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  1. #1
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Stopping side flare on Brooks B-17

    How do you keep the sides from flaring out on a Brooks B-17. I really do not want to punch holes and lace it. Doesn't seem like the comfort is affected, but when I am off the bike the flared sides look ugly to me. I have tightened it up slightly, but do not want to go that route and wreck the leather either.

    Suggestions?
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    Short of punching holes and lacing, I don't think there is anything you can do. Lacing it will certainly not ruin the saddle - lots of people have done it, and brooks even has a a model of the B17 (age leather I think?) that is laced from the factory. I even know one guy that punched holes and used plastic zip ties to keep his B17 from spreading.

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    Senior Member Jim Kukula's Avatar
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    The B17 Imperial comes laced:

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    it's just a saddle. drill/punch and lace it.

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    For aesthetics? Really?

    The flaring is a functional part of the Brooks suspension process.

    By the way, you haven't done any of the alternative "breaking in processes" to it, have you?
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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Nothing alternative done. When I was riding today I actually paid attention to where the sides of the saddle are in relation to my thighs and realized that the flare is not going to rub my thighs, which is what I was afraid would happen. for now I am going to leave it alone and see what happens. Yep aesthetics are important to me, thats why I don't like modern bikes with severely sloping top tubes.I like the look of the 70's-80's bikes. If I am going to spend a few thousand I want it to look good as well as ride nice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    How do you keep the sides from flaring out on a Brooks B-17. I really do not want to punch holes and lace it.
    these are incompatible goals.

    If you punch and lace, i would put the holes up high. Otherwise eventually the saddle ovalizes and widens again.

    Looks is a bad reason to lace a brooks, but lacing does yield a flatter, less hammocky top which is a big help to me.

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    If it's not sagging, you could always butcher it, too.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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    Senior Member lonesomesteve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    How do you keep the sides from flaring out on a Brooks B-17. I really do not want to punch holes and lace it. Doesn't seem like the comfort is affected, but when I am off the bike the flared sides look ugly to me. I have tightened it up slightly, but do not want to go that route and wreck the leather either.

    Suggestions?
    My own B17 is punched and laced and is going strong after 10 or 15 thousand miles. However if you have a problem with that, Grant Peterson suggests an alternate approach that I haven't tried but it sounds good in theory. Find a chunk of foam rubber the right size and stuff it under the saddle. It should accomplish pretty much the same thing as lacing. The only drawback I see is that the foam may soak up water if it's raining. Especially if you don't have fenders.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    For aesthetics? Really?

    The flaring is a functional part of the Brooks suspension process.

    By the way, you haven't done any of the alternative "breaking in processes" to it, have you?
    This is illustrated by how stiff my saddles get if I put the lacing in, or tighten it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Skankingbiker's Avatar
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    I drilled and laced mine because the the flare was causing my thighs to chafe the sides of the saddle. I am seriously contemplating drilling out the holes on the saddle and cutting in between to make a poor-mans imperial. I want the "suspension" without the side flare.

  12. #12
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Well for now the flare is not so bad as to cause chafing, so I will do nothing. If I start getting chaffed I guess I will swallow my aesthetic sense and drill and lace. In playing with it I can see how lacing my stiffen the saddle though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    Well for now the flare is not so bad as to cause chafing, so I will do nothing. If I start getting chaffed I guess I will swallow my aesthetic sense and drill and lace. In playing with it I can see how lacing my stiffen the saddle though.
    Don't drill, get a punch. You can drill leather but the holes are then torn instead of cleanly cut. A punch only costs eight dollars or something at a craft store.

  14. #14
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    I suspend my bike from the ceiling in my garage with rope around the saddle. This effectively keeps the sides of my B17 together as the rope comes together above and they do not flair after riding. So, try using a strong rubber band to wrap around the sides while not on the bike, which shuld accomplish the same thing.

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