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  1. #1
    Birds Exist heyisforhumans's Avatar
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    Which Brooks saddle?

    I'm particularly interested in hearing comparisons between B 17 Imperial and B 17 standard or other models; I want to hear peoples' experience with any Brooks, and also with other quality manufacturer as well. This is in regard to a trips lasting a month or more.

  2. #2
    Share The Road bent eagle's Avatar
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    I test-rode the standard B17, and then ordered the B17 Imperial from Wallbike and installed it on my bike. So far, I can definitely tell a difference, albeit a subtle one. The Imperial seems to provide as much sitbone support as the standard, but with just a little less feeling of pad-lift in my cycling shorts where the cutout is. It's not a huge difference, but it is definitely there. So far, I'm glad I went with the Imperial.
    Steve W

  3. #3
    Birds Exist heyisforhumans's Avatar
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    uh huh, very well. I rad a review saying that someone had this saddle and it only lasted about 3000 miles, and they got another one and same story. If that were the case for me I wouldn't even be able to make it across the country! something seems wrong with that picture....

  4. #4
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    In my opinion, the Imperial doesn't work.

    If you have problems with perineal pressure, almost any Brooks saddle (or any traditional leather saddle) is likely to give you trouble. Once the leather begins to break in, your sit bones push into the leather and whatever is in the middle of the saddle begins to push into your perineum. The cutout of the Imperial simply allows the leather to buckle in the center and it still pushes up. Plus it compromises the support of the whole saddle, allowing more sag.

    If you don't have any perineal pressure problems, the Imperial will feel like a fine saddle, and it looks cool. But it won't solve any of your problems if you're battling perineal pressure issues. I think the standard B-17 is a better choice. And don't rule out the B-67 or one of the other sprung Brooks saddles.

  5. #5
    Birds Exist heyisforhumans's Avatar
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    I have perineal pressure issues bigtime. I was wondering about the integrity with the cutout and thinking that for some reason the standard b 17 would be better. Considering I would most likely be on surly LHT probably sitting pretty vertical something a bit wider may be more appropriate. The flyer, B 67 68 or 72 also somewhat appealing, though I do somehow prefer the simplicity of the B 17, but I don't know how it will be with my sitting position. Does anyone have experience with any of these? I'm pretty vertical on the bike I ride right now and on a small seat which can get irritating even after only a few miles.
    Last edited by heyisforhumans; 01-27-10 at 05:01 AM.

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    I have a B-17 Champion Special and it has taken a very long time for mine to break in. I have over 2000 miles on this saddle and so far it's been a love / hate thing. I did notice that for me the B17 is much more comfortable with my handlebars at or above my saddle height. I dropped my handlebars down a half inch below and the numbness issues really became apparent. I have since raised them back up and now my saddle and I are on the mend though I won't say it's been an easy or a pleasant experience for me and I still may consider changing to another saddle all together but I want this saddle to work for me and I'm willing to give it a little more time.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyisforhumans View Post
    I have perineal pressure issues bigtime.
    Ugh, I feel your pain. I've been there.

    Unfortunately, you should probably not be considering any leather saddle. Had you started riding a leather saddle before you developed perineum issues you might have been OK, but if you currently are experiencing problems, I feel obligated to discourage you from continuing down that avenue.

    The good news is that there are lots of other saddles that might work well for you. The catch is that you'll have to develop a "cyclists butt". Meaning that you need to build the callouses under your sit bones so that you can comfortably tolerate a saddle that doesn't conform to your butt the way a leather saddle does. It's actually not a big deal, but it takes time on the bike.

    Consider a modern saddle with an ergonomic cut-out. I highly recommend the Specialized line of Body Geometry saddles. You will probably want some padding, but not much. If you're in a relatively upright position, you might be able to go with a little more padding.

  8. #8
    Birds Exist heyisforhumans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Nault View Post
    I have a B-17 Champion Special and it has taken a very long time for mine to break in. I have over 2000 miles on this saddle and so far it's been a love / hate thing. I did notice that for me the B17 is much more comfortable with my handlebars at or above my saddle height. I dropped my handlebars down a half inch below and the numbness issues really became apparent. I have since raised them back up and now my saddle and I are on the mend though I won't say it's been an easy or a pleasant experience for me and I still may consider changing to another saddle all together but I want this saddle to work for me and I'm willing to give it a little more time.

    is this on your LHT?

  9. #9
    Birds Exist heyisforhumans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    Ugh, I feel your pain. I've been there.

    Unfortunately, you should probably not be considering any leather saddle. Had you started riding a leather saddle before you developed perineum issues you might have been OK, but if you currently are experiencing problems, I feel obligated to discourage you from continuing down that avenue.

    The good news is that there are lots of other saddles that might work well for you. The catch is that you'll have to develop a "cyclists butt". Meaning that you need to build the callouses under your sit bones so that you can comfortably tolerate a saddle that doesn't conform to your butt the way a leather saddle does. It's actually not a big deal, but it takes time on the bike.

    Consider a modern saddle with an ergonomic cut-out. I highly recommend the Specialized line of Body Geometry saddles. You will probably want some padding, but not much. If you're in a relatively upright position, you might be able to go with a little more padding.
    I mostly have noticed the problems that I am having happening on cheaper soft saddles that use foam in them. Riding a on a concor has been comfortable for short distances but also quite rough, i wouldn't something that rigid for touring. There's got to be a good compromise.

    also I think maybe if I wear padded cycling shorts it will probably help?

  10. #10
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    I went through a box of different saddles preparing for my transam ride. Finally settled on an SMP which features a very generous cutout section down the center of the saddle. Here's what SMP says:

    The central channel of the saddle is an uncommon characteristic because of its dimensions: almost a whole hand can be put in there and this prevents crushing of the anus, prostate, venae pudendae, deep dorsal vein and artery of the penis, scrotum and testicles in men, and the labia majora and minora and the clitoris, in women.

    Here's a top down view of one of their saddles....
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyisforhumans View Post
    is this on your LHT?
    Yes

    The other saddle I'm considering is the Terry Liberator Gel. I've read some good reviews and the only reason I haven't bought one already is that I can't find one to put my hands on and see it. I hesitate to buy a saddle online because I'm reluctant to replace the devil I know for one that I don't without at least seeing for myself what the difference is.
    Last edited by Dave Nault; 01-27-10 at 06:49 AM.
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  13. #13
    Birds Exist heyisforhumans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobframe View Post
    I went through a box of different saddles preparing for my transam ride. Finally settled on an SMP
    how do you like it?

  14. #14
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I've been through tons of saddles. I put a Brooks Champion Flyer on my LHT and took it on tour. It was excellent, though after a week of 50-60 mile days there was a little discomfort - not pain, just discomfort. I put a B17 on my Allez. I haven't had even discomfort yet, but the longest I've ridden was a 50 mile day. I'm going to put the B17 on the LHT for this summer's tour and give it a real test. I'm hoping it will match or surpass the Champion Flyer, because it's lighter and I'm always looking to shave some weight from the ponderous loads I tend to carry.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    I like it (the SMP saddle) well enough. Rode one cross country in '07 and had zero saddle issues. SMP's come in several models....from a 100% carbon fiber model with no padding to a fairly cushy version covered in leather (which is what I have).

    In the interests of full disclosure, I will point out that I am currently trying out a Brooks B17 on my touring bike and while i do notice the pressure in the "plumbing region", it seems tolerable enough. Haven't yet done a ride over 30 miles yet, so there may be a day coming where the Brooks comes off and the SMP goes on.

    I really do think the SMP design is great for anyone having problems with pressure on the plumbing. Here's another picture showing the down turned nose:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by bobframe; 01-27-10 at 10:31 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyisforhumans View Post
    also I think maybe if I wear padded cycling shorts it will probably help?
    I believe that cycling shorts, with padding or a "chamois", are designed to prevent chafing. Heavily padded shorts are not much different than a heavily padded saddle, the padding will push up into your perineum and prevent bloodflow. Plus the padding will become saturated with sweat and you'll feel like you're wearing a wet diaper. In regard to perineum comfort, I would say that no, padded shorts won't help and will likely make your problem worse.

  17. #17
    Birds Exist heyisforhumans's Avatar
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    I got a B17 and I like it a lot. Pretty stiff...though it's new. Not having any pressure issues, so that's good. Saddle is almost transparent. Not like sitting on a couch, but it's quite do-able. Will be touring southern new england this coming week and I can update on it. My bike doesn't fit me that well so that probably has something to do with any discomfort too

  18. #18
    Senior Member Chop61's Avatar
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    I have the Brooks B68 on my commuter and my LHT. It's great when the seat is level with the handlebars. I know, it looks kind of frumpy, but I can ride it in jeans. I have a b-17 on my Pinarello, with a pretty good drop. Must wear Chamois when riding that.
    When I was young I prayed to God for a new bike. Then I figured out God didn't work that way, so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness.

  19. #19
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    ^^^^ Got a b68 on my hybrid. I can ride it in jeans. I've got b17's on my mtb and Specialized Sequoia. Comfy saddles, but I wear padded shorts on those bikes, although I can ride the mtb without padding and be fairly comfortable.
    I definitely like the b17's best.

  20. #20
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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  21. #21
    on by skijor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    In my opinion, the Imperial doesn't work.

    If you have problems with perineal pressure, almost any Brooks saddle (or any traditional leather saddle) is likely to give you trouble. Once the leather begins to break in, your sit bones push into the leather and whatever is in the middle of the saddle begins to push into your perineum. The cutout of the Imperial simply allows the leather to buckle in the center and it still pushes up. Plus it compromises the support of the whole saddle, allowing more sag.

    If you don't have any perineal pressure problems, the Imperial will feel like a fine saddle, and it looks cool. But it won't solve any of your problems if you're battling perineal pressure issues. I think the standard B-17 is a better choice. And don't rule out the B-67 or one of the other sprung Brooks saddles.
    This has most definitely NOT been my experience with my leather Selle Anatomica. Virtually no break-in period compared to any Brooks. I switched from a Brooks B17 and Swift to a SA. Still have both but only the B17 is on a bike, my commuter.

    Since you ride more upright, a B17 could work for you. But it has more to do with if you have the tolerance it takes to break a Brooks in. And doing so seems to be a very individual thing. You can read advice on BF and elsewhere till the cows come home. But in the end it's you who have to figure out what strategy has the best chance for success. For some folks it just never works. I'd recommend the Imperial if you are set on getting a Brooks.

  22. #22
    Velophile Epicus07's Avatar
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    I have a b-17 imperial. For what its worth , i love it to death. I've only ridden 500 miles on it and its very comfortable. The biggest problem with the saddle is you have to really experiment with saddle position/angle etc. It's not easy but if you're willing to put in the time, having a saddle that will evolve to fit your butt and will last 20+ years is totally worth it.

  23. #23
    Share The Road bent eagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epicus07 View Post
    I have a b-17 imperial. For what its worth , i love it to death. I've only ridden 500 miles on it and its very comfortable. The biggest problem with the saddle is you have to really experiment with saddle position/angle etc. It's not easy but if you're willing to put in the time, having a saddle that will evolve to fit your butt and will last 20+ years is totally worth it.
    Glad to hear that! I have maybe 50 miles on mine. How long did it take before you found it comfortable?
    Steve W

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