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  1. #1
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    brooks saddle alternatives?

    Hey, I hear wonderful things about brooks saddles. My only problem is that I live in the puget sound area where we get alot of rain. I understand that you shouldn't ride your brooks when wet. I also understand that the brooks leather can stain your clothing.

    I plan on riding in the rain quite often (commuting to work) so I'm worried about the saddle getting wet and me not having any options because I've got to ride to get to work. Also, lunch time... I'll be on the bike in my work clothes... so, I don't want to walk back into the office with stains on pants.

    What alternatives would you suggest for a good comfortable saddle that can be used for long days on the bike as well as daily commuting? I saw an earlier thread which suggested a Specialized saddle.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    IMO the Specialized saddle is one of the most painful things I've ever sat on. However, I guess someone out there must find it comfortable or they wouldn't still be in business.

    As for the Brooks, if you've got fenders on your bicycle riding in the rain should be no problem ... your butt covers the saddle! After all hundreds of English cyclists use them and England is known for its rain. I've done a lot of riding in the rain with mine, and it is OK.

    As for the stains, I would imagine that any saddle would put stains on your clothes. If your saddle gets at all dusty and that dust mingles with sweat ... you've got stains. If you plan to ride in the rain at all, you'll definitely have stains! That's one of the reasons we wear cycling-specific gear.

  3. #3
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Brooks in Seattle are NOT a problem...you've just got to give them a little TLC on occasion. I recommend Obenauf's or Snoseal, lots of it in the beginning. Machka and others might say don't use much leather dressing, but I ride Brooks year round in Seattle and I don't bother covering them up in the rain unless I'm parking in a downpour ALL DAY long.

    I treat them like my mountain boots. LOTS of wax....a little rain isn't going to hurt them.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    I've been commuting for the past two years, almost every day rain or shine on my Brooks, through wet Seattle winters. Now granted, I have good fenders and I don't leave my bike exposed outside for any period of time -- my butt is on my Brooks 99% of the time. I wouldn't ride on anything else, no matter what the weather.
    Last edited by greenstork; 02-12-07 at 06:06 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trace22clawson
    Hey, I hear wonderful things about brooks saddles. My only problem is that I live in the puget sound area where we get alot of rain. I understand that you shouldn't ride your brooks when wet. I also understand that the brooks leather can stain your clothing.

    I plan on riding in the rain quite often (commuting to work) so I'm worried about the saddle getting wet and me not having any options because I've got to ride to get to work. Also, lunch time... I'll be on the bike in my work clothes... so, I don't want to walk back into the office with stains on pants.

    What alternatives would you suggest for a good comfortable saddle that can be used for long days on the bike as well as daily commuting? I saw an earlier thread which suggested a Specialized saddle.
    I've been riding Brooks saddles in the rain for over 15 years. First off they don't stain your pants. I think this rumor stems from people using oils and such on their saddles, which of course will stain.

    I use Sno*Seal and have had neither problems with rain or staining. I do cover my saddle with a plastic bag when it is parked in the rain, though.

  6. #6
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    My saddle is called the Titanico from Selle-Anatomica (dumb names if you ask me. and imo their website is wordy and confusing)

    But I like the saddle more than my broken in B17. It's leather like the Brooks, has a cutout in the middle, it's soft out of the box, so no break in is needed, and it has a waterproofing treatment that purportedly needs no maintenance nor a cover. And the first time i tried it i could sit on it all day and not have a sore bum. And I think it's lighter than the B17.
    But the bad news is it squeaks! At least i think it's the saddle rails, it's possible it could be something else. But i've been too lazy to figure it out.

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    I used a cover when I had a B17, from a company called aardvark. It cost around $10 online, and is made of Neoprene (i think). (I now use it on my Selle-Anatomica). It keeps the leather dry, although my bike also has fenders, and I carry a small saddle tool bag which effectively covers the underneath of the saddle. I've now done almost 25k miles with the cover and it shows very few signs of wear. Both saddles still look like new.
    On the rare occasions when I rode without the cover I found that my black bike shorts stained the honey coloured B17, not the other way round, which is why I never take it off now.
    The local climate here has almost exactly the same sunshine hours as Seattle (1 hour different), but roughly double the annual rainfall (2m instead of 1), so I feel qualified to comment.

  8. #8
    hell's angels h/q e3st ny brunop's Avatar
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    i rock brooks on thre of my whips but my road bike has a fizik ti aliante that i freakin' love. no break in. but my roots are in brooks. b17-n, professional, and sprung conquest. i don''t think rain hurts 'em with proper proofide applications. not too much though. they're tougher than most foks think.
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  9. #9
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    It is possible for a Brooks saddle to stain a pair of pants if it's ridden wet - especially when new. I have some shorts that prove it.

    However, a $1 shower cap from your local drug store fits a Brooks saddle perfectly and solves the problem. Get two while your at it. They make perfect helmet covers. And the price is right!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    IMO the Specialized saddle is one of the most painful things I've ever sat on.
    + 1 I've been using a Specialized Body Geometry saddle for the past 4 months. While I can ride for about 30-45 minutes without discomfort, I've persistently developed saddle-sores from it Something about how my sitbones ride/rub on the thing. If I remember to stand for 3 or 4 minutes every half hour, I can ride for up to 2 hours. But there are circulation problems involved, too.

    I'm going to break down and buy a Brooks B17 because the Specialized just isn't working for me (BTW I'm a Clydesdale at 6'5", 220 lbs). Haven't done it up until now because the short rails of the Brooks may mean that I can't get it positioned far enough back but I gotta try somethin' for the sake of my sore bottom...
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  11. #11
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    OK... Brooks it is! Now a few more "brooks specific" questions. Springs or no springs? what is the criteria? And how do you select which width of saddle to buy? I imagine someone has to measure the distance between your sitbones... are the folks at the LBS generally that friendly?

  12. #12
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trace22clawson
    OK... Brooks it is! Now a few more "brooks specific" questions. Springs or no springs? what is the criteria? And how do you select which width of saddle to buy? I imagine someone has to measure the distance between your sitbones... are the folks at the LBS generally that friendly?
    Springs if you are putting it on a hardtail that you are riding over rough terrain. Unsprung for road riding. Just get a B17 or one of similar width.

  13. #13
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    When it's raining, I put a cover on mine. Rivbike.com sells one and I know carradice used to make one specifically for the b17. The only problem I had was riding in the rain one day and my rain coat was making a perfect channel down my back and between my saddle and rear. By the time I noticed, my saddle was soaked. It was in the middle of a tour and had to keep riding so developed a dimple on the right side.

    Sounds like some folks have good results w/ other products but I have only used what Brooks recommended, proofhide, which doesn't allow you to leave the saddle in the rain. Anyway, I used to live in Seattle and you will be fine but like others said, will have to pay a little more attention to it.

    If you are using it as a commuter and don't mind the weight, get a sprung model. They are pretty nice. I have both and use the non-sprung on my road bike and sprung ones on my commuter and tourer.

  14. #14
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    Shower cap or plastic bag. Tie the plastic bag to the seat post and the top and bottom are almost waterproof.

  15. #15
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    If you are able to try them at the cycle shop it may be worth the time to audition some. I found the brooks professional model much more suitable personally than the B17, and have heard others with the same sentiments.

    Maybe you could try different width saddles of 'normal' construction at your local bike shop to see if any particular width feels best, and take that knowledge and apply it to your brooks purchase.

  16. #16
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Greggs' Greenlake has a 'buttometer' pad from specialized that allows you to measure your sitbones.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  17. #17
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    You can really tell where d'em bones are by just sitting on some uncomfortable sticks like a couple of 1"x1" find something not quite comfortable adjust the spacing, it's obious. It also works just to sit on the saddle and feel around. Make sure nobody is looking... A special meter does sound a little more civilized.

    I use BeeSeal, which is just a beeswax with inoffensive solvents. Not sure they still make it. I also luv Montana Pitch Blend, though whites might be out of the question. A good waxing underneath is the ticket. I use fenders so not too much water really hits the saddle from between my butt and the fenders, at least not when i am on it.

    I make my own beeswax for cabinets, the trick to getting it into a solvent is to grate it up first, if you have any you can make a very nice paste at home.

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I am proably the only one here who doesn't particularly like the brooks. IMO it is just OK. The one I owned was ruined after riding on it soaking wet a few times (my fault I guess). Note that was many years ago, but I imagine that are pretty much the same now. I thought it was reasonably comfortable, but nothing special. My suggestion is to buy what feels comfortable when new whether that be brooks or something else.

  19. #19
    jon bon stovie
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    if you decide against a brooks, i have had GREAT success with a selle italia flite saddle (classic model).

    pros:

    very comfortable on long rides, won't stain your clothes, needs next to no maintenance, fits like a glove, looks great, very durable.

    cons:

    yet to be discovered....


    i've ridden mine for a few years and have never thought twice about it. granted, this is on a road bike (i don't race though and am almost never in any aero position or in the drops) and not a tourer. i am currently building up a tourer and while i have pondered how a brooks would do, i am still leaning towards getting another flite.

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