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  1. #1
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    Loosening the nut on my Brooks saddle.

    Anyone done this before?

    My bottom and sit bones are actually super comfy on the saddle, but I can feel every road vibration getting transmitted to the small of my lower back. Like the saddle is so hard that instead of dispersing the shock, it is beating me up with it.

    From day one, I felt like I was sitting on a backboard.
    I proofhided it, put miles on it, adjusted the angle. Still hurting my back. My old Brooks was fine. Same bike.

    So I figured I would back off the nut a smidge and see if that helps. I will post back with an update. If the thing still hurts my back, I think I will have to get rid of it. It is just making riding miserable.

    Facing the saddle nose, I turned the nut 1/8 turn counter-clockwise (or should I say "anti-clockwise"). From looking at the mechanism, this looks like it will loosen the leather up a smidge.

    I don't want to start another breaking in thread, just wanted to see if anyone has had this saddle back problem and if loosening the saddle up worked for them.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Over time it will hammock , but if the nut is backed all the way to the front end,
    there is no more loosening..

    maybe your toosh will be more comfortable on a leather covered foam padded saddle,
    rather than a thick leather one suspended from rivets.

    there are abundant choices in that category.

    or maybe you will have to go into recumbent-cy.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-20-12 at 01:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Don't do it.

    Tilt the nose of the saddle up a tiny bit, and keep riding. The saddle is supposed to be hard, and will never been anything but hard (unless something goes terribly wrong with it).

    How much have you ridden it so far?

  4. #4
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    yeah don't adjust it. sounds like an adjustment to your fit or your posture is required.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  5. #5
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    If your bottom and sit bones are "comfy", don't change your saddle. From your description it would appear you might be very upright; otherwise, at the more or less average 45 degree +- back angle flexing in your spine would be doing the absorbing. A very stiff frame, let's say inexpensive Aluminum, might be contributing.
    Rick T
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  6. #6
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    I do sit up high. About 45 or 50 degrees on a steel frame.
    I had ridden the bike for a couple months with no problems.
    It started when I got the new saddle.
    My butt likes it, but my back doesn't.
    I actually had another new Brooks saddle on it before, that was fine, except the saddle leaned to the left so I exchanged it for the new one which seems fine, other than killing my back.
    I did tip the nose up, thinking that would deflect the shocks differently, and it is a little better, but still a problem.

    This has been a wierd summer of biking pains for me. First my shoulders hurt in the spring, then after I raised the bars and put on a 1cm shorter stem, they are fine. Then my knees hurt, then I moved the saddle back and they love it there. After my knees and shoulders gave me the approval of those adjustments, now my back is hurting since I got the new saddle.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Can you post a picture of you on the bicycle?

  8. #8
    Senior Member bghill1's Avatar
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    I was sure that when I got my Brooks, the documentation said to never turn the nut counter-clockwise. I could never understand why but also never tried it. Did it loosen up the leather?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Can you post a picture of you on the bicycle?
    I will try.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bghill1 View Post
    I was sure that when I got my Brooks, the documentation said to never turn the nut counter-clockwise. I could never understand why but also never tried it. Did it loosen up the leather?
    Haven't ridden it yet because I am feeling under the weather at the moment. Hope to commute Saturday and will report back.

    Thanks for the help everybody.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bent Bill's Avatar
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    Crimeny its a bike saddle its made of leather and steel
    If you want to loosen the bolt some go ahead and see if it helps
    Its not a nuclear warhead
    It wont blow up and the sun will still come up in the east tomorow
    I dont know where some people get the idea you have to treat brooks saddles like its a newborn baby
    or a piece of Ming Dynasty china
    The bolts on my 2 saddles have over an inch of adjustment
    I have both loosened and tightened my saddles alot to see what difference it makes and they are both fine after my experiments
    My 2 saddles may not last 40 years like some people on here brag about theres
    but thats fine because Im not gonna last that long either
    If a person loosens the nut a half or a whole turn and the saddle sags to much big deal
    just tighten it 3/4 to 1'1/2 turns and it will be back to where it was
    and it will still have at least another 39 1/2 years worth of adjustment left

    Nomex suit on as I wait for the flames from the Brooks purists

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bent Bill View Post
    Crimeny its a bike saddle its made of leather and steel
    If you want to loosen the bolt some go ahead and see if it helps
    Its not a nuclear warhead
    It wont blow up and the sun will still come up in the east tomorow
    I dont know where some people get the idea you have to treat brooks saddles like its a newborn baby
    or a piece of Ming Dynasty china
    The bolts on my 2 saddles have over an inch of adjustment
    I have both loosened and tightened my saddles alot to see what difference it makes and they are both fine after my experiments
    My 2 saddles may not last 40 years like some people on here brag about theres
    but thats fine because Im not gonna last that long either
    If a person loosens the nut a half or a whole turn and the saddle sags to much big deal
    just tighten it 3/4 to 1'1/2 turns and it will be back to where it was
    and it will still have at least another 39 1/2 years worth of adjustment left

    Nomex suit on as I wait for the flames from the Brooks purists
    disappoint.jpg
    The best thing about a bicycle is that it uses no gasoline, therefore the chance of fiery death is greatly reduced.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bghill1 View Post
    Did it loosen up the leather?
    Not noticeably. 1/8th turn. I re-proofhided it last night. But the saddle still felt the same on the ride into work today.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lungimsam View Post
    Not noticeably. 1/8th turn. I re-proofhided it last night. But the saddle still felt the same on the ride into work today.
    Of course it felt the same (for now) ... turning the bolt and adding proofide are not the solutions.

    You've got to ride the saddle ... lots. Have you done 500 km on the saddle yet?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Have you done 500 km on the saddle yet?
    Pretty sure by now I have.
    I will try to post a pic soon.
    Thanks for the help.
    Loosening the nut definitely didn't make a difference.
    Last edited by lungimsam; 12-22-12 at 05:22 PM.

  16. #16
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    OK, here are the pics...any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
    Hoods:

    Tops:

    Drops:

  17. #17
    Senior Member NCbiker's Avatar
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    Seems that you are in a very upright position. How far above the saddle are your bars? You might want to try dropping the stem some and see if that helps.
    __o
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  18. #18
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    Bartops are about 2 inches higher than the saddle.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lungimsam View Post
    Bartops are about 2 inches higher than the saddle.
    I like an upright position too, but you might want to try dropping your handlebars 0.5 inches ... maybe 1 inch ... and see how you feel. You'll still be quite upright, but it might be enough to put you in a slightly different, possibly more comfortable position.

  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The issue is road vibration felt while riding an upright Rivendale?

    You may need to add more mattresses over that Pea, princess.

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I like an upright position too, but you might want to try dropping your handlebars 0.5 inches ... maybe 1 inch ... and see how you feel. You'll still be quite upright, but it might be enough to put you in a slightly different, possibly more comfortable position.
    You might also want to lower your saddle a bit ... looks like you're reaching for the bottom of your pedal stroke. Maybe try lowering your saddle 0.5 inch and handlebar 1 inch and see how you feel.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    The issue is road vibration felt while riding an upright Rivendale?

    You may need to add more mattresses over that Pea, princess.
    No, to reiterate:
    My crotch, bottom and sit bones are actually super comfy on the saddle, but I can feel every road vibration getting transmitted to the small of my lower back. Like the saddle is so hard that instead of dispersing the shock, it is beating me up with it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    You might also want to lower your saddle a bit ... looks like you're reaching for the bottom of your pedal stroke. Maybe try lowering your saddle 0.5 inch and handlebar 1 inch and see how you feel.
    Right now at the bottom of the stroke, the heel can touch the pedal, but just barely. Should I have it so that the heel can touch it more firmly when at the bottom of the stroke (not feel like reaching with the heel)?
    Thanks for the help, Machka.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lungimsam View Post
    Right now at the bottom of the stroke, the heel can touch the pedal, but just barely. Should I have it so that the heel can touch it more firmly when at the bottom of the stroke (not feel like reaching with the heel)?
    Thanks for the help, Machka.
    Absolutely. You should have just a hint of a bend in your knee when your heel is firmly planted on the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

    You may be all right with it as you have it if you only do short rides on flat ground, but if you start doing long rides, and especially if your rides include a lot of climbing, you're asking for Achilles Tendon injuries with your saddle that high.

  25. #25
    Senior Member NCbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lungimsam View Post
    No, to reiterate:
    My crotch, bottom and sit bones are actually super comfy on the saddle, but I can feel every road vibration getting transmitted to the small of my lower back. Like the saddle is so hard that instead of dispersing the shock, it is beating me up with it.
    When your setting in that totally upright position, all the road shock and vibration is transmitted directly up your spine. By lowering your bars, you'll be in a more aggressive position that will allow your arms to act like shock absorbers making the ride easier on your back.

    I like an upright position as well, but have to find a balance between being so upright that I suffer back pain versus being so bent over that I suffer pain in my shoulders or neck. I've found that just a little adjustment can make a big difference in comfort. I also suffer knee pain if my seat is at the wrong height or hand numbness is my seat fore and aft position is not right. It's a balancing act of trial and error to get your bike fit to your body, or you can have a professional fitting done, but even then, you may still have to make minor tweaks on your own to get it just right.

    Also, if your backside is comfy, there is no need to adjust your Brooks tension screw.
    __o
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