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B17 Imperial cutout pattern vs. modern BG saddles

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B17 Imperial cutout pattern vs. modern BG saddles

Old 10-29-10, 07:06 AM
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B17 Imperial cutout pattern vs. modern BG saddles

I know I'm comparing apples to oranges here, especially for gram counters. But all other aspects aside, is the 100 year old cutout pattern as effective as a modern Specialized Body Geometry design? The Imperial's cutout obviously cannot go fully to the rear because of Brook's metal plate, whereas the BG saddles look to have the least "interference" where the compression of the Pudendal arteries and nerves occurs the most.

Let me apologize in advance for yet another Brooks thread, bu the Imperial review thread is nearing 1,400 replies with no real concensus. I was hoping to find another C & V rider torn between the beauty and feel of a Brooks vs. the potential healthier aspects of a modern cutout design.

This is obviously assuming you believe there could be long-term issues from the raised center ridge of a well worn Brooks. Currently not having any issues, want to keep it that way. My 2 year old Imperial is looking much older and sagging so I'm thinking of other options.
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Old 10-29-10, 08:07 AM
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Isn't the body geometry design a padded saddle? Padding squishes, so you sink into it. Your sit bones sink in the farthest, and then the padding pushes against the tissue everywhere else. If you have padding under your prostate, padding will push against it. If you have an enlarged prostate, this will be uncomfortable. So they cut a big hole out of the padding there. That's why a BG type saddle is better than a conventional padded saddle.

A leather saddle doesn't have padding, so your sit bones don't sink into anything, and nothing squeezes up and puts pressure on your prostate. So a cutout isn't really necessary. That's why there's no real consensus.
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Old 10-29-10, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by uprightbent
My 2 year old Imperial is looking much older and sagging so I'm thinking of other options.
My 4 month old imperial is heading in the same direction. I'd been considering posting about it, because the saddle is sagging and forming too quickly, but I didn't want to get involved in the usual Brooks treatment wars because I (GASP) didn't use Brooks Proofhide, and instead (SHOCK) bee's waxed the bottom. Anyway, I'm concerned that, overall, Brooks isn't implementing the cut-out design well, and we're not going to see any Imperials with the longevity of its 5, 10, 30yr old kin.

That said, while I don't think I would have bothered with an Imperial, I'm convinced by a Brooks. The other poster is right, simply having a nice, stiff leather saddle for your sitbones to elevate your soft-bits, is proper to avoid the concerns you mentioned. I know it's somehow counter intuitive when you've been conditioned by gel saddle marketing, but it's obvious to me that a good ole Brooks is the way to go. Don't worry about the seemingly raised arch in the center of older ones. The saddle has conformed to your body shape and riding geometry. If you find that after 5 years this isn't the case, you can buy a new one and still be ahead in costs on the 5 gel saddles you'd have worn out by then.

cheers,
michael
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Old 10-29-10, 08:42 AM
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A very well used brooks saddle will develop something of a ridge running down the middle of the saddle,
I think that's why the imperial cutout was originally designed.
While I was favorably impressed with the Imperial when we tested it I'm no longer riding it.
I still have questions about longevity of any tensioned leather saddle with a cut out ( Selle Anatomica, Brooks Imperial)
The Imperial was a design that was abandoned 90 years ago, why?
I don't think we've ever gotten any answers to this question, it would be interesting to know why Brooks stopped
marketing the imperial saddles.

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Old 10-29-10, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by lotek
A very well used brooks saddle will develop something of a ridge running down the middle of the saddle,
I think that's why the imperial cutout was originally designed.
While I was favorably impressed with the Imperial when we tested it I'm no longer riding it.
I still have questions about longevity of any tensioned leather saddle with a cut out ( Selle Anatomica, Brooks Imperial)
The Imperial was a design that was abandoned 90 years ago, why?
I don't think we've ever gotten any answers to this question, it would be interesting to know why Brooks stopped
marketing the imperial saddles.

Marty
Guess I'm misunderstanding something here since I just bought a brand new B17 Imperial. Did they stop making them for awhile? I ride both this and a regular B17. Here's what I like about the Imperial though. I tend to ride with the nose of my B17s up a bit as otherwise I tend to slide forward. This is quite comfortable until I get into the drops and then I get a bit of pressure. With the Imperial that pressure is not there and for me that is the advantage of it.
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Old 10-29-10, 09:03 AM
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[QUOTE=lotek;11700537]A very well used brooks saddle will develop something of a ridge running down the middle of the saddle[QUOTE]

Thanks lotek, my exact concern.

Let me clarify that I'm comparing to only firm, minimally padded BG saddles like their Alias, Phenom, etc. Not the big cushy rec saddles like the Milano or any others they offer in a gel version.

While I agree the Brooks support should elevate and lift the soft tissues, the aforementioned ridge remains a problem. Yes, you now have a form fitting saddle, but as studies have shown many testers stated they felt fine while the results showed major restrictions to penile blood flow. I'm guilty as well currently owning a B17 Imperial, plus 3 B17 standards, and a B72, all of which feel and look great while this sinister ridge might be doing things I'll later regret.

I guess the safest route for a Brooks fan is to ride the Imperial and just plan on replacing them much sooner. At least they have new colors now.
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Old 10-29-10, 09:13 AM
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The Imperial has laces for a reason...I assume they must be tightened every so often.

I have one on my kid/park Super Course and like it a lot...it is comfortable riding without chamois or in jeans if necessary...but...I don't have a huge number of miles on it yet to gauge long term durability.
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Old 10-29-10, 09:23 AM
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I have an imperial on my t700 - I HAD a flyer on their before, but it was causing way to much pressure on my man bits.

+1 to relacing the saddle. Frankly between the laces and the tension bolt I don't see why these wouldn't last just as long.
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Old 10-29-10, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak
Guess I'm misunderstanding something here since I just bought a brand new B17 Imperial. Did they stop making them for awhile? . . .
The Imperial is based on an early 1900's design which lasted for a few years and then disappeared until a few years ago when
it was brought back (and tested here!).

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Old 10-29-10, 09:36 AM
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I own a B17 Imperial and I'm very happy with it. My father in law who owns various vintage leather saddles asked my how I liked it and I said it was "incredibly comfortable," to what he replied, "I like all my leather saddles (brooks, ideale, etc) but I can't say any of them are incredibly comfortable."

I have noticed that the saddle has broken in very easily but the laces help a lot and after maybe 400 miles I don't think I have to tighten it any time soon.
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Old 10-29-10, 12:21 PM
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I've poured over a thousand miles into my Imperial and even the first 80 were more comfortable than I was led to expect during a break-in period. But I suspect this is due to the cutout and, maybe thinner leather material (don't quote me, I'll dig out the caliper). You can see how the cut-out is slumping inward. I laced it from the beginning but discovered that the sides of the saddle, rather than flare out from the bottom edge, pushed/bulged out from top nearest the seat, as the cut-out slumped in. I've played with the lacing too: middle, back, all, and now front only (each lace only fills half the holes).

Oddly, it's conforming and slumping more on the drive side. I've tried to be sure the saddle is straight. Lately I've been adjusting the pitch to see how that affects things. Honestly, I kinda wish I just bought a B-17 standard or pro. I think it'll be fine for awhile. I'm riding 40-80mi per ride/commute, so I figure anything physically distressing would be apparent by now.

Maybe I'll snap and post a picture.
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Old 10-29-10, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by depleted
Maybe I'll snap and post a picture.
https://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1...erial-back.jpg
https://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1...rial-front.jpg

....for what it's worth.

I've been noticing some pressure at the point of my thigh and butt (my g/f is a physical therapist, she would know what to call that) but I think it's OK so far. I'm not running out to change saddles.
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