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Old 03-24-06, 11:43 AM   #1
babysaph
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Tensioning a Brooks B-17

My directions that came with my saddle describes tensioning a leather saddle with an allen key. Where does that go. I see no place to insert an allen key. Am I missing something?
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Old 03-24-06, 12:04 PM   #2
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Don't even think about turning that screw until the year 2026....

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Old 03-24-06, 12:19 PM   #3
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You use a special hex wrench, not an allen key. And you don't need to do fiddle with the tension of a new saddle. Wait a few years (seriously) first.
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Old 03-24-06, 05:50 PM   #4
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Yea but that is what the directions say. Mine do anyway. An allen key
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Old 03-24-06, 06:36 PM   #5
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The "key", aka wrench, goes in the trash.
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Old 03-24-06, 07:56 PM   #6
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DO NOT tension your saddle until you've ridden it many, many, many, many, many, many, many miles!! I have ridden mine 25,000 kms so far and have not had to touch the tensioning yet. Adjusting the tensioning is only necessary after the saddle has been well broken in ... too well broken in that it has started to sag a bit. You tension it to tighten up the sagging. Yours will definitly not be sagging yet.

And the tool is a small flat wrench.

http://www.wallbike.com/brooks/saddlecare.html
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Old 03-24-06, 09:58 PM   #7
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It does say wrench or allen key in the little booklet - but from the looks for the bolt, just an ordinary wrench would work fine.
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Old 03-25-06, 09:03 AM   #8
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I had to tension mine about 6 months after purchase, and after a 4-day tour on which neither I nor the saddle ever quite dried out. (In spite of fenders and a seat cover.)

On mine (a B-17 purchased about 18 months ago), you use an open-end wrench. I was surprised to find that they still use 5/16 BSC (a peculiarly British fastener size) -- 13 mm is too small and 14 mm is sloppy.
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Old 03-25-06, 05:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sluggo
On mine (a B-17 purchased about 18 months ago), you use an open-end wrench. I was surprised to find that they still use 5/16 BSC (a peculiarly British fastener size) -- 13 mm is too small and 14 mm is sloppy.

Ummmmm .... maybe that's because Brooks is a British company????
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Old 03-25-06, 06:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Machka
Ummmmm .... maybe that's because Brooks is a British company????
Also they probably want to keep it somewhat proprietary so that you buy a brooks wrench as well
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Old 03-26-06, 07:21 AM   #11
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Allen key vs. flat wrench

Some of the more expensive Brooks saddles (e.g., Swift) use an allen key for tensioning the saddle. Most (B.17, Team Pro, etc.) use a flat wrench. The little chrome Brooks wrench, which is available at a variety of retailers and costs 5-10 dollars, definitely makes the job easier.

The advice above about not tightening the saddle is, IMHO, correct. I've tightened my B.17 just a bit (no more than a turn) but I found that lacing the sides was much more effective in preventing sag. The leather currently used by Brooks seems to be less "hard" (which makes for easier break-in) but it can also result in the sides flaring out when you put weight on the saddle. By contrast, I have an old B.17 from the 1970's that is still "hard" and keeps its shape perfectly, but is also very comfortable. I think Brooks should sell the B.17's with the sides laced (kind of like the new B.17N that you can buy laced for an upcharge from Wallingford). Hope this helps.

Dr. Bill (who did a 200K Brevet yesterday on his B.17 and whose bum feels OK this morning)
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