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Brooks saddles: two schools of thought.

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Brooks saddles: two schools of thought.

Old 05-19-15, 01:25 PM
  #1  
willydstyle
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Brooks saddles: two schools of thought.

When talking to other riders about Brooks saddles, there seem to be two opinions on how a correctly-broken-in saddle should behave:

1. The saddle should be like a hammock for your genitals-and-ass.

2. The saddle should still be hard, but should be subtly-shaped for your geometry.

Which of these two schools of thought is "correct?"
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Old 05-19-15, 01:27 PM
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Only 2 options . ?? None of the Above then.. or Both.

My 35 year old Brooks Pro is OK, and I have seen International tourists passing through town,

still using a (B17) saddle that has a hammock shape and doesn't want to change a thing,

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-19-15 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:35 PM
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1.5: Should be subtly shaped to your anatomy, and be somewhat softer and more giving at the sit-bone contact points, with some overall shock absorption, but still maintaining it's original basic shape.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:36 PM
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to each their own. I have seen the hammocks, I have heard claims they are comfortable. I have a very hard time believing it.

Option 2. But I am moving on to the cambium line. Superior to leather in every way except perhaps aesthetic.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:41 PM
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There is almost no saddle-related question that has a right answer.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:41 PM
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Not to t/j, but doesn't rubber deteriorate fairly quickly?
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Old 05-19-15, 01:47 PM
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mine was fine straight out of the box
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Old 05-19-15, 01:47 PM
  #8  
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I'd say that part of the reason for the split in opinion comes from different riding styles, which to some degree necessitate different saddles.

If we lump most road-cycling styles together to represent one end of the saddle opinion spectrum, the general consensus is that the saddle should only be a 'placeholder' for your ass, to help align your body with the bike. After a few years of road cycling I finally splurged on a proper fitting by a local fitting legend. On the pre-fitting form that he reviews before the fitting, I indicated that I get butt pain after a long day in the saddle. During the fitting, I asked if a softer, more conforming saddle would help. His answer was simple: No. You're sitting too much on the saddle. So I took his answer to heart, and trained to rely less on my saddle and more on my leg and back muscles to keep my body in the proper position. Now, the only Brooks saddles I like for road cycling are the older, rock-hard Pros. I don't like a flexible, hammock-like saddle.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have slow riding with an upright riding position. For this, you need to shift more of your weight on the saddle (and you should have a wider saddle, too), there's just no way around it. For this style, it sort of makes sense to have a cushier saddle-- more cush for your tush. Still, I prefer hard-ish saddles for everyday tooling around town, but not as rock-hard as the Pro.

As a side note, I prefer the Gilles Berthoud touring saddle to the older Brooks Pro.

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Old 05-19-15, 01:50 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
There is almost no saddle-related question that has a right answer.
True! But there are many wrong answers. In this case I tend to think of #7 is the most right.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:51 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
mine was fine straight out of the box
Ditto. I found this rather surprising, but I don't really need for it break in other than perhaps a tiny bit of softening at the contact points.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
I'd say that part of the reason for the split in opinion comes from different riding styles. If we lump most road-cycling styles together to represent one end of the saddle opinion spectrum, the general consensus is that the saddle should only be a 'placeholder' for your ass, to help align your body with the bike. After a few years of road cycling I finally splurged on a proper fitting by a local fitting legend. On the pre-arrival form that he reviews before the fitting, I indicated that I get butt pain after a long day in the saddle. During the fitting, I asked if a softer, more comforming saddle would help. His answer was simple: No. You're sitting too much on the saddle. So I took his answer to heart, and trained to rely less on my saddle and more on my leg and back muscles to keep my body in the proper position. Now, the only Brooks saddles I like for road cycling are the older, rock-hard Pros. I don't like a flexible, hammock-like saddle.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have slow riding with an upright riding position. For this, you need to rest more of your weight on the saddle (and you should have a wider saddle, too), there's just no way around it. For this style, it sort of makes sense to have a cushier saddle-- more cush for your tush. Still, I prefer hard-ish saddles for everyday tooling around town, but not as rock-hard as the Pro.
This makes a lot of sense. I most often see the hammock-y B17s on touring bikes around here.

I've settled on the shape of the B17N as my favorite, but your analysis might explain why I'm happy with the B5N on the rando bike -- it's like a B17N but flexier, and on brevets I'm riding slower and putting more weight on the saddle.
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Old 05-19-15, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
Ditto. I found this rather surprising, but I don't really need for it break in other than perhaps a tiny bit of softening at the contact points.
+1
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Old 05-19-15, 02:33 PM
  #13  
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I can't say that I really know.

I know the Cambium has shaped up to be the most comfortable saddle I own. The B17, with not a lot of miles on it, is next. I think I'll go with the San Marco touring saddle, then the Avocet Touring II. The Viscount is a little more squishy than I'd prefer, but the shape makes it the best choice for the bike it's on.
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Old 05-19-15, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by willydstyle View Post
2. The saddle should still be hard, but should be subtly-shaped for your geometry.

Which of these two schools of thought is "correct?"
Well my B17 is a few years old now with many many miles under my 200lb butt. It felt great out of the box, still retains its original shape, and only in the last few months has it begun to subtly appear broken in with hip indentations. I have ridden on neglected hammocky Brooks before and they feel like crap.
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Old 05-19-15, 02:42 PM
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Option #1 absolutely fails for me. If someone else wants a Brooks in that shape and I have one, I'll gladly help them out.
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Old 05-19-15, 03:00 PM
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Never rode a Brooks saddle, but I had a quality Fuji America copy for a few years. Good seat but I had two issues with it. It was wide and cut off my circulation when I pushed back on it and when I went hard, those rivets in the nose never did break in.

It as a sad day when that bike was stolen; until I realized I would never have to ride that saddle again.

Ben
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Old 05-19-15, 03:16 PM
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mine was fine straight out of the box
+4

after a year, it's too soft. i need to lace the skirts on the two i still have.
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Old 05-19-15, 03:19 PM
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For some reason, the Brooks saddles all break in well for me and I can happily ride a few different models.

Other saddles don't seem to work that way for me and I just stick with Regals.

No right or wrong for me I guess when it comes to Brooks.
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Old 05-19-15, 03:32 PM
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Depends on yer bum, mate !
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Old 05-19-15, 03:58 PM
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What about if you don't have any genitals?
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Old 05-19-15, 04:07 PM
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I sat on Brooks pro and it was ok, felt sort of like my older saddle, nothing special, but not uncomfortable either.

Switched it out for my wife's B17, its now my B-17. B-17 is by far the most comfy for me straight out of the box, no break in, i hope it only gets better from here! Wife doesn't like either saddle so is back on her old one...
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Old 05-19-15, 04:36 PM
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I've never given it much thought. I ride lots of Brooks. Cambium, B 17, and Pro. Generally my backside feels better after riding Brooks, than the latest split gel saddles. However they are, hammock, well, broken in, or harder than the hubs of hell, they do the job.
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Old 05-19-15, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
What about if you don't have any genitals?
All bets on a proper fit are off, of course.
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Old 05-19-15, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
What about if you don't have any genitals?
Ask her what she rides.

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Old 05-19-15, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ncrnelson View Post
Ask her what she rides.

She seems to be very happy and well adjusted without them.

Perhaps they are over-rated?
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