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Old 03-11-08, 09:01 PM   #1
nine
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Help me love my Brooks!

I am so jealous of all you Brooks zealots. I want this saddle nirvana, yet it alludes me. I've tried playing with the for/aft, height, etc. to no avail. I am in the, "if the shoes aren't comfortable when you first put them on they never will be" camp. But could i be wrong? can this thing be broken in? I'm getting desperate since my Terry Fly is the closest I've come to saddle happiness--having tried many other varieties--but i still get occasional numbness. I don't get numb with the brooks, but it's been murder on the sit-bones thus far. I am now considering the selle smp strike, but the price is terrifying. anyone have any long distance experience with it?
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Old 03-11-08, 09:40 PM   #2
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If you thought the Terry Fly was close to Nirvana, you must have a narrow butt. The B17 is pretty wide. Which Brooks have you been using? Where do your sit-bones make contact?
Numbness is another problem. Have you considered the Selle Anatomica? It's basically similar to a Brooks with a slot cut down the middle to relieve pressure and solve the numbness problem.
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Old 03-11-08, 09:52 PM   #3
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according to the specialize ass-meter, i am average. (143 mm). cut outs don't solve the numbness issue for me, since both the alias and the fly have them. it's not severe numbness, but my goal is to get rid of it all together.
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Old 03-11-08, 09:56 PM   #4
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I just switched to Selle An-atomica. So far I like it.

I have a Brooks Professional on one bike I really like, but I've had it for many, many years and it's well broken in. Recently I tried to break in a Brooks Swift on another bike and it didn't go so well....the Selle An-Atomica is great.

Standard disclaimer, of course -- saddles are pretty personal.
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Old 03-11-08, 10:10 PM   #5
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Are you using a micro-adjust seatpost, like a Thomson? Brooks saddles tend to be very sensitive to tilt... and for many it takes a fully adjustable seatpost to get it right. I've never been able to make a Brooks comfortable with the type of seatpost that uses notches for adjustment.

What type of Brooks are you using, and what is your saddle to handlebar drop?

Edit: I have a Selle SMP pro on my racing bike. Don't go for that one unless you have lots of saddle to bar drop. All my "normal" bikes carry a Brooks.
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Old 03-11-08, 10:12 PM   #6
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Go ride in the rain. Yes, I'm serious.

Also make sure the nose of your saddle sticks up in the air ... so that it looks almost uncomfortably high.
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Old 03-12-08, 06:03 AM   #7
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according to the specialize ass-meter, i am average. (143 mm). cut outs don't solve the numbness issue for me, since both the alias and the fly have them. it's not severe numbness, but my goal is to get rid of it all together.
The 143mm is not your sit bone measurement, it's the Specialized saddle prescription. Mine are 110mm which means I take their 143 saddle.

FWIW, the B17 was the narrowest Brooks where my sit bones are not over the metal saddle frame (ouch). The problem I had is that it required the nose to be too "up" for my riding style. I solved that by punching some holes in the sides and lacing a couple areas. This reduced the flexing, allowing the saddle to be more level. It also stopped the sides from flapping outward under pressure, allowing a more aero riding position.

For micro adjustments using a notch adjustment post, I use shims from aluminum flashing. Peices of an aluminum can would work as well.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-12-08, 06:13 AM   #8
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hmm, a micro adjustable seatpost sounds like a good idea. it's a swift on a bike with about 2 inches of drop from the handlebars, and it's tilted up a bit.
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Old 03-12-08, 06:34 AM   #9
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hmm, a micro adjustable seatpost sounds like a good idea. it's a swift on a bike with about 2 inches of drop from the handlebars, and it's tilted up a bit.
I bet that feels a little bit more than a bit. ;-)
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Old 03-12-08, 10:00 AM   #10
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hmm, a micro adjustable seatpost sounds like a good idea. it's a swift on a bike with about 2 inches of drop from the handlebars, and it's tilted up a bit.
I have a Swift, Team Pro, and B-17. I've found that the nose on the B-17 needs to be tilted up slightly, and I've had best results with the Team Pro and Swift being totally flat.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:45 AM   #11
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I have a Swift, Team Pro, and B-17. I've found that the nose on the B-17 needs to be tilted up slightly, and I've had best results with the Team Pro and Swift being totally flat.
I can second that experience.
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Old 03-12-08, 11:46 AM   #12
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it's a swift
Unfortunately your sit bones are probably right over the metal chassis of the saddle. That's what happened to me and mine are toward the narrow side of the 143 Specialized prescription. Sucks don't it?
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Old 03-12-08, 11:56 AM   #13
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The other thing that impacts numbness is "how you sit" on the saddle. Try riding with different hip angles, you'll notice your contact points and numb spots shift around. This can be a tactic during a long ride (I use it) but also you might figure out a subtle position change such as bar height or reach that gets you more comfy.
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Old 03-12-08, 12:00 PM   #14
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Also make sure the nose of your saddle sticks up in the air ... so that it looks almost uncomfortably high.
i used to ride my swift saddle with the nose in the air, but now i'm back to a regular flat setup. for me, it only helped in the first few weeks when i was sliding off of it.

what i mean is that this may not work for everyone, although i have noticed a fair number of brooks set up as you suggest.
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Old 03-12-08, 12:02 PM   #15
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nine, i suggest trying out a b17, i find mine more comfortable than my swift, and i (think i) have an average sit-bone width.
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Old 03-13-08, 06:48 AM   #16
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nine, i suggest trying out a b17, i find mine more comfortable than my swift, and i (think i) have an average sit-bone width.
With a 2-inch saddle to bar drop, I think the OP would be miserable on a B-17. The Swift is the right choice for that bar configuration.
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Old 03-13-08, 08:47 AM   #17
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With a 2-inch saddle to bar drop, I think the OP would be miserable on a B-17. The Swift is the right choice for that bar configuration.
Yes. Or also possibly the Team Professional.
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Old 03-13-08, 10:37 AM   #18
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Brooks also offer a B17 Narrow, are you sure you have enough setback?
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Old 03-13-08, 03:48 PM   #19
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yeah setback is not an issue for me. i put my fly back on and it never felt so good. i'm keeping the brooks. maybe i'll try it out again someday. too many people love it, so i must have something off with my set-up. i'll figure it out some other time.
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Old 03-15-08, 04:13 PM   #20
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I have the B17 Narrow which works much better for me (I'm smaller 5'8" 142). Truthfully, I'm more of an Avocet fan. They are hard to find but extremely comfortable for me. And the bonus is that it is much lighter than the Brooks.
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Old 03-22-08, 02:39 PM   #21
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Brooks also offer a B17 Narrow, are you sure you have enough setback?
Counter intuitive, I found a better saddle fit by sliding my Brooks forward just a pinch. I think its a result of pitching the nose up, you tend to ride further back.
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Old 03-23-08, 11:10 AM   #22
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The leather on my Ti swift was much stiffer than my previous B-17's. After almost 1000 miles there wasn't even a dent from my sit bones, where as a B-17 would have been well broken in by then. It still wasn't comfortable, and I got very worried about having to sell such a nice saddle, probably what you've been feeling.

To solve it, I bought some neats foot oil (Velo Orange sells it), turned the saddle upside down and gave the underside a good soak, until the color showed through to the top evenly. To my dismay, this changed the beautiful honey to a dark brown and didn't go away, but my butt was immediately much happier. The saddle softened up well and the last 1,500 miles have been much much better.

What's weird is that unlike the B-17, the swift is only comfortable with cycling shorts. It doesn't sit right in jeans for some reason, not sure why.
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Old 03-23-08, 12:44 PM   #23
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Koobi

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yeah setback is not an issue for me. i put my fly back on and it never felt so good. i'm keeping the brooks. maybe i'll try it out again someday. too many people love it, so i must have something off with my set-up. i'll figure it out some other time.
I started out with a Fly, and I loved it until it got too soft. Tried a B-17, and could never get it to feel right. Then I tried a Koobi Silver, and it has been great for maybe 5 years now. They no longer make the Silver, but maybe a different Koobi would work for you. They used to offer 30 day refund trial, maybe they still do.

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Old 03-23-08, 06:59 PM   #24
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Hi folks,
I'm not intending to highjack this thread but I have some issues with a Brooks B-17 as well.

I bought it last spring and it took a while to break in. While I was breaking it in, I raised my handlebar height, lowered the seat, and felt pretty comfortable toward the end of the season. I'm pretty much a club and fitness rider, for the most part. Not a racer. 165#, in decent shape, etc.

Anyways, after other comfort issues, specifically ITB, I saw a respected fitter in my area and had my position refined a bit. A bit? Actually everything has changed. He lowered my handlebar, set it out further (slightly longer stem without rise), found my 'neutral' seat position and I changed from eggbeaters to Look Keo. Lot's of changes really.

The Brooks was and is very comfy on my sit bones (well, it ain't, and never will be a Laz-e-boy, but reasonable for 100 miles.) But now, I'm changing a bit from a more upright, handlebar level, pelvis-back position to a position more suitable to the drop position. Frankly, even with the previous higher-handlebar position, the Brooks B-17 causes quick issues with the 'taint and perineal soft tissue.

It seems Brooks is well aware of this to some degree with their anatomical test runs and all, but is there a solution I can try short of cutting the saddle to allow a more agreeable fit in the drop position?

From what I have gleaned, many touring cyclists love the Brooks saddles, and I doubt that type of cyclist spends much time in the drops but in a headwind or decent. Regardless, th discomfort I always have felt in the drops from the Brooks is concerning.

In short, in an upright position, the Brooks is agreeable. But, even in a shallow drop position, the brooks is interfering with soft tissue in pelvis-forward, more aero positions. The sit-bones Love the Brooks. The 'Taint hates it to the point I have to put it on the commuter.

This saddle has over 1500 miles on it, and is nicely broken in. Has my bone dimples, etc. I can't wear it in where the soft bits contact it.

I could use anecdotes and remedies if there are any.

I'm considering trying other products, but saddle shopping is why I bought the Brooks in the first place. I wanted to avoid the issue and get the best. My fear is that a new search might save the 'taint and suffer the 'sit... Which it seems would be preferable in the long term.

Thanks.

Last edited by BrooklynRider; 03-23-08 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 03-23-08, 07:25 PM   #25
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I believe when it comes to saddles you really can't take other peoples recommendations, the variables are too great, the only way to find a comfortable saddle is to try different ones.
A long time ago I really wanted a Brooks after hearing all the hype, the problem was, which one?
There was nobody to borrow one off so what was I supposed to do with so many models? Just keep buying till I get the right one!!? $$$
I ended up buying three off Ebay, a B17, a professional (small) & a colt. All used, good condition, after trying all three I can say without a doubt, for me the colt is fantastic, sooo comfortable, the others don't come even close, for ME they are torture!
I'm sure the others will suit someone else.
So, I'm sorry, I'm not that convinced about all this talk that has gone on for years about "breaking in" saddles, while I agree they will "give" a bit, its probably more a case of you getting used to it.
At the end of the day a saddle needs to feel right, or close to begin with, else no amount of riding will make it feel good, as you say, like shoes.

Last edited by Freewheeler; 03-23-08 at 07:34 PM.
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