Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Brooks Saddle for Comfort

Notices
Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Brooks Saddle for Comfort

Old 05-05-23, 08:09 AM
  #26  
Chuck Naill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: US
Posts: 791
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 404 Post(s)
Liked 169 Times in 113 Posts
I've enjoyed the one that came on the Kona Sutra.
Chuck Naill is offline  
Old 05-05-23, 11:35 AM
  #27  
robobike316 
Junior Member
 
robobike316's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: Appleton, WI
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 47 Post(s)
Liked 119 Times in 55 Posts
I use nothing but the wider Brooks on all my bikes. B-66/7 and B-72. This is upright position riding on nice old road bikes. When I was younger anything was comfortable, now not so much. I love them for comfort, looks, and longevity.
robobike316 is offline  
Old 05-05-23, 12:14 PM
  #28  
philbob57
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Chicago North Shore
Posts: 2,304

Bikes: frankenbike based on MKM frame

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 702 Post(s)
Liked 571 Times in 354 Posts
I've got a B-17 Imperial/Carved that I want to put on my bike, but it makes me numb after about 10 miles. Even with the cutout, I do not believe it can be ridden without putting pressure on the pubic nerve and artery. Based on the claims of so many people who love the B-17, I wouldn't be surprised if I could ride mine if only I could imagine how to keep the pressure off the soft bits, but I can't. Mine is an English bike, and it should have a Brooks, but ....
philbob57 is offline  
Old 05-05-23, 01:09 PM
  #29  
Wildwood
Veteran, Pacifist
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 12,917

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 279 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3669 Post(s)
Liked 4,121 Times in 1,961 Posts
I have narrow sitbones for a person 6'1" and B-17 is not my favorite Brooks. I also prefer a saddle with a cutout. Selle Anatomica is my favorite leather saddle and I like several more modern saddles. I have had 4 leather saddles modified with a cutout.

The newest Gyes leather saddles offer a model with a large cutout.


and a Brooks Professional that I had modified with a cutout.


Last edited by Wildwood; 05-05-23 at 01:50 PM.
Wildwood is offline  
Likes For Wildwood:
Old 05-06-23, 02:18 PM
  #30  
steelbikeguy
Senior Member
 
steelbikeguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Peoria, IL
Posts: 4,153
Mentioned: 83 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1685 Post(s)
Liked 2,875 Times in 1,366 Posts
Originally Posted by themp
A lot of people I see who have a Brooks also wear padded shorts. This makes no sense to me as I want to have a saddle that works without padded shorts. Once you put on padded shorts, you have now modified the saddle.
I've got a variety of Brooks, and I like shorts with thin pads. Unfortunately, pads are rather thick nowadays, and it's not easy finding anything else. I've been told (by Pearl Izumi, many years ago) that the thinner pads are on the more expensive shorts. I used to find decent triathalon shorts with thin pads, but the manufacturers changed the designs.

I was riding the Sella Italia Turbo a couple of decades ago, but found them uncomfortable once my mileage got above a few thousand miles. I reverted back to a Brooks Pro that I bought in the 70's, and picked up some B.17's and Swifts too. I've been riding between 6k and 9k miles over those years, and have been happy. I know that the same saddles aren't the solution for some other folks, so it's important to try a lot of saddles and find what does work. As for Brooks, I think that set-up is critical, and it might be that the position is different from what would be used for a more modern saddle.

A quick photo from this week, with me on my Raleigh International and the Brooks Pro that I bought in the 70's...




Steve in Peoria
steelbikeguy is offline  
Likes For steelbikeguy:
Old 05-07-23, 11:55 AM
  #31  
Iride01 
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 13,790

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5631 Post(s)
Liked 4,299 Times in 2,958 Posts
You won't know if you don't try it.

But I don't think them magical... unless that is the saddle for you. Way over a dozen years ago I was wondering and even lusting after a Brooks leather saddle. However I found another saddle that fit me very well. And ever since I've had the belief that I wouldn't enjoy sitting in a hammock.

My ideal saddles are fairly level from nose to rear. A minimal amount of padding and a cutout. Though I don't really know how to describe what would be too much or too little cutout. More often than not Selle Italia saddles are work well as do even the Specialized saddles. I've been wondering about the 3d printed saddles and might take a chance with Fizik if I don't go with the Specialized version.

But still, for the most part, I've found that the saddles that come on the mid to upper tier models of road bike are more than sufficient for my butt. The annoyances are minor.

You might consider that on the old vintage bicycles that are truly show pieces, that the Brooks saddle just looks appropriate for the era of those bikes.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 05-07-23, 03:32 PM
  #32  
PaulH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,701
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 116 Post(s)
Liked 84 Times in 58 Posts
I bought my Brooks for durability. I was commuting every weekday, doing about 6,000 miles per year. Saddles did not last long. The comfort was a benefit I had not expected, but was glad to discover. The main drawback is the need to adjust tension. The required tool does not come with the saddle and Brooks never seems to have them in stock. None of my wrenches fit. I have to hack the thing into adjustment with pilers and a vice grip.

Note: these posts inspired me. I got out the tools and tightened up the saddle. A quick test ride verified the comfort.
PaulH is offline  
Old 05-07-23, 03:51 PM
  #33  
Xavier65
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2023
Location: Hautes-Pyrťnťes
Posts: 110

Bikes: Saracen Conquest. Claud Butler Majestic. Viking VK500. Crossmaxx 28" Pinion.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 19 Posts
Originally Posted by PaulH
The main drawback is the need to adjust tension. The required tool does not come with the saddle and Brooks never seems to have them in stock. None of my wrenches fit. I have to hack the thing into adjustment with pilers and a vice grip.

Note: these posts inspired me. I got out the tools and tightened up the saddle. A quick test ride verified the comfort.
My recent B17 acquisition arrived with the funky Brooks C spanner. I suspect the problem is that it's about 5-10 years before a need for adjustment arises, and the supplied spanner (along with its carefully selected storage location) has long since disappeared from memory. You then have to resort to pliers, and a tedious series of 15 degree turns.

I guess the trick is to cable-tie the spanner to the saddle, and put up with the 50g additional weight for god knows how long.
Xavier65 is offline  
Old 05-07-23, 04:50 PM
  #34  
Fredo76
The Wheezing Geezer
 
Fredo76's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: EspaŮola, NM
Posts: 800

Bikes: 1976 Fredo Speciale, Jamis Citizen 1, Ellis-Briggs FAVORI, Rivendell Clem Smith Jr.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 322 Post(s)
Liked 654 Times in 319 Posts
Brooks Pro for looks.
Selle SMP TRK for comfort.
Fredo76 is offline  
Likes For Fredo76:
Old 05-09-23, 02:20 PM
  #35  
Calsun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 1,114
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 519 Post(s)
Liked 315 Times in 242 Posts
I used a Brooks saddle for 50 years but now buy fully synthetic ones for my bikes. The newer designs provide more relief for male parts and have padding at the spots where ones tail bones rest.

Even with the old Brooks saddle a friend removed the rivets and then cooked the leather in neatsfoot oil and softened it up and then re-riveted it to the seat frame. This aging made the seat much more comfortable and no break-in needed.
Calsun is offline  
Old 05-10-23, 06:50 AM
  #36  
gthomson
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
gthomson's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Great White North
Posts: 1,157

Bikes: 2013 Cannondale Caad 8, 2010 Opus Fidelio, 1985 Peugeot UO14, 1999 Peugeot Dune, Sakai Select, L'Avantage, 1971 Gitane Apache Standard

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 523 Post(s)
Liked 412 Times in 276 Posts
Originally Posted by Calsun

Even with the old Brooks saddle a friend removed the rivets and then cooked the leather in neatsfoot oil and softened it up and then re-riveted it to the seat frame. This aging made the seat much more comfortable and no break-in needed.
I'm surprised someone hasn't come up with a process for this to make saddles more comfortable like they do with hockey skates now. I remember wearing leather skates which took ages to work in and mold to your feet. Now, the skates get baked in an oven and the user laces them, walks around for a bit and the material molds to the shape of your foot.
gthomson is offline  
Old 05-10-23, 08:10 AM
  #37  
Clyde1820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,884

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX 2x11

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 596 Post(s)
Liked 532 Times in 403 Posts
Originally Posted by gthomson
I'm surprised someone hasn't come up with a process for this to make saddles more comfortable like they do with hockey skates now. I remember wearing leather skates which took ages to work in and mold to your feet. Now, the skates get baked in an oven and the user laces them, walks around for a bit and the material molds to the shape of your foot.
The 3D scan process has begun to take off. And with computer-driven production equipment being what it is, it's becoming simple to feed that custom data into the line so that the specific order gets the custom-spec fit. It's about time it were offered for all good-quality shoes. Haven't done any, myself, but have considered it.

Imagine, if done for a saddle maker. Walk into the shop, grab the model of customizable saddle you want, bend over / say "cheese," and voila! ... a custom saddle in a half hour, with a shape baked for your backside.
Clyde1820 is offline  
Old 05-10-23, 08:55 AM
  #38  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 4,083
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2329 Post(s)
Liked 2,080 Times in 1,303 Posts
I have a 3D printed saddle. FI'ZI:K Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive 3D printed with Carbon Rail Saddle

I finished a 400k brevet on it recently and another randonneur asked me how I liked it, and from the look on my face, he said, "I hate mine too....we have the same saddle"

I think saddle optimization/selection is always going to be a try it out and see proposition because the anatomy down there is not constant nor is one's position during a ride.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 05-10-23, 08:58 AM
  #39  
LeeG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,169
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 128 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 71 Times in 56 Posts
Originally Posted by gthomson
I'm surprised someone hasn't come up with a process for this to make saddles more comfortable like they do with hockey skates now. I remember wearing leather skates which took ages to work in and mold to your feet. Now, the skates get baked in an oven and the user laces them, walks around for a bit and the material molds to the shape of your foot.
There is. The process starts with design then testing. That gets the saddle into the market but itís still up to you to find the optimum fit.
I got fixated on getting a ďgoodĒ pair of RedWing boots. The midsole started disintegrating after a few years and Iíve held them together with a tube of ShoeGoo. They still work well and lasting longer than Merrils that cost half as much but what I remember as good boots really doesnít matter just like pictures of old bikes with leather saddles really doesnít matter when the issue is what works best for you.
LeeG is offline  
Old 05-10-23, 02:32 PM
  #40  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,202

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3734 Post(s)
Liked 1,736 Times in 1,266 Posts
For sure there are Brooks enthusiasts who rave about what a wonderful saddle they have. However. I've been on many, many group rides with serious cyclists who ride long distances and ride a lot. I'd guess that about 1% of them ride Brooks. Everyone's butt is different. That's the reason that here are probably hundreds of different modern saddle models and also the reason that there are so many threads on BikeForums with folks looking for a different saddle.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 05-10-23, 11:58 PM
  #41  
50PlusCycling
Senior Member
 
50PlusCycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 898
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 420 Post(s)
Liked 548 Times in 300 Posts
When I was young, I thought Brooks saddles were for cycle tourists and old people. I preferred sexier Selle Italia and San Marco saddles. I scoffed at Brooks for years, which was a shame because when my curiosity overcame my resistance and I finally bought one, I found it made my rides more comfortable and enjoyable.

There are a variety of Brooks models. I’ve got the B17, Swift, Swallow, and Professional. The Professional is the most good-awful uncomfortable saddle I have ever used, the B17 is the most comfortable. I’ve been using a B17 on my daily rides, averaging 25 miles per day, and it’s comfortable enough that I don’t need cycling shorts.

As for numbness, I haven’t yet found a saddle or riding position which completely eliminates it. But getting out of the saddle regularly keeps the circulation going, and keeps the numbness at bay.
50PlusCycling is offline  
Old 05-12-23, 10:51 AM
  #42  
philbob57
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Chicago North Shore
Posts: 2,304

Bikes: frankenbike based on MKM frame

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 702 Post(s)
Liked 571 Times in 354 Posts
I ride in suburban territory, so I have to stop and start a lot; that probably qualifies as 'getting out of the saddle'. I have to ride 4 miles before I get to roads with so little traffic that I can ignore the stop signs and there are no lights. I can ride a lot farther without numbness and without getting out of the saddle on a Selle SMP TRK than I can on my B17 Carved.

IOW, pubic numbness can be prevented if one finds the right saddle. Alas, no saddle works well for everyone.
philbob57 is offline  
Old 05-14-23, 08:02 PM
  #43  
yeamac 
Parttime Member
 
yeamac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Central IL
Posts: 1,104

Bikes: 2021 Cannondale Topstone Neo SL, 2021 Tesoro Neo SL EQ, 2012 Marin Bridgeway City; 1996 Cannondale MT1000 tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 8 Posts
I tried a Brooks B-17 Imperial with the cut-out, and found it to be very comfortable. So much so that I put it on all of my bikes (City/Touring/Mountain Tandem). To the person who posted they see people with Brooks normally wearing cycling shorts, I think that is because virtually all cyclists part of group rides/at cycling club events wear cycling shorts. When I see people without cycling shorts, often they are on a Brooks. I am one of them. I went to Brooks and found out I didn't need cycling shorts anymore for comfort because the Brooks B-17 Imperial is just that comfortable.

So I bought a new bike and was reading about some new products (I've been out of cycling for a number of years). I went with the Ergon ST Evo Core Men's, a supposed touring saddle for all-day comfort. I've taken two rides so far, one 40 miles, one 35 miles, and after both rides, the next day, it feels like I'm bruised around my sit bone area. In fairness, I haven't ridden more than 10 miles at one time in the past 4 years, so maybe I just need more time in the saddle again. But I'm really thinking the Ergon is a failure for me. I'm going back to my Brooks B-17 Imperial on my next ride and see if the outcome is any different.
yeamac is offline  
Old 05-17-23, 05:51 AM
  #44  
TiHabanero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,229
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1622 Post(s)
Liked 1,217 Times in 628 Posts
Last week I put a new B17 on my touring bike, replacing a Sella Italia Turbo saddle, a model I have used on all my bikes except vintage models, for decades. It is amazing how comfortable the B17 is right out of the box. I have 50 miles on it now and find it much better for the touring bike. I do ride it with regular shorts and skivvies. No cycling apparel required.
I do find the Turbo saddle very comfortable, but wanted something a little more broad for the touring rig, and the B17 works perfectly. It may be being 235 pounds of pure mass has something to do with it! LOL
TiHabanero is offline  
Old 05-17-23, 06:14 AM
  #45  
riverdrifter
Full Member
 
riverdrifter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 499

Bikes: Trek 620, Jamis Satellite Sport, Raleigh Sport

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 161 Post(s)
Liked 211 Times in 86 Posts
Iím 52 and Iím not a tourer. My rides are rarely longer than 4 hours, twice a week.

Iíve never owned a Brooks, but I did try really hard to like a Selle Anatomica, which is similar. I just couldnít get along with it.

The absolute most comfortable saddle Iíve ever used, is the one Iíve had for the last few years. Selle SMP TRK. Itís the weird looking one with the big cutout, radically sloped nose, and cushy padding.
riverdrifter is offline  
Old 05-17-23, 06:16 AM
  #46  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 4,083
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2329 Post(s)
Liked 2,080 Times in 1,303 Posts
My B17 saddles adjust tension using a 5 mm hex. Spanner?

I'd reckon over 50% of long distance steel frame enthusiasts have a leather saddle mounted, either Brooks or Berthoud, especially in less wet areas.

Very rare to see a leather hammock saddle on an aero carbon fibre framed racing bike. There are probably many reasons but mostly because the reach and drop put too much pressure on the private bits, many of such bikes come with 7x9 seat rail mounts, which will not fit a classic saddle and lastly, esthetics.

I just put a 158mm carbon railed C13 on a racing bike and a day later did 400k on it. Not as comfy as a B17 to my butt but very close and it fits my 7x9 clamp and the synthetic covering gets the vegan approval.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 05-18-23, 08:31 AM
  #47  
themp
Full Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 303

Bikes: Specialized Crosstrail

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 116 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 42 Posts
The leather saddle folks also have to worry about rain. Riding no problem, but when they dismount for whatever reason for a period of time they have to put a cover on the saddle(if raining or might rain). For touring I would find that a worry I do not need to deal with.

Years ago when I started riding I had the fomo for a leather saddle as my wife just mentioned to me.

Last edited by themp; 05-18-23 at 08:34 AM.
themp is offline  
Old 05-18-23, 09:12 AM
  #48  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,502

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2377 Post(s)
Liked 1,697 Times in 1,068 Posts
Originally Posted by themp
The leather saddle folks also have to worry about rain. Riding no problem, but when they dismount for whatever reason for a period of time they have to put a cover on the saddle(if raining or might rain). For touring I would find that a worry I do not need to deal with.
Riding through an all day shower it's possible to saturate a leather saddle, so it can be a problem even riding. Put on a decent saddle cover (I've use the Aardvark successfully) and it's good to ride on, and protects the saddle when I'm off the bike. It takes a bit of thought and preparation, but the brain power saved by not obsessing over "Ouch! This darn saddle!" while riding a leather saddle more than compensates for it IME. YMMV, of course.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 05-18-23, 10:14 AM
  #49  
RCMoeur 
Cantilever believer
 
RCMoeur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,088
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 369 Post(s)
Liked 1,195 Times in 569 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb
Put on a decent saddle cover (I've use the Aardvark successfully)
There are different kinds of Aardvark saddle covers. There are the non-waterproof stretchy ones, which I buy in bulk to make old beat-up seats look and work like new again, and the waterproof versions which are optimum for keeping one's Brooks unsoaked.
__________________
Richard C. Moeur, PE - Phoenix AZ, USA
https://www.richardcmoeur.com/bikestuf.html
RCMoeur is offline  
Likes For RCMoeur:
Old 05-18-23, 10:26 AM
  #50  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 20,432

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 177 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5849 Post(s)
Liked 3,355 Times in 2,011 Posts
When it comes to saddles, two things I've read over the years stick in my mind.

The first is something Lon Haldeman wrote about the transcontinental tours he has led. That's a lot of miles. He has a box of saddles. If someone doesn't like their saddle, he'll swap so they can try something else. Often the rider loves the "new" saddle. All the saddles in that box were tossed out by someone on the tour who hated their saddle. There is just a lot of variation when it comes to what works.

The second--which is in some tension with the first--is that I saw a web resource showing which saddles were used by finishers in Paris Brest Paris. A surprisingly high percentage used leather saddles.

When I raced I was not a fan of leather saddles and used turbo saddles mainly as well as Avocets. I'm slower than I used to be and I'm starting to like leather saddles.
bikemig is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.