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  1. #101
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacreamer
    I've a Brooks Swift saddle and had no problem with breaking in the leather, it's the metal undercarriage that has been given me a pain. Is there a technique that I've been missing or is that I prefer to slide back and forth on the saddle which voids the legendary comfort of a Brooks saddle?

    There is no breaking in of the metal carriage..
    Tom,

    I'm sorry to hear you're having comfort issues with your Brooks.

    Got a question for you: is it the metal frame around the rear (the "horseshoe" shaped part of the frame) that's causing you grief or the metal rails running down the middle/front?

    If the latter, tilting the saddle to a different angle might help.
    If the former "horseshoe" try sliding the saddle fore/aft until you get it where it seems most natural to be in the "hammock" of the leather.

    There's one possibility that may not be a popular one: your saddle may be too narrow for your riding style/sit bones. I tried a 150mm wide Brooks and found it hellish - I ride upright. Went to a B67 (210mm wide) and LOVE it.

    You'll find narrow (140mm) plastic/carbon saddles but that width doesn't correspond to the same thing in a Brooks. The Brooks has to be wider for a given ride style/butt (in my experience) because you want to be sitting on the "hammock" not a vertical edge or frame which have no give.

    I hope you can resolve the discomfort with position and tilt adjustments but you might consider a wider Brooks if that doesn't work. :\

  2. #102
    Tossed some weight Redrom's Avatar
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    Hate to interrupt the UK discussion, but I wanted to toss out another Brooks question.

    It seems the conventional wisdom these days is to have the cut-away. Brooks does not. In all the reading I've done, I haven't seen this addressed. I know the cut-away makes a difference on my seat. Maybe someone would be willing to wax on this.

    I have a feeling after my two 30 mile rides this weekend at the Virginia Heartland ride, I'll be convinced to get a Brooks, and this is my last reservation. Thanks for all the great opinions.

  3. #103
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac
    (In an Australian accent) That's not a saddle, this is a saddle:

    It's a REAL MAN Saddle.
    - you know, i could probably send the US$259 that Sheldon wants for this saddle, but i'm not sure how i'd package the also-required 50cc blood sample...

    - any advice?

    - oh, and where would the blood be drawn?

    :-)

  4. #104
    Senior Member jcbryan's Avatar
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    I, too, had reservations about the "no cutout" until I found this one. Which is a cut-up Brooks. I love it, though because of flex from the cuts I don't know if it'll ever get the "Dimples". The best seat I've ever ridden in 30 years. Best, john

    Quote Originally Posted by Redrom
    Hate to interrupt the UK discussion, but I wanted to toss out another Brooks question.

    It seems the conventional wisdom these days is to have the cut-away. Brooks does not. In all the reading I've done, I haven't seen this addressed. I know the cut-away makes a difference on my seat. Maybe someone would be willing to wax on this.

    I have a feeling after my two 30 mile rides this weekend at the Virginia Heartland ride, I'll be convinced to get a Brooks, and this is my last reservation. Thanks for all the great opinions.
    Last edited by jcbryan; 09-23-05 at 03:31 PM. Reason: images

  5. #105
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    Wow! That is rather fascinating to me.. What what the saddle originally (model? B 17 i am guessing) how was the cutout done? Was it difficult? Any chance for a website/pictures detailing the proces?

    Maybe a bit like this:

    http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/articles/brooks.htm

    Do the cut out and edges pinch or scuff you at all? Does it sag? Perhaps it may last less long and lose shape quicker but heck if that makes you even more comfortable on a Brooks i say go for it! 10 instead of 30 years is plenty time to enjoy it too. Who know maybe pretty soon Brooks will make a model like this... I would not be surprised in the least. Maybe an ultra light chopped (sideskirts cut away like in the link above and some material from front and back removed) leather saddle with cut out is feasible. All the Tecno weight Weenies might then finally be appeased and enjoy Brooks/leather as well.

    As for the general no cutout question. I'd say that the reason for making modern saddles with the cut outs is twofold. First, all those polymer modern saddles don't breathe at all and some actually heat up a lot (gell!). Hence you may very likely get pain, rashes, prickly heat and even sores if you ride longer. Many cutouts serve as a sortoff of ventilation system which seems to work fairly well. Brooks doesn't necessarily need this since the leather breathes very well all over, and hardly ever warms up at all (chk their page for lots more info on this).

    Then there is anatomic considerations for the cutout. The idea is to give your body support where you need it and to not constrict or put painfull pressure on other parts. This is of course a good idea though the modern saddles took forever to actually implement it. As people have stated and shown many times the leather of Brooks automatically molds to your unique anatomy (while the cutout saddles, just have a general profile that will hopefully fit you) hence the 'sit bone dimples' the other poster referred to. In Brooks' own words:

    "the philosophy behind the use of leather. A leather saddle forms to your anatomy and any pressure peaks force the leather to adapt its shape to a point whereby pressure peaks are evened out by equal distribution of pressure - essentially the bed of nails technique. Dependant upon how toned a riders posterior is, a broken-in saddle may look deformed, but the rider will assure you that its comfort is unsurpassed. The leather however will still be firm. It will have just adapted to the riders anatomy -the perfectly broken-in saddle. Remember: a broken-in Brooks saddle is the only saddle that will be exactly formed to your body, with an incomparable customized comfort."

    All that said i think the Brooks mod. is a great thing. I applaud experimentation and modding something so it suits you even better. I am truly perfectly comfortable on my B 17 AND B 66 but would love to maybe mod. it or compare it to a modded version. Perhaps it gets even better!
    Last edited by v1nce; 09-24-05 at 12:58 PM.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  6. #106
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    I've owned around 15 Brooks' saddles in my time but have always had difficulty in breaking them in so as to achieve the depressions defined by the "sit-bones". Now I have just witnessed a Brooks' saddle which has been perfectly broken-in over about 700 miles and by a female weighing just above 98 lbs. I'm now convinced that it is the lack of padding over the "sit-bones" allowing them more effectively to create the indentations, that makes the difference between success and failure. Given the size of my rear-end it may well be that I'm never going to achieve the desired result.

  7. #107
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    Interesting.. Never thought of that. Of course there are ways to make the Brooks break in easier and faster but don't know if that would help.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  8. #108
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    I'm not bony, and all I did was wack the sit bone area with a malet a few times. You can be gentle about this since the force of the mallet is far greater than your bones can comfortably produce, but it gets the process started without creating any changes in the leather such as an oil might instil.

    So what I did was put the seat on the bike, ride it about 4 miles, wack it with the mallet, and then go straight to a 1600KM tour. No problems.

  9. #109
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    So what I did was put the seat on the bike, ride it about 4 miles, wack it with the mallet, and then go straight to a 1600KM tour. No problems.
    Best I've heard so far....
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  10. #110
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    That's a funny approach indeed har har. I am sure Brooks never intended it that way. But hey if it works.. good idea! Why suffer through a break in period if you can just speed up the process... Hmm Maybe Brooks should look into 'pre-whacked' saddles...

    They Could combine that with an anger management program perhaps har.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  11. #111
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by v1nce
    Hmm Maybe Brooks should look into 'pre-whacked' saddles...
    Their softened saddles have "Pre-Softened" embossed across the saddle top. "Pre-Whacked" may not be a bad idea.

    Now I'm curious, how does Brooks pre-soften their saddles....? One of my Pros was pre-softened and I remember having no initial discomfort using it right out of the box.
    Last edited by roadfix; 09-27-05 at 11:51 AM.
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  12. #112
    Pedalpower clayface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    Now I'm curious, how does Brooks pre-soften their saddles....? One of my Pros was pre-softened and I remember having no initial discomfort using it right out of the box.
    I made the same question a few years back in the iBOB's list. Someone replied that Brooks just spread a bit of Proofide over the leather and that's it.

  13. #113
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayface
    I made the same question a few years back in the iBOB's list. Someone replied that Brooks just spread a bit of Proofide over the leather and that's it.
    Well, my pre-softened Pro, even to this day, is noticably softer than my regular Pro which is well broken in...
    Last edited by roadfix; 09-27-05 at 01:14 PM.
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  14. #114
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    follow-up: the B67 I picked up a few months back is treating me very well. I warmed it in a sunny window and rubbed Proofide in, using somewhere around half the tin - though I'm sure some rubbed off, evaporated or got on my hands and clothes.

    500+ km later, it hasn't "sagged" - it's nearly as stiff as it was originally but the underside has an oily texture and is quite water repellant. It's beginning to develop dimples and though they're very shallow this is by far the most comfortable saddle I've ever sat on. It feels soft while riding. I sometimes stop to push a thumb into the saddle - just to remind myself it's actually hard leather.

    A Brooks saddle - like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens - is now one of my favourite things.

  15. #115
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    It's just leather, like shoes, when it gets worn in, it is just an accumulation of mechanical forces. When they form the leather initially, they build a crown into it, you have to invert that structure to start it sagging into the shape of sit bones. It is entirely up to you whether you suffer through that process with an inadequate tool, like your a$$, or use something that can get the job done. I used to fit people in hiking boots, back in the leather days, and they would possibly have a problem, like a hot spot over a toe. It could take a long time, if ever, for the hot spot to be enlarged by the lateral pressure of a baby toe. So they would give it to us, and we would alter it with a stretching machine that mobilized the forces of a hydrolic cylinder to manipulate various tongs to stretch out specific parts of the boot. Not a delicate proceedure, but necesarry. I've been making leather things for over 30 years, so I have a feel for the material, and no un-necesarry reverence.

    A better approach might be to hold a hardball, or softball over the saddle, and give that a wack with your mallet. I actually used a 16 oz hammer, and a wooden mallet, but a ball might be more precise.

    The critical factor isn't whether this method works, it does, but whether you indent the sit bones in the right area. This doesn't nead to be hyper precise, because your body will stretch the leather into the right area, if you get it started. That is why I was pretty modest in my limbering up, I guessed rightish, and upset a modest area, the worn in area is several times larger. Proof is it worked, and I was more comfortable from the begining than with my Terry Ti.

    Speaking of shoes, I had an area of my Lake sandles' "leather" straps that was really tenderizing my foot, worked that over gently with pliers before going.

    Obviously the oil method works well too, from reports. But the general principle is that oils permanently soften leather, waxes can waterproof without softening, and mechanical forces move things around, but don't alter leather the way an oil can. Some oils are drying, and others are not. Some go rancid others don't. Ah, choices...
    Last edited by NoReg; 09-27-05 at 05:06 PM.

  16. #116
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Can someone give me instructions on lacing a B17?

    My fat arse is flaring the side flanges.

  17. #117
    Go Ride tacreamer's Avatar
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    From the Velo News Web site;
    http://www.velonews.com/tech/report/...es/8980.0.html
    Interbike '05: High brow saddles; Hi-Zoot technology; High-end carbon
    Additional photos below
    By VeloNews Editors
    This report filed September 29, 2005

    The heavy and retro

    Surely the most elegant, no-holds-barred booth at the 2005 Interbike Trade Show in Las Vegas has to be that of Brooks Saddles. The recreation of an English sitting room (except for the fact that smoking is not allowed in the show) drove home the point of how English this product remains since its purchase and re-vitalization by an Italian saddle company, Selle Royal.


    The factory remains in Smethwick, on the outskirts of Birmingham, which is where the gawdy red carpet with yellow flowers for the booth came from. All of the saddles remain the same, made entirely out of thick leather with rivets holding them to their steel frames. The production equipment remains the same; many of the production dies and presses were built around the turn of the century (of the 20th century, not the 21st!). The booth, large as it is, smells strongly of leather, not only from the leather Brooks saddles, bags, handlebar tape and tool kits, but also from the big, deep leather poof chairs in the sitting room, placed below a portrait and photos of bike riders in, and on, full retro gear. The Brooks catalog is like a little book and looks like it, too, could have been produced near the dawn of bicycles.

    Where most booths have flimsy little doors leading to inner meeting rooms, the doors in this booth are huge, heavy, and solid wood, designed to either close off sections of the booth and look like continuous wall, or open the booth out to nearly double its size and latch seamlessly into another, previously-hidden wall. All of the walls are very tall and solid wood mounted to solid steel beams, not lightweight hollow-core mounted on an aluminum frame. The entire booth weighed 33,256 pounds, according to Dave Hostetter, who had to fill out the shipping documents to get it to Las Vegas from Italy, where it had been built.

    And for those who have a warm place in their hearts for leather saddles that required breaking in and responded glowingly to being rubbed with oil, these saddles inspire swooning. The models remain the same, even the hand-tooling of the surface details on the ornate saddles. And no self-respecting retro bike with a Brooks saddle should be without a Brooks leather saddlebag and leather tape wrapping the handlebars.

  18. #118
    Go Ride tacreamer's Avatar
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    "Got a question for you: is it the metal frame around the rear (the "horseshoe" shaped part of the frame) that's causing you grief or the metal rails running down the middle/front?"

    It's the rear metal frame. I've had the saddle back as far as it will go, this model (Swift) has shorter rails than the Flite saddles that I'm accustomed to. I had the saddle on my Lightspeed Classic which is setup for a racing position so perhaps a Brooks was not the right choice. Do any other models of Brook's saddle come with longer rails?

    I will try the saddle on my recently built Surley LHT even though a B-17 may be more appropriate.

  19. #119
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    tacreamer: if the saddle won't go far enough back, does your post have at set-back head? If not, perhaps that would add the back-set you need.

    I tried a Brooks that turned out to be too narrow. My natural tendency was to "shimmy" back to try to sit on the widest part. The problem was that was putting me over the horse-shoe. With the B67 (210mm wide) I sit much farther forward in the saddle.

    If your bike fits you well, I'm skeptical the saddle needs to be moved forward or back much compared to a plastic saddle - I come back to the width thing.

    Good luck and let us know how you make out with it!

  20. #120
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    The British have given four good things to the world

    1)Brooks Saddles
    2)Carradice saddlebags
    3)Monty Python's Flying circus
    4)The BBC world service

    Nothing else.
    How about the 4-4-2

    Bobby Charleton

    David Beckham

    Premiership every Saturday

    Our Independence (with special thanks to France)

    Fish and Chips

    The Mini Cooper
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

  21. #121
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacreamer
    quote edited...
    - you can't fool me! the furniture in the pic is from Thomasville in N. Carolina!

    :-)

    p.s. love my Brooks!

  22. #122
    Bag it baby
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    Well kids, I did it.... Purchased the B-17 special edition british racing green. I should get it monday. Wish my ass luck.

  23. #123
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coconut in IA
    Well kids, I did it.... Purchased the B-17 special edition british racing green. I should get it monday. Wish my ass luck.
    - after the first mile or so, you'll be like Stimpy, singing "Happy happy! Joy joy!"

    :-)

    p.s. that's a nice Brooks... keep in mind that i've found the 'special' B-17s to be 'harder' out of the box than the standard B-17s...

  24. #124
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacreamer
    "Got a question for you: is it the metal frame around the rear (the "horseshoe" shaped part of the frame) that's causing you grief or the metal rails running down the middle/front?"

    It's the rear metal frame. I've had the saddle back as far as it will go, this model (Swift) has shorter rails than the Flite saddles that I'm accustomed to. I had the saddle on my Lightspeed Classic which is setup for a racing position so perhaps a Brooks was not the right choice. Do any other models of Brook's saddle come with longer rails?

    I will try the saddle on my recently built Surley LHT even though a B-17 may be more appropriate.
    I had the same problem, then I ordered this:


  25. #125
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    I posted a picture of my Brooks in the loaded touring section, bruises and all.

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