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Old 04-29-07, 05:29 AM   #1
FidelCastrovich
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Retire the Brooks?

I don't know where to post this, but i figured here would be the best place to start.
I've got two bikes - one steel road bike, one aluminum commuter/tourer.
Both have Brooks saddle (B17 and Flyer, respectively).
The Flyer is the newer addition, has about 600 miles on it. The B17 is about 3.5K miles old.

The problem is with the B17, which used to be on the commuter, then moved over to the roadie, as i bought me a Flyer.
I have a chronic adjustment issue with it - either i set it level, which feels great in the groin(well not great, but you know what i mean ) but because i keep sliding forward, there's alot more pressure on my hands - which leads to cramped muscles(upper back, trapezoids, triceps); OR i tilt the nose up, and then the hands and back feel fine, but the groin area is pressured beyond acceptable levels.

It seems that what's causing the problem is the fact that after a while, once a Brooks is broken in, it develops a sort of "hammocky" profile, where the middle (where you sit) is significantly lower than the nose or the steel ramp.

Now, before you ask, the saddle is tensioned, not sagging , and has been properly broken in, including Proofide.

Some additional info - When i try a totally level saddle (Selle San Marco SKN and some Fuji with Ti rails) the problems go away. Hands and groin are happy. BUT, on a ride that's longer than a couple of hours(most are), the sit-bones begin to wail.

And that's another thing - How come i still get pretty bad butt-pain with my B17?I went on a two day audax ride on Fri and Sat (Fri. - 160 miles, Sat. - 110 miles), and the second part of both days was accompanied by constant pain where there should be no pain with a Brooks - the sit bones!

Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-29-07, 07:15 AM   #2
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I'll be watching for replys, because that's the same problem I'm having, good luck.
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Old 04-29-07, 08:39 AM   #3
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I would try a newer saddle to replace the B17. Especially seeing how it was broken in on a different bike, I have had limited success with moving well broken in saddles from one type of bike to another.

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Old 04-29-07, 09:15 AM   #4
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If you keep slidding forward on your saddle then your saddle nose is too low. With Brooks they like to have their noses up a tad from level. Move it just a tad up bit by bit till you stop slidding, but not so high that it graps your jews or rubs your crotch! Just till the slidding stops.

Perhaps the saddle is too far rearward-this could also cause the slide effect your experiencing. To test that, ride your bike sitting on the seat properly with your hands on the hoods; your handlebar should obscure the front hub when you look down at your handlebars. This means that if your on your drops the hub will appear slightly behind the bar, and if your on the tops the hub will appear slightly ahead of the bar.

Your sit bones should not be wailing on a Brooks if the Saddle was new when you bought it and it's been at least 500 miles for the break in period.

Also if the seat is too high your forcing your legs to reach more for the pedals causing your hips to swivel which puts more stress on the sit bones.
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Old 04-29-07, 10:17 AM   #5
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admittedly, i have never ridden a brooks so this may not be the info you are looking for. however, i have had great luck with the selle san italia flite saddle. never a saddle sore, never slid around, never any hot spots...a very comfortable saddle should you decide to switch things up.
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Old 04-29-07, 11:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froze
Perhaps the saddle is too far rearward-this could also cause the slide effect your experiencing.
I was wondering if that could explain the hammocking sagging effect too. Saddle too far back, butt too far forward, weight not where the saddle is expecting it... for me on both of the Brooks I've used (small sample, lowish miles (4 figures) yadda yadda) I've had to put them as far forward as they can go, unlike 'modern' saddles...
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Old 04-29-07, 01:06 PM   #7
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I have a B17 and a Brooks Team Pro. The B17 is on my Hybrid which I use for touring and commuting, and the Team Pro is on my Lemond. Both saddles are perfect on their respective bikes and neither is interchangeable with the other. Both are set up differently too, the B17 nose up a bit, the Team pro is more level.

I have tried the B17 on my road bike and found it very uncomfortable; it was both too wide and rubbed the inside of my thighs making them sore, and as the OP describes, it poked me in the crotch or I was "falling" on my hands depending on whether the nose was up or level.

The Team Pro is narrower, sits level and has none of the B17 problems on the Lemond.

However the Team Pro is uncomfortable in an upright riding position, like on the Hybrid.

My advice is to change saddles for your road bike.
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Old 04-29-07, 02:17 PM   #8
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Cool advice, ive a new brooks b17, i keep sliding on it, dont know if thats standard or not, so ill keep cycling it, then change the level a bit, see if its any different. I was wearing running shorts at the time, so thats probably half the problem.

and... 500 miles to break it in... ouch.. i look forward to training.
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Old 04-29-07, 03:45 PM   #9
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saggy saddle

To the original poster.......try raising the bars to level with or even slightly above the saddle height. Unless you are a paid racer,weigh 150 pounds, or fantasize about racing, a higher bar position won't slow you down enough to notice and you will be more comfortable. If the saddle is still too hammocky after tensioning, then its too stretched. How did you break it in? Was it ever ridden wet? Are you over 200 pounds? If all else fails, try a performance style recumbent and experience faster cruIse speeds and a comfy bottom......always!
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Old 04-29-07, 06:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
I was wondering if that could explain the hammocking sagging effect too. Saddle too far back, butt too far forward, weight not where the saddle is expecting it... for me on both of the Brooks I've used (small sample, lowish miles (4 figures) yadda yadda) I've had to put them as far forward as they can go, unlike 'modern' saddles...
If your Brooks saddle has more then 10,000 miles on it then it may be ready for an adjustment. If you do do a adjustment DO NOT turn it more then 1/4th of a turn. Most Brooks diehards won't adjust their saddles for about 5 years. I have the Brooks Swift TI and it has about 15,000 miles on it over a 4 year period without any adjustments.
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Old 04-29-07, 08:11 PM   #11
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Fidel, I had exactly the same issues with my B-17. About 3,000 miles on it and this winter it became unbearable riding it on the trainer. As one of the previous posters mentioned, it does seem to be more suitable with a more upright position, like on a touring rig. Trying to use it on a road bike with a more aggressive position just didn't work for me. I have switched to a Fizik Arione that I have found to be very comfortable as a replacement for my once comfortable B-17.
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Old 04-29-07, 11:14 PM   #12
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Punch holes in the side flaps and lace it up real good underneath. That's the old-school way of tightening it up again. The pre-aged saddles even come with lace holes already punched for you!
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Old 04-30-07, 05:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George
I'll be watching for replys, because that's the same problem I'm having, good luck.
Could you give some more details as to which Brooks you have, what bike, how it is set up, history of the problem, etc.? So that we could approach this more "scientifically".
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Old 04-30-07, 06:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles vail
To the original poster.......try raising the bars to level with or even slightly above the saddle height. Unless you are a paid racer,weigh 150 pounds, or fantasize about racing, a higher bar position won't slow you down enough to notice and you will be more comfortable. If the saddle is still too hammocky after tensioning, then its too stretched. How did you break it in? Was it ever ridden wet? Are you over 200 pounds? If all else fails, try a performance style recumbent and experience faster cruIse speeds and a comfy bottom......always!

This is my bike.
What road bike do you have?
As you see, the bars are at the same height as the saddle. It looks goofy, but i don't care.

You sound like me, though, when i go on about how aerodynamics is overrated for recreational riders, and how almost everyone could benefit from a more upright position.

I'm about 180lbs, the saddle was not ridden wet(it might have gotten wet, but never ridden soaking), the saddle is not hammocky, as you can see from the picture. It is not like it's sagging and the middle is completely unsupported (as would be with a ruined Brooks).

Break in - commute to work, some Kiwi shoe polish, some Proofide. I contacted Bill Laine at WallBike about this, a few months ago, he said a broken-in Brooks should have about half an inch of give when you press your thumb into it. Mine, indeed, has about half an inch of give.

charles vail - The saddle is almost all the way forward. As to finding the sweet spot between sliding and pain - i can't do it. Maybe the seatpost's steps aren't small enough, but it's either level and i slide, or the nose is up too much and i'm in pain/discomfort.

bccycleguy
- I was hoping someone would say that i should just get another model Brooks Swift, here i come.

wahoonc - same as above

Thanks all, hope to get more useful suggestions.

P.S. Does anyone know if modern seatposts are all made the same, adjustment-wise? Should i try another seatpost, that has different/smaller increments in the part that grabs the rails of the saddle?
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Old 04-30-07, 07:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
Could you give some more details as to which Brooks you have, what bike, how it is set up, history of the problem, etc.? So that we could approach this more "scientifically".

I have a Jamis Elite Coda, and my Brooks saddle has about 1400 miles on it and I'm having the same problems as you. After reading a lot of post on this matter,last night I moved the saddle all the way forward. That's going to be my starting point. After moving it, I leaned over the handlebars without holding on and it seemed to be better. I'm going to ride it this way for a while (more upright) and see how it feels. If it feels good, or better, I'll probably put a longer stem on it to push the handlebars away from me and take the pressure of my hands and elbows. I'm trying to set the bike up for touring so I want to be more upright.
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Old 04-30-07, 08:48 AM   #16
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Fidel, That's not a goofy looking setup at all. It's a very nice one, in fact. I would suggest you get a zero-setback seatpost and move the saddle forward - more underneath you. That will get the peak away from your perineum area and put your ischials on the seat portion by rotating your pelvis more upright. That's two ways to reduce perineal pressure. Forget about KneeOverPedal unless it bothers you.

If you develope ischial pain, consider the width of your bones including the fleshy pad around them: Are you fitting inside the steel frame under the rear of the saddle? You can't form the steel, and as you break-in the leather, the steel becomes more of an issue if your bones/pads are too wide for the saddle.

EDIT: About using the same saddle on other bikes: It can be problematic, unless you leave it on long enough to re-form it to the new bike. It takes only a fraction of the time as opposed to a new saddle.

Last edited by jcm; 04-30-07 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 04-30-07, 08:58 AM   #17
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different saddle or

Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
This is my bike.
What road bike do you have?
As you see, the bars are at the same height as the saddle. It looks goofy, but i don't care.........That looks good,nice looking bike,good color too! I'm wondering if like me your reach is short? I found that until I got my bars a little higher than the saddle I could never get really comfortable. I finally got my bars about 1.5 inches higher than the saddle and tilted the saddle up slightly and now I can ride for 41 miles (last Sunday) with no problems. Where on the bars are your hands most comfortable? I have my saddle shoved all the way back on the rails, tilted up slightly and my bars a full 1.5 inches higher than the saddle and I ride on the hoods most of the time. If you are bent over you will have a tendancy to slide forward if your arms are reaching too much or if the saddle is too close to the bars you'll get tired arms and numb hands.
If you have a long torso and long arms then the reverse would be true and you would be able to ride with a level or slightly lower bar position and a longer stem for the same back angle position. I wish I had a photo of me on the bike to show what I mean.
It appears that your bike is maxed out as to handlebar height but you might be able to change stems or add a riser and experiment. Believe me, you havn't seen goofy until you see the height differential of my bars and saddle!
- The saddle is almost all the way forward. As to finding the sweet spot between sliding and pain - i can't do it. Maybe the seatpost's steps aren't small enough, but it's either level and i slide, or the nose is up too much and i'm in pain/discomfort.........You might need to look into a more finely adjustable seatpost. If you need more rail adjustment room you might look into the Selle An Atomica saddle but get the heavy duty waterproof one and if the slot doesn't appeal get a solid one from Rivendell. You might also be the type that needs a slightly narrower saddle and one of the narrower Brooks saddles might be better.[B]
[/I]
Too bad you can't try out a narrower leather saddle before buying although some companies do allow a no questions asked return policy.
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Old 04-30-07, 09:04 AM   #18
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You might want a narrower saddle on the road bike.
I ride a B17, Swift, Swallow, and Selle Anatomica. All for different uses, and I've mixed em up on all my bikes and am just now settling on which stays where.

Slightly different riding styles and geometry will change how you interact with the saddle.
I've found 1cm of difference in stem height or length from bike to bike can change how / where the saddle works.
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Old 04-30-07, 04:15 PM   #19
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FIDEL; I agree with JCM too; it's not goofy looking at all. However after seeing that your bike is more of a racing bike maybe a narrower saddle like the Swift would work better? This is one of those maybe-maybe not type of deals. If you were comfortable on before on a different bike you need to find out why; is the old bike more of an upright riding position? If so that is where those B17's excel, but they don't do well on a racing riding position like the Swift would.

If you got it from Wallbike they usually have an exchange program, but I think it was only for 3 months. But that exchange program could work for you if you decide to get the Swift because you can get a slightly used Swift for a bit less then full boat.
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Old 04-30-07, 07:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
And that's another thing - How come i still get pretty bad butt-pain with my B17?
Because of this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
(Fri. - 160 miles, Sat. - 110 miles)
I have Brooks B67 and still get pain on long rides, but the pain is nothing like that experienced with other saddles. Long distances will simply produce some pain for most riders.
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Old 05-01-07, 12:40 AM   #21
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for sure

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwgride
Because of this:



I have Brooks B67 and still get pain on long rides, but the pain is nothing like that experienced with other saddles. Long distances will simply produce some pain for most riders.
High mileage isn't all that good for you. Just because young, paid, elite pros, do it, doesn't make it a valuable activity when it comes to having a healthy body. Over training, for one's own ability, is an easy thing to do. I'd just about bet most pros retire in their mid to late 30's max, because professional level training cannot be maintained at any competitive level for much longer, without sustaining injuries or burnout. The older we get, the less quickly we recover from training.

We have a whole nation full of excercise junkies training at levels way beyond what is neccessary to maintain a decent level of fitness. Its the exact pendulum opposite of overweight "couch potatoes" who do nothing but eat and drink beer while watching others excercise. Neither focus is a good thing. Unfortunately, I have fallen into the sedentary group for the last 15 years after being a excercise junkie in my twenties, so I am living proof of the pendulum swing. I'd say find a saddle that will allow you to ride for 50-70 miles per training day maximum and cycle your training to have several higher mileage peaks during the year, then take the winter off to do something else and let your body recover. 100+ mile days are a fine goal and easily accomplished by younger and or elite riders but really now, who needs to excercise steady for up to 5-7 hours a day. Either someone is a pro or they don't need to work for a living!
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Old 05-01-07, 09:34 AM   #22
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I think 3 things could be culprits here:

1) Find a true micro-adjust seatpost (ie: 2 bolts, no locking grooves)
2) Tighten up the saddle - a loose Brooks is nowhere near as comfortable as a properly tightened one.
3) Riding so long on ANY saddle hurts, I agree with the above posts. 160 miles??? Jesus...
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Old 05-01-07, 09:56 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by charles vail
High mileage isn't all that good for you. Just because young, paid, elite pros, do it, doesn't make it a valuable activity when it comes to having a healthy body. Over training, for one's own ability, is an easy thing to do. I'd just about bet most pros retire in their mid to late 30's max, because professional level training cannot be maintained at any competitive level for much longer, without sustaining injuries or burnout. The older we get, the less quickly we recover from training.

We have a whole nation full of excercise junkies training at levels way beyond what is neccessary to maintain a decent level of fitness. Its the exact pendulum opposite of overweight "couch potatoes" who do nothing but eat and drink beer while watching others excercise. Neither focus is a good thing. Unfortunately, I have fallen into the sedentary group for the last 15 years after being a excercise junkie in my twenties, so I am living proof of the pendulum swing. I'd say find a saddle that will allow you to ride for 50-70 miles per training day maximum and cycle your training to have several higher mileage peaks during the year, then take the winter off to do something else and let your body recover. 100+ mile days are a fine goal and easily accomplished by younger and or elite riders but really now, who needs to excercise steady for up to 5-7 hours a day. Either someone is a pro or they don't need to work for a living!
Charles, I gotta give you props on that post! I've had the same opinion for a while as well.

It seems that between 'extreme' and nothing, there's little (popular) reason or point to get on a bike, go for a run, etc...but I think most people will agree that for almost all things in life, a balance or moderation between the 2 extremes would be ideal - even if we can't agree what that may be. Although I guess I'd be more to the side of the faux-pro kinda guy, I do feel that the elevation of cycling as either a high speed or extreme activity tends to somewhat ostracize potential riders.

If I can spout personal doctrine for a moment (and I think I may, because this IS an internet forum), I'm a bike commuter, tourer and lover, but I try my best to keep the sport as politically democratic as possible - if that makes any sense. I 100% appreciate the roadies who I always try my best to race when I see them in the city, and on the other hand I dig the fixed gear bike messengers with their rolled up jeans and flat handlebars because they are as mad intense as any roadie or mountain junkie. I just like seeing people on bikes...I can handle criticism both of my non-carbon seatstays and of my singlespeed NOT being a fixed gear because I know these people are just passionate about something that I love as well.

As for me, although I definitely criticise as much as anyone else, I just want to see people on bikes, so I try my best to meet each rider on their respective level, regardless if they actually ride or not - I fully understand why an out-of-shape or unacquainted-with-bikes individual would be intimidated trying to get into cycling (hell, we've ALL been to "certain" less-than-friendly bike shops I bet), but they certainly shouldn't be. I think that (besides cities dramatically altering their transportation networks), the most effective thing that we can do to get more people cycling is to be as understanding and friendly as possible to other cyclists - especially those who are obviously new to the sport and are not quite comfortable with every aspect involved.

[PS: Although this IS a touring forum, so sometimes it's acceptable to have no job for a while and ride 5-7 hours a day. ; ) ]
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Old 05-01-07, 09:57 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awc380
I think 3 things could be culprits here:

1) Find a true micro-adjust seatpost (ie: 2 bolts, no locking grooves)
2) Tighten up the saddle - a loose Brooks is nowhere near as comfortable as a properly tightened one.
3) Riding so long on ANY saddle hurts, I agree with the above posts. 160 miles??? Jesus...
I ride my Swallow on brevets. The 400k I finished last year was 250+ miles with a time limit of 27 hours.
Yeah, I was sore... but not to the point of not being able to ride or finish, and I've since learned that much of my discomfort was due to a poor fitting bike that wasn't set up for looong distance. I has serious issues on the 600k starting at mile 200. I changed the brands of shorts I wear and discovered that the pad in the new shorts + my saddle + my posterior didn't get along. Back to the old brand and things seem to be fine.

I think the seatpost suggestion is a good one - Thomson or Salsa are 2 brands that I've used.
Saddle tension is probably a personal choice. I've never adjusted mine - but the Swallow is slightly softer now that I've got nearly 1 1/2 years on it. I've found that while comfort went up using a new Selle Anatomica, I kept feeling like I was losing power when climbing. I've since tightened up the saddle tension and felt improvement... but it is still far softer than my Brooks'.
__________________
So long. Been nice knowing you BF.... to all the friends I've made here and in real life... its been great. But this place needs an enema.

Last edited by bmike; 05-01-07 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 05-01-07, 10:01 AM   #25
awc380
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Good call....bike fit is a huge deal...
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