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Old 11-04-12, 09:34 AM   #1
benajah
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Brooks alternatives?

The particular thing I love about Brooks saddles is that I can ride them without chamois and be perfectly comfortable.
The thing I don't love about them is that they are leather and as such you need to avoid riding them when wet and things like that.
Does anyone know of any synthetic alternatives that rival the comfort of a brooks?
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Old 11-04-12, 10:17 AM   #2
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You don't need to avoid riding them when wet and "things like that". What things?
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Old 11-04-12, 10:39 AM   #3
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Yeah, what are "things like that?" As far as riding when wet is concerned, cover it. You can get free seat covers if you stay at a decent hotel, they are labeled "Shower Cap." Short of that, Target sells seat covers for a few dollars also under the misleading label, "Shower Cap." I bought more than one for under $5. If you want to go fancy, Brooks even sells one specially made for their seats. My seat even came with one, although the mislabeled shower cap goes on quicker.

Since we are in the touring forum, I'd bet you have fenders, which keep the rain off the bottom of the seat nicely. Simply sitting on the seat also does a nice job of protecting the seat.
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Old 11-04-12, 10:43 AM   #4
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Erick L
You don't need to avoid riding them when wet and "things like that". What things?
I had a Brooks Pro on a bike for 30 years. It was still on the bike when I sold it to a vintage bike buff. I actually think the brooks is what sold the bike!

I no longer ride a brooks (personal preference), but do ride a leather covered saddle that I treat about the same way, minus the Proofhide. I carry a shower cap to cover the saddle when I have to park it in the rain for a short time.

Normal care: keeping it lubricated with Proof hide or Snow-Seal, not leaving it out in the rain, and drying it off with a towel when finished riding in wet weather.



Last edited by Doug64; 11-04-12 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 11-04-12, 11:02 AM   #5
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I've ridden my Brooks in all sorts of weather ... and they have been fine.
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Old 11-04-12, 11:34 AM   #6
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Im using a Selle Italia,/ Avocet2/turbo road saddle, a Vitesse Fizik is nice too .

its largely your arse on the thing , butts vary, that is why there are thousands of different saddles..
go test ride more saddles

I still have a 30 year old Brooks Pro, like Doug's, I took a couple tours on it,
Ireland.. early spring onward I left the Plastic bags on.
I was wearing Rain pants a lot, too..


Selle Anatomica is a US made leather saddle,
now that Brooks is making leather fashionable again, there are competitors..
many of them.
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Old 11-05-12, 07:49 AM   #7
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I 've been spending alot of time on 2 S/A Titanico X saddles over the last several months and can whole heartedly recommend them as an excellent alternative to the Brooks saddle.

For myself (and many others) they are comfortable right out of the box(ymmv). They have also addressed many of the shortcomings of the Brooks saddle ( longer saddle rails,and much improved water resistant among others ).
MADE in USA. AND THEY ARE ON SALE (SEE my just opened thread in this subforum)
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Old 11-05-12, 03:54 PM   #8
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I have tried the Selle Anatomica and have put quite a few miles on it. It worked fine until I began putting back to back 50 to 80 mile days while on tour. I ended the tour with my B17 happily attached
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Old 11-05-12, 04:19 PM   #9
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I get my Brooks all the time wet, leave it outside in the rain, cold and etc and it's fine. Oil it up, wipe it off and it's good as new again. I don't see a real purpose to your concern.
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Old 11-05-12, 04:20 PM   #10
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I use a Specialized Body Geometry Avatar. I try to remember to throw a cover on it if there's a chance of rain when it's parked, but it's nice knowing that there's no special care needed to keep it dry. My first one had some kind of felt patches where the sit bones touch down, and those deteriorated over time causing me to replace it. The newer version appears to be all synthetic fiber. I can't compare it comfort-wise to the fabled Brooks, but I liked it enough to buy it twice.
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Old 11-06-12, 01:49 PM   #11
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I've been using my brooks seats in all kind of weather and they are still going strong.
You need to remember few things though:
1) Use proofide or something similar to "feed" the leather;
2) Don't allow it to stay long hours in direct (and hot) sunlight;
3) If it gets soaked wet, don't apply any kind of treatment, don't use hairdryer or anything similar. Let it dry slowly by itself and only when it's completely dry, apply proofide (or something similar by your choice).
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Old 11-06-12, 03:05 PM   #12
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I used a wad of Proofide , and melted it into the Upside down Brooks , in a warm oven.

That was . in the 70's , other than that, it did not get re treatments..

warm it soaked up the melted waxes, and they of course re solidified at room temperature ..

still used the Plastic Bag, made slick bearing surfaces for the legs in the rain pants..
& I didn't worry when it was not in the tent with me, camping out.
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Old 11-06-12, 03:49 PM   #13
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I switched from a Brooks to a Specialized Toupe Gel.

One good thing about Specialized is that many of their saddles are available in different widths.

Not sure how it would work without pads etc, probably the same as any other saddle. However, leather saddles aren't sprinkled with magic pixie dust which lets you go without chamois.
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Old 11-06-12, 07:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HvPnyrs View Post
I 've been spending alot of time on 2 S/A Titanico X saddles over the last several months and can whole heartedly recommend them as an excellent alternative to the Brooks saddle.

For myself (and many others) they are comfortable right out of the box(ymmv). They have also addressed many of the shortcomings of the Brooks saddle ( longer saddle rails,and much improved water resistant among others ).
MADE in USA. AND THEY ARE ON SALE (SEE my just opened thread in this subforum)
+1 to all that for the Selle Anatomica Titanico, and they come in some nice colors too! They say their "watershed leather" is waterproof, although I ride regularly in the rain I'm lucky enough to be able to park it under cover at both ends of my commute, so I haven't torture tested it by leaving it out in the rain. Although I always have a plastic bag in my saddlebag, so I doubt I'd do that anyway. It shows no ill effects from getting wet the bit it does on my commute.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 11-06-12 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 11-06-12, 11:41 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by LynxTheWizard View Post
I've been using my brooks seats in all kind of weather and they are still going strong.
You need to remember few things though:
1) Use proofide or something similar to "feed" the leather;
2) Don't allow it to stay long hours in direct (and hot) sunlight;
3) If it gets soaked wet, don't apply any kind of treatment, don't use hairdryer or anything similar. Let it dry slowly by itself and only when it's completely dry, apply proofide (or something similar by your choice).
Ahh, number two is what I was referring to when other posters asked "what other things?".
i don't road tour much. Most of my tours are a bit more like bikepacking, and a lot of it is in the desert or prairie. I go into national forests and BLM land and spend my time exploring on fire roads, jeep trails, and the like. I can't use fenders because they tend to get trashed off road when I push my bike through heavy brush. I just go through them too quickly to be economically viable. Mostly sticks get jammed in them and the fenders bend while dislodging said stick.
while avoiding the sun by throwing a t shirt over the saddle when I leave my bike in hot sun is an alternative...that brings up the very reason for my post...in that I'm simply asking if there happens to be a synthetic material saddle on the market that can rival the Brooks in comfort, in order for me to be able to avoid concerns such as shading from sun, cleaning and drying a mud slathered wet saddle to apply wax, etc.
i can understand an answer as simple as "no". I'm as much a proponent of leather saddles as anyone here, but I only really know of two types of saddles, brooks, and the ass hatchet types I have on my race bikes.
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Old 11-07-12, 07:01 AM   #16
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This is like one of those "why do people wear a watch?" threads. Ok, it's pretty obvious that taking care of leather seats DOES include "such things" as proofhide, and plastic bags, etc.. And if you have ever seen people post pics of crapped out leather seats, you know that they do crap out if abused and sat on w/ a large butt, leaving you a *very* uncomfortable ride. I think the original intent of the post was to ask for materials that have the compliance of leather, but doesn't require "such things." this should be a discussion about materials, not a defense of why you don't think such things represents such a big deal. The effort is greater than zero, and clearly to some folks that's enough of a deterrent to make them think alternatives would be nice.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:29 AM   #17
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This is like one of those "why do people wear a watch?" threads. ... I think the original intent of the post was to ask for materials that have the compliance of leather, but doesn't require "such things." this should be a discussion about materials, not a defense of why you don't think such things represents such a big deal. ...
True enough. Many times I see a thread where someone wants advice on how to do anything that goes against grain where they get far more people trying to convince them that they don't need the advice they are asking for then they get actual, constructive advice.

I've been watching this thread because I have also gone searching leather-free saddles, but for more than just the maintenance issues. I started a thread on it in the commuting forum a while and got lots of good feedback that led me to the Avatar eventually: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...her-saddle(s)/

For my part, I wasn't focusing on matching the textile qualities of leather. I just wanted to be comfortable.

Also "back in the day" Brooks used to make vinyl saddles, too. http://www.flickr.com/photos/39389118@N07/8000004665/

You can probably find vintage saddles somewhere. I grew up riding an old schwinn that had a vinyl saddle similar to the Brooks flyer. I still have something similar made by Viscount on one of my bikes. I find it comfortable to sit on, but vinyl doesn't breath, and I've found that while I loved that style in moderate, northern Ohio, I need some more ventilation in the humid south.

Also, while looking for evidence of the fabled, non-leather Brooks, I found an article on vegan saddles that was very informative. Their motivations may not be the same as the OPs, but the information may still be helpful. http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2011/...c-saddles.html

I hope you let us know what you end up with, because while I'm happy with my Avatar, I'm always interested in what else is out there.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:57 AM   #18
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I have a Selle Anatomica Titanico X and they do stretch a bit. Mine has stopped stretching and was comfy out of the box and it still is. I regularly ride in the rain, leave the bike parked in the rain and out in the sun.

That being said I like it better than my previous B17. After about 12-13 k my B17 started to be less comfortable but as I said i ride in the rain , snow etc. I covered my Brooks most of the time.

I didn't pay retail and if you watch they go on sale often. The thing I like about Selle is that I can get it recovered for half the retail price if it wears out as my B17 did. YMMV.
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Old 11-08-12, 09:44 PM   #19
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Ahh, number two is what I was referring to when other posters asked "what other things?".
i don't road tour much. Most of my tours are a bit more like bikepacking, and a lot of it is in the desert or prairie. I go into national forests and BLM land and spend my time exploring on fire roads, jeep trails, and the like. I can't use fenders because they tend to get trashed off road when I push my bike through heavy brush. I just go through them too quickly to be economically viable. Mostly sticks get jammed in them and the fenders bend while dislodging said stick.
while avoiding the sun by throwing a t shirt over the saddle when I leave my bike in hot sun is an alternative...that brings up the very reason for my post...in that I'm simply asking if there happens to be a synthetic material saddle on the market that can rival the Brooks in comfort, in order for me to be able to avoid concerns such as shading from sun, cleaning and drying a mud slathered wet saddle to apply wax, etc.
i can understand an answer as simple as "no". I'm as much a proponent of leather saddles as anyone here, but I only really know of two types of saddles, brooks, and the ass hatchet types I have on my race bikes.
There is no problem leaving leather out in the sun. I tour in the desert myself and I ride for maybe 5 to 7 hours a day. The other 12 hours of daylight, the saddle sits in the sun. My boots, meanwhile, are exposed to a full 12 hours of sun, as is the leather band on my hat and the leather that covers my hands and lower arms. That's right, my skin is living leather, just as the leather on the saddle and on my boots and the hat band is dead skin from an animal (either a cow or some kind of australian fish in the case of the hatband).

Seriously, the effect of sun on leather is to toughen and shrink it, while the effect of moisture is to soften it and allow it to stretch. In the case of something like boots, these effects offset one another. In the case of a saddle, stretching is what you want to avoid. So the more sun, the better. Just make sure you apply proofhide now and then to keep the leather from drying out, because then it will crack in the sun.
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Old 11-09-12, 02:36 AM   #20
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I think the original intent of the post was to ask for materials that have the compliance of leather, but doesn't require "such things." this should be a discussion about materials, not a defense of why you don't think such things represents such a big deal. The effort is greater than zero, and clearly to some folks that's enough of a deterrent to make them think alternatives would be nice.
I think you missed the point. In his original post, he suggested one could not ride a brooks in the rain, and later he mentioned the sun. He also apparently wants to avoid wearing chamois. So he has an excess concert with things that aren't a problem, and a lot of us would answer his question about other saddle types as no. Particularly when it comes to not wearing lined shorts or trousers. So his only salvation lies in getting with the maintenance program. Also, a lot of gel saddles and alternatives are not going to survive the fender eating brush he seems to prefer.

I think that in general one can survive short distances, say under 40 miles on a lot of saddles, but beyond that I am at a loss, other than Brooks. There are many people who can't find a Brooks comfortable at all. I would not risk getting sensitized through another saddle if I already had one that worked great, I just wasn't up to speed on maintenance. Bikes in general need messy, time consuming, maintenance. Plus one has to pedal hard. Then there is that whole setting up camp thing, cooking, tearing down camp, and the general lack of butlers.
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Old 11-09-12, 04:58 PM   #21
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I just got a Brooks Saddle from permaco.com (Persons Majestic) and got a knock off price on a genuine Brooks. It was cumbersome. I e-mailed them with the item, price and shipping quoted on the website, and they had me e-mail back, and then had me use PayPal. Nonetheless, the saddle came in quite inexpensive, $69 for a Flyer S, plus $12 shipping. No wrench sent with it, but they threw in a complimentary chain minder. I got it three days after I sent in the PayPal.
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Old 11-10-12, 01:24 AM   #22
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They are more set up as a Distributor to shops is why direct had the payment issues.

Brick & Mortar dealers repay invoices ..
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Old 11-10-12, 01:31 PM   #23
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They are more set up as a Distributor to shops is why direct had the payment issues.

Brick & Mortar dealers repay invoices ..
I did not want to sugar coat the experience, but it was more than satisfactory. I got a brand new Brooks saddle for a total of $81. My point is they are still out there, and prices and response are good, with very quick service, although not so much communication.
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Old 11-12-12, 08:12 PM   #24
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take a look at the shape of a nicely broken-in brooks pro, and then look at the shape of an original Specialized Romin Expert. With the exception of the cutout, its really close, which is why I think I like it so much. One other difference is that it is not suspended leather, so it won't flex in the same way, and it's not soft...and it wont conform to your anatomy. But I love them and I ride them without chamois. They come in 155mm widths, but they're flatter across the back than a brooks pro, so close to the same functional width.

gg
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