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Brooks B17 Aged issue?

Old 05-08-20, 09:19 AM
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BassistBiker
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Brooks B17 Aged issue?

Hey all,

I have a question for those who commute frequently, or just put lots of miles on in general.

I'm trying to get back into shape, and as such I've been riding my bike to work and home (about 16 miles round trip).

First off, a little about me, 48 years young and about 6' and about 250 (260ish with backpack/gear).

I'm riding a Salsa Journeyman, and let me say I love my bike, and aside from the saddle, I've got my fit pretty dialed in (I think).

Stock saddle was a WTB Volt...terrible saddle IMHO, I rode it for a while, but ultimately it was not...comfy.

So based on a LOT of internet research, I switched to a Brooks B17 (aged), and now I've given it about 500 miles, and MANY different adjustments (currently set just slightly nose high), and to be perfectly honest, the pain from this saddle is nearly unbearable, if I ride 2 consecutive days, so basically about 32 miles, I have so much perineum pain that I have to take a few day break...I understand that a leather saddle has some break in period, but it's gotten to the point that I don't even want to ride...I really want to love this Brooks, but...

So, all that said, what are my options? Should I be looking at another saddle? Is there an adjustment/angle that I haven't thought of? Riser stem to put me in a slightly more upright position?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any suggestions or insights.
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Old 05-08-20, 09:47 AM
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If you have that many miles in it's either adjusted poorly or more likely a poor saddle choice for you.
If you have a good bike shop nearby they have a tool to use to find your sit bone width. This is a good starting point to find the back side of the saddle width you want. Other factors, like your perennial pain may be resolved through a "flatter" saddle, a cutout, and could even be the result of a poor fit elsewhere on the bike.

With that said, I have the Flyer Imperial and so far am very much enjoying it. Love the springs.
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Old 05-08-20, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
If you have that many miles in it's either adjusted poorly or more likely a poor saddle choice for you.
If you have a good bike shop nearby they have a tool to use to find your sit bone width. This is a good starting point to find the back side of the saddle width you want. Other factors, like your perennial pain may be resolved through a "flatter" saddle, a cutout, and could even be the result of a poor fit elsewhere on the bike.

With that said, I have the Flyer Imperial and so far am very much enjoying it. Love the springs.
Thanks for the info!

I did have my sit bones measured (by a local Trek store), I was approx 145-150mm, the Brooks measures in at 175mm according to their webpage...so it is probably a bit wide in the rear for me, but would that width effect the perineum area?

Honestly I should probably just pay the $$ and get a proper bike fit, but the couple shops I spoke with were currently not doing personalized fits due to the Covid-19 situation...which makes sense I suppose.

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Old 05-08-20, 10:24 AM
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Look up a basic saddle to cranks/handlebars fit guide. There are loads of them. Make sure that your knees are getting proper bend at the bottom of the pedal stroke and that your feet are on the pedal in the right spot. Your butt bones should be on the rear of the saddle. If you find yourself riding more forward or sliding off the back is good indication something isn't right.
Something else I would suggest is to look into a rack/pack and get the load off your back. It will help with saddle weight.
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Old 05-08-20, 10:26 AM
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One thing that's helped me get Brooks saddles adjusted correctly is using two-bolt seatposts. "Lots of adjustments" with a single-bolt seatpost is often a crapshoot; you loosen it enough to adjust just the tilt or fore-and-aft position, the whole thing flops around like a fresh-caught fish, you reset it in whatever position it was when the bolt snugs up. With the two-bolt post, if you want to tilt it back, loosen the front bolt a quarter turn, tighten the rear bold a quarter turn, everything else stays where it was.
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Old 05-08-20, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
Look up a basic saddle to cranks/handlebars fit guide. There are loads of them. Make sure that your knees are getting proper bend at the bottom of the pedal stroke and that your feet are on the pedal in the right spot. Your butt bones should be on the rear of the saddle. If you find yourself riding more forward or sliding off the back is good indication something isn't right.
Something else I would suggest is to look into a rack/pack and get the load off your back. It will help with saddle weight.
Thanks, I'll go look for some videos!

And I've got a rack and a set of bags on order.
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Old 05-08-20, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
One thing that's helped me get Brooks saddles adjusted correctly is using two-bolt seatposts. "Lots of adjustments" with a single-bolt seatpost is often a crapshoot; you loosen it enough to adjust just the tilt or fore-and-aft position, the whole thing flops around like a fresh-caught fish, you reset it in whatever position it was when the bolt snugs up. With the two-bolt post, if you want to tilt it back, loosen the front bolt a quarter turn, tighten the rear bold a quarter turn, everything else stays where it was.
Yep, I've got a 2 bolt seatpost, and I've been doing exactly what you said (after I got the front/back positioning where I was comfortable).
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Old 05-08-20, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by BassistBiker View Post
So based on a LOT of internet research, I switched to a Brooks B17 (aged), and now I've given it about 500 miles, and MANY different adjustments (currently set just slightly nose high), and to be perfectly honest, the pain from this saddle is nearly unbearable, .
That kind of pain is annoying - and potentially problematic if you ignore it.

I bought a B17 Narrow Imperial (has a cut out) last year and have ridden it about 300 miles. It's still almost as hard as it was on day 1 - I applied Proofide once. Luckily, the seat fits me at least as well as any other that I have tried and the cut out limits perineum pain. I like the fact that it's so easy to slide around on the leather as I (think) that I move around on it more unconsciously and this makes it pretty comfortable by limiting pressure points..

If the seat seems to fit you other than the perineum pain, my suggestion to you is to consider cutting your own pressure relief joint in it. There's probably someone on the internet who has tried this and can provide guidance (a search of BF may yield some info.) You will need to lace the bottom edges of the seat together to keep the seat from stretching too much - if your seat is not already laced.

You could also just try one of the Brooks Imperial designs with the cut out and lacing already done - but this will set you back over $100.

Good Luck.
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Old 05-08-20, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BassistBiker View Post
Thanks for the info!

I did have my sit bones measured (by a local Trek store), I was approx 145-150mm, the Brooks measures in at 175mm according to their webpage...so it is probably a bit wide in the rear for me, but would that width effect the perineum area?

Honestly I should probably just pay the $$ and get a proper bike fit, but the couple shops I spoke with were currently not doing personalized fits due to the Covid-19 situation...which makes sense I suppose.
No, it's possibly too narrow for you. Your sit bones must be significantly narrower than the Brooks saddle because they need to be well inside the saddle frame (the back curved part of the frame). On other, more platform-like saddles you can have your sit bones close to the edge of the saddle, but not on a leather hammock saddle like a Brooks.
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Old 05-08-20, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BassistBiker View Post
Thanks, I'll go look for some videos!

And I've got a rack and a set of bags on order.
Brooks saddles sit higher off the rails than many seats. If you didn't lower your seat height when you installed the saddle, that is most likely what is wrong.

Even if you did, the most likely issue is that seat is too high. I had a lot of issues with mine until I got the seat height correct, and that wasn't done using formulas. Those may get you in the ballpark, but all placed me slightly too high, and I wasn't stable on the saddle. Once I lowered my seat, I was more stable on the bike, I am solidly planted on the saddle, I don't slide forward, I can ride no hands easily, and I have zero pain anywhere. My seat is also not tilted ridiculously high in the front, in fact, it doesn't really look tilted at all, and yet I am not sliding forward. That is because it is in the right place, and not too high.

On my tour last year I had no issues and could ride all day with no pain from the saddle, and get on and ride again the next day. The longest day was 70 miles.

Modern saddles make it easy to run a seat height that is actually too high. A Brooks will show you very painfully that you are doing that. Not only did I have perineum pain, I had a little lower back pain, muscular, and my hip hurt sometimes after longer rides. What really told me something was off, was the dimples in the saddle were formed off to the right, and not centered on the saddle. That told me I was dropping to one side to compensate for a too high saddle height. Once I dropped it, the dimples reformed over time, in the proper places.

Read these and reassess you seat height. If nothing else, simply drop it a bit. https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...ard-can-it-be/ And this one: https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...d-can-it-be-2/

You might want to check out Bikefitjames on Instagram. He often ends up lowering the saddle as part of his fits since so many today come to him with a seat that is too high, and a reach that is too great. A too high seat height, and excessive reach are the two things that tend to give the issues you are having.
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Old 05-09-20, 07:59 PM
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There is lots of good info so far, I am the same age, height and weight (within 5 pounds) of you. I can sit on just about any saddle at this point as long as the position relative to the bars is correct. Out of my 5 bikes I have brooks on 4 of the 5 and it's all about the pitch of the front or me, plus height over the pedals. I did have the issue of the saddle being too high when I had platform shoes versus clipless (with clipless needing to lower the saddle .25 to .50 inches in my case. I would first try to put the seat what "feels like" a little low then ride again, if you still have the pain adjust the nose of the saddle down until the pain goes away; you may feel a little extra weight on your hands/arms when you do this. Once the pain goes away, you can adjust and try again. Good luck!!
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Old 05-09-20, 08:36 PM
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Don't throw in the towel yet. After 15,000 miles, your saddle will just about almost start to begin to feel a little bit somewhat slightly less uncomfortable, as with any other Brooks saddle. From former B17 owner.
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Old 05-09-20, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BassistBiker View Post
Hey all,

I have a question for those who commute frequently, or just put lots of miles on in general.

I'm trying to get back into shape, and as such I've been riding my bike to work and home (about 16 miles round trip).

First off, a little about me, 48 years young and about 6' and about 250 (260ish with backpack/gear).

I'm riding a Salsa Journeyman, and let me say I love my bike, and aside from the saddle, I've got my fit pretty dialed in (I think).

Stock saddle was a WTB Volt...terrible saddle IMHO, I rode it for a while, but ultimately it was not...comfy.

So based on a LOT of internet research, I switched to a Brooks B17 (aged), and now I've given it about 500 miles, and MANY different adjustments (currently set just slightly nose high), and to be perfectly honest, the pain from this saddle is nearly unbearable, if I ride 2 consecutive days, so basically about 32 miles, I have so much perineum pain that I have to take a few day break...I understand that a leather saddle has some break in period, but it's gotten to the point that I don't even want to ride...I really want to love this Brooks, but...

So, all that said, what are my options? Should I be looking at another saddle? Is there an adjustment/angle that I haven't thought of? Riser stem to put me in a slightly more upright position?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any suggestions or insights.
With your description of symptoms, my first suggestion would be to keep the saddle angle where you've got it. Brooks B-17's are optimal at 3-5 degrees up in the nose. Stops you from constantly sliding forward. That being said, it sounds like you need to move your saddle forward as far as possible. You might even consider a Thomson 0 degree seatpost, Brooks have slightly shorter rails, so the new seatpost may be the only way to adjust to where you need to be. Just a thought. Good luck.
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Old 05-12-20, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Edward1066 View Post
With your description of symptoms, my first suggestion would be to keep the saddle angle where you've got it. Brooks B-17's are optimal at 3-5 degrees up in the nose. Stops you from constantly sliding forward. That being said, it sounds like you need to move your saddle forward as far as possible. You might even consider a Thomson 0 degree seatpost, Brooks have slightly shorter rails, so the new seatpost may be the only way to adjust to where you need to be. Just a thought. Good luck.
Can he twist the seat post around so it's facing the other way?
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Old 05-12-20, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Can he twist the seat post around so it's facing the other way?
Usually, seatpost only tilt one way, so rotating it 180 degrees may leave it tilted up towards the sky.
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Old 05-12-20, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Edward1066 View Post
Usually, seatpost only tilt one way, so rotating it 180 degrees may leave it tilted up towards the sky.
Worth a shot.
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Old 05-12-20, 09:57 PM
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Maybe itís in the up down adjustment? I added a B-17 recently.

WTB PureV saddle before that. Iíve heard the rumors, but it has been comfortable since the day I bought it. Gotten better with age though. I am using a ZZip two bolt post, maybe make the adjustment easier to dial-in
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Old 05-13-20, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BassistBiker View Post
Hey all,

I have a question for those who commute frequently, or just put lots of miles on in general.

I'm trying to get back into shape, and as such I've been riding my bike to work and home (about 16 miles round trip).

First off, a little about me, 48 years young and about 6' and about 250 (260ish with backpack/gear).

I'm riding a Salsa Journeyman, and let me say I love my bike, and aside from the saddle, I've got my fit pretty dialed in (I think).

Stock saddle was a WTB Volt...terrible saddle IMHO, I rode it for a while, but ultimately it was not...comfy.

So based on a LOT of internet research, I switched to a Brooks B17 (aged), and now I've given it about 500 miles, and MANY different adjustments (currently set just slightly nose high), and to be perfectly honest, the pain from this saddle is nearly unbearable, if I ride 2 consecutive days, so basically about 32 miles, I have so much perineum pain that I have to take a few day break...I understand that a leather saddle has some break in period, but it's gotten to the point that I don't even want to ride...I really want to love this Brooks, but...

So, all that said, what are my options? Should I be looking at another saddle? Is there an adjustment/angle that I haven't thought of? Riser stem to put me in a slightly more upright position?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any suggestions or insights.
Could you post a picture, please? You mention the saddle was aged -- does that mean that you bought it used? If so, has the tension bolt been tightened? When the tension bolt is tightened, that tends to raise a ridge in the middle of these saddles.

I had a B17 Narrow on which the bolt had been tightened, and it was unbearable after two rides. I have a couple of B17 Standards that I bought new, and they are very comfortable, as the back half of the saddle is a flat platform.
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Old 05-13-20, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
Could you post a picture, please? You mention the saddle was aged -- does that mean that you bought it used? If so, has the tension bolt been tightened? When the tension bolt is tightened, that tends to raise a ridge in the middle of these saddles.

I had a B17 Narrow on which the bolt had been tightened, and it was unbearable after two rides. I have a couple of B17 Standards that I bought new, and they are very comfortable, as the back half of the saddle is a flat platform.
Brooks sells an "aged" style, meaning it's been pre-softened. A tiny, tiny bit, like sitting on a pine plank instead of an oak plank. You can't feel any difference, but you know intellectually that there is one.
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Old 05-14-20, 03:24 AM
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The seat may be two things; too high and too much tension. I adjusted my B17 none after the initial fitting. But I also soaked it with Obenauf's leather oil. It is the only leather conditioner I have owned that smells like new leather. The underside of the seat MUST be treated too. Take the seat off and make a "bowl" of aluminum foil which will hold some liquid and the seat. Pour a generous amount of the oil into the upside down seat, spread it, and leave it to soak. Ten minutes in, you can turn it over and soak the top as well. Another ten minutes and you can let it drip a bit onto the pan and wait overnight. Rub down the outside with a soft cloth, install and ride a bit. If it is still too stiff let off some tension from the bolt under the front. Only do about 90 degrees at a time. I always soak a B17 with the provided proofhide first. Then go to the Obenauf's. The proofhide can be used entirely but you will need a tin of it. That tiny packet provided with the saddle isn't enough. Good luck and Be Well, Bluesfrog.
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Old 05-14-20, 08:23 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by gorillimo View Post
Maybe itís in the up down adjustment?
With no photo of the bike in question, and based on the OP's feedback, I'd guess that the saddle-to-bar drop is a bit too much. As Bluesfrog has suggested, too high, meaning that too much forward pelvic rotation. We need a photo of the setup. PG
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Old 05-15-20, 03:53 PM
  #22  
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Saddles are super personal, so itís possible itís not right for you.

I have the exact same saddle as you, as well as a b17 imperial and some team pros. For me, I donít like the nose ripped up on bikes with drop bars, I found that very uncomfortable. My saddle is facing slightly down now. My favorite saddle is the imperial. I generally dislike the team pros.

Some bike shops will allow you to test saddles for a bit. Maybe that is worth looking into?
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Old 05-16-20, 03:49 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
With no photo of the bike in question, and based on the OP's feedback, I'd guess that the saddle-to-bar drop is a bit too much. As Bluesfrog has suggested, too high, meaning that too much forward pelvic rotation. We need a photo of the setup. PG
Here's the setup (sorry for the late reply...been a silly busy week).

The pic of the bike has kind of an optical illusion, it looks like the saddle is "nose down" but on level ground, using an actual level, it's almost perfectly flat...maybe 2-3 degrees high on the nose.

I took a few days off, lowered my saddle by 5mm and lowered the saddle nose to where it is pictured now. I took a short 11 mile ride today, and the saddle feels....OK, but now I've developed some slight knee pain on my right leg (pain that goes over the kneecap top to bottom), I "think" the 5mm saddle drop is too much, I think I'm going to try the saddle at the angle it is now, but raise it back up to where I originally had it.



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Old 05-16-20, 03:53 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Brooks sells an "aged" style, meaning it's been pre-softened. A tiny, tiny bit, like sitting on a pine plank instead of an oak plank. You can't feel any difference, but you know intellectually that there is one.
Absolutely perfect way to describe it! And yep, I bought the brand new "aged" saddle.
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Old 05-16-20, 07:26 PM
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Have you tried tipping the nose of the saddle up? That's how most people prefer them. The pressure between your two sit bones and your pubic bone should be about equal.

You should not tolerate bad pain from your saddle!
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