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  1. #1
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    Brooks saddle break-in pattern

    I'm in training to do my first bicycle tours (and a century or two) this summer and fall. I've got a great bike, but have gone through at least five saddles trying to find one that doesn't leave me sore at the end of the day. On the advice of many here on bike forums, I broke down and bought a Brooks B17 Champion Special from Branford Bike in Montana.

    In a word, it is fantastic! A huge difference in comfort and it seems I'm one of the lucky ones who find it comfortable right out of the box. I can finally focus on getting my legs and lungs in shape instead of worrying about how my rear end is feeling.

    Chalk up another enthusiastic Brooks convert-- I will never buy a plastic saddle again in my life!

    So here's my question: I've put about 300 miles on the Brooks in the past month or so and I'm starting to see the "indentations" of my sit bones on the saddle. Only problem is the indentations are way in the back of the saddle, almost between the rivets. Is this a problem or is that the natural way the indentations start? I thought they were supposed to form further forward, in the wide part of the leather. But this being my first Brooks, I have no prior experience. Maybe those aren't my sit bones indentations but the leather forming indentations back there from pressure of my sit bones further up?

    I have a setback seatpost as I am 6'3" with a long torso, and it doesn't seem as if I'm on the back edge of the saddle when I'm riding, but maybe I am.

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by raven1; 04-17-06 at 12:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    Just reach back and feel for where your bones are when you are riding. I guess as long as you are truly comfortable, it doesn't mater. My indentations are well in from the rivets. A line drawn across the seat from the most forward rivets would go through my indentations. I have 6' 3" torso size/reach, and ride a 58" bike with a 130 stem, standard slightly offset seat post. I have a hard time believing you would be comfortable riding the rim.

    My B17 has over 1000 miles on it and the indentation are easily visible where they are supposed to be. There is perhaps a little bit of stretch back to the rim, but not particularly evident, certainly not major indentations.

    I remember reading somewhere that the brooks saddle does not have a lot of rail adjustment, and can be difficult to get all the way back. I was wondering whether to make my seat post more raked in order to give the saddle a more nutral starting position. But in reality, I don't think the position on a 73 degree seat tube is all that bad.

  3. #3
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    don't worry about it. Sit where you ae comfortable. Biking is supposed to be fun, enjoy the ride.

    And btw Peter pan, a 58" bike is darn big, you must have really long legs. LOL.
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  4. #4
    Papa Wheelie Sigurdd50's Avatar
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    I am not 6'3" tall
    (just 5'10 or so)
    but I am thinking I need a set back seat post as well (good to see others writing about it)
    I can't seem to get the B.17 back far enough on the rails (and the bike DOES fit me purty good)
    so a set back seat post looks like the thing. My butt bones seem to be right on the back edge

    The Campion Special is the one with the large brass rivets?
    I have that one too... lovely lovely seat and comfy right out'the box.
    I think the Professionals are a bit stiffer
    the 17's are hammocks

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit
    don't worry about it. Sit where you ae comfortable. Biking is supposed to be fun, enjoy the ride.
    Yes, yes, I know. It may seem a bit obsessive to be looking for the fabled "indents" after each ride, but I find the saddle to be one of the most important components on a bike (if not the most important!) and so I don't mind obsessing a bit over that.

    I also have a 58" frame with a 120 mm stem and the bike has been professionally fitted to me. I have the FSA K-lite seatpost which has quite a bit of setback, so I think it's not a frame too small issue.

    Anyway, I'll take Peterpan's advice and feel for where my sit bones are next time out.

    If it's too far back I think I may have to tweak the fore/aft positioning and tilt until I'm on the right spot.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The indentations will occur where your sitbones are located. That's the beauty of a Brooks saddle, it becomes custom made to fit your particular shape and riding style.

    In my case, I discovered that my sitbones are actually lopsided.

    You can kind of see where my indentations are in these photos .... that's after 20,000+ kms.

    .
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  7. #7
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    If you think his 58" bike is big, you ought to see his cranks.

    Back on subject. The Brooks is great!

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    Thanks for those pictures Machka. I think I haven't ridden far enough on my Brooks yet. In the picture on the left that Machka posted, the indent between the two rivets on the left rear of the saddle is what I'm talking about. So this confirms that this does happen at some point, in addition to indents farther in.

    I think my sitbones have yet to make their mark.

    Back on subject. The Brooks is great!

    I agree wholeheartedly, regardless of how my saddle looks right now!

  9. #9
    sth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    The indentations will occur where your sitbones are located. That's the beauty of a Brooks saddle, it becomes custom made to fit your particular shape and riding style.

    In my case, I discovered that my sitbones are actually lopsided.

    You can kind of see where my indentations are in these photos .... that's after 20,000+ kms.

    .
    Yikes! I have been on a Brooks for about 600km now and have anxiously been looking for the fabled dimples. I have been expecting little dints the size of a quarter. Now I see what I am actually looking for. Only 19400kms left...

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The break-in process starts with sort of rough patches where your sitbones go ..... which develop into little dints the size of a quarter or so (I got all excited when that happened ) ..... which then develop slowly over time into a saddle that is very curved and contoured to your shape.

    When I sit on my Brooks, I just slide right into place .... it almost literally "fits like a glove".

    But, if anyone else were to sit on my Brooks, it probably wouldn't be quite right for them.


    Here's a photo of a new one, compared with a side shot of mine .... they're like two different saddles!!

    .
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  11. #11
    Nif
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    I'm breaking in a Brooks as well for a long tour but I'm using it on my mountain bike (road riding only though) to break it in as my touring frame has not yet arrived.

    Will starting to break in on one bike and then switching to another cause problems?

    My riding position isn't the best on the mt bike and I feel that I cannot get the saddle positioned far enough back (a la Sheldon Browns saddle positioning article) and it feels a little off too.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nif
    I'm breaking in a Brooks as well for a long tour but I'm using it on my mountain bike (road riding only though) to break it in as my touring frame has not yet arrived.

    Will starting to break in on one bike and then switching to another cause problems?
    Although I'm no Brooks expert, I seriously doubt it, Nif. I think it is a good idea to ride on the saddle as much as possible before a long tour, your rear end is your rear end, regardless of which bike it is on. Also, you typically ride upright on both a mountain bike and a touring bike, right?

    I switch my B17 from my "nice" road bike that I use on weekends to my commuter bike during the week to get as many miles of break-in on it as possible. I just take off the whole seat post with saddle attached and put it on the other bike so as to not have to fiddle with or mess up my tilt and fore/aft postion of the saddle.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nif
    I'm breaking in a Brooks as well for a long tour but I'm using it on my mountain bike (road riding only though) to break it in as my touring frame has not yet arrived.

    Will starting to break in on one bike and then switching to another cause problems?

    My riding position isn't the best on the mt bike and I feel that I cannot get the saddle positioned far enough back (a la Sheldon Browns saddle positioning article) and it feels a little off too.

    When I started riding my Brooks, I had it on my mtn bike which was my commuter bike. That worked really well because my commute was 6.5 kms ... then I had a break from the saddle while I was at work ... and then it was 6.5 kms home. When I started feeling a bit more comfortable with the saddle, and about when the pre-dent rough patches started to show up, I switched it to my road bicycle.

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