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Old 09-21-06, 07:59 PM   #1
garagegirl
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Brooks Saddle for women?

I'm curious as to how many female brooks owners out there have a women's specific model and how many use the regular style.
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Old 09-21-06, 09:05 PM   #2
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My wife had a Brooks B-17s (the ladies model) for exactly two rides before chucking it. Tandems East sells a saddle with a wide groove cut further back that gives the labial area a place to rest without rubbing and without pressure. After trying two types of Terry saddles, the Brooks and some other generic saddles, the Tandems East saddle is a Godsend - or so she claims
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Old 09-21-06, 09:24 PM   #3
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Machka?
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Old 09-21-06, 09:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterpan1
Machka?

You rang??


I have the B-17 Standard. I've done roughly 22,000 kms on that saddle now and it just keeps getting more comfortable. I know I would have found the Narrow too narrow, and I think I would have found the Women's too wide. The Standard is perfect!


Just one thing though ... don't judge the saddle on just a couple rides. Leather has to break in (whether it is a horse saddle, a pair of leather boots, or a bicycle saddle). Mine broke in after about 800 kms (3 weeks) of riding, and it actually broke in rather suddenly. It wasn't exactly what I would call comfortable before that ... in fact, during my first week I thought I'd have to return it ... but it has been the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned since then!!


Also, get it from Wallingford Bicycles where they have a 6 month return guarantee. Chances are you won't need it, but just in case you do ....
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Old 09-21-06, 10:10 PM   #5
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That's the kind of articulate, reasoned, seasoned, pro B17 review we can all get behind!

Thanks Machka!

Don't forget, a hammer and a little care will break in a B17 in minutes. Seriously.
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Old 09-21-06, 10:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for your reply Machka-

I've been leaning towards getting the standard, because it seems most wsd stuff is built for smaller women and I'm not that small (I'm a little over 5'6 and weigh 130-135), and I'm used to riding regular saddles. The one time I tried a wsd saddle I hated it, it seemed too short and the cut out felt weird, but that could have been because it was a low end $25 saddle. On the other hand the 80's Selle Italia I'm using right now seems slightly too long, but the width seems right. I've never had a saddle that I truly liked, but the Selle is tolerable.

When I do get my Brooks, would you recommend I ride less than usual until it breaks in, or just ride as normal?
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Old 09-21-06, 10:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterpan1
Don't forget, a hammer and a little care will break in a B17 in minutes. Seriously.
Really? Do tell.
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Old 09-21-06, 10:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garagegirl
Thanks for your reply Machka-

I've been leaning towards getting the standard, because it seems most wsd stuff is built for smaller women and I'm not that small (I'm a little over 5'6 and weigh 130-135), and I'm used to riding regular saddles. The one time I tried a wsd saddle I hated it, it seemed too short and the cut out felt weird, but that could have been because it was a low end $25 saddle. On the other hand the 80's Selle Italia I'm using right now seems slightly too long, but the width seems right. I've never had a saddle that I truly liked, but the Selle is tolerable.

When I do get my Brooks, would you recommend I ride less than usual until it breaks in, or just ride as normal?

Interesting ... as it happens I'm pretty much exactly your size.

When I got my Brooks, I put it on my commuter bike. My commute was 6.5 kms (4 miles) each way, and for the first week, that's about all I could tolerate because of the pain in my sitbones.

Then I started riding it after work and on the weekends. I'm a long distance rider, and wanted to ride long distances on the weekends, so what I would do is go out for a short ride on the commuter bike, and then the rest of my ride on my long distance bicycle and previous saddle. My distances on the Brooks gradually increased, although I was standing a lot because it was quite painful. Then two weeks after I got it, I rode a century with it ... and it wasn't too bad then, although I did spend some time standing up. Three weeks after I got it, I rode a 1000K randonnee with it, and it broke in at the 400K point on that ride ... in the middle of a monsoon-like downpour! I had brought some extra padding with me just in case I needed it, but I didn't ... and I was a convert after that ride!
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Old 09-21-06, 11:18 PM   #9
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Thanks again, your answers have been really helpful. I'm finally investing in a quality saddle so I can get into distance cycling and touring. The only things stopping me right now are my saddle and my shoes.

Since you seem to be built like me, and assuming our inseam is similar (I'm somewhere between 31.5 and 32") what size frame do you ride? I'm on an old steel 52 road frame right now, which is great for commuting and riding around town, but I'm worried it might feel a little cramped on longer distances.
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Old 09-21-06, 11:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garagegirl
Thanks again, your answers have been really helpful. I'm finally investing in a quality saddle so I can get into distance cycling and touring. The only things stopping me right now are my saddle and my shoes.

Since you seem to be built like me, and assuming our inseam is similar (I'm somewhere between 31.5 and 32") what size frame do you ride? I'm on an old steel 52 road frame right now, which is great for commuting and riding around town, but I'm worried it might feel a little cramped on longer distances.

My inseam is 31", and Machak (my custom-made Marinoni Ciclo, sport touring bicycle) is 49.5 cm, and is very comfortable for me. My Giant OCR3, which is fairly comfortable, is 50 cm. Your comfort might depend on the top-tube length and/or stem length. Machak's top-tube is 55 cm and the top-tube on my Giant is 56 cm. I feel like I'm reaching a little bit on both, but more on the Giant.
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Old 09-21-06, 11:59 PM   #11
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My wife uses the Champion S Flyer for women. She finds if very comforatble and able to sit on it for up to 8 hrs a day without any problem. Its hardly broken in because of her light weight and the springs but she wouldn't change it for anything. It felt right from day one and it's just getting beter.
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Old 09-22-06, 12:09 AM   #12
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"Really? Do tell."

I used to do a fair bit of leather work. There could be a couple of things that make the saddle uncomfortable, but if it related to "breaking in", then the problem is that your bony bits are resting on the hard leather dome of the saddle, and it has not as yet confromed to them. When it comes to softening up molded leather it just takes a certain amount of force, it's going to take a long time if your weight or the pressure your rump applies, is simply insuficient. If you could locate the area where you bones contact the seat, try carbon paper, then all you have to do is give those locations, spots about the size of a golf ball, a little tap with a rounded mallet or hammer, and they will easily punch down. What you want in the end is soft little craters in a surounding field of hard upward curved leather. The seat does not care how the upset occurs as long as it is accurately performed.

Right now I imagine you could sit on your hands without undue pain. How gently would you like me to hit your hands with a hammer? When it comes to softening up the leather there are much more efficeint ways that using you sit bones, on the other hand you do have to tap the seat in the right place. Softening the whole seat top is not what you want.

Any preparation that sotens the seat will destroy the reast of the saddle that is holding up around the craters, and ruin your comfort. So don't use oils etc... Wax is a good preservative and water proofing (though I still use a cover whenver it is wet).
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Old 09-22-06, 12:17 AM   #13
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It's definetly the top tube that makes me feel cramped, I think it's only about 53-54. My elbows can touch my knees when I'm in the drops. The real problem is that I have 2 fists worth of seatpost showing on it, but the top tube doesn't slope, and I can't get the bars as high as I'd like. I guess I need a new stem too.
BTW I tried out a 53 touring bike of the same vintage as my road bike and it felt huge, its top tube was probably 56, and I had no stand over clearance.
Okay, I'll stop derrailing my own thread now.

Anyone else with a B17 standard?
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Old 09-22-06, 12:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterpan1
Any preparation that sotens the seat will destroy the reast of the saddle that is holding up around the craters, and ruin your comfort. So don't use oils etc... Wax is a good preservative and water proofing (though I still use a cover whenver it is wet).
Is Proofide a wax? Are there other waxes I can use?
I don't know if I'd trust myself to be gentle enough with the hammer, I think I'll wait and see how unbearable it is.

When breaking in the saddle, can an improper seat position make it break in in an undesirable fashion?
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Old 09-22-06, 12:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garagegirl
Is Proofide a wax? Are there other waxes I can use?
I don't know if I'd trust myself to be gentle enough with the hammer, I think I'll wait and see how unbearable it is.

When breaking in the saddle, can an improper seat position make it break in in an undesirable fashion?
I think proofide is a sort of wax. I have applied it to my saddle twice in the two years I've had the saddle ... I figure it's a once-a-year sort of thing ... and I've applied nothing else. It doesn't seem to need it.

It would probably be a good idea to settle on your ideal seat position before you start breaking in your saddle, but I don't think it is absolutely imperative in the early stages. I rode with mine on my mtn bike for a while before I put it on my road bicycle (as I mentioned above), and I sit somewhat differently on the two bicycles.

I'll also add that I'm not an advocate of the hammer method. My B-17 broke in just fine without the use of force. If I were you, I'd wait a while, and try to ride the saddle lots, before resorting to something like that.

Also, in answer to your comment about needing shoes ... may I recommend the Lake mtn bike shoes. Mine are these ones: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...untain%20Shoes
I've used them, and the previous brand of them, for over 3 years now ... many, many miles of cycling AND many miles of hiking too!! I toured parts of Europe and Australia with them, and wore them both on the bicycle and off for months. I'd have to say that they are the most comfortable shoes I own. However, shoes are personal so I know they don't work for everyone, but they might be an option for you.
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Old 09-22-06, 12:54 AM   #16
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A thought on the handelbars and your elbows and knees touching -- are the bars actually too narrow, leading to your feeling of being too cramped. The approximate way to determine is to measure across between the outside of the two shoulders.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:25 AM   #17
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My wife loves her Conquest.
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Old 09-22-06, 09:32 AM   #18
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My wife uses the women's team pro on her road bike and the women's version of the champion flier on her touring bike. She loves both, though it took several rides before she felt comfortable on them.
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Old 09-22-06, 10:45 AM   #19
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The hammer method is not one I have used, but that's because I'm heavy enough to mash a Brooks right into shape. It's a sound approach to forming or stress-relieving leather, though. PeterPan1 gives a good description of the process. He's also right about oils vs wax, especially on a new saddle. You don't need oils on a healthy peice of leather - only to restore an older one, maybe.

Proofide is both beeswax and oils - very little oil, lots of wax. The oils are both animal (tallow) and vegetable base. That's why they tell you not to over use it on your saddle. It's good stuff when used sparingly, like Machka. Products like SnoSeal are all beeswax and won't over soften the hide - that's good, too.

All are best applied to a warm/hot saddle. I use SnoSeal only on the bottom side and let my body heat and motion bring it through to the top over the next few weeks.
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Old 09-22-06, 02:41 PM   #20
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i had a B17 standard (non-women's) and after 600 mi chucked it. hated it

i now have a women's team pro.. it's not worn in yet but i can tell it's going to work out far better than the other one- there's no pressure on my very important parts.

don't forget that some of the problems people have with saddles has more to do with saddle tilt/riding position than with the saddle itself, too.
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Old 09-22-06, 07:59 PM   #21
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Mrs LWaB loves her two Brooks Professional S saddles.
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Old 09-22-06, 10:00 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimblysweep
don't forget that some of the problems people have with saddles has more to do with saddle tilt/riding position than with the saddle itself, too.
I know most women, myself included, like their saddle tilted downwards. Does having a WSD saddle mean it feels better to ride with the saddle level, or do most women still tilt it down?
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Old 09-24-06, 07:42 PM   #23
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My wife likes her team pro s
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Old 09-27-06, 04:15 PM   #24
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I'm considering a Brooks saddle and have two important questions:

1. How are these saddles on your under-parts? This is a problem on regular, non-cutout saddles and I'm wondering how it is that it doesn't seem to be a problem on the Brooks. This is pretty important as pain is not welcomed here.

2. Is it true that if you get your Brooks wet, it's dead? I don't plan on getting it wet but what do you do about the unanticipated rain shower or accidental spillage from the water bottle?
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Old 09-27-06, 04:44 PM   #25
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My daughter has a men's Pro on her touring bike. She used it last summer for training and riding from Missoula, MT to Astoria...about 700 miles over 3 weeks. She likes the saddle better than her Terry woman's saddle on her mountain bike.

I personally didn't like the Pro (I've since gotten used to another one) and opted for the B17 narrow myself because the Pro was too wide which is why she got it.
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