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Brooks

Old 03-30-11, 05:24 PM
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Brooks

Hopefully a simple question. I've noticed many Brooks saddles, largely B-17's, which are mounted with the nose tilted up, some to a rather shocking amount. I realize that this is a product of finding the best comfort, but is there a particular symtom being addressed, such as sit bone soreness or maybe chafing, etc. I'm in the process of breaking in a B-17 now, so any information or hints would be greatly appreciated.


Please ignore. I just did a search and have more infomation than I hope I will ever need.

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Old 03-30-11, 05:54 PM
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I ride a B17 and it definitely feels best with the nose up a bit as you can see here:



Here's my theory for what it's worth: Brooks saddles, and the B17 in particular, tend to sag a bit in the middle. So if the saddle is level (back and front at same height) you tend to slide forward into the saggy middle which is too narrow to sit on comfortably. By tilting the nose up, the back part where you actually sit becomes level and you stay there.
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Old 03-30-11, 06:35 PM
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I think it also has a lot to do with the difference in handlebar height vs seat height.
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Old 03-30-11, 06:41 PM
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Brooks saddles just feel better with the nose up a bit, compared to the style of seat you usually see on a bike. Even on the same bike with the same setup, a Brooks seat will feel more comfy with the nose higher than the other seat. I think it has to do with the fact that the seat itself is kind of like a hammock- it's just a piece of leather strung between the nose and rear rail of the saddle.
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Old 03-30-11, 07:53 PM
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Tilting the nose up forces you back onto your sitbones ... to put your body's weight on the sitbones rather than any softer parts further forward.
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Old 04-01-11, 03:54 AM
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Can I get some info on riding position? I've seen comments regarding pelvic tilt, which has never been too clear to me.
Yesterday when riding I modified my position slightly to see what the results would be. The only way I can describe it is a slightly more aggressive position, upper body being considerably lower and flatter. It felt like rather than riding on the saddle much as you would sit on a chair, the pelvis was "tilted" forward. I don't know how to descibe it, but I didn't feel like I was sitting, but rather moving toward a laid out position. Comfort seemed to improve.
Am I on to anything here, or am I grabbing for straws?
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Old 04-01-11, 05:17 AM
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I have not found the B17 to work out great in a super-aggressive position, especially with the nose up a little bit.

I have no idea why Brooks benefit from the nose "in the air," but I don't think it's the sagging part. I don't think my B17 sags much in the middle. a) I'm not that heavy, b) the saddle doesn't have that much give, and c) the only way it could sag like that is if I put lots of weight on it, which would cause numbness.

I would agree that for many people, the width of the B17 is probably what makes it comfortable -- at least, it is for me. A lot of road saddles tend to be rather narrow, and people rarely bother to check the width of either their sit-bones or their saddles.
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Old 04-01-11, 10:16 AM
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For any Brooks saddle that I've ever seen, if you put a straight edge across it, you'll find that the middle is lower than the tail and nose. On the B17 on my commuter, it's about 1/3 inch lower. I'll bet that nearly all experienced LD cyclists adjust their Brooks so that if you put a level on the sit-bones portion it would come out to being fairly level, maybe tilted just slightly forward. The only way that you can make the back of the saddle level (given the drop in the middle) is if the nose is "tilted up".
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Old 04-01-11, 04:37 PM
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I ride several Brooks and do not tilt up the nose. I keep the nose level with the tilt on the back portion.
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Old 04-01-11, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Tilting the nose up forces you back onto your sitbones ... to put your body's weight on the sitbones rather than any softer parts further forward.
Yes, it does this for me, too. It addition it helped prevent me from sliding forward. I say helped, because I think the real problem there was keeping the saddle too far back.
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Old 04-01-11, 06:33 PM
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All my Brooks B17s are slightly pointed up and all those bikes have bars ~level with saddle. I'd use a different Brooks with a bike with a lower bar position and I'm not sure if I'd retain the upwards pointed nose or not. Haven't tried yet.
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Old 04-01-11, 07:42 PM
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as far as my own idears about it go-- i've tried about every position POSSIBLE with my b17, and the only one i can really find that allows me to hang over the hoods with zero pressure on my hands (my sort of default 'it works' position) is with the nose up. UNTIL i get the saddle in that position-- i can't get my center of gravity right, cornering isn't in the magic spot, and riding sans hands is really difficult. plus.. in that position, it also mitigates the 'taint jackhammer' aspect of a pretty hard leather saddle when hitting potholes... and a broad flat area is far kinder and gentler than the nose of a b17...
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Old 04-02-11, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by thebulls
if you put a level on the sit-bones portion it would come out to being fairly level, maybe tilted just slightly forward. The only way that you can make the back of the saddle level (given the drop in the middle) is if the nose is "tilted up".
Good point; that appears to be how mine is set up. Accounting for middle flex, it is probably equivalent to the angle of saddles on my road bikes.
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Old 04-02-11, 08:15 AM
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I've had problems with the Standard brooks B17 and low handlebar position. Puts too much pressure on soft tissue. However, the B17 Imperial is a perfect fit for me and my road bike. Road bike handlebar is about 2 inches lower than saddle and as I continue to lose weight will be lowering even more.
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Old 04-02-11, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RFC
I ride several Brooks and do not tilt up the nose. I keep the nose level with the tilt on the back portion.
Well, YMMV, as they say, but it would seem that the physics of having the back of your saddle tilted down would say that in order to prevent yourself sliding down the saddle, you have to be bearing more weight in your hands. Are you able to ride a 1200Km without hand numbness?

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Old 04-02-11, 04:13 PM
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It is well known that if you have a more aggressive riding position, the Team Pro is the saddle to use, not the B17. Keep it in mind when ordering a Brooks.

I had a Pro for a while (my first Brooks, in fact), and my handlebars were level with the seat and I very rarely use the drops. I rode the saddle a long way, but never really got that comfortable on it. I sold it and bought a B17 and have never looked back.

If I do try the drops with B17s, I don't spend much time on them because of the up-tilt of the nose.

I have a Swallow on my current go-to bike, and again, with the handlebars up level with the seat, it's a bit like the Pro -- perhaps not that suited to this riding position. In the end, I will probably leave it on that bike, and fit a Ti B17 to my new Ti bike which hopefully will be my new rando-LD bike..
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Old 04-02-11, 11:44 PM
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I recently switched from a San Marco Rolls to a B17-N, not that I wasn't comfortable just for kicks . Well the B17 is certainly a great saddle & it's been fairly comfy from the word go for me, just that it was a bit hard on the bones. When setting it up for the first time I too went with the regular logic of "nose up". But I like to ride leaning forwards & a bit stretched position and I also spend quite some time in the drops; the nose would hit me on the crotch & going to drops would be fairly painful. So I adjusted it & found that level nose or even a slightly nose down works like a charm for my riding style & position. And interestingly changing to a longer stem has made it even more comfortable.

A comfortable saddle position depends on so many different factors that it's hard to say that "one particular approach" is the right one, off course it may be the approach where most people have found comfort.
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Old 04-04-11, 12:06 PM
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I have a brooks swift - still fairly new getting broken in. My bars are a few inches lower than the seat. I had to tip it nose-down a bit because when I would go down into the drops, the nose was digging up into the wrong places a bit too much. Now, I notice that I tend to slide forward a bit. Its not too bad, but I'm hoping as it breaks in I can tilt it back up without the pressure in the wrong parts.
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Old 04-04-11, 12:20 PM
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If I feel like I'm sliding forward when riding I tilt the nose just until I feel secure.... I did notice my MTB is a little nose up, but I think my Pro on the Tandem, and the Swift on my Roadie are level.
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