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How long to give a new Brooks B17

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How long to give a new Brooks B17

Old 10-05-18, 11:39 AM
  #1  
ericcc65
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How long to give a new Brooks B17

I have an electric bike that I'm riding more now (commute is 10 miles one way) but the saddle was uncomfortable. I bought a Brooks B17 Imperial (cut-out) and I've ridden it three or four commutes now. It's really uncomfortable on the left side, like it feels like a nerve being pinched. I found if I put the saddle level I was sliding forward, so I have the nose up at the moment. That puts me in a stable position, but I'm left wondering if perhaps it's uncomfortable because maybe I'm sitting on part of the rail? How long should I break in a Brooks before I know it's not going to work for me?
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Old 10-05-18, 12:05 PM
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To answer the direct question, the B-17s that I've put on were never UNcomfortable, but they became more comfortable after 500-1,000 miles.

The asymmetry would concern me. It's possible there's a problem with the saddle, or it may be the rider. :/ I would wonder about a leg length mismatch (that might be corrected with shims), or possibly, if you're using clipless pedals, one cleat is further forward than the cleat on the other shoe.
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Old 10-05-18, 12:27 PM
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hmmm, errr, mine (B17 regular) was good for me me right out of the box
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Old 10-05-18, 01:31 PM
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I have 2 B17s and a Brooks Professional. Never had a comfort issue with either of them. Proper padded bike shorts help for any saddle, if you aren't already using them. I ride mine pretty much dead level. Moving it fore and aft along the rails might help to get it dialed in. I've gotten two from Ebay from people who didn't like them, so maybe they are not for everybody, but they work for me. I've been using them since 1964. None of mine have the center cut outs.

Last edited by Slightspeed; 10-05-18 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 10-05-18, 03:45 PM
  #5  
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" The nose up at the moment" How much is up? If you keep sliding forward on the saddle I'm guessing either the saddle is at the wrong height or you need to adjust it forward.
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Old 10-05-18, 11:13 PM
  #6  
ericcc65
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Originally Posted by Rock71 View Post
" The nose up at the moment" How much is up? If you keep sliding forward on the saddle I'm guessing either the saddle is at the wrong height or you need to adjust it forward.
About this much.


Last edited by ericcc65; 10-05-18 at 11:13 PM. Reason: new line
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Old 10-05-18, 11:44 PM
  #7  
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That doesn't look "nose up" to me. That's about how all my leather saddles are.
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Old 10-06-18, 01:06 AM
  #8  
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My B-17 was instantly better than the oem it replaced. Somewhere around mile 400, it simply became unnoticeable, which is about the best you can say about a saddle.
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Old 10-06-18, 05:11 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by ericcc65 View Post
It's really uncomfortable on the left side, like it feels like a nerve being pinched.
Stop using it! No jokes. ASAP. It does not look like a saddle for your butt.
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Old 10-06-18, 05:12 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Nermal View Post
My B-17 was instantly better than the oem it replaced. Somewhere around mile 400, it simply became unnoticeable, which is about the best you can say about a saddle.
Almost exactly my experience. Mine is slightly up in the front and I have the saddle with the cut-out (Imperial). But, as others have noted, mine was never horribly uncomfortable. I now have about 1500 miles on mine. Iím guessing, like others that itís either an adjustment issue, or the Brooks isnít for you. There are those that donít match up well with Brooks saddles. I hope itís an adjustment since theyíre rather pricey.
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Old 10-06-18, 05:45 AM
  #11  
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I doubt that saddle will ever be comfortable for you. I experience the same frustration. It's a bummer when the holy grail of saddle comfort finds us squirming on short rides. If I were you I'd consider an ISM comfort saddle.
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Old 10-06-18, 11:13 AM
  #12  
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not a good fit?

Other possibilities bars to far away and too low, ..

Need a gel comfort saddle instead, ?
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Old 10-06-18, 12:42 PM
  #13  
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A couple of things. I've used Brooks saddles exclusively since the 1970s- admitting however I fell out of cycling in the 90s and back early 2000s on and off. Mostly off but I'm back baby! Anyway, there are those that say take a 'level' and put it on your seat. Usually there's a sag in the middle but the back and nose rest against the level. This usually results in a saddle that looks like the nose is high, but your butt is centered in the saddle. There are those that say soak your saddle in Neatsfoot Oil to soften and help contour the saddle. Some say that is the worst you can do. The middle ground may not be a bad idea. Wipe Neats on top and bottom a few times- versus soaking. It does darken the leather, but does soften it some. Don't over-do and you may find it helps. A little then stop. A little then stop. Off-center- maybe a little more oil on one side than the other. Or, hand massage the seat HARD! Seriously, push, massage, PUSH OH YEAH! DON'T STOP! I'm now thinking of an uncensored Family Guy video forgive me:
IF YOU WATCH IT'S NOT MY FAULT! DON'T DON'T WATCH!

Bartender!

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Old 10-06-18, 01:01 PM
  #14  
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It's not uncommon to turn the nose slightly left or right to fit someone's personal anatomy.
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Old 10-06-18, 02:16 PM
  #15  
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Most Brooks I've had over the years were comfortable right out of the box but were hard like wood. That's where the break-in period comes in to play. If that Brooks is not comfortable riding now it may never be comfortable. Just FYI.

If you don't peddle a lot, as on an eBike, I would think that it might take longer to break-in? I don't know for sure. I think the act of peddling is what messages and moves the leather. Just sitting on it may take longer. You should start to notice a difference after 300 miles or so...I would think....
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Old 10-06-18, 02:29 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by ericcc65 View Post
I have an electric bike that I'm riding more now (commute is 10 miles one way) but the saddle was uncomfortable. I bought a Brooks B17 Imperial (cut-out) and I've ridden it three or four commutes now. It's really uncomfortable on the left side, like it feels like a nerve being pinched. I found if I put the saddle level I was sliding forward, so I have the nose up at the moment. That puts me in a stable position, but I'm left wondering if perhaps it's uncomfortable because maybe I'm sitting on part of the rail? How long should I break in a Brooks before I know it's not going to work for me?
What seat did it replace and how high was it off the rails? If you simply replaced the seat without adjusting the height, it may be too high. The B17 is not very forgiving with respect to a too high seat height. I had issues, similar to yours, and it was too high. I too slid forward, and had pain. Later, as the dimples appeared, they were off center, showing I was dropping one leg to compensate. I have since lowered the seat, using Steve Hogg's methods, and I now can run the seat with the nose almost level, and i do not slide forward at all, I am stable. I have zero pain, and the dimples have now reformed where they should be.

You also have a lot of drop. You may or may not be able to get the seat to work, but you specific problem doesn't really sound drop related.

Go through the steps on Hogg's site for setting seat setback and height. It should help. https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/02/seat-height-how-hard-can-it-be/
https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...d-can-it-be-2/
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Old 10-06-18, 02:37 PM
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I had 10 years on my Brooks before touring on it, for more than day rides.
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Old 10-06-18, 02:39 PM
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As others have experienced, my B17s felt comfortable for me right out of the box. I have two, one on my road bike and the other on my touring/gravel bike.
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Old 10-06-18, 02:59 PM
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My B17 remained hard as a rock after 9 years. I would often complain about my saddle to other cyclists and to bike store employees, and was often told to keep at it, and one day the saddle would break in and I would experience saddle nirvana. Sadly, that day never came, and when I finally got rid of my saddle after 9 years, I reckoned that that magical day would come the same day that Elvis astride a pink unicorn would fly out of my ass.
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Old 10-06-18, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by onyerleft View Post
My B17 remained hard as a rock after 9 years. I would often complain about my saddle to other cyclists and to bike store employees, and was often told to keep at it, and one day the saddle would break in and I would experience saddle nirvana. Sadly, that day never came, and when I finally got rid of my saddle after 9 years, I reckoned that that magical day would come the same day that Elvis astride a pink unicorn would fly out of my ass.
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Old 10-06-18, 03:25 PM
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Lower the saddle a wee bit before doing anything drastic.
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Old 10-06-18, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by onyerleft View Post
Elvis astride a pink unicorn would fly out of my ass.
Getting all of that biomass out of one's cloaca could only help.
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Old 10-06-18, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
What seat did it replace and how high was it off the rails? If you simply replaced the seat without adjusting the height, it may be too high. The B17 is not very forgiving with respect to a too high seat height. I had issues, similar to yours, and it was too high. I too slid forward, and had pain. Later, as the dimples appeared, they were off center, showing I was dropping one leg to compensate. I have since lowered the seat, using Steve Hogg's methods, and I now can run the seat with the nose almost level, and i do not slide forward at all, I am stable. I have zero pain, and the dimples have now reformed where they should be.

You also have a lot of drop. You may or may not be able to get the seat to work, but you specific problem doesn't really sound drop related.
Thanks for the ideas. I did lower the saddle such that it was at the same height as my previous saddle. It replaced some cheap thing with too much padding I got at Performance Bike. I only ride this to commute on, but I'm finding the saddle is still important.

I'm 6'5". So it may look like a lot of drop, but I'm actually fairly upright.

I'll re-do some of the fitting with the suggested site. Thanks again.
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Old 10-06-18, 04:06 PM
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I had to lower mine a bit more than I would with other saddles, or one side (corresponding to a very slightly shorter leg) hurts.
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Old 10-07-18, 04:09 AM
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I bought my Brooks B17 mail-order from a place in North Dakota or somewhere. It was a tad cheaper than from other better-known outlets. Took me a while to realize it was crooked. When the back part is centered, the nose points off to the right by 5 or 10 degrees. I find that centering the back with the nose pointed off to the right is comfortable. Nose appears quite high relative to the back. I have done 50-plus mile rides on this & have no complaints about the saddle. Before setting the nose off to the right and pointing it high, long rides caused horrible hip pain on one side.
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