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Old 06-08-09, 09:18 AM   #1
mtclifford
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Best synthetic saddle for long hauls?

I am thinking of picking up a brooks B-17 but my LBS keep discouraging me from this, basically saying that there are newew synthetic saddles that will feel as good as a brooks but don't need to be broken in. Any opinions on this or suggestions?
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Old 06-08-09, 10:01 AM   #2
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Get what you know is going to work. A b-17 will last longer too.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:04 AM   #3
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My suggestion is to do at least a few weeks of at least 100 miles each on the saddle that came with your bike. If you put several hundred miles on it in a fairly short time you are likely to find it satisfactory.

I consider saddle comfort or lack of comfort to be more often a result of other things than saddle choice. I posted the following on another forum and will recycle it here since it seems appropos

"I will comment that I don't get what all the fuss is over saddles. I guess this is a minority opinion though. I have been happy with the saddles that came with my bikes. I would do a multi-month tour on any of them. Personally I can't see myself spending $200+ for one of the higher end Selle SMPs or putting up with a B17 that weighs over 19 ounces. It seems to me that unless the saddle is especially unsuitable, the biggest factors in saddle comfort are:

* Bike fit and adjustment (when set up as I like it there just isn't that much weight on the saddle)
* Riding form (most of the weight supported on the legs, hands lightly resting on the bars, bars well below saddle)
* Conditioning of the bottom to the miles


If you haven't already, I'd say log at least several hundred miles over a few weeks at most before changing saddles. My experience has usually been that after I have a few hundred miles with it I get acclimated to the saddle whatever the model as long as it is not some big wide, heavily padded thing.

I freely admit that my experience may not be the norm.
"
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Old 06-08-09, 10:09 AM   #4
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I used to have Brooks B17s on my road bikes but have since switched nearly all of my bikes to Fizik Vitesse saddles. The Vitesse is wider than most saddles but surprisingly light -- about 250 grams or less than half as much as a B17. The Vitesse is also relatively inexpensive for a quality saddle. I can honestly say that, for me, the Vitesse is more comfortable than a B17.

Of course, saddle comfort is notoriously individual, so what feels great to one person may to torture to someone else. The best advice I can give anyone on saddles is to buy them from a dealer that will allow returns because chances are the saddle won't fit.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:28 AM   #5
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For what it's worth, I recently switched from a B-17 to a Velo Bio logic for two reasons. After miles of comparative test riding, I found the Velo to have a slight comfort edge over the Brooks. Plus with the Velo, there are no maintenance issues. It doesn't care if it rains. 1500 miles later, I still ride the Velo.

Cost for the Velo is in the $30's, and there is no breakin required. It is the stock issue saddle for Dallas bicycle patrolmen. That's where I got the idea to try it.

Of course, it doesn't have the classic Brooks look which is important to a lot of people. i do miss that aspect.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:32 AM   #6
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I'd put money your local shop gets higher margins on the synthetic saddles. But that's just me being cynical.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:59 AM   #7
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I'd put money your local shop gets higher margins on the synthetic saddles. But that's just me being cynical.
Nahhh, my LBS has always been really good to me, I remember once I ran into the manager at my gym and he put the cleats on my new shoes on his own time.

Plus the saddles they suggested were less than half the price of the brooks, I don't see how they are making more money on a product half the price.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mtclifford View Post
I am thinking of picking up a brooks B-17 but my LBS keep discouraging me from this, basically saying that there are newew synthetic saddles that will feel as good as a brooks but don't need to be broken in. Any opinions on this or suggestions?

You can't decide on a saddle by reading about them .... looking at them . . . or listening to another's opinion.

You have to try them.

A Brooks is just one of man many different ones to try.

Shop for them from places that allow returns or exchanges.

I personally like the idea of a Brooks, but they hurt my sit bones beyond belief, so I don't use them. So much for choosing a saddle from "great ideas". It doesn't mean they're rotten, just that they are not for me. The people that revere Brooks don't know anything more than those that say they're junk.

It's like Peanut Butter . . . one person may absolutely love it . . . and another person suffer in agony from it with an allergy. One's passion is another's poison.
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Old 06-08-09, 12:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
...My experience has usually been that after I have a few hundred miles with it I get acclimated to the saddle whatever the model as long as it is not some big wide, heavily padded thing.

I freely admit that my experience may not be the norm.[/I]"
+1 same here... Just Harden Your @ss Up
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Old 06-08-09, 12:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclifford View Post
I am thinking of picking up a brooks B-17 but my LBS keep discouraging me from this, basically saying that there are newew synthetic saddles that will feel as good as a brooks but don't need to be broken in. Any opinions on this or suggestions?
Well, you're comparing a real apple to a hypothetical orange, so what do you expect?

The Brooks B-17 is a specific well known model from a well known company with a reputation that stretches nearly to the dawn of cycling; a "known quantity." I have one! Regardless whether you love 'em or hate 'em, you can't deny they exist.

But your "new synthetic saddle that will feel as good as a brooks ..." is just the opposite, and you haven't convinced me that it exists. How about a model name, a manufacturer's name and a free sample?
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Old 06-08-09, 12:40 PM   #11
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I agree that you can't find a saddle you like by reading about them, but at least you can assemble a list of saddles to consider trying.

I replaced a Brooks B17 on my touring bike with a San Marco Regal. I've been riding the Regal on another bike for a couple of months and I've learned to like it very much. It's about as wide as the B17 but much flatter, front to back. It gives me a feeling of sitting (more like perching) on top of the saddle with less sliding around. It took a few rides to get my butt accustomed to it and fine tune the position. Now I'm considering standardizing all of my bikes to this saddle.

By the way, the Regal was at one time a leather covering. Now, they are made from a synthetic (fake) leather they call Lorica. I like the look and feel of it just fine.

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Old 06-08-09, 12:44 PM   #12
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B-17 with plastic wrap over it......
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Old 06-08-09, 02:33 PM   #13
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Brooks saddles are not the be-all-end-all perfect saddle as some would have you believe. They don't work for me at all, for example.
Another name to add to your list would be the Terry Liberator. Comfortable (for me) right out of the box.
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Old 06-08-09, 09:31 PM   #14
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As any male teenager knows: all butts are different. Your LBS can give advice on what companies are generally good, but the only thing that knows what saddle is right is your butt. I use a b-17, but before that I had a stapled together saddle that came off a wal-mart bike. That thing was great.

Listen to your butt. Your butt knows.
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Old 06-08-09, 09:54 PM   #15
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I run quite a bit of drop on all my bikes. Saddle to bar that is. For me a flatter saddle works better. Terry Fly Ti or even my Fizik Arione are more comfortable for me over something like a B17. It really is trial and error.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:40 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mtclifford View Post
I am thinking of picking up a brooks B-17 but my LBS keep discouraging me from this, basically saying that there are newew synthetic saddles that will feel as good as a brooks but don't need to be broken in. Any opinions on this or suggestions?
sure,,buy one and try it out. I used to ride on a Selle Italia road saddle from 20yrs ago but I've gotten fatter and sit a little higher and it wasn't quite right after I got a vasectomy. So I tried out a Specialized Avatar and it was great, a little more pressure on the sit bones but the pressure right down the middle dissapeared,,which was nice. Then I got a Surly LHT and the saddle on it was great(I assume it's an inexpensive stock seat, don't remember the name) , then I put my old Concor saddle on another bike and that felt better than the old Selle Italia but not quite as comfy as the relieved foam seats.

My opinion is along the lines of the shops that formed plastic and sculpted foam is more of a designed shape for the function than a piece of leather suspended between two pieces of metal. But that's just my opinion, there's lots of them out there. I had an Ideale leather saddle 30yrs ago and tried it off and on for a half year then gave up. I figure if the folks in the racing club and very few in the touring club used leather saddles there must be a reason.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:43 PM   #17
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My Specialized Toupe is quite comfortable, as well as light and good-looking on my Roubaix. It looks like it shouldn't be comfy, but it's flat enough to allow you to move around a bit, the sitbones fit perfectly into the rear parts of the saddle, and there's just enough spring built in so that I don't mind the absence of padding.

I've ridden nine centuries on this saddle, with no problems. From the saddle, at least.
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