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Brooks Leather Question

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 Leather Question

Old 11-03-18, 04:44 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Will give you the Brooks counterpoint. Don’t know a single good rider that rides one or wants one.Btw, I am old and grew up riding Brooks saddles and have owned few different models.Why is that? Because ‘most’ good riders don’t need one. Why not? Because good riders are light and strong and push hard on the pedals and their rearends are firm and a properly sized plastic saddle doesn’t bother them.Now if you fall outside this group and can only get comfortable on a Brooks, then that is your gene pool for saddles. For good riders, a saddle is perch and not a seat. In my experience, the better the rider, the less important the saddle. An uber fit lightweight rider can ride a bunch of different saddles because they have light weight bearing on the saddle and their rear end is as firm as a Brooks.
Well I don’t know what your definition of good rider is. If you mean competitive racer, then I guess I agree that I wouldn’t recommend a Brooks for someone who aspires to competitive racing. Nor would I recommend a Waterford frame. But if “good rider” and “competitive racer” are synonomous terms for you, then that is a pretty sad and narrow view of cycling and you should not be giving advice on bike forums other than the racing one,
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Old 11-03-18, 04:53 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by DOS View Post


Well I don’t know what your definition of good rider is. If you mean competitive racer, then I guess I agree that I wouldn’t recommend a Brooks for someone who aspires to competitive racing. Nor would I recommend a Waterford frame. But if “good rider” and “competitive racer” are synonomous terms for you, then that is a pretty sad and narrow view of cycling and you should not be giving advice on bike forums other than the racing one,
Since you want to split hairs...I am an old ex-racer that can still barely hang with the A group. No I don't want a Waterford bike or a heavy Brooks saddle. I want the fastest most comfortable bike I can buy which is a carbon endurance geometry bike with Toupe 155 saddle. The saddle only bothers me if I am out of shape. Since I ride year around, I am not out of shape and the saddle never bothers me.

When it comes to advice, sorry to be arrogant but I am encyclopedic about cycling. I know a lot about it. What I suggest is you hang out with the retrogrouches on the vintage forum where you will better fit in as your advice on this forum is anachronistic if not 'quaint'.
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Old 11-03-18, 05:14 PM
  #28  
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Tullio Campagnolo Designed his 2 bolt seat posts around Brooks Team Pro Saddles,

(Hex Head on top)

and the <C> Z bent 771 wrench has a 10mm box for the top bolts
and an open end wrench for the saddle nose tension nut
on the other end of his wrench, as a result..










.
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Old 11-03-18, 06:30 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Since you want to split hairs...I am an old ex-racer that can still barely hang with the A group. No I don't want a Waterford bike or a heavy Brooks saddle. I want the fastest most comfortable bike I can buy which is a carbon endurance geometry bike with Toupe 155 saddle. The saddle only bothers me if I am out of shape. Since I ride year around, I am not out of shape and the saddle never bothers me.

When it comes to advice, sorry to be arrogant but I am encyclopedic about cycling. I know a lot about it. What I suggest is you hang out with the retrogrouches on the vintage forum where you will better fit in as your advice on this forum is anachronistic if not 'quaint'.
Ha, how ironic that I advocate a more open minded definition of “good cyclist” and that perhaps there are still valid reasons to want to use a Brooks saddle and yet get accused of being a close minded retrogrouch. I no more believe that retro equipment is appropriate for every application than I belive the set up that your average Tour de France rider uses is right for every road cyclist on this forum. You apparently disagree so for the sake ending a pointless argument, I will defer to your encyclopedic knowledge (ack) and concede that there are no good cyclists who use Brooks saddles and the company should just close up shop.
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Old 11-03-18, 08:04 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by DOS View Post


Ha, how ironic that I advocate a more open minded definition of “good cyclist” and that perhaps there are still valid reasons to want to use a Brooks saddle and yet get accused of being a close minded retrogrouch. I no more believe that retro equipment is appropriate for every application than I belive the set up that your average Tour de France rider uses is right for every road cyclist on this forum. You apparently disagree so for the sake ending a pointless argument, I will defer to your encyclopedic knowledge (ack) and concede that there are no good cyclists who use Brooks saddles and the company should just close up shop.
Or...you could simply concede Brooks saddles are for quaint old guys who whimsically pine for a simpler time and with their soft bottoms they refrain, pip pip, cheerio and all that good rot. And then the unthinkable. It rains...lol.
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Old 11-03-18, 08:49 PM
  #31  
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How is it that this argument claiming brooks are for old people longing for a simpler time completely ignores the cambium line of saddles?
The brand makes a ton of different saddle styles.

the brooks c13 is 132mm wide, has carbon rails and a rubber top, and weighs 259g.
its modern in shape, uses modern tech and design, and is not some boat anchor.


the elitism and snobbery in this thread is thick.
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Old 11-03-18, 09:14 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
And then the unthinkable. It rains...lol.
Mudguards keep the water off the underside of the saddle; my butt keeps it off the top.

Works for me!
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Old 11-04-18, 04:37 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
How is it that this argument claiming brooks are for old people longing for a simpler time completely ignores the cambium line of saddles?
The brand makes a ton of different saddle styles.

the brooks c13 is 132mm wide, has carbon rails and a rubber top, and weighs 259g.
its modern in shape, uses modern tech and design, and is not some boat anchor.


the elitism and snobbery in this thread is thick.
You mean reverse snobbery from Brooks owners? Actually Brooks owners are thick bodied. Note I didn't say thick headed

Plastic is the new leather. Get with the times. Heck, I have a vegan rider girlfriend that won't own leather anything. Thank god for faux leather.

Brooks is to be credited with their saddle design without question. Technology has simply moved on. Brooks figured out that a material stretched between two hard points constituting in effect a hammock is a great way to design saddles. Modern saddles have taken a page from this design in fact. Difference is, modern saddles can be created with a flex analogous to leather with the same level of force deflection in the perineum but with much greater resiliency to stretch and slumping in the middle. Further saddle cover material can be engineered and is...to negate slippage common on Brooks saddle as the leather ages.

A modern saddle can be molded with shape and cutout that is engineered to support a rider more precisely at much lower weight. Saddles in the last 15 years in particular have taken a big leap forward in design. Specialized in fact has led the charge by offering wider racing saddles akin to width not unlike the B17..only without the protrusive nose of the B17 or even flatter and narrower Pro...and with a cutout. A cutout on a Brooks is kind of a bad joke as it turns out. Leather is weakened dramatically with a hole in it and it challenged from an elongation issue over time anyway even without a hole.

Modern technology trumps older technology. Modern technology is 'spawned from lessons learned from earlier inventions like the Brooks saddle'.

PS: here is a wonderful article from cycling guru Lennard Zinn. His quest to solve his health issue associated with sit bone tenderness while riding. Keep in mind, few know as much about cycling and fit on the bike as 6' 6" Lennard Zinn, our modern day Sheldon Brown.

Perhaps one of the most insightful reads on saddles I have seen in a long time and the future of saddles for serious cyclists with further march of tech and 3D printing:

https://www.velonews.com/2018/10/bik...-saddle_479999

Last edited by Campag4life; 11-04-18 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 11-04-18, 06:14 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post

Perhaps one of the most insightful reads on saddles I have

https://www.velonews.com/2018/10/bik...-saddle_479999
Interestinng read and interesting to note the custom saddle provides the main benefit that a leather saddle offers naturally, that being a saddle molded to ones sit bones. But I simply don’t get the need to argue anyone who likes to ride a leather saddle is some kind of luddite, or “thick bodied” and slow. I never argued, nor believe, that older technology is better. Every aspect of the bike has improved as technolgy has developed, but I find Brooks sadddles comfortable and I like the way they they look, particulalrly on a steel bike with classic lines like Waterford makes, so I think OP interest in them for his Waterford is perfectly reasonable and see no need to disparage it. I don’t disagree that there are other lighter high tech saddle OP might consider and that might be right be him. I do disagree that a Brooks might not be right. I am open minded that way and so have incorporated a mix of old and new school into my rides.
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Old 11-04-18, 06:56 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by DOS View Post


Interestinng read and interesting to note the custom saddle provides the main benefit that a leather saddle offers naturally, that being a saddle molded to ones sit bones. But I simply don’t get the need to argue anyone who likes to ride a leather saddle is some kind of luddite, or “thick bodied” and slow. I never argued, nor believe, that older technology is better. Every aspect of the bike has improved as technolgy has developed, but I find Brooks sadddles comfortable and I like the way they they look, particulalrly on a steel bike with classic lines like Waterford makes, so I think OP interest in them for his Waterford is perfectly reasonable and see no need to disparage it. I don’t disagree that there are other lighter high tech saddle OP might consider and that might be right be him. I do disagree that a Brooks might not be right. I am open minded that way and so have incorporated a mix of old and new school into my rides.

You have a broad perspective and appreciation for old and new and I certainly respect that. I rode Brooks saddles for years a couple of decades ago.

What this forum is about is precisely this discussion...pros and cons of what riders prefer and why. The old bikes have an undeniable aesthetic.

Likely custom saddles and the ability to reproduce an exact duplicate from CAD data or scanning math data from a mold maybe the future for serious cyclists.
Not only was I struck by the totality of all the parameters that can be adjusted on a custom saddle, but cost is so low. $300 for a custom saddle seems so reasonable. There is no doubt a better and more suitable saddle exists for each of us. If I did more endurance riding which I did in years past, I would pursue this option in fact. But I have steered away from long days in the saddle now and a production saddle is adequate without pain. But in my experience, any incompatibility between saddle and rider shows up on long rides like centuries.
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Old 11-04-18, 12:00 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
You mean reverse snobbery from Brooks owners? Actually Brooks owners are thick bodied. Note I didn't say thick headed

Plastic is the new leather. Get with the times. Heck, I have a vegan rider girlfriend that won't own leather anything. Thank god for faux leather.

Brooks is to be credited with their saddle design without question. Technology has simply moved on. Brooks figured out that a material stretched between two hard points constituting in effect a hammock is a great way to design saddles. Modern saddles have taken a page from this design in fact. Difference is, modern saddles can be created with a flex analogous to leather with the same level of force deflection in the perineum but with much greater resiliency to stretch and slumping in the middle. Further saddle cover material can be engineered and is...to negate slippage common on Brooks saddle as the leather ages.

A modern saddle can be molded with shape and cutout that is engineered to support a rider more precisely at much lower weight. Saddles in the last 15 years in particular have taken a big leap forward in design. Specialized in fact has led the charge by offering wider racing saddles akin to width not unlike the B17..only without the protrusive nose of the B17 or even flatter and narrower Pro...and with a cutout. A cutout on a Brooks is kind of a bad joke as it turns out. Leather is weakened dramatically with a hole in it and it challenged from an elongation issue over time anyway even without a hole.

Modern technology trumps older technology. Modern technology is 'spawned from lessons learned from earlier inventions like the Brooks saddle'.
my goodness your disposition is quite condescending.
and your inability or unwillingness to acknowledge what I am discussing is hilarious.
you keep arguing something related to my point, but not my point.
I have continually mentioned the Cambium series that is not leather, is not heavy, and is modern in design. Yet you keep responding with only leather saddle based comments.
I have nothing against saddles that arent brooks. I own saddles that arent brooks. The accusation by you that there is some sort of brooks snobbery is baseless here as i have not said only brooks saddles are good or anything close to that.
again, I own other saddles and have already said inwould gladly own another brand if it fit me as well.

the elitist comment about good cyclists not using brooks is simply disappointing to read. It's unfortunate you think one must not ride a brooks saddle in order to be a good cyclist.
Sure, TDF participants may not use them, but that means nothing. Most of what pro riders use and do isnt applicable to the vast majority of road cyclists.
Furthermore, even if only bad cyclists use brooks, so the hell what? Using a saddle thst fits is what is important. You can fat shame or whatever else you want to do, but it just looks bad on you. I encourage inclusion when it cones to cycling, so berating a group due to size, like of beards, or whatever else is shallow and elitist.

I ride with a group each year where 5 adults use varying brooks saddles. Some use leather, some use rubber, all ride many thousands of road miles.
they are all amateur and ride because they enjoy it and not for competition.
why that approach to cycling is dismissed or made fun of is confusing to me.



I am going to try to remove myself from this discussion as it is sad and not the type of argument I want to be part of.
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Old 11-04-18, 12:12 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
why that approach to cycling is dismissed or made fun of is confusing to me.

I am going to try to remove myself from this discussion as it is sad and not the type of argument I want to be part of.
I noticed. It will be etched in Sanskrit stone tablet to joined other preserved artifacts like a Brooks saddle.
Oh good and thank you.
Watch out for those rains storms and Profide is good for chapped hands.

Last edited by Campag4life; 11-04-18 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 11-04-18, 01:22 PM
  #38  
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Brooks saddles are nice...but I prefer a Cadillac.
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Old 11-04-18, 01:25 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Modern technology trumps older technology. Modern technology is 'spawned from lessons learned from earlier inventions like the Brooks saddle'.
Manufacturing has generally improved over the life of the bicycle industry. Design is more complicated, and has certainly not been a story of strict monotonic improvement. Part of the issue is that, despite pretending otherwise, the cycling industry really doesn't have impressive discretionary research and test budgets.

A really major example of this would be the matter of tire width. Modern road tires aren't actually unusually wide if we're comparing them to the whole history of road bikes, only if we're comparing them to road tires from the nineties and naughts. The reason that tires were able to get so narrow is that most experts were convinced that choice of practical inflation pressure was irrelevant to the suspension performance of pneumatic tires on real roads. This is something that only takes a bicycle, a stopwatch, a pump, a hill, and a couple hours to figure out, and it's an incredibly basic aspect of bicycle performance. But nobody seems to have bothered checking for quite a few years.

Sometimes design changes in one area create compromises elsewhere. Current-gen rear triangle and crankset designs allow for 2x11 drivetrains with durable rear wheels, but can be less comfortable for people who prefer very narrow q-factor.

Sometimes people even forget that particular mechanisms exist. SunTour probably didn't need to pay licensing costs to Cunningham for roller-cam brakes, considering that roller-cam brakes had been sold way back during the interwar by Jeay.

On the particular subject of saddles? As far as road saddles go, my general impression is that the supposed massive design advancement in the last 15 years is mostly a facade.
There's a nice amount of variety on the market, but particular designs haven't really gotten "better." They're pretending to be better by using lots of fine shapes, as if they knew what they needed from the design to an incredibly precise degree. The thing is, fitting methodology is very coarse, and we're talking about mass-production saddles, so it's not like the pelvis is going to interact with the saddle in a perfectly-predictable way*. And while we now have sizing schemes with sitbone width measurements, most of the time the measurements aren't even done on the region of sitbone that the cyclist will end up riding on. Also, for people who do a lot of fore-aft motion and hip rotation on their saddles, it's silly to pretend that there's a specific way that the pelvis interacts with the saddle's surface in the first place.
I find my late-70s Avocet Touring I more comfortable overall than any modern saddle I've tried. That's even true for very aggressive spirited riding, because its simple blunt nose allows me to comfortably-ish get on the rivet for miles at a time. (The current triathlon space actually has this figured out very well, but I think aesthetic choices dominate the design of road saddle noses.)

*Custom saddles are obviously a different matter.
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Old 11-04-18, 01:58 PM
  #40  
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LOL, so much silliness going on in this tread....

For the OP, I'm a big fan of the Brooks Swallow or better yet the Gyes equivalent. The Gyes are much cheaper and have longer rails if you need the additional setback.

But you know everyone is different and you may not find them comfortable like I do.

Here's a Swallow on my one Lemond.



And another on the Basso which is sooooo smooth out on the road.



For comparision, here's a Gyes on my old Opus III:



I obviously ride a bunch of different saddles on my 25+ bikes. I've never had a bad ride on a Brooks. They just disappear under you.
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Old 11-04-18, 02:08 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Or...you could simply concede Brooks saddles are for quaint old guys who whimsically pine for a simpler time and with their soft bottoms they refrain, pip pip, cheerio and all that good rot. And then the unthinkable. It rains...lol.



I rode a Brooks on my winter bike for several years without every doing anything special to protect. Saddle still going strong.

I'm a fan of my Brooks for sure, never had a bad day on one no matter how far or how tired I got.

Now I also ride a slew of modern Fizik's, got Ariones, Antares, and Allante's on various bikes along with several Kurve Chameleons and a Snake. I also like the flat line of Fabric saddles. For the most part they all work just fine for me but every now and then one will bug me on a ride. This has never happened with a Brooks.

I prefer a later modern saddle for most of my builds but I honestly consider Brooks to have superior, dependable comfort over any other saddle. They just work.

All that said.....not a fan of the couple of Cambiums I tried, LOL!
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Old 11-04-18, 03:16 PM
  #42  
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Brooks leather saddles are on all the bikes we ride... touring, randonneuring, shopping and MTB -- around 10 all up. I have a bike that I am currently building up that doesn't have one, but it will eventually.

As a consideration, some of the Brooks saddles have been ridden in 1200km randonnees, and all the distances up to that. Quite a few have done touring in Australia and Europe and America and Canada. I don't have any problems with discomfort or sores. Neither does Machka. And we are talking about saddles that have been ridden for 10 years or more.
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Old 11-04-18, 03:24 PM
  #43  
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What I like about Brooks saddles, is you can take them off a bike and mount 'em on a horse and ride some more. Can't beat the utility of that. Plastic saddles just look wrong on horseback. Then there are the bareback loyalists. Can't please everybody.
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Old 11-04-18, 10:17 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
What I like about Brooks saddles, is you can take them off a bike and mount 'em on a horse and ride some more. Can't beat the utility of that. Plastic saddles just look wrong on horseback. Then there are the bareback loyalists. Can't please everybody.
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Old 11-04-18, 10:31 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
I'm gonna buy me a horse...

Last edited by Campag4life; 11-04-18 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 11-05-18, 09:15 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
LOL, so much silliness going on in this tread....

For the OP, I'm a big fan of the Brooks Swallow or better yet the Gyes equivalent. The Gyes are much cheaper and have longer rails if you need the additional setback.

But you know everyone is different and you may not find them comfortable like I do.

Here's a Swallow on my one Lemond.



And another on the Basso which is sooooo smooth out on the road.



For comparision, here's a Gyes on my old Opus III:



I obviously ride a bunch of different saddles on my 25+ bikes. I've never had a bad ride on a Brooks. They just disappear under you.

thanks for the photos, this is really helpful. that lemond build is pretty close to what i'm shooting for in my new bike. i think that swallow is at least the 'look' i was going for, so we'll see if its the fit i'm looking for. i currently ride on a pretty narrow, ten year old san marco ponza, and its been a nice ride.

the overall discussion has been very insightful. good to hear the various view points. i think someone mentioned that my combination lacked a little 'taste', and yes, i'm aware of the more purist configurations. as for the wheels, i might dial it back to more of a 40mm depth, but i don't really think of 50mm as truly 'deep'. we'll see how it goes when its time to pull the trigger. but, the most important thing is, my wife has green lighted this idea. i think i deserve some kudos for that, alone.
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Old 11-05-18, 12:04 PM
  #47  
jamesdak
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Originally Posted by sultanofsuede View Post
thanks for the photos, this is really helpful. that lemond build is pretty close to what i'm shooting for in my new bike. i think that swallow is at least the 'look' i was going for, so we'll see if its the fit i'm looking for. i currently ride on a pretty narrow, ten year old san marco ponza, and its been a nice ride.

the overall discussion has been very insightful. good to hear the various view points. i think someone mentioned that my combination lacked a little 'taste', and yes, i'm aware of the more purist configurations. as for the wheels, i might dial it back to more of a 40mm depth, but i don't really think of 50mm as truly 'deep'. we'll see how it goes when its time to pull the trigger. but, the most important thing is, my wife has green lighted this idea. i think i deserve some kudos for that, alone.
Yep, I hear it sometimes for the mods I make. But for me the most important thing is that I ride all my bikes. So I do what I want to make them comfortable and fun. I really don't care if it bugs the "purist". Modern wheels are one of the first things I like to do. That lighter weight of the newer rims/tires really help to make the bike feel faster and thus more fun to take out.

The Lemond is still running it's original Campagnolo 8 Speed setup to include the DT shifters but a set of modern Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels kicked it up a notch.


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Old 11-07-18, 07:53 AM
  #48  
MKahrl
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Wallingford Bike Parts (now closed) used to sell Brooks saddles with a six month return policy. Their return rate was lowest on the B17. So if you're first trying a Brooks, start there; you're more likely to like it.
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Old 11-07-18, 11:02 AM
  #49  
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My 43 year old brooks team pro is still fine ,
covering on my 10 year old Fizik is now patchced together with gaffers tape,
but it is lighter.. ..

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Old 11-07-18, 06:44 PM
  #50  
bleui
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post

what rims are those?
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