I just purchased a Novara Randonee and am setting it up for touring and am looking for a really good touring saddle. Brooks B-17 seems to come up so much! How do I get started? I am used to riding racing bicycles with saddles like the Flite and Fizik Arione. There are a number of Brooks B-17 saddles such as narrow, standard and even titanium. Which one should I order? How do I break it in and care for it? After the racing season I would like to go on long self supported tours. I like the honey color.
There are some advantages dealing with them
1. They know their Brooks products well and can help you pick one based on your requirements,
2. They have a 6 month return policy on Brooks saddles. What can be better than that? Give it a try and if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't cost you anything. If you retain the original packaging materials, they even reimburse your shipping
3. They are just real nice people. I bought a Brooks for a friend and it just didn't work for her. I returned it and not only was my money quickly refunded, Diane actually wrote a note thanking me for trying it!!
There are lots of people here with various opinions on Brooks. I can tell you that they won't work for everyone. Talk to Wallingford and they will ensure you are happy.
'01 Gary Fisher Tassajara; '03 Litespeed Blue Ridge; '04 Cannondale Road Tandem; '93 Schwinn Traveler
Just got my B17 from Wallingford Bike on Friday. Couldn't stand the pain from my Fizik Arione on long rides(greater than 2.5 hours) anymore. First ride when great - no pain. If that continues, I may have to put a Brooks on each of my bikes.
Wallingford was great answering my questions and their price was only $5 more than eBay. That is cheap insurance with their 6 month return policy on Brooks.
If you are used to narrow saddles and a more dropped position you may find the B17 too wide. (I did...)
I ride a Team Pro and a Swallow. The Swallow is on my Brevet bike - it was comfy for 180 of the 190 miles of the last 300k brevet I did.
We'll see how it does on the 400k this weekend - I tried the B17 and it just felt too big!
If I need to go wider I'll move my pro to my Brevet bike - wider than the Swallow - narrower than the B17.
Ti rails will make the ride a bit more forgiving than the steel...
Good luck -
(and I have a B17 if anyone is interested - brand new, ridden less than 50 miles. PM me.)
I find the Brooks B17 to be fairly comfortable even without breaking it in. But the nose does need to be high and the bars has to be up level with the saddle. Otherwise the slippery leather has you sliding forward onto the narrow and uncomfortable nose.
For people that ride a bike with a more modern position (note I am NOT saying this is better or worse) a Regal is a better bet in my opinion.
And as a passing comment. It's sometimes difficult to figure out what makes a bike comfortable. I was given a Fuji frame and built it up with parts I had laying around. The fork I owned had a very short steering tube so the assembled bike had a very low bar and a high saddle. And yet this turned out to be VERY comfortable despite the fact that this position isn't comfortable on my other bikes.
I bought a Brooks Flyer aged leather saddle from Wallingford this year. I bought it because I thought that the aged leather looked cool, but the real bonus is that it doesn't seem to take any time to break it in. It was comfortable right out of the box. The bad part was that the fuzzy suade (sp) look wore right off, it looks now like a nice cross between a brown & honey.
if you're used to racing saddles, you'd probably prefer a narrow, but after a few rides the regular width would probably seem fine, too. i find them comfortable enough right out of the box. brookd offers it's own leather conditioner, but a lot of people just use saddle soap, shoe polish or some such. a liquid oil conditioner may not be the best, as it could more easily over soften the saddle. there's an image out there of brooks saddles being easily ruined by a little rain, but i don't find that to be true. a little wax once or twice a year seems to work for me. if i'm riding all day in a downpour, i tie a plastic bag over the saddle.