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Brooks B17 sag

Old 02-15-11, 06:18 AM
  #1  
hamishm
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Brooks B17 sag

My B17 has quite a lot of sag on one side only. I get comments on the size of the dent from other riders. I've had it for about a year and down around 9000km. I haven't used the tension bolt, and only applied Proofride once after the initial dose. However I have been caught in the rain a few times.

Despite the sag it's been pretty comfortable on the whole, until last weekend's 300km where it was killing me. I tweaked the tension bolt a little just now and didn't really see much change; holding the skirts together brings it back to normal shape and I read that some people punch holes and lace it up underneath.

Any suggestions welcome. Replacing it is a viable option if necessary. thanks.

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Old 02-15-11, 06:33 AM
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What's up with the nose? You said you didn't adjust the tension bolt, but I can't figure how that would happen.

Actually, you b17 looks a lot like mine on the rear part -- mine got saggy like that because I kept treating the saddle with neatsfoot oil thinking it would get more comfortable over time...which it really didn't.

My solution was to get the wider b67 b68 saddle, which I have only treated once with proofide, and just a very small amount. That thing was comfortable right out of the box, so I've not even been tempted to keep treating it. The b17 wasn't comfortable out of the box -- which should have been my 1st indication that I needed a different model.

If you only get marginal or occasional comfort from your b17 (like I did) you might be better with the b67 (like I am).

YMMV
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Old 02-15-11, 06:44 AM
  #3  
hamishm
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True the nose is odd too, but I've honestly never touched the tension. I put some Proofide on when I first got the saddle as instructed, then a few months later, and no more.

When I first got it I had the "skirts" rubbing on the inside of my thighs for a few hundred km, but since then it's been really great. I rode a 1200km on it last October.
Sometimes I don't find it comfortable when I'm spending the whole day going up mountains, but for the rest of my riding it's great. But my backside just ached all day last Saturday - a pretty hilly 300km ride. While I haven't done 300+km ride in a while, I've done a couple of 11-12 hour 200km rides on mountains which haven't felt too bad.

If I was buying another I'd consider a Swallow to avoid the skirts I think.
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Old 02-15-11, 09:30 AM
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That's a seriously stretched piece of leather after only 5.5K miles. Riding a super-soaked saddle can permanently stretch the leather. Can you measure and provide the thickness of the leather? Nominal thickness should be 4-5mm. My Imperial narrow is 5mm (very little deformation after 1K miles). I've seen a recent Imperial that's only 3.6-4.4mm thick.

I would dip the whole saddle in water for 20 minutes, then wipe dry. Put stuffs under the bottom of the saddle to raise the leather as close as possible to the newly-purchased state. Now crank the front tensioner bolt so that the saddle will maintain its shape. Let the saddle air dry, then apply a thin coat of Proof on top and bottom.

You may need to apply a lot more tension at the bolt during the first 200-300 miles to keep the leather from stretching. Avoid riding in the rain.

Last edited by furballi; 02-15-11 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 02-15-11, 10:13 AM
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Your b17 looks like one of mine. It too has been ridden in the rain. I find that at the beginning of a ride the saddle may feel a bit odd, but in short order it seems to warm up and fit well.
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Old 02-15-11, 11:52 AM
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I have b-17 looks same shape as yours .I put holes & a lace on it like my aged 68 has ,I used the 68 as a guide for the holes in the B-17 . You can use a drill for the hole but a leather tool for makeing holes does a cleaner job (shoe rapair/ harness shop) I like my 68 aged better myself do to the texture of it a opposed to the smooth/slick b-17
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Old 02-15-11, 12:40 PM
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When someone comments on your seat, ask him if he would like to sniff it.

It doesn't matter how a brooks seat looks.
How it feels is important.
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Old 02-15-11, 03:37 PM
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I have been caught in the rain a few times
Should always stuff a plastic bag under the saddle so I won't get wet.
Pull it out and cover it when you're not sitting on it.
will protect some what from wheel spray if riding without mudguards.

If it does , get wet, don't ride it , give it a couple days to dry thoroughly, or it will stretch.
which I presume it has done ..

I used a bunch of Proofide on My Brooks pro in 1977, heated it enough(100 F) to absorb a half tin, at least,
when upside down, and it's been fine ever since,

not above riding on the plastic bag if needed.. Wet country touring..
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Old 02-15-11, 05:43 PM
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I drill the holes about midway up the side. Otherwise the saddle gets a bulge in the middle.
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Old 02-15-11, 07:03 PM
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This is how it should look......
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Old 02-16-11, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by furballi View Post
That's a seriously stretched piece of leather after only 5.5K miles. Riding a super-soaked saddle can permanently stretch the leather. Can you measure and provide the thickness of the leather? Nominal thickness should be 4-5mm. My Imperial narrow is 5mm (very little deformation after 1K miles). I've seen a recent Imperial that's only 3.6-4.4mm thick.

I would dip the whole saddle in water for 20 minutes, then wipe dry. Put stuffs under the bottom of the saddle to raise the leather as close as possible to the newly-purchased state. Now crank the front tensioner bolt so that the saddle will maintain its shape. Let the saddle air dry, then apply a thin coat of Proof on top and bottom.

You may need to apply a lot more tension at the bolt during the first 200-300 miles to keep the leather from stretching. Avoid riding in the rain.
Thanks for your advice. I can't avoid riding in the rain as I ride Audax events and if it rains, the show must go on. However I will investigate a rain cover of some sort.

What would you suggest stuffing under the saddle to form the original shape while it dries?

I tightened the bolt a bit last night and I honestly didn't see much difference. Could it be so loose already that it'll need a lot of turns to take up any tension?
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Old 02-16-11, 07:00 AM
  #12  
hamishm
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To Ashley who sent me the PM, unfortunately I can't reply until I have made 50 posts here apparently. I'm not the Hamish you mentioned but thanks for the message. Regards.
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Old 02-16-11, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
It doesn't matter how a brooks seat looks.
How it feels is important.
^^^
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Old 02-16-11, 03:47 PM
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for saddle covers, I recommend https://www.randijofab.com/products-.../saddle-cover/

fietsbob: how do you heat the saddle? oven? or do you heat the proofide?

and for it's worth, brooks quality seems a bit down since acquisition. berthoud is where the quality is these days.
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Old 02-16-11, 09:19 PM
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I'd cut several small pieces of wood and wedge them between the steel rails to push up the leather. This is easily accomplished once the leather is soaked in water. You'll probably need to use at least 60% of the threads on the bolt to stretch out the leather.
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Old 02-16-11, 09:34 PM
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Do you sweat heavily on your Audax rides?

I don't use my Brooks B17 anymore, but a few years ago while touring in 100F degree heat I noticed it was soaked and starting to sag. The long hours of heavy sweating got to it. I actually put the rain cover on it in an attempt to keep it more dry.
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Old 02-16-11, 09:40 PM
  #17  
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your brooks looks fine, add a little more tension maybe, only use proofhide and more often, do not use anything eslse!1, espspecially neatsfoot oil - it and others soften the leather too much. I ruined a Brooks Pro with that stuff once
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Old 02-18-11, 10:34 AM
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I just posted a few pics on the other brooks thread about lacing mine. it helped a bunch.


http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...7&d=1298046501
http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...6&d=1298046495
http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...5&d=1298046486


http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post12244865
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Old 02-18-11, 11:19 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by cbchess View Post
I just posted a few pics on the other brooks thread about lacing mine. it helped a bunch.[/URL]
+1 LACE IT !

that is the cure to the shape and sag woes. It worked for me.... and thats why brooks started selling laced saddles !

I laced my own- 3 holes is fine, use a template, use a drill, I went under the brooks emblem (lower than in the pictures above) takes 10 minutes and looks good.
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Old 02-18-11, 02:12 PM
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Lace it + 3 although that is what i was trying to say before ,I did make a error on my above post ,the Brooks 68 is really a B-17 standard Aged came with laces& a cover . My other b-17 is a special it did not come with laces but also came with a rain cover. I put laces on this one and recommend doing so. Brooks has been useing laces for many years
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Old 02-18-11, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by furballi View Post

I would dip the whole saddle in water for 20 minutes, then wipe dry. Put stuffs under the bottom of the saddle to raise the leather as close as possible to the newly-purchased state. Now crank the front tensioner bolt so that the saddle will maintain its shape. Let the saddle air dry, then apply a thin coat of Proof on top and bottom.

Whatever you do, you should never tension a leather suspension-type saddle whilst it's still wet.
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Old 02-19-11, 12:20 AM
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Is it the picture, or did it sag kind of asymetrically? I got mine wet then rode all day, and it looks a lot like yours.
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Old 02-19-11, 11:59 AM
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The leather is formed at the Brooks factory when wet. The key is soak the leather so that it is more compliant, support it when wet, then tension the adjusting bolt to hold the shape. Allow the leather to air dry. Now add more tension as needed to keep the shape.

Lacing the flaps will probably not provide the necessary lift in the current state. Once you're happy with the repair, then you can lace the flaps. Drill the holes about 1/2" from the edge and 1/4" apart.
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Old 02-20-11, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gulfislander View Post
Is it the picture, or did it sag kind of asymetrically? I got mine wet then rode all day, and it looks a lot like yours.
yes it sagged on the right side only. It's pretty much contacting the clamp now which is (I suspect) why it's giving me a pain in the butt.

Originally Posted by furballi View Post
The leather is formed at the Brooks factory when wet. The key is soak the leather so that it is more compliant, support it when wet, then tension the adjusting bolt to hold the shape. Allow the leather to air dry. Now add more tension as needed to keep the shape.

Lacing the flaps will probably not provide the necessary lift in the current state. Once you're happy with the repair, then you can lace the flaps. Drill the holes about 1/2" from the edge and 1/4" apart.
Well, squeezing the skirts together does return its shape (without me sitting on it). Lacing it to hold that squeeze should work.

Would it be best to get a shoe repairer or similar to make the holes?
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Old 02-21-11, 05:52 AM
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Don't fret about the holes used for lacing. Drilling is perfectly fine both from cosmetic / style and a structurle perspective. The lacing hides the very slight fuzz left over from drilling and is quickly polished down from use, look at factory laced saddle to make a template. Your saddle will be restored, strengthened, it's life prolonged AND it will look stylish. I waited almost a year to do my first one , it took all of ten minutes. My reaction was WOW I should have done this along time ago.
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