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Yet another Brooks Saddle question :)

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Yet another Brooks Saddle question :)

Old 03-25-11, 11:47 PM
  #1  
episodic
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Yet another Brooks Saddle question :)

I'm looking for a Brooks B17.

I'm thinking of buying from Amazon.com. I've read alot about these saddles as it is big purchase for me. I've seen that some people end up needing to lace their saddles a few years later due to sagging, etc. I thought I'd save myself some trouble and get an 'aged' version of their saddle as it is already laced.

Am I over thinking this, or will a non-aged, non laced version be ok?
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Old 03-26-11, 07:19 AM
  #2  
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Originally Posted by episodic View Post
I'm looking for a Brooks B17.

Am I over thinking this, or will a non-aged, non laced version be ok?
Just a little. It takes years before I notice any sagging but people do complain about it. Notice that VO sends all their leather saddles out with laces as well as some kind of anti-sag reinforcement bonded under the seat. It must be a more common problem than I realize.

Marc
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Old 03-26-11, 07:25 AM
  #3  
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Mine (B17 standard) is breaking in real fast. I have about 100 miles on it.
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Old 03-26-11, 07:55 AM
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My partner's saddle is about a year old. He's about 230lbs, and it's definitely starting to develop dents from his sit bones. That's after about 1000-1500 miles. Mine is 3 years old, has about 5000 miles, and still looks brand new. I weigh 170lbs. Neither saddle shows any wear that I'd consider surprising given how heavily they get used. I wouldn't expect sagging to be a serious problem for me any time in the next 10-15k miles. I can see it being *possible* that his saddle might start to sag within that distance, but since he's a relatively low mileage guy right now, we'd have plenty of warning. Both bikes are stored indoors, in a climate controlled area.

I'd definitely watch a Brooks that was seeing over 5000 miles of use per year closer than I'd watch one that was seeing 1500 . Most leather goods are designed assuming that there's a certain amount of resting period between uses, and heavy use by a heavy weight rider might exceed the design limits.

And for what it's worth, the only reason I can tell the difference between ours and brand new stock is we have a lot of local bike shops that sell them. I'm talking *tiny* changes here, in the realm of millimeters.
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Old 03-26-11, 01:20 PM
  #5  
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First off take care of your Brooks when you get it. Treat it with Proofide. And dont let it get wet.

Some people state they need no "breaking in" time others state they never get comfortable. There will be no guarantee (although Wallbike is the only place I know with a 6 month return policy).

Sagging is usually a concern with age and exposure to the elements. Basically it takes time.
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Old 03-26-11, 02:29 PM
  #6  
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I'm not in the Brooks camp, but I did own a Team Pro many years ago. I'm not sure what this "lacing" is referring to. As far as I can recall, there was a tension bolt that you'd adjust with a supplied spanner if you developed sag, but that was it.
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Old 03-26-11, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
I'm not in the Brooks camp, but I did own a Team Pro many years ago. I'm not sure what this "lacing" is referring to. As far as I can recall, there was a tension bolt that you'd adjust with a supplied spanner if you developed sag, but that was it.
The lacing is at the lower edge of the skirts, to keep them from flaring outward when pressure is put on the top of the saddle. Regardless of the tension bolt setting, the skirts can flare.

I have a B17 Imperial which comes with lace holes pre-punched, and a B17 standard which I've taken a Sprenger-Herm adjustable punch to the skirts and laced it up to keep things nice and taut across the top deck of the saddle. I use 2mm climber's accessory cord to lace mine, because it has little to no stretch at the pressures exerted just from a rider sitting on the saddle.
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Old 03-26-11, 02:57 PM
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I have a B17 Imperial that has around 30 hours on it. I'm still in the breaking in period, but it comes laced. They also throw in a few extra laces in a variety of colors.

I will say, and I'm 276 pounds, that I can get around an hour 45 to 2 hours on it outside before I start noticing it. Now, on the trainer is another story!

The Brooks leather is REALLY high grade, thick saddle leather (think horse saddle.) The sagging issues that folks talk about are fixed with the spanner, the flaps coming up are fixed with lacing.

Oh, check to make sure the aged saddle isn't just the finish...
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Old 03-26-11, 03:17 PM
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I found my B17 only sagged after I got caught in heavy rain w/o a seat cover or a plastic bag handy. After it dried out it was mostly fine, but I did tighten it with the spanner a hair. Always carry these two things: plastic bag and a protective seat cover. If it rains you can avoid most problems. And yes, treat it with something (there seem to be a lot of opinions about what is best. Brooks sells their own stuff). These are the only negatives I've run into.
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Old 03-26-11, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Rebel View Post
And yes, treat it with something (there seem to be a lot of opinions about what is best. Brooks sells their own stuff).
Use Sno-Seal or Obenauf's LP if you don't want to spend the $$ on Brooks' personal brand. They're the same thing (mostly).

Please for the love of all things holy, do not get involved in the garage alchemy solutions for "rapid break in" of your Brooks. Soaking it in Neatsfoot Oil, Motor Oil, snake oil or Oil of Olay is bad for the leather. (Yes, ultra-legend Lon Haldeman soaked his in 10w30 motor oil before RAAM. He also doesn't weigh on the upside of 110kg.)
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Old 03-26-11, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by episodic View Post
I'm looking for a Brooks B17.

I'm thinking of buying from Amazon.com. I've read alot about these saddles as it is big purchase for me. I've seen that some people end up needing to lace their saddles a few years later due to sagging, etc. I thought I'd save myself some trouble and get an 'aged' version of their saddle as it is already laced.

Am I over thinking this, or will a non-aged, non laced version be ok?
Why pay for a saddle already broken in and loose all that useful saddle life when you can break it in yourself and get 100% of the use of it??

I,too, bought a Brooks from Amazon and can tell you that while stiff at first my weight made the necessary "impression" on the saddle to make it comfy quick.

One point that you'll have to remember is always carry a cover so that the leather never gets soaking wet in the rain. I use a shower cap or throw away dish covers since they fold up really small.
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Old 03-26-11, 10:09 PM
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The whole "dont get it wet" scenario is an interesting one. I have gotten my brooks wet and it seems none the worse . Its not that I refuse to carry a showercap/bag to protect the saddle, the issue is; How do you protect the UNDERNEATH of the saddle with a showercap/bag? I cannot use either as I have a saddlebag attached to the brooks that carries a spare tube etc. The showercap/bag cant cover the brooks and the saddlebag and when it rains the back wheel throws a steady stream of water underneath the saddle and soaks it. i usually let the saddle dry off in the house and then reapply Proofride....
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Old 03-26-11, 11:58 PM
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The Proofide underneath helps to keep the water at bay. Your use of a saddlebag also reduces the amount of water getting to the broadest area.

episodic, you are overthinking a bit. If you have decided on a B17, buy a normal B17. I have seen the "aged" ones and it seems to me the difference is in the surface finish rather than the softness of the saddle. in fact, the saddle shouldn't be soft, but remain so firm that you can literally knock on it. YOU are the one who makes the saddle fit, by imposing your sit bones on it and creating the pair of indentations with them. The only way to do that is by riding, not pre-ageing.

Check Wallingford Bikes (Wallbike as referred to in another post). They offer an attractive and legitimate return policy (which should appeal to you). Just be aware that Wallingford is not a major mega-chain, and returning a saddle that has been abused (rained on heavily and badly sagged as a result, or badly scuffed) would not be appropriate.
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Old 03-27-11, 06:42 AM
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I keep a plastic shopping bag (the kind they give away free) and an elastic. When it rains, the bag goes on, and the elastic goes around the seatpost.
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Old 03-27-11, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by episodic View Post
I'm looking for a Brooks B17.

I'm thinking of buying from Amazon.com. I've read alot about these saddles as it is big purchase for me. I've seen that some people end up needing to lace their saddles a few years later due to sagging, etc. I thought I'd save myself some trouble and get an 'aged' version of their saddle as it is already laced.

Am I over thinking this, or will a non-aged, non laced version be ok?
I've got Brooks saddles that are almost 10 years old now and I've never noticed any real sagging of the saddle. The oldest saddle I have is a B-17N that is softer than the Pros I own and I haven't even noticed any deformation of the saddles at all nor have I had to adjust the tension bolt. I feel that the 'breaking in period' on Brooks saddles is more the rider than the saddle.

You should, however, consider ordering your Brooks saddles from Wallingford Bikes. They have a 6 month returns policy so that you can decide if you like the saddle or not. A Brooks isn't everyone's cup of tea.
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Old 03-27-11, 11:53 AM
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Recently got a B-17 from Craigslist, was basically new. When you guys discuss not letting it get wet and covering it with a bag, do you do this during a ride if it starts to rain? I have full fenders on my roadie but it seems as though slipping around on a plastic bag while riding might reduce the comfort and efficiency of said endeavor. Living in Oregon, dry rides are a scarcity this time of year. That being said, I wouldn't leave my bike out in the rain.
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Old 03-27-11, 12:01 PM
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Ya'll convinced me, the B17 and a can of proofide will be here Monday (ordered yesterday, Amazon prime is a wonderful thing )

I'll report back
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Old 03-27-11, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I've got Brooks saddles that are almost 10 years old now and I've never noticed any real sagging of the saddle. ....
I think it depends on your weight. Im close to 290lbs and there are definately two sit-bone "dents" in the saddle after a couple hundred miles. I feel sorry for the saddle having my 290lb a$$ berating it for hundreds of miles - its by far the best saddle I have owned.
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