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Thread: Brooks Saddles

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    Brooks Saddles

    Are these really all they are cracked up to be? If so, which model do you recommend for a sportier touring setup?

    Dan

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    I tried a b17 based on the hype and it didn't fit me well. Seats with a cutout work better for me.

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    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Don't really understand what you mean by 'sportier', but both my butt and my eyes love my B17 Champion Special.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    I have a B17 Narrow on my 520. It is about 1/2 inch narrower than a regular B17 and works well with the drop bars slightly below seat height. There are many long threads on this topic - do a search and have fun.
    Specialized Roubaix SL4 Disc, Cannondale T2000 (touring), Stumpjumper M5 (Mtn - hardtail), Cannondale Rize4 (Mtn - full susp)

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    Senior Member kesroberts's Avatar
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    My favorite is the B17. I bought my first one strictly because I thought it looked good, but loved it and now have brooks on all my bikes. Wallingford Bikes in new orleans has a generous return policy in case you get one and don't like it.

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    Senior Member cyclemanic's Avatar
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    once u try 1 u won't go back!
    may the force be with u!!

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    I would suggest that if you are seeking an opinion on a brooks saddle, that you seek advice from only people who ride one. Brooks saddles often get a bad rap for their discomfort, heavy weight, retro styling, etc. etc. The funny thing is that usually these negative comments are from people that have never used a brooks saddle or those who base their opinion on one 20 mile ride.

    I spent 15 years swapping saddles. A friend finally talked me into trying a brooks. My first ride, I hated it. My second, same opinion. My third ride, I realized I was no longer riding in discomfort.

    That was 5 years ago. I now have Brooks saddles on all my bikes. My favorite model is the venerable B-17. For the money, it is a great saddle. Not real flashy, but rock solid.
    Rivendell Alantis, Rivendell Rambouillet, Klein Adroit, Co Motion Big AL

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    My first Brooks lasted 25 years, not bad in the scheme of things. #2 and #3 are going strong (tandem and single all b-17's) Actually both of those broke in faster than the original. After #1 died I tried a couple of cut out seats and newer plastic seats which would feel good for 30 min to an hour, then riding would be extremely painful. Clearly there are people who might find good seating on other saddles and I am sure there are some who find Brooks uncomfortable but I personally feel they are the best because they "break in" to give you a custom fit to your anatomy. Proper adjustment of the seat is still essential. Most other seats do not change from the time they are new until they wear out. I agree that most saddles are "marketed' to appeal to new riders etc. Brooks have been selling essentially the same saddle for over 75 years. Clearly they are doing something right. Several dealers will offer a 30 day or longer warranty to let you try one first.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I've got nearly 15,000 kms on my Brooks B-17 Standard ... and it just keeps getting better!!

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    I have just fitted a Brooks Swift ti to my Merlin Agilis, its taken a month to break in- its just uncomfortable not bloody painful. The leather, (I'm guessing only) seemed tighter than a Brooks Pro I broke in, several years ago. The Pro is now on my tandem (and I love it). Before the tandem it was on my 80's steel race bike.

    I also own my grandfather's B17 Sprinter (1930's model), I rode this on my track bike until I crashed and the rider behind scuffed the leather. After this I thought it best to retire the saddle, I now keep it Proofhided and just love looking at it- it has served 2 riders extremely well and deserves to retire gracefully!

    I also believe that wearing good quality nix/ cycle shorts, goes a long way to saving your butt from pain- leather top/nylon based or full leather saddle.

    In my humble opinion, its a B17 or a Pro, for your style of riding.
    'I love my Brooks'

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    A question for the B17 enthusiasts...

    I am probably going to shell out for one of these beauties for the tourer/commuter I hope to build up in the spring. I currently use a split Specialized and find it really tough on my sit bones after a long ride. I hope that once one sufficiently breaks in the "ass hachet", as it has lovingly been refered to, it should form to these bony points of my rear.

    My question relates to year round riding. As the bike will be my year round commuter, it will have to endure seemingly endless west coast rain and cold. I realize that I will be covering the seat most of the time but there will be times off the saddle, splashes etc. Is the saddle up to this or would it be better to take it off for the winter and swap with a plastic saddle?

    Thanks.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sth
    My question relates to year round riding. As the bike will be my year round commuter, it will have to endure seemingly endless west coast rain and cold. I realize that I will be covering the seat most of the time but there will be times off the saddle, splashes etc. Is the saddle up to this or would it be better to take it off for the winter and swap with a plastic saddle?

    Thanks.
    I have ridden in everything from scorching hot temps, to freezing cold temps, and through everything from dry weather to incredible torrential downpours, sleet, and snow with my B17 ... and it is just fine.

    I have put a little proofide on it a couple times in the year and half (15,000 kms) I've had it, and I have covered it when I've camped and had to leave it outside. That's all I've done to protect it.

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    I agree with Machka- these saddles can stand some rain etc. Mine has been in rainstorm for 20 min with no sign of moisture penetrating the leather (while I was indoors at a restaraunt). What you do not want to do is ride it if the leather has absorbed water, until it has dried thoroughly on its own. That being said a plastic bag from your local produce section will cover it at night or while being transported. When riding your butt will protect it it it rains. Proofhide ( a wax based protectant recommended by Brooks) twice a year will protect it from quick showers etc. Try one I think you will like it the more you ride it.

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    On warm humid days my saddle gets a bit soaked from drenching butt sweat. One would imagine this would be more 'damaging' than rain. After my saddle dries out overnight, it's as good as new.
    Last edited by roadfix; 11-18-05 at 08:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbuzi123
    Are these really all they are cracked up to be? If so, which model do you recommend for a sportier touring setup?

    Dan
    Yes. B17.

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    I love my Brooks, but Proofide is a TOTAL RIP OFF!

    A teeny tiny tin for ten dollah? No thanks.

    I'll stick with my Sno-Seal*

    * interesting review of SS, that underlines the fact that you want to waterproof, but NOT soften (such as by using oils)

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lmzimmer
    I agree with Machka- these saddles can stand some rain etc. Mine has been in rainstorm for 20 min with no sign of moisture penetrating the leather (while I was indoors at a restaraunt). What you do not want to do is ride it if the leather has absorbed water, until it has dried thoroughly on its own. That being said a plastic bag from your local produce section will cover it at night or while being transported. When riding your butt will protect it it it rains. Proofhide ( a wax based protectant recommended by Brooks) twice a year will protect it from quick showers etc. Try one I think you will like it the more you ride it.
    This past summer I rode mine 24 hours straight through the most horrendous rain storm I've ever seen (they were evacuating people and closing roads along the way). The saddle (and I) got SOAKED early on ... there was no way around it. Water was coming from the sky, from the ground, and sideways. There were sections I had to walk because the wind was so bad, and places I parked my bicycle to go in and get something to eat ... so the saddle continued to get wet.

    And yet I continued to ride it, and it was fine.

    In fact, my saddle finally broke in during a rain storm on a 1000K randonnee. It was coming down in buckets, the wind was howling, and there was lightening everywhere. I had to walk because I couldn't see anymore. The wind was driving the rain right into my eyes. Then we had to stop and leave the bicycles some distance away while we hid from the lightening for a while. My saddle was absolutely drenched. I continued to ride, the divots got really large, I was a bit conerned, but the saddle dried and tightened everything up, and it was fine.

    I rode through days of rain when I was in Australia too, and again, my saddle was fine.

    So I don't think the impression that you have to baby those saddles is accurate.

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    Machka; not sure if your interested bu Rivendell sells a Brooks seat cover: http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/saddl...ies/11014.html

    Funny thing about the Brooks haters about comfort issues...most touring riders ride on Brooks...hmm, makes you want to ponder your naval a bit.

    I have the Brooks Swift and love it. After trying about 13 saddles over a 15 year period trying to find a comfortable one I broke the piggy bank and bought the Swift almost 3 years ago, it's the most comfortable saddle I'ver owned except for the first saddle I ever had...that was a Brooks too! By the time I spent money on 13 saddles I could have had almost bought another bike!!

    The only debate I have is when I get my touring bike do I get another Swift or go with the B17?

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    Machka; not sure if your interested bu Rivendell sells a Brooks seat cover: http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/saddl...ies/11014.html

    Funny thing about the Brooks haters about comfort issues...most touring riders ride on Brooks...hmm, makes you want to ponder your naval a bit.

    I have gotten in the habit of carrying a plastic bag, most of the time now, tucked under my saddle in the rails, and when I think of it, I actually use it to cover my saddle. I know some people use shower caps too, but the last time I looked at shower caps they all had duckies on them, which isn't exactly the look I'm going for. I might be tempted by a cover if I could ride with it on.

    And just to add to your comment about touring riders riding on Brooks ... most Randonneurs (ultra-distance cyclists) ride on Brooks too. If so many cyclists (including me) are comfortable on a saddle throughout a 1200K randonnee, that's got to say something for the saddle.

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    Senior Member FraAngelico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbuzi123
    Are these really all they are cracked up to be? If so, which model do you recommend for a sportier touring setup?

    Dan
    I had one, a professional. Lasted about 5 or 6 years then the rails broke.

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    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    One thing about Brooks saddles - they are not instant gratiification. I have two B17s and the first one took over 600 miles before it started to conform to my posterior. The weird thing is that even though they felt moderately uncomfortable when new, they never felt any worse no matter how many miles I did that day. Whereas my previous saddle made me more and more uncomfortable as I racked up the miles.

    Here is one very important tip - make sure the saddle is tilted slightly nose down. The back of the saddle should be a smidgen higher than the nose. When I first put on my Brooks saddle I found it to be more comfortable with the nose tilted up a little, that is, until I started getting numb where I had never been numb before. I freaked out. The bike shop I bought it from was not helpful. Luckily for me I found the saddle angle suggestion on Rivendell's web site. (Thank you Grant Peterson!)

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    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclemanic
    once u try 1 u won't go back!
    Wrong again, hotrod! I tried a B-17, a B-69, and a B-72 and they all SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKED!

    Brooks saddles are booty-heaven for some (but DEFINITELY not all) folks. Only way to know is to try.

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    When I first got my Brooks my butt warped to conform perfectly to the saddle.

    Now it's the other way around.

    I love it.

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    Maybe things can be sped up if you mount the Brooks on a stool at home while watching TV.

    The Brooks sounds exceptional. These threads keep getting me re-interested in possibly getting one. The thought occurred to me, it must be something to have one eventually die and you have to go and break another one in again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    I love my Brooks, but Proofide is a TOTAL RIP OFF!

    A teeny tiny tin for ten dollah? No thanks.

    I'll stick with my Sno-Seal*

    * interesting review of SS, that underlines the fact that you want to waterproof, but NOT soften (such as by using oils)
    +1

    - been using Sno-Seal for 30 years - and on my Brooks!

    - if you're not happy with your current saddle, just try a Brooks... (on sale they're cheaper than much less comfortable saddles)

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