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Old 08-20-05, 07:36 PM   #1
Bikepacker67
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Ok you leather freaks. I went ahead and did it.

In about a week, my azz will be "breaking in" a brand new B17.

So what can I expect from the "Brooks" experience?
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Old 08-20-05, 07:41 PM   #2
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Get the tilt right or you'll be miserable. You'll know in the first 20 seconds if you got the tilt right. Bring a 6mm allen wrench and adjust it until you get it right.

Once you've got the tilt, give it time.

Other threads here deal with Proofide, break in etc.
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Old 08-20-05, 07:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
Get the tilt right or you'll be miserable. You'll know in the first 20 seconds if you got the tilt right. Bring a 6mm allen wrench and adjust it until you get it right.

Once you've got the tilt, give it time.

Other threads here deal with Proofide, break in etc.

Whose brain I'm really gonna pick is "Fixer" -- with his customized sleek "cut away" version.
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Old 08-20-05, 09:02 PM   #4
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Riding a Brooks is like cheering for the Red Sox. After 90 years of pain, you'll finally experience a nirvana moment. (Actually I have two Brooks saddles and like 'em both I don't think I ever broke the saddle in I think you break in your butt.)
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Old 08-20-05, 09:05 PM   #5
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Riding a Brooks is like cheering for the Red Sox.
Ohh sure... pander to my addiction.
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Old 08-20-05, 09:49 PM   #6
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Slipperiness!

For the first week or so, you might feel like you're going to slide off that thing ... then it gets better.

You'll probably experience some sitbone pain at first too, but don't worry that will go away.

When I started, I put my Brooks on my commuter bicycle and rode about 5 kms some evenings. That was all I could manage without pain, and I couldn't do it every day. That weekend I did about a 10 km ride. I was not at all convinced about the saddle.

The following week I rode 6.7 kms to work and 6.7 kms home for about 3 days, and that wasn't too bad. I made some adjustments (mainly tilt) and kept commuting with it, and trying to ride a bit longer on the weekends. In a month I had covered about 170 kms with it. I was still not at all convinced, and people were telling me that maybe the Brooks wasn't meant for me.

The next month, I covered about 230 kms - my commutes and some longer rides. I think I did a real century (100 miles), or something close to it, with the saddle, and it wasn't too bad. I decided to ride my 1000K brevet on the first weekend in August, two months after I bought the saddle, with it, but brought a gel saddle cover, just in case.

400 kms into the 1000K brevet ... my saddle broke in.
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Old 08-20-05, 11:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
Get the tilt right or you'll be miserable. You'll know in the first 20 seconds if you got the tilt right. Bring a 6mm allen wrench and adjust it until you get it right.

Once you've got the tilt, give it time.

Other threads here deal with Proofide, break in etc.
This is it completely. Start with the saddle looking level. Use a 2 bolt micro-adjust seatpost, and take a wrench along... After you think it's about right, you'll find you need to raise the nose slightly as it's breaking in. Pretty soon your B-17 will be your best friend.
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Old 08-21-05, 12:02 AM   #8
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you can expect old people to appreciate seeing a brooks again.

I was on a group ride and pass this old guy going up a climb. As I pass I hear "Is that a brooks?!" hehe
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Old 08-21-05, 08:12 AM   #9
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I just ordered the Champion Flyer "S". It should come Wednesday. I'll be interested in how it's going for you, Bikepacker67. I'll be starting a one-way commute of 17 miles a week from Monday so I hope it breaks in quickly! I think the main thing that has stopped me from long rides or light touring is my sore rear so I'm hopeful the Brooks will eventually put an "end" to that.
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Old 08-21-05, 10:08 AM   #10
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I just got one and have been riding it for about two days now. When I read the forum posts saying "comfortable out of the box" i had a hard time believing them, but i have found to be the most comfortable saddle i've ridden by far. I really think saddle sores tend to come from friction and sweat accumulation--the brooks prevents both of those. I rode it all day yesterday without bike shorts and feel fine today, but i guess everyone's butt is different.
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Old 08-21-05, 04:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
Whose brain I'm really gonna pick is "Fixer" -- with his customized sleek "cut away" version.
I CHOPPED MY bROOKS !!! was going for a century but only did 33.5 due to being hit by a car!! The saddle like alot say is great just tilt the nose down a few. Enjoy
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Old 08-21-05, 05:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by pooksypickles
I CHOPPED MY bROOKS !!! was going for a century but only did 33.5 due to being hit by a car!! The saddle like alot say is great just tilt the nose down a few. Enjoy
Yikes... Hope you fully recovered!

As for the chop... do you have pics? I like the rivets, but those "hanging slabs" near the horn are kinda ugly.
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Old 08-21-05, 07:32 PM   #13
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i bought a b17 about 300 miles ago after having many differeent saddles. most very high end, i.e. koobi's, terry flys, etc.

from day one the b 17 has not given me ANY pain! it's incredible. i figured i'd have some discomfort, but none. i soaked it for an hour upside in neatsfoot oil per some recomendations. maybe that did something. but, so far it's great. had quite a bit of give straight from the factory too.

i'm 162 lbs and my butts not padded real well, but it's been great!
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Old 08-21-05, 07:53 PM   #14
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I did about 20km today - my longest "day" this week and only about my 5th day with the new B67 (single rail version of the B66 FYI).

That saddle keeps on getting better and better.

I went nuts on Proofide and used about half a tin on this saddle. It went from light golden honey coloured to wonderful deep reddish, just like the Honey B67 pictures featured on the Brooks site & in the catalog.

The Proofide didn't seem to hurt the saddle - it's still almost as hard as Oak - but completely waterproofed it. I've attached some pics of the process. Two pics show partial coverage of top and bottom - the darker sections being where the Proofide was applied.

I'm still amazed at the comfort. It's by far the most comfortable saddle out of the box that I've owned. If it keeps getting better...


Last edited by af895; 01-27-06 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 08-22-05, 07:45 AM   #15
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Just be patient
can't rush perfection (or leather)

I just got a new b.17 after using a '71 B5N for a lot of years (and still do on me other ride)
The b.17 was comfortable right off the bat, and it will always be on my main ride

as mentioned, keep the allen wrench or whatever adjuster with you as you ride. Stop every few km if needed, adjust height/level/front back.
I've ridden mine just a few times as I've been busy... but I'm already seeing nice butt dimples on the rear.
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Old 08-22-05, 10:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
I did about 20km today - my longest "day" this week and only about my 5th day with the new B67 (single rail version of the B66 FYI).

That saddle keeps on getting better and better.

I went nuts on Proofide and used about half a tin on this saddle. It went from light golden honey coloured to wonderful deep reddish, just like the Honey B67 pictures featured on the Brooks site & in the catalog.

The Proofide didn't seem to hurt the saddle - it's still almost as hard as Oak - but completely waterproofed it. I've attached some pics of the process. Two pics show partial coverage of top and bottom - the darker sections being where the Proofide was applied.

I'm still amazed at the comfort. It's by far the most comfortable saddle out of the box that I've owned. If it keeps getting better...
This has been a very interesting discussion on the merits of the venerable Brooks saddle. I have a B17, and my testimony echoes that of many others here -- out of the box it was comfortable to me. My very first ride was 45 miles with nary a problem. Parodoxically, after about 500 miles on the saddle, I experienced saddle sores for the first time in my cycling experience while on a 4-day tour up the Columbia River Gorge. I was disheartened, but later learned about adjusting tilt and moving the saddle slightly forward. That seemed to do the trick.

My comment here relates to care of the saddle. I have heard of the method of soaking in oil and other techniques. I don't know the origen of the these and other notions of breaking in the saddle. But when I bought my saddle, I have always cared for it as recommended by the manufacturer and others who have many years of exerience on the saddle. They all assert that only Proofide should be used, and that sparingly. To quote from the Brooks user manual, only a little Proofide should be used: "... several times during the 'breaking-in' period and every 3-6 months thereafter." At this rate of application, the amount of Proofide in the tin should last the lifetime of several Brooks saddles. Many people have advised me that to use Proofide excessively will result in a prematurely overly soft saddle that will ultimately defeat the design of a firm surface on which to rest our sit bones.

I would be very interested to hear about the results of such a liberal application of Proofide after a period of experience.
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Old 08-22-05, 10:15 PM   #17
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Brooks B17, switched last summer and will never go back to any other saddle..

The biggest issue for new users are that they equate hard saddle with no comfort. You will ask yourself a couple of times during your 1st few rides, well I'm waiting for this not to be comfortable.. I have only used proofide on my saddles.. Many have stated that softening the saddle up can decrease the longevity of the saddle.. I have nice butt grooves in all my saddles now and the saddle still feels hard to the touch but feels great for the long rides..

Another big issue is that when you proofide the saddle you will feel a nice glide on the saddle between you and your shorts, no friction.. This is a good thing.. I never realized how much friction there was when I went to a road bike that I ride only occasionally with a Super Turbo and oh my god it was friction city.. Of course it now has a nice b17 saddle on it..

Brooks for me took about 1 week to get used too and then has been so comfortable I put them on all my bikes..
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Old 08-25-05, 01:58 PM   #18
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just like some of you and many miles on all sorts of saddles i got me a Brooks B17 mounted it and proof hide applied and ready to get the first miles on this weekend. i expect it to be uncomfortable at first but read so many people testify they get better each mile. thanks for the discussion it helped me decide
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Old 08-25-05, 02:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aminoboy
from day one the b 17 has not given me ANY pain! it's incredible. i figured i'd have some discomfort, but none.
- had a brooks a long time ago in a place far, far away... it was comfortable and good...

- started riding again, and the pain of getting used to a saddle was not fun...

- slapped on a black B17 and suddenly life was good again... a few adjustments and really, no break-in period required (did use some SnoSeal [beeswax waterproofing] underneath)...

- will now start breaking in a B17 Special - but it is a *lot* harder than the plain-jane version and will require some ridin' and slidin'...
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Old 08-25-05, 02:41 PM   #20
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I want to get a digital camera just havent got around to it! I will take pics and post , the slabs are ugly and those were the first to go. Saddle looks great if you take your time. Make sure its the same cut on both sides and if its black where you cut it put some old shoe polish covers up the newly cut leather.. Doctor said cant ride for 2 to 3 months have to let the cartilage in my knee heal. No squats or lunges or rides!!!
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Old 01-26-06, 08:17 PM   #21
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Had a Brooks in the 70's....all through college, grad school, and a tour in USAF in three countries....wore it to a nub, never oiled, never treated and when I threw that French Lejuene with Campy on the trash heap in the early 80's I never gave it athought...the seat had almost rotted away.

Now I cringe and cry for the bike I cared not for. But, after beginning to bike again several years ago, now starting to tour...got a Brooks B67 for the touring bike, have about 300 miles on it, have used a lot of Proofied plus one coating of Neatsfoot, and it is a beautiful color and has NEVER hurt me at all.
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Old 01-26-06, 10:17 PM   #22
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I like that comfortable from the box. It's true.
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Old 01-26-06, 11:26 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
In about a week, my azz will be "breaking in" a brand new B17.

So what can I expect from the "Brooks" experience?
You obviously had problems with your previous saddles as you decided to make the switch (didn't we all?). You still have to get the height, tilt, and fore/aft position right, but the difference with a B17 is that the adjustment sequence is an iteration that actually converges. With other saddles (at least with those that I've tried) no matter what you do it's impossible to make them comfortable by adjustments.

You may also find that you'll have to change your definition of 'comfort'. Soft is *not* the same as comfortable. With a B17 comfort is more like becoming totally unaware of the saddle (i.e., totally forgetting that your derrière is pressing and grinding against something). The catch is that it may well make you more aware of other things like the wind, the glaring sun, the handlebars, and possible pain/discomfort/weariness elsewhere in your body.

For us old-time B17 users, it is gratifying to hear and read about some extremely experienced cyclists (e.g., Kitty Goursolle) who after 25+ years of riding discover the B17 and find it a solution to their saddle problems.
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