered the horn a notch. Still too much pressure so I lowered it again. Now the front feels fine but lowering the front has caused the back to tilt up slightly and that back edge of the saddle is cutting across my rear, leaving me alternately numb and in pain. I'll be honest -- I have a large rear and I feel like I'm hanging over this saddle on the back and the sides. Now I find myself tilting forward in order to take pressure off the back.

I bought the saddle at Wallingford and they posted on their site on October 3 that they will be back in business soon. So I need to decide if I should ask for a wider and/or longer saddle or is this still part of the breaking-in process? Thanks!

onbike 1939 10-07-05 05:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Longhorn
I have the Brooks Champion Flyer "S" -- the "S" stands for "short." It's supposed to be especially good for women and I happen to be female. However, after about two months and at least 200 miles, it is really uncomfortable.

I started off with a level saddle. There was too much pressure in front so I lowered the horn a notch. Still too much pressure so I lowered it again. Now the front feels fine but lowering the front has caused the back to tilt up slightly and that back edge of the saddle is cutting across my rear, leaving me alternately numb and in pain. I'll be honest -- I have a large rear and I feel like I'm hanging over this saddle on the back and the sides. Now I find myself tilting forward in order to take pressure off the back.

I bought the saddle at Wallingford and they posted on their site on October 3 that they will be back in business soon. So I need to decide if I should ask for a wider and/or longer saddle or is this still part of the breaking-in process? Thanks!

It may be a good idea to check you position re the distance from the nose of the saddle to the bars before doing anything with the saddle. If this distance is too long then no amount of fiddling with the level of the saddle will help as being too far forward will cause the nose to dig into you. A rough guide for a drop handlebar bike is, with your arm held at a right angle press your elbow against the nose of the saddle. In this position your fingertips should now touch the bars. In the case of flat bars, your fingertips should be two inches away from the bars. Once this is fixed return the saddle to the level position and start again.
You particular saddle has a good rep with women riders and if I remember correctly the B17 ladies is not wider than this. Hope you find this of some help and good luck.

jur 10-07-05 06:33 AM

Sorry to hear you're having trouble. I had to ride mine for some months before it was right for me. But I'm skinny.

I wonder if perhaps when the saddle was level, you were sitting too far forward on the saddle? The horn then does some of the supporting job, no good obviously. This situation might arise when the saddle as a whole is too far back, requiring you to sit forward to reach the bars. Is is vital your sit bones rest on the wider part - because the Brooks is so firm, you should be able to feel this quite distinctly. Having a large behind should not have too much of an effect I would think - sit bones are where they are, regardless of the amount of padding around them.

Try again with the saddle level, experiment with the forward-rearward position until you feel the sit bones doing their job. Other bits should be relatively unpressured. Then once you have this right, have a go at holding the handle bars by leaning your trunk forward instead of slipping forward on the seat.

If you feel there is too much pressure on your hands, then the bars should be higher or closer. Paradoxically, the saddle might have to move backwards to get your legs to do their proper supporting job.

Check Peter White Cycles site - he writes a mean essay on fitting if you need more.

Longhorn 10-07-05 07:38 AM

Thanks, onbike and jur!

I'll check the forward-rearward position this weekend. I had already moved it up and maybe I moved it too far forward. I appreciate the fitting tips and I'll let you know how it works out.

dobber 10-07-05 09:17 AM

Can you tell us what kind of bike your using this on? Are your bars above, below or level with the saddle?

Jur makes some good points on forward/aft positioning. I've got 5 Brooks saddles, including a Flyer and I'd say each one is slightly different in it's for/aft positioning.

Longhorn 10-08-05 12:31 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's a pic of my bike. The handlebars are about 1.5 inch above the saddle.

I should add that I have a large frame: big shoulders and hips; big feet (size 11, which is a 9.5 for men.) At 5'8", my ideal weight would be about 160 to 165. (I was there two years ago. :( I'm about 40 pounds overweight now.)

I just checked the forward position the way onbike suggested and my fingers go past the bar so I'm going to try moving the saddle back again.

late 10-08-05 12:45 PM

Hi,
please don't take this the wrong way, but your setup looks wrong.
The saddle is too far forward, and the nose is down. You need to find a bike shop that can do a professional fitting. They often charge for that, it can be as much as $50-$100. You need it.

If you want something to try, try sliding you saddle back until the middle of the saddle is almost over the seatpost. Then carefully tilt the saddle so that the nose is UP a microscopic amount. We are talking a degree or two.

With that as a starting point, slide the saddle back and forth looking for a spot that works for you.

BostonFixed 10-08-05 01:54 PM

Is that an electric bike?

Is the brooks the saddle pictured on that bike?

Why all the crap on the bike?

While your at the bike shop, you might want to buy a real bike. That electric toy probably weighs over 80 pounds pictured, and won't help you at all to gain fitness or lose weight.

Serously. You will be much happier on a bike from a bike shop, one your correct size and fitted to you.

Longhorn 10-08-05 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by late
Hi,
please don't take this the wrong way, but your setup looks wrong.
The saddle is too far forward, and the nose is down. You need to find a bike shop that can do a professional fitting. They often charge for that, it can be as much as $50-$100. You need it.

If you want something to try, try sliding you saddle back until the middle of the saddle is almost over the seatpost. Then carefully tilt the saddle so that the nose is UP a microscopic amount. We are talking a degree or two.

With that as a starting point, slide the saddle back and forth looking for a spot that works for you.

No, that's not my set-up now. I put the photo in because it shows the actual bike. However, that's not the Brooks saddle and I never road the saddle in the photo at that angle. It hadn't been tightened up when the photo was taken.

I had a bike fit on my Trek hybrid and all he ended up doing was raising the saddle. I was going to try to adjust this myself, with some tips from y'all. I'll see how the Brooks looks over the seatpost now. I suspect it, too, is too far forward. Thanks!

Longhorn 10-08-05 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BostonFixed
Is that an electric bike?

Is the brooks the saddle pictured on that bike?

Why all the crap on the bike?

While your at the bike shop, you might want to buy a real bike. That electric toy probably weighs over 80 pounds pictured, and won't help you at all to gain fitness or lose weight.

Serously. You will be much happier on a bike from a bike shop, one your correct size and fitted to you.

Yes, it is an electric bike. No, that's not the Brooks. This $700 bike is not a toy. Yes, it weighs about 75 pounds with the battery and I pedal the entire 17.5 mile commute over hills that range from 6 to 15 percent in temperatures of up to 105 degrees until last week. The motor helps flatten the hills and reduce my commuting time. (My best time is about an hour and 15 minutes.) I pedal every bit as much with the motor as I did on my Trek with a key difference -- my heart rate now stays in the 170s as opposed to over 220. That's the difference between me actually enjoying the ride and wanting to do it rather than dreading it.

That "crap" on my bike consists of: horn, light (which I usually don't bring since I don't ride at night,) radio/bike computer, mirrors, rack, trunk bag (though now I use one pannier instead,) fenders, wedge bag with tools and spare tube, and flag. I ride on winding, hilly, rural roads with 45 mph speed limits and I have to cross a four-lane U.S. highway with no traffic light and a 65 mph speed limit. I try to be as safe and visible as possible and if there's ever a time when I'm glad I have the motor, besides climbing some of those hills, it's when I need a burst of speed to dart across that highway!

I'm afraid you're wrong about the electric bike inhibiting my fitness gains. I've been riding it now for about four months and I'm getting stronger and more fit every day. And I'm certainly more fit riding that bike than not riding at all. Funny how most people I meet are quite impressed that a 50-year-old previously non-athletic overweight woman even thinks about riding that distance on those hills in that heat!

dobber 10-08-05 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Longhorn
I'm afraid you're wrong about the electric bike inhibiting my fitness gains. I've been riding it now for about four months and I'm getting stronger and more fit every day. And I'm certainly more fit riding that bike than not riding at all. Funny how most people I meet are quite impressed that a 50-year-old previously non-athletic overweight woman even thinks about riding that distance on those hills in that heat!

Nice response !! Congrats on your accomplishment.

tfahrner 10-09-05 12:35 AM

If you prefer a fairly upright posture, and your bars are well above the saddle, and you have broad hips, I'd recommend the B.67 or B.67S over the Flyer. They're wider at the back, so you won't feel like you're spilling over, and the soft tissue pressure is borne over a larger area. The fabled break-in period relates to the comfort of your sit bones on the firm leather, and not much else.

I do think you're on the right track with a Brooks instead of a more popular squishy saddle to compress up into your parts and trap heat and chafe, as unfortunately most modern saddles tend to do.

Without seeing you on the bike from the side, one can only speculate about whether there are other fit issues affecting your comfort.

I admire your response to the electric flack.

late 10-09-05 01:00 AM

Hi again,
I'm using a B67 at the moment. It's a good saddle, but perhaps
slightly too wide for me. I'm not sure. The most popular Brooks saddle is the B17; which fits a wide array of shapes.

Don't pay any attention to your detractor. He belongs to a cult called Fixed, which is the cycling equivalent of Holy Rollers. :eek:

tfahrner 10-09-05 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by late
I'm using a B67 at the moment. It's a good saddle, but perhaps
slightly too wide for me. I'm not sure. The most popular Brooks saddle is the B17; which fits a wide array of shapes.

the flyer longhorn is using is essentially a sprung b17. perhaps you two should swap!

Longhorn 10-09-05 09:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tfahrner
If you prefer a fairly upright posture, and your bars are well above the saddle, and you have broad hips, I'd recommend the B.67 or B.67S over the Flyer. They're wider at the back, so you won't feel like you're spilling over, and the soft tissue pressure is borne over a larger area. The fabled break-in period relates to the comfort of your sit bones on the firm leather, and not much else.

I do think you're on the right track with a Brooks instead of a more popular squishy saddle to compress up into your parts and trap heat and chafe, as unfortunately most modern saddles tend to do.

Without seeing you on the bike from the side, one can only speculate about whether there are other fit issues affecting your comfort.

I admire your response to the electric flack.

Thanks so much! I'm going to give the new saddle position a try this week but if that doesn't do it, I think I'll give the B.67 some serious consideration. I'm not even sure why I went with a sprung model -- I guess because I thought it wouldn't be as hard as everyone says the Brooks are. :)

I rode my Trek hybrid today (on which I'm the only motor ;) ) and it has a Terry Liberator on it. I have NEVER been in such pain and it was only a 17-mile ride. So I definitely prefer the Brooks -- it was NEVER that uncomfortable!

Thanks, too, for your support! :beer:

Longhorn 10-09-05 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by late
Hi again,
I'm using a B67 at the moment. It's a good saddle, but perhaps
slightly too wide for me. I'm not sure. The most popular Brooks saddle is the B17; which fits a wide array of shapes.

Don't pay any attention to your detractor. He belongs to a cult called Fixed, which is the cycling equivalent of Holy Rollers. :eek:

Thanks for your input! How does a too-wide saddle feel? Does it cause rubbing, etc., on your thighs?

I appreciate your support, too. I'm certainly not advocating an electric bike for everyone but it has kept me in the saddle, even an uncomfortable one. ;)

Seanholio 10-10-05 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Longhorn
I appreciate your support, too. I'm certainly not advocating an electric bike for everyone but it has kept me in the saddle, even an uncomfortable one. ;)

Whever gets you out there and riding is what is appropriate for you. I'm glad to hear that you're doing so well with the electric assist. Over time, as you get into better shape (and put a better saddle on your Trek) perhaps you may be able to climb the hills with a heart rate under 200!

Keep on ridin'!


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