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Brooks B17

Old 04-18-22, 12:31 PM
  #1  
Ttom
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Brooks B17

I am breaking in a Brooks B17 the booklet that came with it says to lather up the top part of the seat with Proofide every six months. Some people seem to think it a good idea to lather up the underside of the seat as well. What do you think lather up the underside Yes No?
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Old 04-18-22, 12:41 PM
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trailangel
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One time for the underside. Every 6 months for the top might be too much..... the leather will get too soft. Maybe use regular clear KIWI shoe polish for the top to make the leather water repellant. You should not make leather waterproof.... it will start to rot.
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Old 04-18-22, 01:02 PM
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walnutz
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I have multiple Brooks saddles. I do the over side and underside when I get them and then never think about it again. No issues.
Prepare for a million different opinions.
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Old 04-18-22, 01:14 PM
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I treat both the underside and the top initially, and then treat the top again whenever it looks like it needs it, or after it gets wet and dries out. That's maybe twice a year, but I'm not especially religious about it. I have several Brooks saddles, including one of my dad's from about 1974 -- I know he never did a thing to it.
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Old 04-18-22, 01:35 PM
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I treat the top only, probably only once a year
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Old 04-18-22, 01:57 PM
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Ttom
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OK thanks for the reply's, underside I shall.
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Old 04-18-22, 01:58 PM
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I used one for 4 years and only treated the underside. Never did anything to the topside. I also had to raise the nose ever so slightly probably 7 separate times during owning that saddle. The clamp didnt slip, I just needed to continue to tilt the saddle as it broke in. Kinda goofy looking towards the end of things. A C17 is the same effective width and doesnt need to be broken in or tilted so I eventually went that route.
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Old 04-18-22, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
A C17 is the same effective width and doesnt need to be broken in
I have a couple of C17s, as well. I've found that the "carved" or cut-out version has a modicum of flex to it that the non-carve model lacks, making it feel even more like a B-17.
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Old 04-18-22, 04:49 PM
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Never tried Proofide, despite having Brooks saddles on all my bikes. They aren't that hard to break in, the leather is thinner than some similar saddles like the Ideale 90. Having an equestrian background, I have some experience in the care and cleaning of leather. Neatsfoot oil works well for softening hard leather, ordinary saddle soap is good for bicycle saddle maintenance, Fiebling's or Mowbray's work best, don’t use Kiwi.
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Old 04-18-22, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
I have a couple of C17s, as well. I've found that the "carved" or cut-out version has a modicum of flex to it that the non-carve model lacks, making it feel even more like a B-17.
I have 3 c17 and 1 carved c17. The carved took time to set up in a comfortable manner. I adjusted it more than a few times over the first couple weeks. The regular c17 saddles have all set up right away and I've transferred them and not moved them after initial setup.
I figure the cutout is why I had to adjust so much? Along that line of thinking, I agree that the cutout is more flexible. Noticably more.
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Old 04-18-22, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
The carved took time to set up in a comfortable manner. I adjusted it more than a few times over the first couple weeks.
I'm sure we all have different preferences, but my B-17s tend to be more "nose-up" (about 8º or 9º) than my c-17s (about 6º), whether carved or not.
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Old 04-18-22, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ttom View Post
the booklet says lather up the top with Proofide every six months. Some people say lather up the underside of the seat as well. Yes No?
"No" to both.
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Old 04-19-22, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Ttom View Post
..says to lather up the top part of the seat with Proofide..
The others have given good advice, but "lather" is not it. I haven't read a Brooks manual in recent years (have a half dozen of various forms of B17's), but I'd be surprised to learn they actually state "lather". A thin coat is all that's needed.
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Old 04-19-22, 07:38 AM
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There have been lots of threads about the care of Brooks saddles. The bottom line and best advice always seems to be “Follow the recommendations published by Brooks”. I have 2 B17s and follow Brooks’ guidelines….no issues or problems whatsoever.
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Old 04-20-22, 07:02 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by walnutz View Post
I have multiple Brooks saddles. I do the over side and underside when I get them and then never think about it again. No issues.
Prepare for a million different opinions.
Basically what I did, though I did apply another thin coat of proofhide a couple of years after I got the saddle. I don't think the saddle really needed it. I also tightened the tension bold 1/8 of a turn or so though, again, I don't think that was really needed. If you ride in the rain a lot without fenders, maybe you need to treat the saddle more often, but otherwise the initial proofhide treatment seems to be enough. Perhaps riding in the desert would dry the leather out and periodic treatment would be required? I don't know, I'm just speculating.

Back in the day, you would see bikes with leather saddles that were cracked and the skirts were shrunken and distorted (almost parallel to the ground). Those were usually either cheap leather saddles and/or were on "outdoor bikes" that were stored outside. I haven't seen one of those in decades. People who go to the trouble of getting a leather saddle nowadays are people who store their bike(s) properly and, if the saddle does get soaked, dry it properly.
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Old 04-20-22, 11:14 AM
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I still have a 1/3 full can of Proofide that I bought when I purchased my Raleigh Professional in 1973. I have used it on the saddle that was on the bike when I bought it and another Brooks Professional saddle I bought a few years later. Figure that both saddles and the remaining Proofide will outlive me
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Old 04-21-22, 10:00 PM
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Don't overdo it.You don't want to over soften it and make it sag....... From Rivendell "A thimblefull will treat an entire saddle. A new saddle doesn't need it, but after a few months, put some of this on it. Topside and underside." I've treated this one once in the three years I've owned it. Seems fine, is comfortable.
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Old 04-22-22, 05:53 AM
  #18  
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I do the top about once a year, and bottom once a year. I have always followed the directions that come with it too and apply it to the underside about once a year as well, however, leave a thin coat on it, and don't really polish it off as you would the top. It seems like brooks are very much a love it or hate it saddle - I swear they had my backside in mind when they designed it. I don't know that I will ever have another bike with a brooks b17 or flyer on it.
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