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Experience with Brooks B17 Presoftened?

Old 04-21-21, 09:31 AM
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Experience with Brooks B17 Presoftened?

I just purchased a Brooks B17S ("presoftened") saddle. Do any of you folks have experience with this saddle, and if so, can you give me a rough idea whether it's actually easier to break in than the standard B17? Thanks in advance for your counsel.
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Old 04-22-21, 08:58 AM
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No experience with a B17S, but I will say that in my experience a B17 or B17 Imperial is comfortable from the get-go, with little to no "breaking in" needed, particularly in comparison to ass hatchets like the Brooks Pro. That said, they do tend to get even more comfortable with age. The down side is that they have thinner leather than some of the other Brooks, so they get saggy sooner.
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Old 04-24-21, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixBiker View Post
I just purchased a Brooks B17S ("presoftened") saddle. Do any of you folks have experience with this saddle, and if so, can you give me a rough idea whether it's actually easier to break in than the standard B17? Thanks in advance for your counsel.
I had a Pre-softened Brooks Professional, bought around 1986. I rode it about a dozen times in two months and it became supple enough. I did not know much about saddle set up in those days and it still was painful. About 10 years later a bud borrowed it and said it disappeared under him but did not buy it. I wish I had kept it. I sold it in a sidewalk flea market.

Where did you get a pre-softened Brooks, and how old is it? My subsequent experience says they are quite good saddles and should become comfy pretty quickly.

And BTW, the "S" means "short", these are sometimes seen as womens' saddles. With "Presoftened." that word is stamped into the leather near the widest point. I've only seen a few "S" models, but none had that impression.

Last edited by Road Fan; 04-24-21 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 04-24-21, 05:53 PM
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No experience with the pre=softened B17. I do have a B67. It worked out fine. I wasn't aware of any break in. Install saddle on Saturday, ride to work on Monday. I know I wouldn't buy a car that required a break in - why should i tolerate that with a bike, especially as the purpose of a bike is to get me to work and back with less hassle than with my car?
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Old 04-25-21, 06:41 AM
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Yes, it would be great if saddles worked perfectly from the get-go. I've only had that happen with a Selle Anatomica H, which is leather. It did not need to break in, but it did need to stabilize. S-As are designed to stretch and sag initially, and to be progressively tensed up until they stabilize. When the gap in the split remains about 6 mm, it's stabilized. If it is comfortable for an all-day ride, you're done futzing with it.

It can also be a chore to set up any saddle for long term comfort. You can look at it as breaking in the saddle, breaking in your butt, or carefully experimenting to find the correct settings - height, setback, pitch, rotation, handlebars. I prefer the third option - I get through the initial discomfort quickest this way.

My wife had an immediate comfort experience as well, right-away comfort with a Brooks Professional Select, which we bought during the 2010's. As soon as she saw it she knew it was the right shape.

Last edited by Road Fan; 04-25-21 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 04-25-21, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixBiker View Post
I just purchased a Brooks B17S ("presoftened") saddle. Do any of you folks have experience with this saddle, and if so, can you give me a rough idea whether it's actually easier to break in than the standard B17? Thanks in advance for your counsel.
In any case, I don't think what you have is a Presoftened. It's a wider-based shorter-length saddle.
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Old 04-25-21, 12:27 PM
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I'm not familiar with the pre-softened saddles but I have Brooks Pros or B17's on all my bikes. My guess is they should break in just like the regular saddles just a little faster maybe?
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Old 04-25-21, 04:06 PM
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No experience with the B17 but I recently put a new C17 on my Litespeed and it was pretty comfortable from the very first mile
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Old 04-25-21, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
In any case, I don't think what you have is a Presoftened. It's a wider-based shorter-length saddle.
It's presoftened. At least Brooks says it is: https://www.brooksengland.com/en_us/b17-softened.html
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Old 04-25-21, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
No experience with the B17 but I recently put a new C17 on my Litespeed and it was pretty comfortable from the very first mile
Thanks. I tried a friend's C17 once, and my butt protested mightily.
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Old 04-25-21, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixBiker View Post
It's presoftened. At least Brooks says it is: https://www.brooksengland.com/en_us/b17-softened.html
Ok, I don't know everything about Brooksies. But there is a saddle which is, or perhaps was, called "B17S" on their website, and it was a different shape than the B17, and it was not Presoftened. I bought one quite a while ago. On the skirt stamping it clearly was stamped "B17S"

What you have may be very different. Can you measure the length of the saddle and the width across the widest part? That would clear up part of it. Also, have you ever tried a B17 Imperial? It has a cutout along the middle and often is laced at the bottom of the skirts. I found that comfortable early in our "relationship."
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Old 04-25-21, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik View Post
I'm not familiar with the pre-softened saddles but I have Brooks Pros or B17's on all my bikes. My guess is they should break in just like the regular saddles just a little faster maybe?
With the Presoftened Professional I had many years ago that was the case.
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Old 04-27-21, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Can you measure the length of the saddle and the width across the widest part? That would clear up part of it. Also, have you ever tried a B17 Imperial?
The saddle measures about 280 mm in length and about 175 mm wide. The bottom of the skirt is perforated, and has laces. And no, I have not tried a B17 Imperial. Where I live, you're more likely to see a unicorn than you are to see a Brooks saddle.
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Old 04-27-21, 02:11 PM
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I own several Brooks saddles , including a few “aged” models . One is a B17 .
I also own a couple of the B17 Imperial saddles , with the cutout .
I prefer the Imperial B17 over the “Aged” or presoftened . The B17 Imperial is probably my favorite Brooks saddle . It feels right from the beginning.
The “S” Brooks saddles have a shorter nose than the regular Brooks and originally designed for women , although some men like the shorter saddle .
I thought I might add , I don’t own any road bikes , most of my bikes are Hybrids or converted mountain bikes to Hybrids .
Ny B67’s go on my Cruisers .
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Old 04-27-21, 10:02 PM
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I purchased a used pre-softened model - inscribed in the leather - so definately presoftened. Looked in good shape in pics. Arrived and upon inspection it became clear the saddle had been cared for but the leather had 'sagged(?)' around the large copper hammered rivets closest to the sit bones. Azz-hatchet is the right term as the inside of those rivets became exposed and semi-sharp. The leather did not crack and pull away, rather just sagged. Perhaps it was overtreated with a softener, maybe it had a million miles, IDK. But compromised for comfort.

I sold an almost new B17, no patience for a break-in that became tediously endless. Additionally, it's a touring saddle, did not do well with a lower position that I prefer on my current bikes.

edit: not knocking Brooks, as I have an older B15, Pro, Swallow that work well on the vintage rides they compliment. I like cutouts and have 4 non-Brooks saddles with those.

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Old 04-30-21, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
I purchased a used pre-softened model - inscribed in the leather - so definately presoftened. Looked in good shape in pics. Arrived and upon inspection it became clear the saddle had been cared for but the leather had 'sagged(?)' around the large copper hammered rivets closest to the sit bones. Azz-hatchet is the right term as the inside of those rivets became exposed and semi-sharp. The leather did not crack and pull away, rather just sagged. Perhaps it was overtreated with a softener, maybe it had a million miles, IDK. But compromised for comfort.

I sold an almost new B17, no patience for a break-in that became tediously endless. Additionally, it's a touring saddle, did not do well with a lower position that I prefer on my current bikes.

edit: not knocking Brooks, as I have an older B15, Pro, Swallow that work well on the vintage rides they compliment. I like cutouts and have 4 non-Brooks saddles with those.
yes, my “Pre-Pro” sagged just about the same way!
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Old 04-30-21, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by PhoenixBiker View Post
The saddle measures about 280 mm in length and about 175 mm wide. The bottom of the skirt is perforated, and has laces. And no, I have not tried a B17 Imperial. Where I live, you're more likely to see a unicorn than you are to see a Brooks saddle.
just measured a standard B17, and the width is 165, length 280.
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Old 05-02-21, 03:02 PM
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I also collect Brooks saddles and just ordered a new Flyer w/springs. All my bikes have Brooks saddles except my old Colnago. Not to hijack the thread but I have a funny feeling that Brooks might discontinue all their sprung saddles since they are so hard to find. Everybody seems to be out of them. I'm hoping they don't discontinue all their leather saddles entirely and focus solely on their Cambrium series so I was thinking of picking up a leather Brooks saddle once a month or two just to have them.
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Old 05-02-21, 03:56 PM
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I switched to Brooks back when I was commuting 15 hours a week in all weather conditions. Saddles wore out fast. I bought my Brooks for durability, rather than comfort but was pleasantly surprised how comfortable they were.
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Old 05-22-21, 11:35 PM
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I had a B17 a few years back and that thing was like the Spanish Inquisition. It never broke, but I did.
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