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I'm giving up on my Brooks Cambium: a rant and a question.

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I'm giving up on my Brooks Cambium: a rant and a question.

Old 06-21-17, 10:30 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by msquared22 View Post
Yes, I think you're absolutely correct. The lateral curve of the saddle is what I think is my issue. So the B17 is flatter on top? The saddles I am testing right now are very flat and they feel so much better!
Yes, for me it feels flat, with a little give over time. The Pro feels like it has a nasty hump running fore and aft along the top, the Cabium is like sitting on a football. The B17 and B17n are a few of the conventional saddles I've tried that I can ride for a reasonable distance without bike shorts, though I'm not recommending that as a practice.

Actually, that not a bad technique for testing saddles. If you can ride comfortably in gym trunks, and without rubbing thighs, then it will likely perform well for distance.

I'd also say stay away form Anatomicas, they have the opposite issue...a pronounced hammock.
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Old 06-21-17, 10:46 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by badger_biker View Post
At least in my experience there is a definitive difference between the flex of the Brooks Cambium and their other leather saddles - even out of the box. For that reason I would not write off trying a leather B17. The OP's comments seemed to indicate that the design of the cutout portion of the Cambium may be the source of the discomfort. It is different than the cutout shape of the Brooks B17 models.
Hey neighbor! Thanks for the good info. I'm not sure if it's the cutout portion itself, or the shape of the Cambium that's giving me issues.
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Old 06-21-17, 10:56 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
Yes, for me it feels flat, with a little give over time. The Pro feels like it has a nasty hump running fore and aft along the top, the Cabium is like sitting on a football. The B17 and B17n are a few of the conventional saddles I've tried that I can ride for a reasonable distance without bike shorts, though I'm not recommending that as a practice.

Actually, that not a bad technique for testing saddles. If you can ride comfortably in gym trunks, and without rubbing thighs, then it will likely perform well for distance.

I'd also say stay away form Anatomicas, they have the opposite issue...a pronounced hammock.
YES! Like sitting on a football. Horrible. That's the perfect way to describe it.

Huh, I was thinking the Selle Anatomicas looked kind of comfy, since they're the opposite of the football. I've never seen one in person though.
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Old 06-21-17, 11:29 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by msquared22 View Post
YES! Like sitting on a football. Horrible. That's the perfect way to describe it.

Huh, I was thinking the Selle Anatomicas looked kind of comfy, since they're the opposite of the football. I've never seen one in person though.
If you opt for an Anatomica make sure you have a full refund option. I found it the worst of the worst. But, nice people down in San Diego, they gave me a full refund.
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Old 06-21-17, 11:42 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Personally, I feel the C17 would be fine on a bike where one stands often, or hammers or ride hard on...
This has been my experience. I used a C17 on a tour and found day after day sitting on it painful but like it on my daily commuter/trainer. For touring I've chosen a B67 which is very different in comparison.

11 hours yesterday fighting stiff headwinds from Calgary to Banff and my legs were gassed but my butt felt fine
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Old 06-21-17, 12:02 PM
  #31  
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I like my Cambium. I've had it since February. Until recently I only had a couple of extended rides. A couple of weeks ago I spent about 10 days biking from Cleveland, Ohio to Cumberland, Maryland. Mileages varied from 25 miles to 85 miles. Didn't really think about the saddle. That's a win in my book.
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Old 06-21-17, 01:58 PM
  #32  
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I feel your pain ...For years, I too searched for a saddle that would accommodate a woman's anatomy. I finally found one that was perfect for me (Selle Italia Diva Gel, without the open slot) and I loved is so much that I bought an extra one for that sad day when the cushioning gave out.

It might not be optimal to focus solely on Brooks saddles. Instead, I suggest you look for one that is wide enough for your "sit bones". Also, I suggest a saddle that is flat (both length wise and laterally). The flatness will allow your sit bones and the front of the pelvic bone to bear all the weight so that the "tender tissue" doesn't get compressed.

There is a forum for women (TeamEstrogen) that has a very extensive posting on saddles. It might have some helpful info for you.
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Old 06-21-17, 02:24 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Jean_TX View Post
I feel your pain ...For years, I too searched for a saddle that would accommodate a woman's anatomy. I finally found one that was perfect for me (Selle Italia Diva Gel, without the open slot) and I loved is so much that I bought an extra one for that sad day when the cushioning gave out.

It might not be optimal to focus solely on Brooks saddles. Instead, I suggest you look for one that is wide enough for your "sit bones". Also, I suggest a saddle that is flat (both length wise and laterally). The flatness will allow your sit bones and the front of the pelvic bone to bear all the weight so that the "tender tissue" doesn't get compressed.

There is a forum for women (TeamEstrogen) that has a very extensive posting on saddles. It might have some helpful info for you.
Don't worry, I'm a little miffed at Brooks right now, so I'm staying away from their saddles for the time being! I may wind up trying a leather option eventually, but I don't think I'll go down that route unless I don't find anything else. I tried the Selle Italia Diva Gel, but found it too squishy for my tastes. I have two others that are nice and flat that worked well on some shorter rides...hoping to give them some good test rides over the weekend!

I'm a member at Team Estrogen and have been for years, but sadly the forum doesn't get much traffic anymore. Most of the saddle posts are pretty outdated these days. Is there a women's section around here?
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Old 06-21-17, 02:29 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by msquared22 View Post
Don't worry, I'm a little miffed at Brooks right now, so I'm staying away from their saddles for the time being! I may wind up trying a leather option eventually, but I don't think I'll go down that route unless I don't find anything else. I tried the Selle Italia Diva Gel, but found it too squishy for my tastes. I have two others that are nice and flat that worked well on some shorter rides...hoping to give them some good test rides over the weekend!

I'm a member at Team Estrogen and have been for years, but sadly the forum doesn't get much traffic anymore. Most of the saddle posts are pretty outdated these days. Is there a women's section around here?
It seems like I read once that there is a women's forum here, but I don't know how to access it, sorry...
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Old 06-21-17, 03:20 PM
  #35  
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Non Gel, dense foam, version of " Selle Italia Diva" won't deform , as much , if the basic shape is suitable..

Brooks has no exclusive, other leather saddle companies , such as this , may be better..
Gilles Berthoud - Selles

Fizik Vitesse, is one of their 'unisex' saddles . though at the retail end the colors * may be white and pink..

assumptions made as to colors well up the supply chain.. * Thus, basic black hard to find..







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Old 06-21-17, 03:21 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Don't take offense, but you and apparently many others are wa-a-a-a-a-y too patient.

I can understand giving a saddle some time, especially a leather one that needs to break in, but if a saddle isn't comfortable after 30 days or so, it never will be.

Well, to be fair, I have other bikes I ride so I've probably only put a months worth of riding on it. But every time I get off it, I get on my Champion Flyer and go "ahhhh".

Now off to ebay to score a B17 for my Madone.
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Old 06-22-17, 10:44 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by msquared22 View Post
Yes, I think you're absolutely correct. The lateral curve of the saddle is what I think is my issue. So the B17 is flatter on top? The saddles I am testing right now are very flat and they feel so much better!

B17 is fairly flat on top esp compared to some other Brooks'. Rounded-top Cambium is an out-moded non-ergonomic design IMO. SQ Labs 610 Active is my favorite saddle: very flat in sit portion but designed to minimize pressure on soft parts.
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Old 06-22-17, 10:44 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by velonomad View Post
Brooks isn't the same company it once was. Yes they still make their iconic leather saddles but they are more into "Bike Bling" these days. The C-17 IMO is more about bling than comfort. Many people who profess to be tourists are also all about bling.

My humble experience with women's saddles is with one woman for 29 years. All 3 of my wife's bikes have Brooks , A B17s on her road bike and a sprung Brooks B67 on our tandem and her tourer. That said I have known women who can't stand a Brooks. Another popular women's saddle is the Terry Liberator. Terry has a 30 day return policy.
My wife has been riding Terry Liberators for 10 years. She has them on 3 bikes. She had over 25,000 miles during that period and I can't ever remember her complaining about her saddle.
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Old 06-22-17, 11:13 PM
  #39  
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I have 5 Brooks saddles: 2 B17 standard, a B17 narrow, a Champion Flyer (B17 with springs), and a C17 carved.

Of all of them, the B17 standards are by far the most comfortable. The champion flyer is also comfortable, but heavy, and I had to oil the springs to keep them from squeaking. I gave up on the B17 narrow after 3 years and 5000 miles. It just never broke in like the B17s and always caused perineum pain after about 2 hours of riding. I replaced it with a C17 carved. The C17 was initially uncomfortable. I tried many different saddle positions but my seatpost only had ratchet adjustments for saddle tilt so I could never get it just right. I replaced the seatpost and now the C17 is very comfortable. It's not a saddle I could sit on for 12 hours like my B17s, but up to 6 hours on it is okay.

However, I paid twice as much for the C17 as my B17s. In part, it was an experiment. If I had to do it over again, I would get a B17. If the B17 and C17 were the same price, I'd still get a B17.
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Old 06-23-17, 03:46 AM
  #40  
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Before giving up on the Cambium, it may help to try a few small adjustments. I've found many times that a small adjustment one way or another can make a reasonably large difference to comfort levels. It often can take 5-7 days of constant fiddling with heights, angles, reaches, and so on, on a new setup to iron out the exact setup for maximum comfort, at least in my experience. Ideal comfort for shorter rides may not be the optimum for long days of touring necessarily. I have a cambium currently, it isn't (from memory) the absolute best seat I've had, but it is close. At the price you (probably) paid, another try wouldn't be the worst you could do.
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Old 06-23-17, 06:57 AM
  #41  
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Please allow me to weigh in.

I've been considering the C17 to replace the SQlabs saddle I purchased for my ECR. I have a B17 that I swap around on a couple of bikes as I'm building and testing them, and that is currently on my ECR at this time. I went through the SQlabs sitbone-fitting process, and that saddle just never felt good, so back with the B17. I originally went with SQlabs because I got duped by their sales hype and their comfort claims. I wanted a non-leather saddle because I didn't want to fuss with it on The Divide. Now it looks like currently I'll be rolling with the B17, but my quest for the waterproof yet comfortable saddle for that bike continues.

Flat saddles seem to do well by me. I am of the opinion, that saddle-maker need to focus on cupping your arse rather than creating bumps for your sitbones to ride upon. Tourers want to ride in their saddles fixed and securely, and not feel like they have to precisely rest their bones upon two padded bumps in order for their rumps not to cry out in pain.

Look at wooden chairs for a moment. Would you rather sit on one that is completely flat, or sit on one that the chairmaker dished-out ever so slightly? Look at an old-timey tractor seat. Farmers rode on those for hours and hours and they were made of metal! Dished out. Cupped. Surely this is what we see when we look at a well broken-in leather saddle. You can see right where the two sitbones rest, and the appropriate amount of sag in the perineum area. Its not rocket science - you'd think that saddle makers would understand this.

If I had the money to invest in a business process, I'd custom-mold every saddle to the individual. I would have them put on a skin-tight pair of nitrile shorts, sit on a saddle-shaped lump of clay, then fire the clay and make a saddle mold from it.
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Old 06-23-17, 07:10 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by msquared22 View Post
I'm a member at Team Estrogen and have been for years, but sadly the forum doesn't get much traffic anymore. Most of the saddle posts are pretty outdated these days. Is there a women's section around here?
Originally Posted by Jean_TX View Post
It seems like I read once that there is a women's forum here, but I don't know how to access it, sorry...
Contact the moderator Siu Blue Wind, IIRC she is the only one who can give access to the women's forum.
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Old 06-23-17, 07:36 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Contact the moderator Siu Blue Wind, IIRC she is the only one who can give access to the women's forum.
Thank you for that info!
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Old 06-23-17, 08:24 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by msquared22 View Post
I can't take the pain anymore - I have to give up on my Brooks Cambium C17s Carved. (Reference point: I am female, mid-30s, in shape. I bike because I like to bike, but also because I can't run as much as I want anymore. My touring bike is a Salsa Vaya.)

I had a bike fitting done two years ago (which was about a year after I purchased my first real bike) where I tested a bunch of saddles as well. The Cambium felt the best of the bunch and the guy swore that everyone loved these new saddles. I was just a noob back then and I'm not sure I really knew what a properly adjusted saddle should feel like and the Brooks felt pretty good on my bike on the trainer, so I bought it. It certainly felt better than the cheap, crappy saddles I had been riding before, so I was happy enough.

I did my first tour on that saddle shortly after purchasing it -- 500 miles over 8 days. The saddle caused me pretty bad pain for the first two days until I moved it forward a smidgen. Then it was just okay. If I stood up and coasted out of my saddle frequently, I was able to keep riding. I couldn't stay seated on it for more than 15 minutes. It squished my lady bits and caused a lot of pressure. I finished the tour, but the riding part wasn't very fun.

I read everything I could on the internet about the Cambium. How I should adjust it, other people's experiences, how everyone raved about this damn saddle being the most comfortable thing ever. I tinkered with the adjustment constantly. Forward, backward, level, tilted slightly up, slightly down, raised it, lowered it, anything I could think of. Occasionally I would find a sweet spot where it almost felt pretty good, but on the quest to make it feel as good as everyone else raved, I would inevitably change it and have to start all over again. It always supported my sit bones quite well. My butt was good, but my female parts were NOT. Even when I had the saddle where I considered it to be "pretty good", my lady bits had pressure. I tried creams and different shorts with varying levels of padding, but nothing worked.

It got to the point where I didn't even want to go for short rides, but I kept powering through, figuring I was just doing something wrong because I didn't know any better and because my sit bones felt so great. On Memorial Day weekend this year, we did a 3 day/180 mile weekend tour and I was absolutely miserable on the bike. Finally arriving home was the most welcome relief ever. I resolved to never sit on one of those saddles again. EVER. (And I have two of them now! Hopefully I can sell them.)

So now I am on a quest for a new saddle. I bought some from REI (and plan on using their generous return policy) and each of them was significantly better than that damn Brooks. I was able to sit for an entire 20 mile ride on a Terry Butterfly Century saddle without ANY pain. I cried. Seriously. I also really liked the Selle Italia Max SLR Gel Flow. Those are the two saddles I am hanging onto for a while to ride/try. They are both fairly flat in the rear with generous cut outs. Looking back on my first bike fitting, the guy didn't give me anything to try that was a woman's model besides the Cambium. I tired a lot of men's saddles that didn't have a cut out and none of them felt good.

My TL;DR question is this: If the Cambium doesn't work for me, how likely is it that one of the leather Brooks will feel good? For touring, everyone is all Brooks, Brooks, Brooks, Brooks. The bees knees, the holy grail, the promised land. Should I even bother trying a B17? And does anyone else hate the Cambium as much as I do?
I haven't ridden a Cambium and probably never will. However, I've ridden a lot on Brooks leather and noticed a lot of things about it. First, the saddle doesn't "break in". You adapt to it. My Pro with around 20,000 miles on it is still as hard as the day I put it on the bike. It doesn't have any "dimples" and, outside of a few scratches and wrinkles in the leather, it looks factory fresh.

More importantly for me is that the Pro was comfortable out of the box as have been a couple of B17N, another Pro, and a regular B17. They just don't seem to matter. But I attribute this to my riding style more than the saddle. The way I ride is called "being light in the saddle". Even while pedaling, I make an effort to take as much weight as possible off the saddle. I'm hovering over the saddle and using it as support but not for something to "sit" on. I often experiment with "sitting" on the saddle, i.e. let the saddle take my full weight, and can't believe how uncomfortable it is. I use plastic saddles for mountain biking...Brooks are too slick and too wide for off-road...and switching from bike to bike makes no difference to me.

I suspect that you may be a "sitter". It takes effort to develop the ability to hover over the saddle and most people don't (or can't) do it. But once I learned how and it becomes automatic, I found that saddle pain just isn't much of an issue. If you can't develop that ability, a padded saddle may be better for you.

I also suspect that some of your pain may be due to the cutout. I've experimented only a little with cutout saddles in the past and found them to be far less comfortable than people say they are. The cutout part tends to squeeze together when you sit on it and puts more pressure on places that don't need the extra pressure. My mountain bike saddles have cutouts but they are small and the saddle material stretches over the cutout. The plastic base of the saddle is also more rigid than other materials so it doesn't deform as much.

Bottom line: The Brooks saddles just may not be good for you. There's no shame in it. Ride what works but do work on learning how to ride lighter in the saddle. Even with a padded saddle your delicate bits will thank you.
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Old 06-23-17, 09:32 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
B17 is fairly flat on top esp compared to some other Brooks'. Rounded-top Cambium is an out-moded non-ergonomic design IMO. SQ Labs 610 Active is my favorite saddle: very flat in sit portion but designed to minimize pressure on soft parts.
Hmmmm, that one looks interesting. Thanks!
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Old 06-23-17, 09:35 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by tspoon View Post
Before giving up on the Cambium, it may help to try a few small adjustments. I've found many times that a small adjustment one way or another can make a reasonably large difference to comfort levels. It often can take 5-7 days of constant fiddling with heights, angles, reaches, and so on, on a new setup to iron out the exact setup for maximum comfort, at least in my experience. Ideal comfort for shorter rides may not be the optimum for long days of touring necessarily. I have a cambium currently, it isn't (from memory) the absolute best seat I've had, but it is close. At the price you (probably) paid, another try wouldn't be the worst you could do.
I've done two years worth of small adjustments with no relief, so I'm throwing in the towel. I can't even sit on it for 15 minutes comfortably at this point.
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Old 06-23-17, 09:37 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
If I had the money to invest in a business process, I'd custom-mold every saddle to the individual. I would have them put on a skin-tight pair of nitrile shorts, sit on a saddle-shaped lump of clay, then fire the clay and make a saddle mold from it.
Excellent post, thank you. I may have the give the leather Brooks a go at some point here.

And I would pay good money for a custom molded saddle!
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Old 06-23-17, 09:42 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Contact the moderator Siu Blue Wind, IIRC she is the only one who can give access to the women's forum.
Cool, thank you! Apparently I need 50 posts before I can join though. Wonder if I can import any of my 13,000 posts from Runner's World over here?
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Old 06-23-17, 09:55 AM
  #49  
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One issue with Brooks is a rather short rail length, range of adjustment is reduced,

so then your seat post choice enters the picture to adapt to that..

my Koga had a B17,& a zero setback post , both had to go, for that reason.






Last edited by fietsbob; 06-23-17 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 06-23-17, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
One issue with Brooks is a rather short rail length, range of adjustment is reduced,

so then your seat post choice enters the picture to adapt to that..

my Koga had a B17,& a zero setback post , both had to go, for that reason.





This is what I encounter with the B17. Occasionally when I wear thin, unpadded shorts, my arse cheeks rub on the back rivets - not to the point of soreness, but I'm guess that if the ride was more than 25-30 miles, they would certainly become a problem. If I move the seat back even a centimeter, it begins to feel like I'm trying to push myself back. So what leather seat has longer rails? Gilles Bertoud? Selle Anatomica?
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