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My brand new Brooks is... painful.

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My brand new Brooks is... painful.

Old 08-04-17, 11:39 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by obrentharris View Post
Sometimes we miss the most obvious thing: You have perhaps already thought of this. The Brooks saddles tend to be quite a bit taller than padded saddles. If you switched saddles without lowering the seat post to compensate for the additional height of the saddle you would likely experience symptoms very similar to what you describe.
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+1 on what Brent says. Too high a saddle will definitely cause pain. If you find that your hips are rocking back and forth on the saddle all the time then it is too high.
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Old 08-04-17, 11:54 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Yeah, I've read that article and others like it. I still do not think that sit bone width should be the sole parameter considered in saddle fitting. IMO and IME a properly fitted racing saddle does not place all of your weight on the sit bones. It's more of a concern for upright recreational riders.

My feeling is that the currently fashionable LBS butt meters and techno babble exist mostly so manufacturers can sound like they know what they are talking about.
Yes, that echoes my thoughts well enough to quote again.

I understand frame and fit calculators: if you don't know what size to try, they give you a starting point. It's a rule of thumb. But they leave out enough important factors that their results are unreliable. Determining your perfect saddle on the basis of a single measurement is even more problematic.

For example, often missing from the discussion is the actual shape of the sit bones. Their width changes depending on degree to which the pelvis leans forward: they are closer together, the farther forward you lean.

Also missing from the discussion, unless I already mentioned this, a narrow leather saddle is by nature harder and stronger than a wide one.

Sit bone width is a factor you can quantify. I'm glad we have that ability. But it's not the only thing we should be measuring.
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Old 08-04-17, 03:49 PM
  #53  
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I am again bemused by the outright rejection of basic measurement.
The article was simple. It was to first ensure that your sit bones are not going to be too close or on the metal frame of the tensioned leather saddle. If you have your sit bones on the frame it defeats using a tensioned leather saddle.
It also seeks to establish a width that will be not too wide for your inner thighs for riding.
How simple is that?
Once on the bike and with use the tensioned leather design the saddle will mould around your body shape and sit bones.
The article clearly advises "But sit bone measurement is not the only aspect to consider" before considering riding position, firmness, cutouts and then "putting it all together" but then you would know that because you read it with an open mind.
I guess your system works. Endless trials and complaints.

What might be useful is for members to measure their sit bones and their saddles and which are comfortable or uncomfortable for their riding style.
We might be able to test this with a wide audience to see if there is any merit.
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Old 08-26-17, 09:57 PM
  #54  
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*UPDATE*

Well, I won't call my Brooks "comfortable", but I will call it... "acceptable." It still isn't comfortable to sit on, but the most important thing about it is this.

It doesn't give me saddle sores when riding in street clothes.. I don't know how. Every time I sit on that saddle I expect sores to show up the next day, but none have shown up yet. It still just feels like I'm sitting on concrete, but I'll put up with concrete if it means I don't have to put an ugly gel pad on it. There are no dimples in the saddle, I have no idea where my butt sits.

It's "OK."

On a side note, we just had another B-17 narrow come into the shop the other day. Except this one has a cutout. I tried it out on another bike and GEEZE it is SO soft. I actually had to tighten the nut to make it even decently ride able (without giving me saddle sores). I rode it once and instantly felt like I was getting saddle sores, except this pain persisted, unlike my hard brooks (in which the pain goes away as soon as I get off the bike.) So I tightened the tensioning nut until it was "stiff" again (just 3/4 of a turn or so). I won't say it's as stiff as concrete like my other one, but maybe as hard as wood. My guess is someone got it wet. (Mine almost got wet the other day. Sudden downpour and I had to run outside to grab it. Only a few seconds in the rain and all the water wiped off. (I was really only 20 feet away from it but it took a few seconds after the rain started to register in my brain that it couldn't get wet.))

This one is also laced, and I'm not sure if I like that. I've heard lacing changes the way a brooks operates, and makes it much more stiff (cause the wings can't flare out.)
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Old 08-27-17, 05:36 AM
  #55  
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Awhile ago I traded a Brooks Swift for a Swallow. It was about aesthetics. It was new in appearance. It was tough getting through the first week with it. I ride about 100 - 150 miles a week commuting. This last week I almost forgot about it.

I was using a Flite Ti previously. At first the Brooks was a bit bothersome but (butt?) I liked the added support from the width so stuck with it. Yes, laziness had a lot to do with it!

Keep the faith.
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Old 08-27-17, 06:28 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
The B-17N is 15-20 mm wider than most normal saddles I ride. The last time I measured them (years... and years ago) I did the typical "measure them and add a bit per side to get your saddle size" and my saddle size came out to be ~120-125mm, much narrower than saddles are manufactured. On my road bikes, I ride the Fizik Arione, specified at 132mm. It's one of the thinnest saddles I could find.

If the B-17 N is too narrow for me... I'm not sure who it would be built for...

I'm also not sure how I could adjust it to make it more comfortable? Tilt it forward?
Sorry to get into this so late, but, well, here goes! I'm glad you're finding some improvement, but some of the following might still help you.

Ok, so it's probably not too narrow.

Can you tell if your sitbones are on the steel back plate, or not? They should be perched on leather. The fore-aft position of your bones should be at tthe widest area of the saddle. If you are too far forward you should slide it forward, a little bit at a time. If you are rearward of the widest area, you should slide it backward a little bit at a time.

And there's still saddle height. Relative to modern racy saddles, a Brooks has a contact point that is farther above the saddle rails. If you haven't adjusted saddle height (most likely downward), you could have hip rocking (abrasion), no room to "lift off" the saddle to negotiate a bump, and odd impacts to you body that can feel like you're being kicked in the you-know-where.

As far as sliding back, Brooksies have a rail design that does not allow for much adjustment compared to say, a Specialized, a Selle AnAtomica, or a Rivet. You might need a seat post that allows more setback than what you have.

In contrast to all this, if your saddle is already too far back, you might be sliding forwad off of the widest part of the saddle. In this case your weight is being carried on the narrow part of the saddle by your perineal region, which will hurt a lot.

These issues don't go away with other types of saddles, they just fit the bike differently than a Brooks will.

Last edited by Road Fan; 08-27-17 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 08-27-17, 08:18 AM
  #57  
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Dear Corrado:

You have damaged your skin and you need to get off the bicycle for a short period of time to let your skin heal. If it hurts to ride your bicycle, it is no fun.

I speak from experience because I have a sensitive tailbone.

While we are two different people, here is what works for me.

1) Get very intimate with a razor in your personal area. These little hairs can get trapped and pulled and tugged and be quite painful. Shave them off and keep the area nice and neat.

2) Use a good pair of bike shorts with padding. be particular! I know you say that you do not want to use bike shorts but they really do keep you comfortable. Padded underwear if you want to keep casual clothes but watch the seam in your pants if you use regular clothes. Change at work in the bathroom stall if you got to but the shorts are a lifesaver.

3) Use Chamis Butter. This is a super slick lubricant that eliminates chafing and rubbing. I am sure that most saddle sores are not caused by a improper shape, fit, width, or style of saddle but by the continuous rubbing of the skin on skin/clothing/hair/seams or the skin folding over on itself over and over again. The chamis butter will eliminate this although it will need to be wiped off or removed when you get to work. do not use hand cream, vaseline, or other moisturizers because they will deteriorate your leather saddle, will not remain wet for very long, and may even irritate your skin.

4) Get the correct adjustment for your saddle. Height, fore/aft adjustment, and tilt. be patient but persistent especially on the tilt. Carry an adjustment wrench and if you think it is tilted too far forward/too far backwards, stop and adjust it even if it is just a billionth of a millimeter adjustment. I am still adjusting my tilt and I got a new saddle three years ago. No big deal, I will get it right here shortly although I think I need different positions based on the brand of short I am wearing.

Be persistent. You do not need to bicycle in pain. For what it is worth, I commute 10 miles one way and my upright commuters have Brooks B-17. I love them things and took me a couple weeks to break each one in.

Regards,
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Old 08-27-17, 08:40 AM
  #58  
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Our LBS had a cyclist start their tour, on a brand new brooks B17s.. she was in the shop buying a different saddle..

I have a Brooks team Pro I got in the middle of the 70's, rode on it 10 years before I started on long tours.. using it..
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Old 08-27-17, 09:13 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Our LBS had a cyclist start their tour, on a brand new brooks B17s.. she was in the shop buying a different saddle..
Starting a tour on a brand new anything is insane, but a saddle? Oof!
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Old 08-27-17, 09:52 AM
  #60  
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If you are looking for another saddle, many San Marco saddles are quite comfortable. Used Rolls (made by San Marco) saddles are pretty inexpensive and unlike leather, they don't mold to the first owners butt.
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Old 08-27-17, 06:49 PM
  #61  
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It sounds like your butt may be breaking into the saddle.

I'm sorry you haven't found your heaven. My B17's feel almost as good as you know what. Sorry for TMI.
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Old 08-28-17, 05:05 AM
  #62  
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As other's have said. I'm willing to bet that saddle is way too narrow for you. Find an LBS that has one of these measuring pads, it's very important to find a saddle that fits you as opposed to looking cool.



Also, once measured, always add 20mm to the measurement.



Here's a very good article on saddle fit.

Lovely Bicycle!: Speaking of Saddles

Last edited by Michael Angelo; 08-28-17 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 08-28-17, 11:21 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Michael Angelo View Post
As others have said. I'm willing to bet that saddle is way too narrow for you. Find an LBS that has one of these measuring pads, it's very important to find a saddle that fits you as opposed to looking cool.



Also, once measured, always add 20mm to the measurement.



Here's a very good article on saddle fit.

Lovely Bicycle!: Speaking of Saddles
Well, I don't think that's such a good article on saddle fit.

In the second paragraph, she states that the trick is "to find one that fits our particular anatomy, position and riding style." But, that said, no further attention is given to riding position or riding style. And when it comes to measuring the sit bones. there is no mention of how you're supposed to sit on the Specialized sitbone-o-meter.

The instructions for this device are as follows:

So, it seems, you're supposed to sit on it "with feet raised and back straight, slightly bend forward at the waist."

"Slightly?" Is that the best they can do?

What is missing from the lovely bike article, as from the Specialized instructions, is any indication of how far forward you are supposed to bend at the waist while sitting on the thing; nor that your sit bone width is directly proportional to how far forward you bend at the waist. Specifically, the farther forward you bend, the closer together your sit bones will be. The result is that the foam on the stool takes a random measurement, the value of which is, well, random.

The Lovely Bike article and the Specialized Sitbone-o-meter instructions both assume there is a perfect saddle width for every pelvis, regardless of the height of the handlebar relative to the saddle; this is simply nonsense.

It may be that Joel of the Cycle Loft bike shop covered all this in his interaction with Ms Lovely; no way to know. So I'll restrict my criticism to the article. But I see no coincidence in the fact that Joel used the Specialized stool to determine that what she needed was a Specialized saddle. This leads me to suspect this stool is a tool for saddle sales, not saddle fitting.
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Old 08-28-17, 12:29 PM
  #64  
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I agree with what RHM says. ^^^

Also, please see these pressure graphs. I think these are from Bontrager. As you can see, if you ride in a race position, the sit bone width at the rear is almost irrelevant. I am more or less a "posture 2" rider, and for me the middle section of the saddle matters the most. The pictures make it obvious why.



Borrowed from this article.

I am absolutely not against measurement, but I don't agree with the presumption that this one measurement is enough to tell you what saddle is right for you.
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Old 08-30-17, 12:58 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Michael Angelo View Post
As other's have said. I'm willing to bet that saddle is way too narrow for you. Find an LBS that has one of these measuring pads, it's very important to find a saddle that fits you as opposed to looking cool.



Also, once measured, always add 20mm to the measurement.



Here's a very good article on saddle fit.

Lovely Bicycle!: Speaking of Saddles
Sorry, I've made this abundantly clear. I've already used one of those measuring devices, and my sit bones measure about 100 -105 mm. There is NO WAY this saddle is too thin for me. If it's too thin for me it's too thin for ANYBODY.

I HAVE SKINNY SIT BONES. YES I'VE MEASURED WITH A PROFESSIONAL TOOL.
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Old 08-30-17, 03:16 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Sorry, I've made this abundantly clear. I've already used one of those measuring devices, and my sit bones measure about 100 -105 mm. There is NO WAY this saddle is too thin for me. If it's too thin for me it's too thin for ANYBODY.

I HAVE SKINNY SIT BONES. YES I'VE MEASURED WITH A PROFESSIONAL TOOL.
From Brooks:
B17 NARROW
Technical Information
LENGTH : 279mm
WIDTH : 151mm
HEIGHT : 70mm
WEIGHT : 530g
FRAME : Steel

Once you have the measurement, add 2cm (or 20mm). Saddle width is approximate to sit bone spacing + 2cm.
so add your sit bone measurement with the suggested 2cm allowance: 105+20=125mm
It might be that the B17 Narrow may be too wide for you.

What if the saddle’s more than 2cm wider than sit bone spacing? You may experience rubbing/chafing on the inner thighs, and or extra pressure on your hamstrings. You may find yourself moving up onto the nose of the saddle, which will put more pressure on your soft tissue.

On my 1952 EA Boult I have its original Brooks saddle and it is 135mm wide and it is very comfortable (for me).

I have a few more saddle frames to recover, and I will be using the 135mm width as a guide when I reshape the cantle plate before recovering with new leather.

I have a NOS late 1960s B17 Champion Flyer (before they put springs on them) to wet and reshape the skirts for a friend. It measures 125mm wide. Your 105+20 would suggest it is one you should ride to see if it was comfortable for you.

Brooks used to make saddles with a wide variety of widths. Not anymore. If you can find an old frame, get Rudi to recover it for you.
I have an old Mansfield frame that probably is the right width, but the postage cost would be prohibitive.

The current B17 Narrow may be narrower than the standard B17 at 175mm but it is not a narrow saddle.

Last edited by Big Block; 08-30-17 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 08-30-17, 03:34 PM
  #67  
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There are narrower saddles. Idéale no 39 are quite narrow, aren't they? I can check what I have in the bin.
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Old 08-30-17, 06:28 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Big Block View Post
From Brooks:

Once you have the measurement, add 2cm (or 20mm). Saddle width is approximate to sit bone spacing + 2cm.
so add your sit bone measurement with the suggested 2cm allowance: 105+20=125mm
It might be that the B17 Narrow may be too wide for you.

What if the saddle’s more than 2cm wider than sit bone spacing? You may experience rubbing/chafing on the inner thighs, and or extra pressure on your hamstrings. You may find yourself moving up onto the nose of the saddle, which will put more pressure on your soft tissue.

On my 1952 EA Boult I have its original Brooks saddle and it is 135mm wide and it is very comfortable (for me).

I have a few more saddle frames to recover, and I will be using the 135mm width as a guide when I reshape the cantle plate before recovering with new leather.

I have a NOS late 1960s B17 Champion Flyer (before they put springs on them) to wet and reshape the skirts for a friend. It measures 125mm wide. Your 105+20 would suggest it is one you should ride to see if it was comfortable for you.

Brooks used to make saddles with a wide variety of widths. Not anymore. If you can find an old frame, get Rudi to recover it for you.
I have an old Mansfield frame that probably is the right width, but the postage cost would be prohibitive.

The current B17 Narrow may be narrower than the standard B17 at 175mm but it is not a narrow saddle.
Thank you for your well thought out post!

In all honesty though, I don't have any of the problems with the narrow in terms of width. My thighs don't rub. I DO know the feeling of "pressure on the hamstrings" but not with any of my bikes. It's only when I ride typically wide saddles that I'll feel that (or when I tried to ride that one "saddle" that's really just two butt pads?)

I have ridden a normal B17, and it did feel too wide. The narrow doesn't feel too wide.

I think the reason why the narrow, despite being 150mm wide doesn't bother me is I ride in an "aggressive" position, so I actually ride further forward than most people. I know that some of you may say "well make it less of an aggressive position and you'll fix your problems" but that's not true. That just shifts the weight to the softer parts of my butt and makes me get saddle sores immediately... I'm not new to riding. I've been battling this for 3 years. Each iteration I'm one step closer to finding saddles that work for me. These brooks, despite being relatively uncomfortable, seem to be working.

On a side note, I had to tighten the brooks with the cutout another turn the other day. It was just TOO soft.
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Old 08-30-17, 07:23 PM
  #69  
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The one with the cutout, the imperial, is famous for that. The usual Narrow is rock hard in comparison.

If you do want to try a narrower leather saddle, I just measured an Ideale 39, and the cantle plate measures 127 mm across. It's proportionately shorter as well, 265 mm long. It would need new leather, of course.
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Old 08-30-17, 07:41 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Sorry, I've made this abundantly clear. I've already used one of those measuring devices, and my sit bones measure about 100 -105 mm. There is NO WAY this saddle is too thin for me. If it's too thin for me it's too thin for ANYBODY.

I HAVE SKINNY SIT BONES. YES I'VE MEASURED WITH A PROFESSIONAL TOOL.

Well then, you may suffer from a boney ass. Like no padding. Maybe you need a Comfort style saddle.
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Old 08-30-17, 11:46 PM
  #71  
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Have you considered leather saddles other than Brooks?

I love, love, love my Gilles Berthoud, and gaining adoration for my my newer Rivet. Both brands can be purchased with long-term satisfaction guarantees. They each have models with different widths, cutouts or not, and are made with notably thicker leather.

Rivet Cycle Works - Hand Crafted Leather Bicycle Saddles
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This guy's extensive saddle reviews are interesting, but as we all know, saddle preference is very personal.

Rando Richard | Saddle Quest?Part II
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Old 08-31-17, 12:40 PM
  #72  
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I have two Brooks B17s on vintage bikes, one Prologo Evo, a Specialized Avatar, and a new Ergon SR3-L. The Brooks are easily the most comfortable for me. It broke my heart to replace my 50 year old Brooks, which split in half on a rainy day ride that caught me out. Now, that's uncomfortable! The Ergon was really uncomfortable due to the sharp transition from vertical to horizontal surfaces. I was ready to give up on it after one ride, but decided to move it forward about 1/4", which made it all better. Like everybody said, experiment with location, up, down, fore and aft, in small increments. I like mine pretty level with the ground, even using a bubble level to check it. The Avator has a center relief cut out, and it's the one I've had numbness issues with on century rides, never with the Brooks in 50+ years, with no cut out. Go figure. Brooks aren't for everybody. That's how I got my 50 year old replacement, a new B17 on ebay from some guy who didn't like it. Before and after replacement pics below. The old saddle was a narrow rail, Campy branded B17. Cheers!
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Old 08-31-17, 04:05 PM
  #73  
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It's okay not to like Brooks. I tried to like them...But they simply got on my nerves...Some people can work with them. I can't stand them. As soon as the leather sags, the metal support crushes into my bones and it hurts. I adjusted them every possible way...from a premium seatpost, to every concievable position.

The 300$ swift titanium when it was that cheap...great saddle for about 100 miles...then it sagged to junk. Brooks Team Pro...that was a good one but it was sold with another bike.

I've come to the conclusion that once Broken in, the saddle is no good for me. Once it supple, that hammock effect is numbing my bones because the stupid leather is so damned soft.

I think it's all in the hide quality...very hit or miss with Brooks...

All of my B17's became floppy and supple after very few rides. It's the inconsistency of the leather that make Brooks saddles a terrible gamble. The older ones if found in NOS or very good condition ride differently than the new stuff.

The hides just aren't the same. Also the rails of Brooks are stupid...It's time to add longer rails so we don't have to ride with the nose up our nuts.

You might look like a nerd, but the old Avocet touring are nice...the harder ones not the soft gels.

One saddle might have a great piece of the leather, the other one not so much.


Brooks customer support sucks...they never took my saddle, three months later it was returned to sender, I sent exactly where it was supposed to go.

Then they told me I could send it to a shop in the US for service...Why didn't they just order a service from the US in the first place?



B17 is comfy, yet when the leather gives, it just doesn't make sense to torque the tension bolt just to keep shape.

It is my understanding that the
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Old 08-31-17, 04:06 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
... The old saddle was a narrow rail, Campy branded B17. Cheers!
What did you do with the remains?
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Old 08-31-17, 05:39 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
What did you do with the remains?
It's all in a plastic bag in the garage. I contacted Brooks about replacement of the leather, no joy. I found a guy on the east coast who supposedly rebuilds them, but he didn't answer emails, so I still have it. I needed new wider rail mounts, and found a lightly used B17 all under $100, so I'm happy. I realise the Campy branded narrow rails have some collector value (saw one for $800 someplace), but I'd rather ride new than rebuild mine. It came new on my Legnano, 53 years ago, so I guess I got my use out of it!
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