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Thinking about cutting my B17

Old 08-01-18, 07:24 PM
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lhill 
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Thinking about cutting my B17

After close to 1000 miles on my Brooks B17 itís long since stopped hurting sit bones but still causes soft tissue discomfort after about an hours riding. I have read alot about replicating an Imperial saddle with cutout and wonder if anyone with an Imperial would be kind enough to give me the rough dimensions of the cutout. The width of the cutout at the rear would be very helpful. Thanks!
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Old 08-01-18, 07:29 PM
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I cut the skirt off of one of mine. It is actually pretty easy to work with. I can't advise dimensions, but if I were going to do what you suggest, I would start by making a single incision between each of the small centered holes and then test ride it for a bit, with the idea of only cutting as much as is absolutely necessary. Also keep in mind you are doing an experiment, and that you risk ruining a good saddle, and you almost certainly will destroy any resale value.

The other thing is I would first try tipping the saddle nose-up (or down) before doing anything drastic.
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Old 08-01-18, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by lhill View Post
After close to 1000 miles on my Brooks B17 it’s long since stopped hurting sit bones but still causes soft tissue discomfort after about an hours riding. I have read alot about replicating an Imperial saddle with cutout and wonder if anyone with an Imperial would be kind enough to give me the rough dimensions of the cutout. The width of the cutout at the rear would be very helpful. Thanks!
I had issues with my B17, then got it positioned in a way that it was comfortable. I found my seat was slightly too high. I lowered it, and it didn't take much, and the nose is basically level, not pointed up. The combination between the right setback, height and level nose has made the seat disappear for me. With the seat setback correct, for me, I do not slide forward, and can run the nose of the saddle level. The seat height was the biggest factor though. I used Steve Hogg's method to set seat height and got it to a place where it is comfortable, and I have more power, and no pain. I can ride all day, 70+ miles, with no pain.
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Old 08-01-18, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by lhill View Post
After close to 1000 miles on my Brooks B17 itís long since stopped hurting sit bones but still causes soft tissue discomfort after about an hours riding. I have read alot about replicating an Imperial saddle with cutout and wonder if anyone with an Imperial would be kind enough to give me the rough dimensions of the cutout. The width of the cutout at the rear would be very helpful. Thanks!
+1 on small adjustments being able to make big improvements in comfort. Consider where, exaclty, the discomfort occurs and what adjustment may reduce interference in the affected area. If it's chafing that you're experienceing, or soreness at the very top of your inner thighs, it may be that a slightly narrower saddle is in order. Also, make sure you don't have a tendancy to slid forward on the saddle unintentionally. level-angle adjustment is importan along with fore and aft saddle position on the seat post.
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Old 08-02-18, 04:23 AM
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Thanks guys for the saddle adjustment tips. I have tried many different saddle positions over the last several months and some have made the rides more comfortable. During break in, my saddle has ended up with a pretty high ridge or hump that runs up the middle into the flatter seating area. This hump puts lots of pressure in the wrong places. Sliding further back on the saddle helps alot but ďno humpĒ would be the catís meow. When I lower the nose I tend to slide up against the hump harder so I have a nose high tilt, making the seating area more level. Iíll keep trying.
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Old 08-02-18, 05:13 AM
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If you are interested I have a template/pattern that a fellow from New Zealand sent me. I have performed "surgery" on 3 or 4 Brooks and every patient came through fine! PM me with your email.
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Old 08-02-18, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by lhill View Post

Thanks guys for the saddle adjustment tips. I have tried many different saddle positions over the last several months and some have made the rides more comfortable. During break in, my saddle has ended up with a pretty high ridge or hump that runs up the middle into the flatter seating area. This hump puts lots of pressure in the wrong places. Sliding further back on the saddle helps alot but ďno humpĒ would be the catís meow. When I lower the nose I tend to slide up against the hump harder so I have a nose high tilt, making the seating area more level. Iíll keep trying.
That looks quite uncomfortable. It's as if the frame underneath is moulding the leather's shape and you've lost that hammock functionality.

Is the saddle tensioned correctly?
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Old 08-02-18, 06:24 AM
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Yeah, that looks wrong (compared to both of mine and every one I have seen on other bikes). I don't think you can correct that with a razor blade.
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Old 08-02-18, 07:53 AM
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What did you put on the saddle to soften it and how much?
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Old 08-02-18, 07:56 AM
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can you wear out a Brooks saddle? for reference, this is what mine looks like

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Old 08-02-18, 08:09 AM
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I have never touched the tension adjustment, the underside of the saddle is well away from the rails. I used the proofide and also some Snow-Proof. The picture actually makes the hump seem worse than it really is. The saddle is still hard as a rock.
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Old 08-02-18, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
If you are interested I have a template/pattern that a fellow from New Zealand sent me. I have performed "surgery" on 3 or 4 Brooks and every patient came through fine! PM me with your email.
I would very much like a copy of the template as well. I have a B17 I got in a batch of parts but I haven't found any saddle comfortable without a cut-out so I suspect I'll need one. I'll try it out first without modifying it but if it doesn't work for me I'll have to decide to cut or sell. I don't have 10 posts yet so I can't PM you but I'll try to remember when I do.
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Old 08-02-18, 08:27 AM
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Snow Seal? Not a fan of it. Will make the leather waterproof.... but it will get wet anyway, but will not be able to dry properly, because the leather cannot breath.
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Old 08-02-18, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by lhill View Post
still hard as a rock
does it flex a little if you press down on it with your hand? mine does & the sides skirts flex out a smidge I think. there should be some give

Last edited by rumrunn6; 08-02-18 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 08-02-18, 11:27 AM
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Given that hump, I cannot see how cutting a slit will help that saddle at all. It looks majorly unpleasant.
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Old 08-02-18, 02:33 PM
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+1 on tensioning the saddle.

Tension nut is right below the nose of the saddle. You might be able to turn it with some locking pliers; the right tool, the Brooks spanner, is only about $10 and it fits the oddball nut (7 sides, IIRC).
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Old 08-02-18, 02:47 PM
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Thank you all for your help! Guess maybe I’ll give the Brooks a rest and mount the Fabric Gel Radius that I just purchased. I haven’t really given the Fabric a long enough try to get it dialed in, I was disappointed at how much of a crown the saddle has, may end up feeling just like Brooks. Guess I was hoping for a valley that was flatter on the Fabric, couldn’t tell from the sales pictures. Thanks again!
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Old 08-02-18, 06:13 PM
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i took some pics of my Imperial. not sure if they made that specific shape for a reason.
Before you cut make sure you have it set up properly. for me it worked better being abit "nose up". that seems to make my sitbones to stay on the wide part. YMMV. Adjust and test before you cut :-)


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Old 08-03-18, 12:16 PM
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Thank you, great pictures, they really show the cutout proportions! Thanks again!
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Old 08-04-18, 08:17 AM
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Yes! After a few decades of misuse, including lots of nasty weather, mine finally came apart.
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Old 08-04-18, 08:50 AM
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Out of 12,731 B-17 Flying Fortresses built for WWII only 11 are still airworthy. :-(
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Old 08-04-18, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by lhill View Post
Thank you, great pictures, they really show the cutout proportions! Thanks again!
When you installed the Brooks, did you simply put it on and leave the height the same as it was with your old saddle?
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