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Old 04-18-08, 04:08 PM   #1
Sixty Fiver
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Brooks B17 Imperial - my review

I received my B17 Imperial yesterday and know that many people have been pretty stoked about receiving theirs and some initial ride reports have already been posted in the C&V forum but I don't think anyone could be happier than me at receiving this new saddle.

The workmanship and finish on this prototype is first rate and the saddle came with a tin of Proofhide and a Brooks saddle spanner... many thanks to Andrea and the folks at Brooks for that.



Why am I the happiest new Brooks B17 owner ?

I suffered an injury at the end of January that has caused a nerve impingement in my left hip that has caused some extreme sciatic pain that prevents me from from doing anything for any period of time; standing, walking, and sitting in a chair are painful and I often lose feeling in my left leg. I can't bend, squat down, or lift things without risking attacks of pain that are often right off the scale. Sleep has been a rare commodity as well and I have awoken on many days with no feeling in my legs at all.

When it gets really bad the pain becomes bilateral and I have spasms and pain in my lower to mid back which severely affects my balance.

It has been nearly three months of hell.

But I can ride my bike as it's takes pressure off the muscles/nerve and have been using some pretty decent saddles with deep v shapes and one Velo with an anatomic cutout and firm padding which have been working pretty well... I still haven't been able to lean into the drops on any saddle.

So I mounted the saddle on my Phillip's Twenty folder that I have converted to a fixed gear as the low step over makes getting ion and off the bike easier and the direct drive makes spinning the cranks much easier when the left leg isn't cooperative.

I've spent about 45 minutes riding on the new saddle and I can say I have had 45 minutes of pure relief from pain and can even lean into the fairly low drops without the saddle causing any painful pressure.

Seriously... it brought tears of joy to my eyes and I know that it will only get better as I put some serious test miles into this saddle which will get moved onto other bikes.

That is until I see what I can do to order a few more.

Wow.
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Old 04-18-08, 04:19 PM   #2
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That's some good news for you personally, and a great start for your saddle testing for Brooks!

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Old 04-18-08, 07:20 PM   #3
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Very nice. I'm not a Brooks guy but that's quite a testimonial.
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Old 04-18-08, 07:29 PM   #4
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Wow. This is absolutely amazing. I'm very happy to hear that you are able to ride again without pain. This alone makes the new design successful. I hope Andrea sees this.

I hope that I am able to feel just as good as you do when I try mine out. I can't lean forward because of the bulging disk in my back. If I do, I should bend at my hip, for I cannot bend at the lower back at all. This forces me to sit funny on the saddle.

Hoo boy. I hope this works for me too, 65er.
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Old 04-18-08, 08:01 PM   #5
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Now I am hoping that the weather picks up...we are not to expect temperatures above freezing until some time next week.

I might need to take another spin here.



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Old 04-18-08, 09:08 PM   #6
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is this actually made by brooks? it's not on wallbike.com
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Old 04-18-08, 09:41 PM   #7
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It's brand new... 65'ers Saddle is from the Prototype run.
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Old 04-18-08, 09:43 PM   #8
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Noob Question:
I have to ask what makes brooks so good? What makes the leather better than the synthetic saddles that have gell padding?
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Old 04-18-08, 10:15 PM   #9
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my regular b17 is better because it doesn't smash my prostate and doesn't try to rip the skin on my ass off. i also like the look.
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Old 04-18-08, 11:48 PM   #10
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Noob Question:
I have to ask what makes Brooks so good? What makes the leather better than the synthetic saddles that have gel padding?
As always... Sheldon is still the man and saves me from having to write this twice.

Leather Saddles

I ride a lot and log as many km as many serious roadies and tourers and when you ride an average of nearly 45 km a day through the year comfort is really important.

I now have seven high quality leather saddles and the other six provide a good basis for comparison for the new B17 although the pain relief the anatomically friendly version offers already makes this saddle a clear winner.

Folks have been cutting and lacing leather saddles on their own for a long time and it is nice to see Brooks offering a pre cut and punched saddle as not everyone has the skills and tools to do this themselves.

I also have some really nice and very comfortable synthetic saddles but I know I will still have my leather saddles long after the synthetic ones have disintegrated and on that note... disposal of an old leather saddle doesn't have the same environmental impact as a plastic one as leather is organic and biodegradable and the steel can be recycled.
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Old 04-19-08, 06:44 AM   #11
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I've spent about 45 minutes riding on the new saddle and I can say I have had 45 minutes of pure relief from pain and can even lean into the fairly low drops without the saddle causing any painful pressure.
Are you lucky! If you like your Brooks that well after only 45 minutes, it's going to feel wonderful when you get about 100 miles on it.
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Old 04-19-08, 06:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Noob Question:
I have to ask what makes brooks so good? What makes the leather better than the synthetic saddles that have gell padding?
Padding is actually bad - at least for some people. It compresses so that pressure is applied against your nerves and blood vessels. The relatively smooth and hard leather saddle forms to your tush and allows the anatomical protective structures that have evolved over the ages to function as they should.
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Old 04-19-08, 06:52 AM   #13
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Glad to see the Imperial is working out for you Sixty Fiver.

I'm heading out in a few minutes to give mine it's first ride. All of my B17s are comfy, I'm interested to see if this cutout makes the saddle too flexy...especially when it gets a little wet. There's a chance of rain as the day wears on, so I might just find out.
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Old 04-19-08, 10:50 AM   #14
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Are you lucky! If you like your Brooks that well after only 45 minutes, it's going to feel wonderful when you get about 100 miles on it.
I know this really well from experience... this is the first new leather saddle I have ever had and have 6 vintage leather saddles that have required varying levels of work to get them back into tip top shape.

I have also had a few saddles that I just could not find any love for, among them a rather nice Brooks Professional which was simply to narrow. I gave it to a friend who has much love for what was his first leather saddle that he found to be comfortable from the start.
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Old 04-19-08, 03:05 PM   #15
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Great review! I want one.
Has Brooks announced a price for the Imperial? If I get one, I will move my current B17 to my MTB.
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Old 04-19-08, 04:19 PM   #16
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Well, the Dahon my B17 Imperial was on is in the shop, but I got the same impression at Sixty Fiver: after only a short ride, the initial impression was incredible: this saddle really is considerably more comfortable than its uncut B17 brother for me, and will likely only get better with time.
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Old 04-20-08, 04:54 PM   #17
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Here is the saddle all mounted up... it's nice as I can swap it between my Twenty's.

The fixed gear (below) is fairly aggressive while the other Twenty has a more upright and laid back riding position.


Last edited by Sixty Fiver; 04-26-08 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 04-20-08, 04:55 PM   #18
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Another shot...

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Old 04-24-08, 12:01 AM   #19
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I put in another 20 miles on the Brooks and the new fixed gear today... the fenders did an excellent job of keeping me and the new saddle clean and dry and the ride...

It was Twenty miles of pure bliss and despite the rough roads with some serious bike swallowing potholes, the ride was outstanding and the Brooks did everything you would expect a Brooks saddle to do.

There were a few good hits where I though parts might fly off the bike but the saddle worked great to absorb the road shocks and when the road cleared and I could drop down on the bars, it was just as comfortable.

And it's not even broken in yet.
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Old 04-26-08, 09:03 AM   #20
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I'm also interested in price. Any idea yet? Will Wallbike.com have it soon with their great guarantee?
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Old 04-26-08, 09:08 AM   #21
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No idea on price although I would expect it to cost a little more than a standard B17.
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