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  1. #1
    Green Tea Lemonade Oil_LOL's Avatar
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    I have an idea for a bicycle-related company...

    Ok, everyone on this forum loooves Brooks saddles. The main thing they love is the comfort, which is the most important thing you should have in a saddle. But they do have some disadvantages, mainly their overall steal-ability, and the harm the elements can do to them. I have an idea. The company takes your used Brooks saddle, and makes a replica using synthetic materials. The seats are customized to exactly how your butt is shaped, and they are weatherproof, and, because of the all black, synthetic construction, they look like a normal saddle to your average thief. Just thought of this while looking at saddles online. Any criticisms or comments?

  2. #2
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Jobst Brandt called Brooks saddles "leather ass-hatchets". He and I don't agree on everything, but I'm with him on this. I tried Brooks saddles multiple times and they just about killed the cycling experience for me. It wasn't until I tried WTB saddles that I got comfortable.

    IMO, your business is a non-starter.
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  3. #3
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Jobst Brandt called Brooks saddles "leather ass-hatchets". He and I don't agree on everything, but I'm with him on this. I tried Brooks saddles multiple times and they just about killed the cycling experience for me. It wasn't until I tried WTB saddles that I got comfortable.

    IMO, your business is a non-starter.

    I wouldn't be so sure. Based on economics Rivendell would be a non-starter as well yet it exists and appears profitable.
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
    Live in Houston? Come to http://bicyclecommutehouston.blogspot.com/
    1988 Specialized Sirrus, 1989 Alpine Monitor Pass MTB, 2007 Specialized Sirrus 700C hybrid, 2007 Schwinn Town & Country trike, 1970 "Resto-Improved" Raleigh 20, 1970 "WIP" Raleigh 20, and 1980 "WIP" Schwinn Town & Country trike

  4. #4
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    I got a Brooks B-17 as a gift about 20 years ago, and within five years or so had them on four bikes. I've been riding more than 40 years, and nothing has come close.
    I suspect, though--I don't KNOW--that there's more to their comfort than the shape. There's a certain resilience, a degree of absorbency and who knows what else. I don't know that you could duplicate that in another material.
    If you did, would I buy one? If the price were close to Brooks, probably not.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    There is already a Brooks look-alike: The Selle San Marco Regal.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Hilarious idea.

    I can't imagine why a Brooks would look more appealing to a thief than a slim racing saddles. Those slim racing saddles look good, and look expensive, while a Brooks looks like something someone dug out of the garage where it has been buried under a pile of stuff since the 1960s. Of course, that is one of the appealing features to me, and from my reading here and other conversations, also to a relatively small number of other cyclists. I am under the impression that most cyclists consider them ugly.

    Elements don't do much harm to a Brooks. I ride mine in all weather and they are fine. Brooks riders tuck a plastic grocery bag in the rails under their saddle to cover their saddles if they have to leave them outside in the rain for any length of time.

    And if you want to make them out of a synthetic material, you are missing the whole point of the Brooks saddle. Brooks saddles are made from leather for a number of reasons.

    One is, as you have mentioned, that leather conforms to your anatomy. And leather keeps on conforming to your anatomy when things change, like for example, if you happen to have an accident and your riding style changes slightly, the leather Brooks will adapt to that. Synthetic will not.

    Another reason is that leather gives ... it provides a cushioning, spring-like effect. Yes, the saddle feels as hard as a rock when you gently touch it, but when you are sitting on it and you go over a bump, the leather gives as your weight pushes downward. A plastic shell with synthetic material over the top only gives as much as the padding of the synthetic material allows. The plastic shell doesn't give.

    Another reason is that leather breathes which can be important to anyone who rides long distances.


    But you could probably sell the idea to people who don't have a clue why Brooks work. What synthetic material are you thinking of using?

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    The brooks on my tourer is hacked on the sides, tied up with cord, imperialized (hole cut on the middle), and if I haven't retouch it in a while, looks like made out of zombie skin. I don't think anybody wants to touch it much less steal it

  8. #8
    Riding twobadfish's Avatar
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    The overhead on forming and molding individual saddles would be tremendous. Production costs would be waaay too high and they just wouldn't be as comfortable as real leather.

  9. #9
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    You have two marketing problems:

    1. Brooks appeals through tradition; you don't. People who would be most interested in trying a innovative moulded saddle would be least interested in the Brooks vibe and a saddle that would have to be VISIBLY cheaper looking than a Brooks

    2. By being cheaper than a Brooks you've locked yourself into a low profit part of the market

    Also: most Brooks owners aren't really that sacred of theft. Or they'd be using a security skewer on their seatpost and a bb in holt melt glue in the saddle clamp hex socket.

    BUT this was still a great idea! It's at least a near miss and maybe you can come up with a way to make it work.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    There is already a Brooks look-alike: The Selle San Marco Regal.
    Which has the same problems that the OP is trying to solve.

    ================

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Another reason is that leather breathes which can be important to anyone who rides long distances.
    It would seem that the thickness of the leather plus all the waterproofing added to it would make it not breathable at all.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-17-11 at 03:05 PM.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    There is a company that has a pattern maker scheme , you sit on it,
    then makes the part you sit on out of carbon fiber composite..

    Cost?. You don't want to know..

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    There is a company that has a pattern maker scheme , you sit on it,
    then makes the part you sit on out of carbon fiber composite..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG01E52F0d8

    http://www.sellelogica.com/

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    It would seem that the thickness of the leather plus all the waterproofing added to it would make it not breathable at all.
    What waterproofing?

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oil_LOL View Post
    The company takes your used Brooks saddle
    Another thing ... if your market is the people who have broken in their Brooks saddles and are happy with them ... the people who have ridden thousands and tens of thousands of kilometres on their Brooks saddles and like the way they fit ... chances are these are the people who have ridden in all sorts of weather and other conditions with their saddles and who are perfectly happy with their saddles as they are. Chances are these people have no interest whatsoever in a plastic saddle, even if it is some sort of replica of their Brooks.

  15. #15
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Like wool, there is no synthetic replacement for leather and this is where the appeal in a Brooks saddle lies... they are not for everyone but a very good portion of the miles I ride are done on leather saddles because they fit and ride so well.

    When the Ideale Professional on my B touring bike dies it will get another B17 Imperial like my A bike as this is one of the most comfortable long distance saddle I have ever used and would consider it the equal to my Ideale 92 touring saddle which is not as suitable for a more aggressive position on the bike as the B17I is.

  16. #16
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Like wool, there is no synthetic replacement for leather and this is where the appeal in a Brooks saddle lies... they are not for everyone but a very good portion of the miles I ride are done on leather saddles because they fit and ride so well.

    When the Ideale Professional on my B touring bike dies it will get another B17 Imperial like my A bike as this is one of the most comfortable long distance saddle I have ever used and would consider it the equal to my Ideale 92 touring saddle which is not as suitable for a more aggressive position on the bike as the B17I is.
    My sidis are made out of something called lorica that seems to work just as well as leather. I might consider a brooks made out of that stuff.

    As for the business plan, I don't think very many people choose their saddle based on the likelihood of it being stolen.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    SIdi makes Shoes, not Saddles.. Fi:zi'k makes saddles uses similar.. don't crash
    or scuff the covering against a stucco wall .. its fragile stuff..

    thick leather, its not an issue...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    What waterproofing?
    Proofhide or whatever. Even with no waterproofing, it isn't very breathable.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    This is the only breathable saddle I've ever seen, but it is apparently out of production: http://news.cnet.com/Photos-Weaving-...667576-10.html

  20. #20
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Good inspiration, but I don't think it would make it in the market.

    1. You'd have to have broken-in a Brooks saddle to create the mold. That shrinks the market.

    2. It would be very difficult to replicate the feel of the Brooks with the standard seat-making base/padding/cover technology. You'd have to build the seat backwards from the shape of the cover, to making the padding and then figure out a base to go under that. The padding wouldn't give the same resistance as the leather.

    Good try. Like Thomas Edison, you're one mistake closer to a great product. Keep it up. You might extrapolate the idea to figuring out how to make a personalized saddle from scratch. I sit on a test rig, you make the measurements based on a computer analysis and deliver a comfortable saddle. Do that and it will be a game changer and worth more than a Brooks. No more bicycle saddle roulette.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 04-18-11 at 06:29 PM.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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  21. #21
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post

    It would seem that the thickness of the leather plus all the waterproofing added to it would make it not breathable at all.
    Good waterproofing makes things more breathable not less; you shouldn't think of it as being like a coating of solid plastic over the leather.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Proofhide or whatever. Even with no waterproofing, it isn't very breathable.
    Well, you don't trowel the proofide on ... a tiny, little dab once a year will do.

  23. #23
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oil_LOL View Post
    Ok, everyone on this forum loooves Brooks saddles. The main thing they love is the comfort, which is the most important thing you should have in a saddle. But they do have some disadvantages, mainly their overall steal-ability, and the harm the elements can do to them. I have an idea. The company takes your used Brooks saddle, and makes a replica using synthetic materials. The seats are customized to exactly how your butt is shaped, and they are weatherproof, and, because of the all black, synthetic construction, they look like a normal saddle to your average thief. Just thought of this while looking at saddles online. Any criticisms or comments?
    I think the comfort of a saddle is based upon an individuals sit bones of their bum. A saddle with the correct width to support sit bones would result in a comfortable saddle. Take for instance, Specialized BG saddles. Go into a Specialized BG dealer and they could fit your ass to the correct size BG saddle. So the big S has the custom fitted saddle market covered, albeit with pre-set saddle sizes to fit most of the cycling population. Now if you're talking about full custom, one-off built saddles then I think you've got a very small market and you'd have to charge quite a premium for the saddles to come out ahead. I just don't think that market is there.

    Why just a Brooks as a model? Why not any other saddle? Again you're limiting the prospective market to only folks that run a Brooks saddle. I cringe when I see a Brooks on a modern bicycle. It's akin to putting on wooden wagon wheels on a modern automobile. It's out of it's era. Yeah, I see how some like the look and the fact that it "forms" to their ass after several hundred miles but c'mon. The thing looks like it came of a late 19th century safety bike in a museum.
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by commo_soulja View Post
    The thing looks like it came of a late 19th century safety bike in a museum.
    Yes! And that's one of the beautiful and appealing things about the saddle.

  25. #25
    surfrider
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    bikeisland.com already sells an imitation B-17 saddle for $49.95 USA. It includes brown leather & pre-patinated riveting. Although not preformed to an individual's specific 'tooshie' measurements, it would be kind of hard to start a company that can compete with that price for a knock-off Brooks look-a-like saddle.

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