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Brooks B17 regular vs aged vs ???

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Old 12-11-17, 01:55 PM
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83cannondale
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Brooks B17 regular vs aged vs ???

My Brooks b17 is about worn out - I'd like to break in another on the rollers before the Rando season here in Wisconsin - Considering a regular B17 but I like some of the reviews I've seen on the AGED B17. I also like the lace holes on the bottom of the AGED.

Has anyone use the aged?

Any comments on the lace holes and lacing? I've seen the holes but can't recall anyone actually using them.

I also read RANDO RICHARD description of John Howard's (I think) method of quick break-in of new B17 involving mink oil, soaking in hot water, etc. Has anyone tried that and what do you think about it?

Thanks

t
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Old 12-11-17, 02:05 PM
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why don't you get the newer Brooks Cambium? .... waterproof, super comfy and comes with a 10 year guarantee if you register the serial number on the Brooks website

I'm using the C17 Carved (with the cutout) and It is super comfortable .... many guys who ride Audax rides (long distance) use these
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Old 12-11-17, 06:48 PM
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The so called "Brooks break in" methods are just ways of ruining a good saddle.
Having owned three B17s, all were comfortable out of the box and "broken in" within a couple of hundred km ie, a couple of weeks riding and by broken in, I mean the dimples for your pelvis and the shiny surface roughed up a bit, both allowing you to lower the nose to a sensible position.
Just buy your new saddle, treat it with Proofide, and ride it.
I know nothing about the laces but will say that the standard shape works for me and if you're about to wear one out, I think you'd have a pretty clear view on that yourself.
The Cambium are worth looking at, but they are expensive and I believe I've heard that they don't like big riders (maybe that's been sorted)
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Old 12-11-17, 09:39 PM
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I'm a little reluctant to follow much of what John Howard did. He also smoked cigarettes. Just a remarkable physical specimen. He probably threw the saddles away fairly quickly.
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Old 12-11-17, 10:52 PM
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If anything, regular B17s break in faster than I'd like. My B17 Narrow resisted former owners' attempts to break it in faster, and I hope it never yields.

@83cannondale, you're probably thinking of Lon Haldeman: http://pactour.blogspot.com/2011/01/...er-saddle.html
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Old 12-12-17, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
and by broken in, I mean the dimples for your pelvis and the shiny surface roughed up a bit, both allowing you to lower the nose to a sensible position.
^That piqued my interest^. Just last weekend I mounted a new B-17 on my touring bike and rode it 30 miles for the first time. Several things I noticed, number ONE being it was comfortable from the start, as in no pain on my bony butt, zero.
But it was VERY slick and I usually ride with my saddle slightly nose up, and that's how I mounted this one. Immediately I noticed the nose is "prominent". In spite of that, I felt I was trying to slide forward. I was getting some pressure in "that area" and after 18 miles I adjusted it a bit nose down. After that I really felt I was constantly sliding forward but the pressure reduced, especially if I pushed myself a bit more upright. With a level back home I realize I had adjusted it exactly level.

My point in all that is, in reading your response, and that in bold, I'm getting the sense that after a break in that feeling of sliding forward will diminish and the surface will become less slick. Am I reading that correctly?

Apologies to OP for thread hijack.
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Old 12-12-17, 11:37 AM
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I agree with @ThermionicScott; new Brooks saddles "break in" much too fast. Don't put Proofide on a new saddle. It will soften it.

I dislike the term "break in" in all its forms. The manufacturer makes a saddle in a generic shape. If you want to adjust the shape to your particular anatomy (that is, put the appropriate dimples into it), here's what you do:
1, make the saddle slightly wet (dunk it into water, or pour water on it, or put a wet towel on it, whatever; but don't leave it in water for any length of time);
2, let the water permeate the whole saddle, so it's not just on the surface; this shouldn't take more than a couple hours;
3, ride the saddle a short distance, like not more than a couple miles; ride it too much while it's wet, and you will permanently stretch the leather;
4, let dry.

This will not soften the leather; it will only change the shape to fit your anatomy. I repeat, don't soak anything out of the saddle; any solubles that are in it should remain. Once it's dry, you should notice the shape slightly changed. You can repeat this process if necessary.

Lacing the skirts of a saddle fundamentally changes the way the saddle fits you. A normal, unlaced saddle sags when you sit on it; the skirts spread sideways into your upper thigh; between the top sagging and the skirts spreading, an equilibrium is reached and your weight is distributed over a large surface. When you lace the skirts together, they cannot spread, so the top cannot sag, so your weight remains on the top. This is how a "swallow" type saddle works. The Swallow is relatively harder, and unforgiving. I've ridden a swallow as long as 300 km, but I don't really like them for any longer ride (like, even 100 miles on a swallow can be pretty rough)

I, personally, would avoid any saddle that's advertised as "softer." When I make a saddle, the challenge is to make the leather hard enough for extended use; if it gets too soft too soon, I consider that failure.
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Old 12-12-17, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
My point in all that is, in reading your response, and that in bold, I'm getting the sense that after a break in that feeling of sliding forward will diminish and the surface will become less slick. Am I reading that correctly?

Apologies to OP for thread hijack.
Pretty much. As you ride the saddle more, it conforms to you and that shiny surface roughens up. It's a matter of adjusting the saddle to balance the sliding forward with the nose pressing on your groin. If the nose feels very prominent, you've probably slid forward a bit into that 'hammock' which you don't want. It's just a matter of messing about until one day you realise you no longer have to.

I'm currently frustrated with my Brooks. It's ten years old and I've always been very happy with it. I put it on the new bike and was very happy with it. Then, over the space of a weekend, I fitted a longer neck and had a professional fitter check my saddle height. During that, he reset the saddle so it was dead flat, so, of course, I was now sliding forward. I've been fighting the thing ever since and am starting to wonder if the longer neck was a mistake because one of the things he did was push the saddle right back. I've never had this trouble before and to have it with a much loved saddle suggests something else is wrong.
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Old 12-13-17, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
I'm currently frustrated with my Brooks. It's ten years old and I've always been very happy with it. I put it on the new bike and was very happy with it. Then, over the space of a weekend, I fitted a longer neck and had a professional fitter check my saddle height. During that, he reset the saddle so it was dead flat, so, of course, I was now sliding forward. I've been fighting the thing ever since and am starting to wonder if the longer neck was a mistake because one of the things he did was push the saddle right back. I've never had this trouble before and to have it with a much loved saddle suggests something else is wrong.
Interesting!

I assume you went to the professional fitter because something was bothering you; what was that, and did he help with that problem?

Is the 'neck' the same as what in the US we call the 'stem'? With a longer stem I'd have thought you'd want to move the saddle forward, rather than backward.
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Old 12-13-17, 12:47 PM
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My Sojourn came with the "aged" saddle, and it was comfortable from the beginning. I've used a couple of B17s since then, they've been okay, too, but not quite the same.
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Old 12-13-17, 04:30 PM
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G'day rhm,
The professional fitter was doing free fits at a community bike event which is why I didn't chase it at the time - I'm not upset with him either except his refusal to accept that a leather saddle is different. I was really only interested in saddle height - I'm slightly asymmetric so it's best to have an outside eye look at things. The first thing he did was to start dropping plumbobs and that's when the trouble started as he moved the saddle fully back. Doing some measurements last night, comparing this bike with my other bike, yes my reach IS now too long and I reckon that's pulling me forward on the saddle, messing with how I set up the saddle. Shorter neck (stem) goes back on this weekend.
The interesting part of this is that while people talk about the limited fore and aft movement on the Brooks, in this episode, I've actually experienced quite a large change. It's complicated by the small change in neck and small change in drop, which is something I hadn't realised till last night.
As has been noted before, small movements can make big changes in bike fit.
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Old 12-14-17, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
The first thing he did was to start dropping plumbobs
Uh, oh - that sounds like he believed in the old Knee Over Pedal Spindle Myth, which has no scientific basis.
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Old 12-14-17, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by joewein View Post
Uh, oh - that sounds like he believed in the old Knee Over Pedal Spindle Myth, which has no scientific basis.
That was my first thought however, I'm a big bugga and like the saddle a long way back so it didn't bother me unduly. Indeed, when I commissioned the Hillbrick, the builder eased the saddle tube back half a degree.
It's annoying really. This bike is new and I've now done a thousand kms on it. I WAS perfectly happy but have been messing about so much in the last three weeks that I've no idea where the fit is, can't even work out if it's me or the bike. I'd be one of those rejecting Brooks saddles if this particular saddle didn't have a decade of happy riding under my rump.

But back to the OP's question, what's the 'aged' Brooks saddle? Does it come pre-worn out?
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Old 12-15-17, 09:50 AM
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My pre-aged B17 has the thickest leather of my 3 B17 saddles, and is holding up the best. I need to keep it laced to stop the sides from flaring out, but can't recall if I've ever needed to make a tension adjustment over the 10,000+ km of use. The leather on one of my B17 saddles is so flimsy I had to lace it a second time higher up because it was just bowing in the middle.
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Old 12-17-17, 10:29 PM
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Brooks Web site shows aged b17

Originally Posted by europa View Post
That was my first thought however, I'm a big bugga and like the saddle a long way back so it didn't bother me unduly. Indeed, when I commissioned the Hillbrick, the builder eased the saddle tube back half a degree.
It's annoying really. This bike is new and I've now done a thousand kms on it. I WAS perfectly happy but have been messing about so much in the last three weeks that I've no idea where the fit is, can't even work out if it's me or the bike. I'd be one of those rejecting Brooks saddles if this particular saddle didn't have a decade of happy riding under my rump.

But back to the OP's question, what's the 'aged' Brooks saddle? Does it come pre-worn out?
Yah - the brooks site shows an aged b17 saddle. Rougher on top, brown, softer I think. The info about the new b17 being thinner is a little disturbing. Not sure what to make of that. Re lacing, my current b17 (1973 I think) is about hammocked out. Too much sag especially when wet( sweat). Recently did 600km and it was good for that but I'm afraid it's about done. Thought lacing might "poof up" the sag. Don't want to tighten nose nut because I've lost a rear rivot already also don't want to change contours. This saddle has been especially good in preventing numbing and I hope to duplicate that. I'm using cutout seats as well with but limited success.

Lots of good info and questions here, thanks
T

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Old 12-20-17, 03:02 PM
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Vs Berthoud , the leather saddle has become trendy again.. I bought a Brooks team pro in 1974, it still works
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