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Thread: Brooks B17

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    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Brooks B17

    Well, after reading all the great comments here I took the plunge and bought a Brooks B17. I really liked the look of the big copper rivets so I sprung for the Champion Special. I was hoping that I was one of those people who take to a B17 right away and experience no break-in woes. Put it on the bike this afternoon and did a test sit.

    Holy crap! It's as hard as a rock!

    It's going to be a long 500 miles...

    Speedo

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    It isn't as bad as it seems at first. My main problem with it was that you have to tilt the front up quite a bit to keep from sliding forward during the break-in period. Although it felt OK it looks a little dorky with the saddle nose sticking up.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Yep! And that's how it is supposed to be!!

    Don't buy into all the stuff about soaking it in oils etc. ... just rub in a light coating of proofide to protect it (not soften it), and ride!! Oh yes, do tilt it up in front just a bit like the previous poster mentioned, and don't be surprised if it feels really slippery. That goes away after a few rides.

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    Be patient!
    IT will get used to you.
    In a few weeks, you'll try a bike with another saddle and wonder how anyone can ride on something other than a brooks...

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    That's just your socialization speaking. We are all conditioned to think things that are hard will be uncomfortable to sit on. It's not a couch, it's a bike seat. Ride it and you'll quickly learn the difference.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Wear 2 pair of shorts for a while
    George

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    George has a mallet he might loan you to break it in, don't you, George?
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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    You know with all the rain an babying this B17, I almost wish I didn't buy the one I have now. I made another post stating that. Everytime a drop hits me I have to jump off the bike to cover the damn saddle up. I don't want to ruin another one,or maybe I should do like centexwoody says and hit the thing with a sledge hammer and be done with it.
    George

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    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Selle Anatomica makes leather saddles that are supposed to be waterproof and quite comfy.



    http://mcmwin.com/saddle%20shop.htm
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

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    Avatar out of order. MarkS's Avatar
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    My break-in time was more like 3000 miles. Seems like I should have gotten a narrower model perhaps.
    Cars kill 45,000 Americans every year.
    This is like losing a war every year, except without the parades.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    If you do break in a saddle follow the directions that came with it. I followed all the ways of doing it from posts on the bike forum and ruined one. Just follow the directions and you will be OK. Just remember they are not for everyone
    George

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    2 years or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first and rain, don't worry about it too much. you can ride a brooks in the rain, just don't ride it when its totally saturated. and you can 'waterproof' leather just fine. I no longer bother to cover mine up in the rain, and i live in the rainy part of the northwest...
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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George McClusky
    You know with all the rain an babying this B17, I almost wish I didn't buy the one I have now. I made another post stating that. Everytime a drop hits me I have to jump off the bike to cover the damn saddle up. I don't want to ruin another one,or maybe I should do like centexwoody says and hit the thing with a sledge hammer and be done with it.



    That's hilarious!! Careful now, you're going to scare the OP!



    To the OP ... you don't have to baby a B-17 ... far from it!! It is actually a very durable saddle. I've got nearly 30,000 kms on it, it is nicely broken in ... very comfortable. And I've ridden it in just about every weather condition you can imagine, including numerous downpours where I swore I saw Noah building an ark ... I have never covered it while riding (except with my butt), and it is still just fine. I've even left it sitting out uncovered in the rain. No big deal.

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    JJust a light tap with a mallet where the sitbones rest on the saddle, and you are comfortable from the get go.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George McClusky
    If you do break in a saddle follow the directions that came with it. I followed all the ways of doing it from posts on the bike forum and ruined one. Just follow the directions and you will be OK. Just remember they are not for everyone
    +1

    No various and sundre oils
    No tapping with mallets

    Just a light coat of proofide and lots of riding.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    It will get saturated in the down pours we get here. I had water running out of my shoes. I was 15 miles from the house and I had to ride on it.I just wonder what they do in England where it rains all the time, where they make the brooks.I water proofed the bottom but,they say don't waterproof the top. I guess it's suppose to breath.I could have stopped and put a shower cap on it, but I was told on this forum that if you are sitting on it you don't have to cover it up, my butt will keep it dry.Oh well no since beating a dead horse,I mean saddle, I ruined it and that is that. Good luck, George
    George

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George McClusky
    It will get saturated in the down pours we get here. I had water running out of my shoes. I was 15 miles from the house and I had to ride on it.I just wonder what they do in England where it rains all the time, where they make the brooks.I water proofed the bottom but,they say don't waterproof the top. I guess it's suppose to breath.I could have stopped and put a shower cap on it, but I was told on this forum that if you are sitting on it you don't have to cover it up, my butt will keep it dry.Oh well no since beating a dead horse,I mean saddle, I ruined it and that is that. Good luck, George

    I had ridden my Brooks 400 kms when I decided to ride the Manitoba 1000K ... that's where my saddle broke in .... right in the middle of a downpour so heavy we took shelter in the ditch. Water was running out of more than just my shoes! And that wasn't the only downpour during that ride ... when it wasn't raining, it was heavily foggy and damp.
    http://www.machka.net/1000/1000km.htm

    Then I took it on tour to Australia. I thought Australia was supposed to be hot and dry! I was wrong!! The first two months I was there it was cold and wet. It rained frequently and many heavy downpours. My Brooks was almost constantly wet.

    And then I returned to Canada to one of the wettest summers in 2005. There were only a handful of days where it didn't rain. Among numerous other shorter rides, I attempted a 600K on a weekend where it rained so much and so hard that towns were being evacuated and bridges were being washed out. I only make it about 320 kms in those conditions before I had to DNF with hypothermia ... and my Brooks was absolutely soaked the whole time.
    http://www.machka.net/brevet/2005_600.htm


    But the Brooks survived all of that.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Machka, did you ride on it the next day,after getting it wet because I was told you had to leave it sit and dry out for a few days or you will stretch it and ruin it?
    George

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    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the encouragement. My wife, who back in the day broke in a Brooks, has been saying "I told you so!" since I took it out of the box, tapped it, and got a resonant clunk.

    I just moved it to the commuter so I can take it on six miles at a time. I followed the proofide directions that came with it. No neatsfoot, 10W-40 or other exotic oils. Nose slightly up. Nose slightly up looks scary, but does feel better.

    Speedo

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George McClusky
    Machka, did you ride on it the next day,after getting it wet because I was told you had to leave it sit and dry out for a few days or you will stretch it and ruin it?
    I rode on it while it was still soaked. Take the 1000K for example ... it got soaked at about the 250 km point, and again several times after, and I just kept riding. Or on the 600K ... it got soaked within the first hour, and kept riding for the next 23 hours. On my Australian tour, I had to keep riding day after day no matter what condition my saddle was in.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo
    I just moved it to the commuter so I can take it on six miles at a time.
    Speedo
    Good idea ... that's exactly how I started with mine.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I guess I should give it another try then. I looked up Brooks saddles and read every post on this forum and it is my fault for listening or following everybodys different ideas on how to break in a Brooks saddle.One guy was hitting his with a hammer with a towel over the saddle.Live and learn but, I'd still be worried about riding it in the rain. Sheldon web sight said you can soak it in oil. I did not add any oil. Thanks for the info.
    George

  23. #23
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    And now for an alternative opinion. I did exactly what you're supposed to do. Just a little Proofide as directed. Nevertheless, 1000 miles later my butt was killing me, and I was about to throw the saddle in a lake. In desperation, I tried the method of uber bike marathon rider Lon Haldeman. I soaked the saddle in 30-weight motor oil for an hour or two, wiped it down, and have been riding in comfort ever since. That was five years ago, and that was the last treatment of any kind it ever got. Not recommending it to anyone else. But it did work for me.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George McClusky
    I guess I should give it another try then. I looked up Brooks saddles and read every post on this forum and it is my fault for listening or following everybodys different ideas on how to break in a Brooks saddle.One guy was hitting his with a hammer with a towel over the saddle.Live and learn but, I'd still be worried about riding it in the rain. Sheldon web sight said you can soak it in oil. I did not add any oil. Thanks for the info.

    I do try to cover mine if I leave the bicycle sitting out in the rain ... I've probably done that about 80% of the time. And I use fenders which help a little bit ... although not a lot in some of the deluges I've been in. I've done the proofide thing three times in the three years I've had it (once a year) and just on top, not underneath. But other than that I haven't fussed with mine at all.

    I should mention that when I rode it during that 1000K, I had a small heart attack when I saw the size of the butt grooves that had formed ... but they tightened up again as soon as the saddle dried.

    Here it is ... with nearly 30,000 kms on it!

    .
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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Here's a good web site( I think) on Proofide and breaking in a saddle.It says you should dry out the saddle naturally. Now how could anybody do that when your touring. Anyhow here it is,
    www.permaco.com/en-us/dept.
    George

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