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Brooks Saddle for Comfort

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Brooks Saddle for Comfort

Old 05-20-23, 05:32 AM
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My brother Jerry, lived near Lon Haldeman's wife Susan, before they were married, and she told us how Lon prepped the Brooks saddles he rode. It simply was to boil water, sit the saddle in it for about 15 minutes, remove from water, dry off water from saddle with a towel, let sit until good and dry before use. It worked really well on the Professional model way back then, however I did not find it necessary on the new B17 I just put on the touring rig.
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Old 05-20-23, 06:13 AM
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This is Lon's saddle break in procedure. I only use it on very thick leather like Berthoud. Most of Brooks leather is variable, some thin nowadays and I would not risk it. I've done it three times, twice with a Berthoud and once with a Brooks. I put a small amount of lanolin right under the sit bone, about the size of a quarter. I can do a very long ride quite soon. Mink oil might be better, I just have had lanolin and used it.

Lon's PACTOUR Blog: Breaking In a Leather Saddle
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Old 05-20-23, 04:21 PM
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I had a black B17 (with matching Brooks leather bar tape) on my vintage fixie for a few years. It looked gorgeous and cost a fortune. But the truth is that I never found it comfortable. I kept hoping it would break in and become comfortable, but it never happened for me. I've got 3 different Fizik saddles on my bikes now. They are waaay more comfortable for me.
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Old 05-25-23, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Post #3 gives good guidance as to which. The more important question is whether. I'd say try one if you feel compelled but don't be surprised if it doesn't suit you. They do look the part on a retro bike, especially the ones with big copper rivets.
i like the looks of the brooks saddles, but unless i find one on a used bike i'm buying i'll never buy a new one. then i'd have to find a leather helmet somewhere and where does that lead......
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Old 05-26-23, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jdogg111
i like the looks of the brooks saddles, but unless i find one on a used bike i'm buying i'll never buy a new one. then i'd have to find a leather helmet somewhere and where does that lead......
To aerodynamic hard leather body armor?
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Old 05-26-23, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan

To aerodynamic hard leather body armor?
Or a leather motorcycle jacket with spine protection..

Back to the thread for a sec, my fave is the Selle Anatomica.

https://selleanatomica.com/products/h1
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Old 05-28-23, 08:48 AM
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I like the S-A quite a bit, too!
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Old 06-24-23, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson
Well, I am not getting an overwhelming sensation I should purchase one ha ha. I guess my basis for considering one is mostly on the fact that I see one on every vintage mountain bike rebuild or touring bike but maybe that's more for photo opp. cause they look good?

I don't really have too many problems with the current Cannondale saddles I have or a Giant saddle I have on my Peugeot but just thought I would go with the majority on this choice which clearly is not sound thinking.

I have a buddy that bought one for his Masi commuter bike because I'm sure the store recommended it, but I don't think he's put a lot of miles on it. I'll see what his opinion is and I'm sure he'll let me have a spin on it.
I hope this will be useful for you. I think the problem isn't whether or not you follow the crowd. I think the problem is whether you will get a saddle which will be satisfactory. Some of us have a Brooks we are happy with. Some of us have several Brooks and are only happy with one of them. Some of us are wildly ecstatic about every Brooks we have ever owned. Some are not happy with anything by Brooks. Which one are you?

So the problem isn't "What Brooks to get?" It's more general. I'm not sure you think you even need another saddle. But that's ok.

Also, not knowing if you would like a Brooks is not the worst reason to try one, as well.

If you're going to try it on your bud's bike, maybe you can arrange month's trace, so you have adequate time to try to adjust it and get used to it, to give it a fair trial. Unless the first 5 minutes results in total love. Be careful and rational, and you won't go far wrong.

PS: If it does not hurt after a month that is a decent reason to get one of your own!
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Old 06-26-23, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
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.

Man, I'd love to see a leather saddle like a Brooks or Selle Anatomica on my bikes, but even with those cutouts, they still appear not nearly as "cut out" and w as minimal pressure on your parts as the Ergons I have on both of my gravel bikes. I'm pretty skinny and narrow, and with the Ergons I'm perched up on my sit bones, very little pressure anywhere else, like, I never even think about it. The Ergons don't look as cool but I'm afraid to give up that comfort. And I no longer feel the need for padded cycling shorts or chamois (I wear Showers Pass Gravel shorts and high quality merino boxer briefs and can go on multi-day bikepacking trips, w never any issues, plus I stay totally dry and fresh w the merino).
All that said, one day I may just breakdown and try a Brooks, just 'cause they look so darn classy!

Last edited by pbass; 06-26-23 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 07-12-23, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy
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.

As far as thin pads, I don't have a preference at the moment but Boure saddles offers a Pro version which has thin chamois, and AeroTek also has a thin pad model.

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
I'd suggest that as well as a Brooks Pro or B17, one should look at a Selle AnAtomica. I'm just setting up an H2 with the long carbon rails and natural Tool Leather top, and I (again!) think it's rather awesome! The H level is for 200# and up, or mainly long distance rides. At the moment I'm under 200 (yay!) and just working my distance back up. A 30 mile Vintage Bike and Rider jaunt this Saturday will be my first foray above 15 miles this year. But it is starting out being rather comfortable. I've been trying to sort out a vintage Brooks Pro Select and a vintage Ideale 90, both in very good condition, but at the moment the S-A is better. Last time I tried it, my B17 Imperial was pretty darn good as well.
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Old 07-12-23, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
I'd suggest that as well as a Brooks Pro or B17, one should look at a Selle AnAtomica. I'm just setting up an H2 with the long carbon rails and natural Tool Leather top, and I (again!) think it's rather awesome! The H level is for 200# and up, or mainly long distance rides. At the moment I'm under 200 (yay!) and just working my distance back up. A 30 mile Vintage Bike and Rider jaunt this Saturday will be my first foray above 15 miles this year. But it is starting out being rather comfortable. I've been trying to sort out a vintage Brooks Pro Select and a vintage Ideale 90, both in very good condition, but at the moment the S-A is better. Last time I tried it, my B17 Imperial was pretty darn good as well.
It doesn't get mentioned a lot, but weight is a significant factor in whether a Brooks (or other brand) leather saddle will work. The tensioned leather flexes a bit, and that will vary with the rider's weight. It's possible that this is where saddle width becomes an important variable... I imagine that a wider saddle would/could be more appropriate for a heavier rider.

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Old 07-14-23, 11:25 AM
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The SA tensioned leather flexes a lot more than Ideale, Brooks, Gyes, and Rivet. So those four depend more on shape (including sitbone and mid-saddle widths). The SA works like a parallel pair of hammocks, which flex independently. They stretch, but are intended to be incrementally tensioned sequentially over time. I have one pretty old one and it clearly seems to have stopped stretching, after about 2 cm! The wings look wide, but they haven't been a problem for me.
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Old 07-14-23, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
The SA tensioned leather flexes a lot more than Ideale, Brooks, Gyes, and Rivet. So those four depend more on shape (including sitbone and mid-saddle widths). The SA works like a parallel pair of hammocks, which flex independently. They stretch, but are intended to be incrementally tensioned sequentially over time. I have one pretty old one and it clearly seems to have stopped stretching, after about 2 cm! The wings look wide, but they haven't been a problem for me.
I liked my SA Titanico until the rails bent and one eventually broke.
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Old 07-14-23, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
I liked my SA Titanico until the rails bent and one eventually broke.
I don't know the timelines, but at some point they upgraded the rails from some kinda steel to CrMo, which is stronger. I've never had such a rail problem, and my oldest one pre-dates the advent of CrMo. Now I use the carbon rails.

Also, you can send your broken one to S-A and have them replace it. Several things could have broken it.

Too heavy rider
Not lifting your weight off the saddle for big bumps
Saddle positioned with end of seatpost clamp at the bent end of the straight rail mounting area
Seatpost clamp area too short - 20 mm versus 30 or 40 mm.
Seatpost setback inadequate for good saddle mounting

Some of this is SA's fault. Some of it is our fault. By changing the rail material to CrMo they have taken a step in the right direction.

I'm not saying it's your fault. Maybe I'd draw a clear conclusion if you showed some pictures of how your SA is or was installed, but as it is the best I can do is talk about the generalities, some of which are obvious.

Last edited by Road Fan; 07-15-23 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 07-15-23, 06:52 AM
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I have settled on the slotted SA saddles, now have 4 and have some converts with family and friends. Only problem I find with them is not keeping the minimum slot gap adjusted to the recommended 6mm. How can you go wrong when they will take it back and refund you money within 30 days which I did with their rubber version I tried. On ebay they can be a bargain if you find one where the slot is clearly too narrow and the adjuster bolt has not be extended which can lead to discomfort.

Last edited by easyupbug; 07-15-23 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 07-16-23, 10:17 PM
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" I don't use padded bike shorts or a chamois for short rides of an hour or under 30 miles. If I were anticipating riding for many hours or all day, even if I were only covering 30 miles but sitting in the saddle for 5 hours or more, then cycling shorts are an asset with any saddle."
I very much agree with this statement.
My other bike has a Giant Connect saddle on it, I got used to it and never saw the need to change it many people hate that saddle.
My newer bike came with a B17, I like it definitely want be changing this saddle but seriously saddles, peddles, handle bars are a personal choice, what works for me will not necessarily work for thee. We are all different no one size fits all. Opinions are a dime a dozen, if you think you want to try one try one, get a used one if money is a issue, or not.
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Old 07-22-23, 04:31 PM
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One thing to remember about purchasing a Brooks to try it out is...they keep a pretty good resale value if it doesn't work out for you. You won't be stuck with a saddle you don't like or can only resell for a small fraction of its new price.
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Old 07-23-23, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by arex
One thing to remember about purchasing a Brooks to try it out is...they keep a pretty good resale value if it doesn't work out for you. You won't be stuck with a saddle you don't like or can only resell for a small fraction of its new price.
Indeed, I bought one of my B17s second hand.

If it has only had limited use, say because the original purchaser couldn't get on with it, this helps break it in, but not so much that it won't then conform to you.
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Old 07-26-23, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Xavier65
Indeed, I bought one of my B17s second hand.

If it has only had limited use, say because the original purchaser couldn't get on with it, this helps break it in, but not so much that it won't then conform to you.
I don't think I've ever bought a new leather Brooks, they've all been lightly used.
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Old 07-26-23, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson
I notice in most of the super nice, refurbished bikes pictures I look at, they are fitted with a Brooks saddle. I have read posts in the C&V forums praising them to the skies, so wondering what is the best model to buy? I find them fairly expensive, but you can't put a value on great comfort if it gets you on the bike more often and for longer rides.

I get that bike seat comfort is a very personal thing and everyone is different, but the Brooks saddle seems to be the seat of choice for a lot of us older people. Should I shell out the money and buy one?
No absolutely not don't shell out all that money on a freaking saddle, do like I did and buy a bike that comes with one on it.
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