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Brooks B17 Aged vs. Serfas Saddle

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Brooks B17 Aged vs. Serfas Saddle

Old 10-10-11, 06:11 PM
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Brooks B17 Aged vs. Serfas Saddle

Can't make the switch and would like to inquire about anyone else's experience with these two saddles.

A little background. This is for a Salsa Vaya with high drop handlebar height, as I have left the steering tube uncut. I commute daily (9 miles all told) and take longer trips Saturday and Sunday. My current saddle is the Serfas like this one:
https://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0PDoTBfh5...roductsPage.do

I like this saddle and have used on my Trek 5200 for years all with no issues. So, why would I consider switching? I thought it would be a good looking saddle (the Brooks that is) and could be more comfortable. I own the Brooks, but have yet to unpack it. If it makes any difference I got the aged because of the texture on top as I need more "grip" there due to an issue with my left arm not working too good - not allowing me to push back off the handle bars. The Serfas has a lycra cover that helps in this regard.

Any experience out there with both or similiar comparison? Just can't pull the trigger (cut the Brooks off the cardboard package and mount it).
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Old 10-10-11, 08:32 PM
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I haven't ridden the Serfas, but I have had several Brooks saddles. I suspect you're going to have a hard time adjusting if you're comfortable on the Serfas, they're very different saddles. Personally, I find "comfort" saddles like yours to be too soft for my liking, and they make me go numb.

As is usually mentioned in these saddle threads, anatomy differs from person to person, so it's difficult to know what works for you until you've tried it.

I'd suggest giving the Brooks a shot, and if you can't stand it, put it on craigslist and recover most of your money.
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Old 10-11-11, 05:16 PM
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Chris. Good point about Craigslist if I don't like the saddle. I guess I will never know until I try it out.

Thanks
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Old 10-12-11, 03:13 AM
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If your handlebar is about level with your seat - usually that is about optimal for a B-17. Should your handlebar be more than a couple cm above your seat, a B-68 might work better. We had a Serfas Rx that we swapped among some bikes; compared to the B-17, it was a similar height and we adjusted it about the same - for me not as comfortable. My son has it on his CrossCheck, as he didn,'t want a Brooks on campus, he would rather the Brooks.
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Old 10-12-11, 03:29 AM
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I can't tell you about comparison with the Serfas, but I can confirm that the "aged" B17 is significantly more grippy than the typical polished Brooks. I've had one for a couple of months and it is really nice in that regard, you can move easily but you don't slide around unintentionally.

KeS
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Old 10-12-11, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by martianone
If your handlebar is about level with your seat - usually that is about optimal for a B-17. Should your handlebar be more than a couple cm above your seat, a B-68 might work better. We had a Serfas Rx that we swapped among some bikes; compared to the B-17, it was a similar height and we adjusted it about the same - for me not as comfortable. My son has it on his CrossCheck, as he didn,'t want a Brooks on campus, he would rather the Brooks.
Good detail. That is helpful and encouraging.
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Old 10-12-11, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by kevin_stevens
I can't tell you about comparison with the Serfas, but I can confirm that the "aged" B17 is significantly more grippy than the typical polished Brooks. I've had one for a couple of months and it is really nice in that regard, you can move easily but you don't slide around unintentionally.

KeS
Also what I was hoping to hear. Thank you.
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Old 10-13-11, 02:26 PM
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I encourage you to commit to at least a month of riding the Brooks and taking time to make adjustments until you hit the sweet spot. I'm not familiar with the Serfas, but I had a Brooks Pro in my parts box for years before finally deciding that I was going to give it one last try and if I didn't like it I would sell it. I also committed to riding it for at least a month and adjust as needed. That was three years ago and now both of my bikes have leather saddles and I still marvel at how comfortable they are.
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Old 10-13-11, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Ridefreemc
If it makes any difference I got the aged because of the texture on top as I need more "grip" there due to an issue with my left arm not working too good - not allowing me to push back off the handle bars.
Is the nose of your saddle pointed downward, by any chance?
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Old 10-13-11, 03:11 PM
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The only worry I have about the pre-aged Brooks is premature sagging. I've read that the aging process softens the leather, and Brooks expects it to sag, which is why they including lacing holes. I have 5000+ miles on my regular B17 and not even a hint of sag. Not that lacing a saddle is a big deal, but it worries me that Brooks may be sacrificing the lifespan of their saddles for aesthetics.

To the OP---does the texture top help you?
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Old 10-13-11, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Is the nose of your saddle pointed downward, by any chance?
The Serfas RX appears to be perfectly level, but that might change once I sit down - due to the amount of give it has. I was planning on pointing the Brooks up just a small amount.
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Old 10-13-11, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnrider
The only worry I have about the pre-aged Brooks is premature sagging. I've read that the aging process softens the leather, and Brooks expects it to sag, which is why they including lacing holes. I have 5000+ miles on my regular B17 and not even a hint of sag. Not that lacing a saddle is a big deal, but it worries me that Brooks may be sacrificing the lifespan of their saddles for aesthetics.

To the OP---does the texture top help you?
I was concerned with the same thing as you - premature aging, but thought that possibility might be outweighed if I slide around too much.

Maybe a better question is do you guys find the standard Brooks top slippery? Or once it gets broken in do you settle in and not slip?
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Old 10-14-11, 07:34 AM
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I was always under the impression that saddles should be mounted parallel to the floor - hence slipping has never been an issue. I have both a "Brooks Swallow Clone" (a Gyes) that is smooth leather and a real Brooks B67 with the textured top - no slippage issues with either. I love both saddles and always will put the Brooks on my "daily rider" - it sits on my Citizen folding bike currently.
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Old 10-14-11, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Ridefreemc
I was concerned with the same thing as you - premature aging, but thought that possibility might be outweighed if I slide around too much.

Maybe a better question is do you guys find the standard Brooks top slippery? Or once it gets broken in do you settle in and not slip?
I have my saddle set at bar height, so there's no tendency for me to slide forward. The slickness of the B17 allows me to move side to side a bit, but not enough to be annoying.
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Old 10-14-11, 10:20 AM
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Thanks all. Going home to put it on today. May give an update now and then.

The shop I bought it from, Bike and More in Gainesville, FL, said they will trade it for any other Brooks until I find one I like at no cost to me. It's a long drive there but otherwise not a bad deal.

EDIT/UPDATE: Put it on this afternoon and rode a bit. Hard as a rock, well almost, but surprisingly comfortable. Must be the shape. We'll see as time goes on. My guess is that it will improve much from here.

Last edited by Ridefreemc; 10-14-11 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 10-17-11, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Ridefreemc
Thanks all. Going home to put it on today. May give an update now and then.

The shop I bought it from, Bike and More in Gainesville, FL, said they will trade it for any other Brooks until I find one I like at no cost to me. It's a long drive there but otherwise not a bad deal.

EDIT/UPDATE: Put it on this afternoon and rode a bit. Hard as a rock, well almost, but surprisingly comfortable. Must be the shape. We'll see as time goes on. My guess is that it will improve much from here.
Took a 20 mile ride this weekend and was surprized that I had no discomfort. The saddle is very hard, but that wasn't an issue. I guess the theory of comfort with Brooks vs,. Serfas RX is from two different directions. Rode to work this morning as well and no lingering soreness from Saturday.

Looking forward to 30 days or more to see when it really is broken in.

Also, no sliding forward and actually less than the Surfas RX!

Last edited by Ridefreemc; 11-03-11 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 10-17-11, 09:28 AM
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Serfas, as a foam padded synthetic cover, won't change if ridden wet,
Tensioned Leather will.

+ now that Brooks are boutique pricy , people steal them.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-04-11 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 11-03-11, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by martianone
If your handlebar is about level with your seat - usually that is about optimal for a B-17. Should your handlebar be more than a couple cm above your seat, a B-68 might work better. We had a Serfas Rx that we swapped among some bikes; compared to the B-17, it was a similar height and we adjusted it about the same - for me not as comfortable. My son has it on his CrossCheck, as he didn,'t want a Brooks on campus, he would rather the Brooks.
I am considering changing to the B68 and would like any comments you all might offer. The reason is that I seem to have to move around quite a bit to find the comfortable spot on the B17. I'm either too far forward, rearward, or even occasionally off a little to the side and have to keep placing my butt down until I get it just right. Also, too far forward causes narrower part of the saddle to hit me in the wrong spot. Start this process over again after standing up.

There is a comfortable spot on the B17, but only a very small area that is comfortable. Seems like if I went to the B68 I'd have more "options" as far as a place to put the sit bones. Also, like Martianone said, my handlebars are a few centimeters above the saddle since I left the steerer uncut on the Salsa Vaya and I have a good fitting frame (56cm for my 5'11" and 32" inseam) resulting in the higher bar height.

Any thoughts or comments?
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Old 11-03-11, 08:48 PM
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I ride a Vaya with an uncut steerer. My saddle is a Selle An-Atomica Titanico, and it's the most comfortable saddle I've ridden (and I've tried a lot of saddles). When properly adjusted, it feels like you're sitting "in" the An-Atomica, rather than sitting "on" it. You may want to check it out.

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Old 11-04-11, 04:13 AM
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Saddle comfort is so individualized. My partner says I have too many bikes (words from a lady with four bikes), all of them now have a leather saddle. The winter commuter is a jamis 3.0, very upright handle bar above seat - has a B-68; which is comfortable. However i've not ridden it more than about 60 km in one sitting the surface is pebbled - think I like a smooth surface more. B-17 on a Friday nwt urban commuter, handle bar level with seat - very comfortable. Brooks imperial I've transferred among several bikes - often on a custom lugged steel frame bike for cruising local country roads - very comfortable. This past spring, as a result of a couple swaps, I ended up with a trek 520 without a saddle - for father's day the guys got me a sell a anatomic a - it arrived on a Monday, put it on the 520 with handlebar just barely level with saddle - went for a couple of adjustment rides (about 100km total), then left on Friday for a 10 day tour - also very comfortable & almost no break in, I did have to tension the bolt a couple of times and spray the frame with boeshield to quiet a squeak. Have a champion flyer on a cannondale road bike, handlebar lower than seat - also quite comfortable. Each saddle in it's focused use is comfortable for me, I've been able to swap saddles around a lot to get this balance of comfort. Have also invested a lot of time tweaking bike set up and fit to get each seat comfortable - didn't just bolt the seats on and take off. Cannot stress enough taking the time to make small adjustments in seat angle, saddle position, height, handle bar position, etc - half a cm sometimes is enough to get the perfect set up - then comfort.
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Old 11-04-11, 07:05 AM
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I found a standard B17 to be very slippery.
It took me a while to adjust to it.
I did adjust, but I still would have preferred something that wasn't quite so smooth.
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Old 11-04-11, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Is the nose of your saddle pointed downward, by any chance?
I was thinking the same thing. The nose has to point up a little to keep you from sliding. After you fix that the saddle may feel too high, in which case it probably is.

Originally Posted by Schwinnrider
The only worry I have about the pre-aged Brooks is premature sagging. I've read that the aging process softens the leather, and Brooks expects it to sag, which is why they including lacing holes. I have 5000+ miles on my regular B17 and not even a hint of sag. Not that lacing a saddle is a big deal, but it worries me that Brooks may be sacrificing the lifespan of their saddles for aesthetics.
Agreed, but not so much for aesthetics as for the comfort of the uninitiated. In my opinion the hard and slick surface of a good leather saddle is a big part of what makes it so comfortable. No padding to cut off circulation, and no chafing. I am convinced, with no data to back that up, that the pre-softened saddles are not meant to last as long as the real thing. Oops, I think I let my prejudices show!
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Old 11-04-11, 11:26 AM
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I got a 'presoftened' Brooks Pro 20 years ago, i never noticed any difference
other than a impression mark saying presoftened,
over the other Pro I got 10 years earlier.

OK the rivets were bigger, and they had changed the steel frame in between.
still took riding it to make it 'mine' .
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Old 11-04-11, 11:28 AM
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Yep, the slickness takes a little getting used to, but it's a feature, not a bug! Now I find it annoying when a squishy saddle tries to stick to me.

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Old 11-09-11, 10:54 AM
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Talked to the guys who know this stuff well at my LBS and they recommended I tilt up in front. I measured with a level and I was slightly down - one bubble, so I went up past level by one bubble. That immediately solved the problem of finding the right spot to sit.

Now I just need to determine if the numbness was from my long ride on the Ducati or the Brooks.

Last edited by Ridefreemc; 11-21-11 at 07:23 PM.
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