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Old 03-20-06, 06:35 AM   #1
pel
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Brooks again - Beginners on a long tour

My wife and I are starting a slow (relatively up right posture) five month tour through Holland, France and Germany (that is the plan) next month. Our first. We are rank beginners. Would you (the Brooks experienced) recommend new Brooks saddles for each of us (on a tandem) given that we plan a modest 20 - 30 kms per day for the first five weeks or so.

Are we likely to have such bruised soft tissue during the first 500 kms that we will not even make 20kms/day? And what about the fact that the Brooks do not have the gap up the middle of the saddle?

What Brooks would you recommend for each of us.
Keen but cautious - do not want to put my wife off touring on the first attempt.
Many thanks
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Old 03-20-06, 07:21 AM   #2
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I use a Brooks Pro and B17 on 2 different bikes. They're the most comfortable saddles Ive ever had. Be warned--they will need a few months to get broken in. I would recomment either for use. 20-30 km a day would be no problem. Im still trying to break in my B17, but its not bruising to me, just stiff--it gets better every time I ride. I wish I could tell you more, but saddles seem to be a fairly personal thing. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-20-06, 07:36 AM   #3
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You won't have any trouble with those distances and I still recommend a new Brooks. The B-67 is a nice model for older folks with a ladies specific design also. Before you go, give each a slather of neatsfoot to soak top and bottom, the sit it down on the floor and slowly work the leather with one foot and the weight of your body for a few minutes. This is not an approved method for a quick break-in but I'll bet you will have almost no pain.

I recommend the B-66 or 67.
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Old 03-20-06, 08:17 AM   #4
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If you don't have much time to break them in. They do make Presoftened versions of a few of their saddles. Otherwise you could get one from the seventies that has allready seen some miles, cheaper too! Ty, still awaiting my swift, Rilleau
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Old 03-20-06, 11:22 AM   #5
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Neatfoot oil is a quick but dirty method that will soften the leather more than the recomended Brooks Proofhide wax.
I found that a Brooks can become adaquately shaped by 3 weeks of regular (but not excessive) riding.

For leisurely tandem use I would recomend the Conquest, a lightweight sprung saddle, esp for the stocker.
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Old 03-20-06, 03:53 PM   #6
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Good thoughts Michael. Agree...the neatfoot is a quick and dirty method. Also, seems as if you have more experience in the tandem department regarding seat models. I like my B-67 but the Conquest would probably work also.
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Old 03-20-06, 04:41 PM   #7
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There is a reason why they recomend against using anything other than proofhide. If you use an agent that softens the leather, that is a permanent change, the oil is non-drying, and capable of softening the leather and will permanently affect the leather, and possibly go rancid also. Will this always prove disastrous, I guess not since people are doing it all the time. But there are uses for leather where structural integrity is paramount and one does not use softening oils or pastes in those cicumstances. There are other products that work as well proofhide as far as waterproofing leather is concerend, and don't change the structural properties of the saddle and can be substituted for proofhide if you wish to bypass that preparation.

The Brooks Saddle is a wet molded leather stucture with a convex upper surface. It is designed to retain it's shape so as to support the cyclist's body reliably. If a cyclist encounters problems breaking the saddle in, it is simply because the pressure applied in the sit bone area is not sufficient to upset the convex surface into the desired shape. You can simply persist with this effort until the saddle eventually conforms, or you can apply a superior force until the desired upsetting is created. Hit it with a rounded softish hammer, gently. You need to get the approximate location of the sit bones before you wack. The exact dead center to the mm is not required since once the convex surface upsets it will run into the shape of your body. I am taking about dimpling the areas under the sit bones only, not a general assault ont he saddle. This process accelerates the break-in time period without changing the tanning and structuring characteristics of the saddle.
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Old 03-20-06, 06:44 PM   #8
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Definitely recommended to have a sprung seat for the stoker (they can't see bumps coming)

Also 20-30km is the recommended distance for breaking in rides. You do want to get the positions sorted out before that though.

As for the gap in the middle - Brooks are hard and conform to you. Other saddles are hard and don't conform, so they add padding which applies pressure where you don't want it, so they have to add gaps in the middle.

Anyway, that's what I have found out from my research - got my saddle today (and no way am I going to hit it with a hammer. But then I don't have to ride on it straight away)
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Old 03-21-06, 03:30 AM   #9
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I highly recommend the b17. I bought minein Germany on a biking trip from Denmark to Portugal, as I got serious saddle sores from the cheap standard plastic saddle that came with the bike. At the local bike shop I tried several fancy designed saddles. But when I tried the brooks it just felt right somehow. It took app 1000km to break it in properly but it was worth the wait. I would not be using a hammer or aany other tools to soften the saddle, the best way to shape a Brooks saddle are your sit bones and a bit of patience
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Old 03-21-06, 05:30 AM   #10
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GiantDave, Monoborracho, Kayakboy, MichaelW, Peterpan1, Caspar S, Petermc199. Prompt response much appreciated. Certainly helps to just go out and do it with all this experience and sound advice. Many thanks again.
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Old 03-21-06, 06:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monoborracho
You won't have any trouble with those distances and I still recommend a new Brooks. The B-67 is a nice model for older folks with a ladies specific design also. Before you go, give each a slather of neatsfoot to soak top and bottom, the sit it down on the floor and slowly work the leather with one foot and the weight of your body for a few minutes. This is not an approved method for a quick break-in but I'll bet you will have almost no pain.

I recommend the B-66 or 67.
Does the ladies specific design have a different model number?. How would I request one one lady's and one men's? The info does not appear to be readily available in the Brooks site. Thanks again Monoborracho
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Old 03-21-06, 01:30 PM   #12
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The ladies' model is shorter, and wider. The model is the B17-S (s for short?). There are other women's models as well, including The Countess.
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Old 03-21-06, 01:35 PM   #13
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Just checked: there is also the Flyer S and the Countess in addition to the B17-S. And that is just in the trekking line. More in the racing line I am sure.

Brooks website
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Old 03-21-06, 03:57 PM   #14
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Check the Brooks website. I also recommend Wallinford Bike, www.wallbike.com for mail order purchase. They are great folks.
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Old 03-22-06, 04:04 AM   #15
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For a more upright posture, I recommend the B-67 and B-67S. I wouldn't recommend the B-17 for riding upright unless it is the Champion Flyer which is a B-17 with springs. There is a couple I know that use a B-73 for the stoker position. This may be too radical for most people but I own one for my 3-speed and used it on my touring bike for weeks til I broke down and ordered my B-67. It's a 66/67 with three springs and is unbelievably comfortable. More so than even the -67.
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Old 03-22-06, 06:27 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
Just checked: there is also the Flyer S and the Countess in addition to the B17-S. And that is just in the trekking line. More in the racing line I am sure.

Brooks website
Thanks Lolly Pop for the info. My stoker wife has to be upright owing to neck probs so the Countess or B-67s may be the go.
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Old 03-22-06, 06:34 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jcm
For a more upright posture, I recommend the B-67 and B-67S. I wouldn't recommend the B-17 for riding upright unless it is the Champion Flyer which is a B-17 with springs. There is a couple I know that use a B-73 for the stoker position. This may be too radical for most people but I own one for my 3-speed and used it on my touring bike for weeks til I broke down and ordered my B-67. It's a 66/67 with three springs and is unbelievably comfortable. More so than even the -67.
A genuine 64 Mercury three speed - why did I not hang onto my three speed with the leather Elkap saddle? Looks like the B-67 and B-67s are the ones but I'll check the B-73 too. How would the Countess compare to the B-67S.
Thanks JCM
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Old 03-22-06, 06:39 AM   #18
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I read somewhere that Brooks do not like rain, particulary day after day in Europe. Admittedly we will not be in the saddle all day in those (or any) conditions and could cover the saddle with a shower cap - but is this rain aspect a consideration against the Brooks for European riding?
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Old 03-24-06, 03:15 AM   #19
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A genuine 64 Mercury three speed - why did I not hang onto my three speed with the leather Elkap saddle? Looks like the B-67 and B-67s are the ones but I'll check the B-73 too. How would the Countess compare to the B-67S.
Thanks JCM
One of the most comfortable bikes I have ever ridden. So much so, that I emulated the setup on my touring bike and mtb
http://i1.tinypic.com/s459qc.jpg
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Old 03-24-06, 08:21 AM   #20
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First of all, your new Brooks will come with a very nice cover. Secondly, it won't get very wet while your are sitting on it. Third, you can coat the bottom with Proofide to protect with spray. And lastly, I left my Brooks cover on one morning when I headed out before dawn and didn't notice it for 10 miles, so the cover works ok.
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