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Brooks C15 or C17 Cambium Carved - Anyone put a decent amount of miles on one?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Brooks C15 or C17 Cambium Carved - Anyone put a decent amount of miles on one?

Old 06-08-16, 10:04 AM
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cave12man
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Brooks C15 or C17 Cambium Carved - Anyone put a decent amount of miles on one?

Been drinking the marketing koolaid on this one for a while and curious if anyone has put some decent miles on one? Currently I have a Specialized Power Expert and like it (it's helped with some numbness that scared the crap out of me), but it stays flat rather than curving down on the "wings" which I think are contributing to some chafing.

I have a saddle on my 80's Motobecane Mirage Sport that's beat to hell that I can ride for hours, but still can't manage to find a suitable saddle for the road bike. The one on the Motobecane has rounded sides so I'm thinking maybe the Cambium would suit me a little better. All speculative until I actually try it out, but anyone have any reports?
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Old 06-08-16, 10:33 AM
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I've got over 10,000 miles on a C17 (NOT carved). Great saddle. Very comfortable. I do ultra-endurance gravel racing and, at the end of a race, my backside doesn't feel as if I've been on the bike.

I hope they come out with a carbon-railed version soon. The only issue I have with the saddle is its weight. The comfort is worth the extra grams, but if they can cut out the grams while maintaining the comfort, I will make the purchase.
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Old 06-08-16, 10:33 AM
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The Cambiums are very comfortable. Go with the C15 or C13 if you want something narrower. The C17 has a narrow front half but the back half flares out quite a bit. For all of them there is a bit of a dip in the middle which is characteristic of all Brooks saddles, so keep that in mind. I also like them because the grain of the cotton material on top isn't perfectly smooth, so my backside gets a little more traction on it and doesn't slide around.

If you're concerned about weight, both the C15 and C17 are a bit heavy (around 450 grams). The carbon-railed C13 is down to around 250 which is not the lightest but should be fine for anyone who's not an ass

As always, try before you buy.
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Old 06-08-16, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I hope they come out with a carbon-railed version soon.
They do have one (C13): CAMBIUM C13
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Old 06-08-16, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
They do have one (C13): CAMBIUM C13
I was referring to the C17. Rumor has it that a carbon-railed C17 is in the works.

I know about the C13. It's somewhat harder and narrower than the C17.
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Old 06-08-16, 10:44 AM
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I haven't but I can't ride a seat without a carved area for your perineum so that would be an easy choice for me.
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Old 06-08-16, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I've got over 10,000 miles on a C17 (NOT carved). Great saddle. Very comfortable. I do ultra-endurance gravel racing and, at the end of a race, my backside doesn't feel as if I've been on the bike.

I hope they come out with a carbon-railed version soon. The only issue I have with the saddle is its weight. The comfort is worth the extra grams, but if they can cut out the grams while maintaining the comfort, I will make the purchase.
10,000 miles, damn son. Good to know. I agree on the weight, but, if it's that's comfortable I'll lose the extra grams off my gut by proxy.

Just curious what "ultra-endurance" entails? Sounds gnarly.


Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
The Cambiums are very comfortable. Go with the C15 or C13 if you want something narrower. The C17 has a narrow front half but the back half flares out quite a bit. For all of them there is a bit of a dip in the middle which is characteristic of all Brooks saddles, so keep that in mind. I also like them because the grain of the cotton material on top isn't perfectly smooth, so my backside gets a little more traction on it and doesn't slide around.

If you're concerned about weight, both the C15 and C17 are a bit heavy (around 450 grams). The carbon-railed C13 is down to around 250 which is not the lightest but should be fine for anyone who's not an ass

As always, try before you buy.

I was thinking the C17 would be too wide and C13 might be a little too narrow. Hopefully the C15 fits juuuuust right. Goldilocks and the 3 bears, boom, nailed it.

I'm assuming not, but have you encountered any of the "sandpaper effects" people have been reporting with the texture of the cotton? Sounded a bit bogus, but I guess it's not the craziest thing to happen.
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Old 06-08-16, 10:57 AM
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I have a C17 on my commuter. I have been using it for just about a year and love it. It's not carved, and while I initially thought it may be a problem, it isn't. One of the best bday gifts from The Better Half yet!
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Old 06-08-16, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cave12man View Post
I'm assuming not, but have you encountered any of the "sandpaper effects" people have been reporting with the texture of the cotton? Sounded a bit bogus, but I guess it's not the craziest thing to happen.
It's just cotton...As I said you definitely get more "traction" but I haven't noticed any rubbing.
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Old 06-08-16, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
It's just cotton...As I said you definitely get more "traction" but I haven't noticed any rubbing.
Awesome, good to know. Appreciate it!
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Old 06-08-16, 11:51 AM
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"Just curious what "ultra-endurance" entails? Sounds gnarly."

It is fairly gnarly. It's generally races of 200 to 300+ miles on gravel roads -- a lot of them zero maintenance. Stream crossings, 10,000+ feet of climbing, etc. Lots of fun, really. To learn more, check out the websites for the Dirty Kanza 200 and Trans Iowa.
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Old 06-09-16, 02:59 PM
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I have a C15 on my Kestrel Talon SL, carved, love it.
I have a C17 on my Fuji D6, carved, love it.
About a 1000 miles on each. When doing group rides of 60 miles plus, still feels great. Brooks hit a home run with these saddles.
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Old 11-22-16, 08:11 AM
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On an impulse and seeing that 20%-off one item REI promo, ordered a Cambium C13 Carved. Folks have mentioned the C13 being narrower than other models above but if not aware, they offer this saddle (carved or regular) in 3 different widths from 132 up to 158.

Can't find much in the way of reviews on C13 Carved, but what I've found on the C15 carved seem positive. My understanding is that a C13 is basically the same as a C15 but carbon railed?
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Old 11-22-16, 02:44 PM
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I unfortunately wasn't able to make it work for me. Purchased a C17 carved and played with fore/aft/tilt and just wasn't able to get past 25 miles without pain settling in.

For reference, I'm 265lbs and put it on a race geo steed. 400+ miles of testing couldn't avail much other than it wasn't for me. I found the seat to be substantially more giving than I had thought.

Eventually swapped for a 153mm Specialized Romin, which is a good bit firmer, and have been on it since. Ironic since I had the impression that Brooks saddles are the gold standard for a lot of its followers when it comes to all-day comfort. This experience was proof to me that each rider has to go through a good amount of saddles before finding their best-yet. (~7 saddles in for me)
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Old 11-22-16, 02:59 PM
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I have a regular C17 with 5,500 miles on it. It was black when I bought it but now it has faded some. I thought the cotton texture would wear out; I think it's as rough or a little rougher after the miles I put on it. It is heavy but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I have it tilted up in the front...if I don't, I slide forward. I can tell you exactly how much I have it tilted. Place a level on top of the saddle in the middle (the level will rest on the top of the front rivet and the rear edge of the saddle) and stack 8 pennies on the edge at the rear of the saddle. The level is now level.

I bought it at Wallingford Bikes. They have some good store policies.
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Old 11-22-16, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by OnyxTiger View Post
I unfortunately wasn't able to make it work for me. Purchased a C17 carved and played with fore/aft/tilt and just wasn't able to get past 25 miles without pain settling in.

For reference, I'm 265lbs and put it on a race geo steed. 400+ miles of testing couldn't avail much other than it wasn't for me. I found the seat to be substantially more giving than I had thought.

Eventually swapped for a 153mm Specialized Romin, which is a good bit firmer, and have been on it since. Ironic since I had the impression that Brooks saddles are the gold standard for a lot of its followers when it comes to all-day comfort. This experience was proof to me that each rider has to go through a good amount of saddles before finding their best-yet. (~7 saddles in for me)
Well, I consider the Brooks Leather saddles and these Cambium saddles to be two different beasts. I have a Cambium and can ride it ok and have even used it for a century or two. But it's only marginally comfortable. Now the Brooks Swallows I have on other bikes are saddle heaven. You finish your ride of any distance and realize you never once thought about the saddle.
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Old 11-22-16, 07:18 PM
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I have a C15 and a C17, both uncarved. When I got the C17, it was the most comfortable saddle I'd ever ridden. The C15 surpassed it. The Team Pro is threatening to surpass them both.
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Old 11-22-16, 08:18 PM
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Probably unanswerable (unlikely to find someone who's ridden both), but I'm interested to find out how the Cambium C13 at same width, compares to the Cambium C15. C13 comes in 145mm, the C15 is 140mm I think? Ideally would ask the same about the 'Carved' versions, but I think i'm figuring out that the C13 carved doesn't really have widespread availability yet?
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Old 12-15-16, 02:43 PM
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I have been riding a C17 carved most of this year on my gravel bike. Love it! I did ride a C15 carved for a while but it was too narrow after about 65 miles. The LBS just got in two of the three widths of the C13 carved. I can already tell the I will be "needing" one of those in the 158mm width. What I really like about the new C13 is the flat top (front to rear). This should prevent the need to have the nose up so much on this saddle compared to the C17.

The C17 has the slight rise in the rear which makes it necessary to raise the nose quite a bit to settle into a good position on it without getting pushed forward all the time. Not necessarily a huge problem for day to day riding but I did run into an issue when I put aero bars on my gravel bike for a 250 mile race. I had to lower the nose to get a good fit for being in the aero bars which changed the comfort level when on the hoods. I think the C13 is going to be great for this type of setup. The 150 grams lighter isn't going to hurt either!

I have been through all kinds of saddles and ridden a long races on many of them. My favorite still, but least durable, is the Terry FLX womens saddle (I'm a guy but it fits so awesome). I got tired of buying a new saddle every 12-18 months due to wearing out the leather on that saddle. The C17 carved is by far my favorite for durability and comfort all in one package. It's not for everyone and some people just can't stand the nose up look of the saddle on a bike. The added suspension effect of the rubber top is nice on gravel as well.
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Old 12-15-16, 07:37 PM
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Did my first ride.. only about 35mi on C13 carved.. the 145mm (? middle widthed) version. Like it.. verdict still out though as the bib I wore was new and not sure I was wild about the chamois/fit.. so kinda screwed with saddle experience. My goal was to try a saddle with firmer sitting surface, but still pliable.. coming from an Antares VSX. FWIW, the dimensions of the C13 145mm is almost identical to the Fizik, including rail height.
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