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Old 07-19-07, 09:22 AM   #1
erikinop
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FAKE Brooks Swift?! - Photos included

Okay... So I accidentally won a Swift on ebay. I had just received a bonus pay check for some free lance work, was checking out bike components on ebay, came accross a Swift, casually entered my max bid, and then I went out of town and won the auction.

The saddle was listed as "new Brooks Swift Ti saddle, simply mounted and ridden for a short ride" and the photos presented a clean, unscathed saddle. However, upon arrival I noticed some peculiar things.

Is this saddle a lemon? Is the craftsmanship poor or am I over examining it? Should I mount the thing?







PHOTO 0: Looks nice, eh?







PHOTO 1: The nut and bolt... Doesn't that nut look like it's been cranked pretty far for a brooks that has only been taken on a "short ride"? The whole bolt is threaded so I assume the nut once started at the nose, right?







PHOTO 2: The "Brooks" signature on the back... 1. Looks cheap as hell 2. Looks poorly mounted 3. I have never seen this version/logo before. Am I just uncultured?







PHOTO 3: Craftsmanship again... This is the back, left, underside. There is pretty large gap between the leather and the titanium.







PHOTO 4: Black Arrow points to "Made In England" Shouldn't there be a number branded in the center, underside of the saddle(white arrow)?







PHOTO 5: Is it me or does it look like the frame once included bag loops, which are--obviously--no longer there?







PHOTO 6:A few of the rivets are noticeably coming off the leather. Cause for concern?







PHOTO 7: Shouldn't the rail say Titanium? As it is the Swift Ti?
Another crappy rivet shot and the underside gap between leather and titanium, yet again.






What's the consensus?! I appreciate the help and hope I wasn't overly thorough. As I said, wining the auction was an accident so I want to be sure this is worth paying that cost.
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Old 07-19-07, 09:29 AM   #2
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hmm... I dont have a swift, but my B17 is much better quality than that.
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Old 07-19-07, 11:44 AM   #3
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In my opinion, what you have is a typical Brooks. The gaps between the leather and the frame should be of no concern. The rough edges and ground off bag hangers is also normal as there is no need for complete de-burring of the frame. And, there are no hangers on a Swift.

Of some concern is the bolt position. Normally, a Brooks that is un-tensioned will come to you with very little thread showing in front of the nose. This saddle has obviously been tensioned - and quite aggressively. My hunch is that the previous owner got himself a Swift, didn't like it, over softened it - probably with lots of oil - then tensioned it while still wet, and the result is what you see. That explains the leather pulling way from the rivets and the bolt being half-way thru.

This is a prime example of why I vehemently discourage the use of oils - you can't gage how much is too much because it keeps on softening for a long time. Beeswax only. Normal use will do the rest.

The good news is that the rivets can be easily hammered back into flush. Use a medium ball-peen hammer, just as they do at Brooks. Make sure you support the other side of the rive on something very solid - like a vise. You'll need to use a wide punch, or something that will only touch the back side of the rivet when you tap the top side. Try not to support the hammer strikes on the Ti frame - just the rivet-back. Hammer them just enough to close the gap - not too far or cutting can occur. Do not strike the edge of the rivet or you'll curl it under. Work the copper from the middle out.
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Old 07-19-07, 03:44 PM   #4
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Well, if you run out of adjustment, I've heard of lacing the bottom of the skirt to tighten it up, but that kind of trick doesn't usually show up till thousands of miles have passed.

What can I say. If either my champion flyer, or the B-17 had arrived looking like that, I think I might have sent it back.
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Old 07-19-07, 06:32 PM   #5
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I agree that the adjustment bolt is way out. I have 5 Brooks saddles( 3 B-17s, a Conquest, and a B-67 ), some of which have many years and miles of riding, and none of them are stretched anywhere near as much as yours. You might use a magnet to verify that the frame is actually titanium ( or at least not steel ), if you are in doubt.
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Old 07-19-07, 06:44 PM   #6
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I think you have a valid reason to be concerned. No stamp marking is troubling. The Brooks nameplate is unlike any I have seen. Caveat: I have only owned Brooks pro models and Brooks B17.
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Old 07-19-07, 09:51 PM   #7
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I have 2 Conquests and a Team Pro, all bought from reputable dealers, that have the interlaced O's on the nameplate. One Conquest has Brooks England, as yours does. The other two just have Brooks, with raised, embossed lettering.

I think you have a genuine Brooks that has been abused (overtightened).

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Old 07-19-07, 11:32 PM   #8
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none of this is conclusive, but IF thats' a genuine Brooks, it is an older Brooks,

that back plate design is from at least 10 years ago.

I Believe, however, that Brooks side wings have always been stamped with a much more elaborate logo with the model number on the side. the side logo makes me think it could be counterfeit.

Brooks had a dark decade in the nineties, and quality was on the downhill. Brooks is now owned by Selle San Marco.

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Old 07-20-07, 03:57 AM   #9
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I'm satisfied that you have the real deal there. Beko is correct about the badge style. They varied from time to time. Again I say, the gaps between the frame and leather is no reason for concern. Even a Brooks from the Dark Ages is a great saddle. The rivets can be re-formed and as long as the saddle doesn't sag from the obvious over oiling and subsequent stretching, it will be fine.

The stamp on the skirt is the Brooks stamp. The leather is skived and the edges are relieved. Looks like a good ride. The pics in these links show the stamp. The second link is the best. Scroll down and look at the burgundy Swift.

If this is really bothering you, PM me and we can discuss a price if you feel the need to be rid of it.

http://www.brooksengland.com/docs/catalogue_07_en.pdf
http://www.yellowjersey.org/brooks3.html
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Old 07-20-07, 04:16 AM   #10
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This is why I never buy on ebay..
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Old 07-20-07, 11:06 AM   #11
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It looks to me that you have an older, slightly used Brooks that as someone mentioned was overtightened. Since the auction stated "new" you could file a complaint with the seller for a refund and if they won't comply then eBay/paypal itself...

Depending on how good a deal you got why don't you just ride it and see what you think? If it's comfortable it certainly is still in usable condition...
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Old 07-20-07, 04:04 PM   #12
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It looks to me that you have an older, slightly used Brooks that as someone mentioned was overtightened. Since the auction stated "new" you could file a complaint with the seller for a refund and if they won't comply then eBay/paypal itself...

Depending on how good a deal you got why don't you just ride it and see what you think? If it's comfortable it certainly is still in usable condition...
What it said was "new Brooks Swift Ti saddle, simply mounted and ridden for a short ride"
To me that is another way of saying USED...
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Old 07-20-07, 10:35 PM   #13
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My Swift had bag loops and has a different tag on the back. The tension bolt should be at the end.
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Old 07-21-07, 03:00 PM   #14
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I have a real Brooks Swift and it looks like yours. No bag hangers, rough finish on the plates, same badge. My rails just a sticker, stating they were Ti, that came of pretty quick. The tension screw on mine is only in a few threads.
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Old 07-21-07, 07:46 PM   #15
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My Swift has the hangers. The bolt is at the end of the nose. But the weird thing is I looked at my Team Pro the other day and noticed the nut was back on the bolt a bit more than the Swift. Could be a normal thing with Brooks since I've never put a wrench on either saddle.
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Old 07-21-07, 09:16 PM   #16
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It is possible that when the original installer built the saddle, the leather blank was of such suppleness that the bolt might have been turned in half way from the factory to take up the tension. Usually, this is not the case, and may be one of the so-called problems that Brooks was dealing with when they were purchased by Selle. They were still great saddles, and as long as there are no tears in the leather, and it doesn't sag from riding, it will be fine. Also, there's plenty of thread left for many years of use.
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Old 07-22-07, 04:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikinop View Post
Is this saddle a lemon?
No
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikinop View Post
Is the craftsmanship poor
No, it's leather. Having been a leather worker for many years, it's difficult to achieve the same consistentsy with leather you do with molded plastics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikinop View Post
or am I over examining it?
Yes
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikinop View Post
Should I mount the thing
Yes

Tim
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Old 07-22-07, 05:45 AM   #18
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If you expected the precise machining of a modern mass market item, don't buy Brooks. If you expect new don't buy used. My guess is the saddle is Brooks and Ti and will last many years/decades. Brooks is kind of a cult, sadly there are plenty of nice saddles made of plastic.

Ti should weigh what is posted in ads. If the saddle is not broken in it is probably nearly new. The saddle might be "new old stock".

I would let it break in and see if you like it better. You have to sit in it just right for the leather to act as a hammock.
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Old 07-22-07, 08:33 AM   #19
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Although at the same time the brooks I just received appears perfect, no rough edges, no imperfections (although it's black so can't speak for color). I just didn't want everyone to think they are all rough looking.
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