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Saddle selection (Brooks?) for a newbie

Old 09-03-17, 09:49 AM
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apc65
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Saddle selection (Brooks?) for a newbie

I'm new to touring (and haven't cycled in years) and I just picked up my first tour bike (2018 Fuji touring)...I figured that if I have to break in a new saddle (and my butt) I want to the start the most common (from what I have read) saddle used: a brooks'....I'm leaning towards a B17 or B17 imperial.....any advice/recommendations (to include other saddles) would be greatly appreciated...thanks in advance
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Old 09-03-17, 11:45 AM
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i prefer the b17. the imperial was not the relief i thought it would be. i do better without the cut out and being a fairly big guy. 5' 11" and 200lbs, the regular b17 lasts longer for me. you will want to be patient with finding the proper height and angle. i prefer the nose just slightly elevated. as for break in i dont really feel they need much. mine get comfortable in the first hundred miles. the key for me is getting the angle correct for my body.

the saddle in the pic is actually a flyer. kind of a b17 with springs. if i was buying new today i'd buy the b17.
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Old 09-03-17, 11:48 AM
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You may want to consider Selle Anatomica. It is a leather saddle, like the Brooks. It doesn't, however, require a lengthy breaking in period.

My (recent - purchased one 2 weeks ago) experience has been very positive.

They have a 30-day return policy that would allow you to road-test it.
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Old 09-03-17, 12:40 PM
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More upright, wider the saddle under your butt..


Drop bars I like the team professional . but I'm not the one sitting on your saddle with your hips and riding posture.

when I got mine, in 1975, they only made one color. brownish-black.
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Old 09-03-17, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by apc65 View Post
I'm new to touring (and haven't cycled in years) and I just picked up my first tour bike (2018 Fuji touring)...I figured that if I have to break in a new saddle (and my butt) I want to the start the most common (from what I have read) saddle used: a brooks'....I'm leaning towards a B17 or B17 imperial.....any advice/recommendations (to include other saddles) would be greatly appreciated...thanks in advance
Brooks saddles are not a universal saddle fit solution. Might work, might not - which is true of all saddles.

Take a look at Selle SMP saddles. They maintain an inventory of loaner saddles in their dealer network which permit one to evaluate the product before making purchase. Nothing to lose but some time riding a bicycle on a possibly less-than-ideal-fitting saddle.

Here's a pertinent thread:

Do you use a Brooks Saddle
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Old 09-03-17, 05:47 PM
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I've had good luck with a variety of saddles. On the cheap end, I've had success with stock saddles and, one of my favorite, the WTB Pure V. However, when I decided to get a 'fancier' saddle, I too went with a Brooks.

The B17 saddle was comfortable from day one, but only got better with time. After a year or two, it wasn't quite as comfortable anymore, but was back to my favorite saddle with a quick turn of the tension bolt. My saddle has gotten wet, muddy, dusty, dirty, scratched, and scuffed and it still supports me nicely.

To add, I actually started with the Brooks Flyer, (the B17 with springs). The springs don't exactly work like suspension, but they do take the sting out of unexpected bumps, and are very appreciated towards the end of longer days and rides.

I can't add any comments on Selle, Gilles-Berthoud, or other luxury saddles; however I imagine they are significant improvements over the 'basic' plastic and gel saddles. For me, the Brooks saddles were the most readily available and at the most competitive prices. Having found a saddle I absolutely love, I don't see a reason to take another chance.
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Old 09-03-17, 10:00 PM
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For me, I've found the various B17 models haven't taken much breaking in - noticeably less than other models of Brooks that I have. Last spring I got a Flyer for my tour this summer and absolutely loved the extra "spring" it has.
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Old 09-04-17, 05:25 AM
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I may be in the minority, but I am not a Brooks fan. Despite the fact that I am able to tolerate all of the saddles that came with my bikes, the B17 just didn't cut it for me. Most of the saddles I tried were okay at best when I started using them, but as I adjusted to them they got better and better. The Brooks was just okay when new but once fully broken in I didn't like it. I know that is the opposite of what others have found.

I didn't like the saddle that comes with the Fuji at first, but I used it for several weeks of riding around home and decided it was okay. I then rode the TransAmerica on it as well as some other tours and it was fine. I think it makes sense to give a saddle several hundred miles over a few weeks before abandoning it unless it is really terrible.

I'd still be fine riding across the US on that saddle, but if I were to pick a favorite saddle it would be one from the WTB Volt line.

Obviously YMMV, but I figured I'd share my experiences as just another data point.
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Old 09-04-17, 08:05 AM
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One thing , old leather saddles are not vapor/moisture barriers *, like plastic.'pleather' covered saddles,
but synthetics wont be damaged if gotten wet, then promptly ridden on..

* sweat has a place to be taken up and evaporated. albeit slowly .. but at least not blocked.

In the local use, I leave my 40 + year old Brooks on a shelf inside.. warm & dry ..

I used that on my multi month bike tours..






....

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-04-17 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 09-04-17, 09:00 AM
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I have tried a large number of saddles, in fact I have a large box full of them. Tried all the ones recommended, even the ones with large cut outs in the middle. The one I ride with for the past three months is a Brooks B67 (B17 with springs). When it is rainy out, I covert with a plastic bag. I initially rubbed chamois oil into the leather and experienced a comfortable ride from the beginning. I haven't done a multi week ride but have done several rough road centuries and don't plan on changing saddles again.
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Old 09-04-17, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
... if I were to pick a favorite saddle it would be one from the WTB Volt line..
Most of the Surly and Salsa bikes are equipped with WTB Volt saddles. I suspect QBP does a lot business with WTB (rims, saddles and tires). Salsa puts a B17 on the Marrakesh only.
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Old 09-04-17, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by apc65 View Post
I'm new to touring (and haven't cycled in years) and I just picked up my first tour bike (2018 Fuji touring)...I figured that if I have to break in a new saddle (and my butt) I want to the start the most common (from what I have read) saddle used: a brooks'....I'm leaning towards a B17 or B17 imperial.....any advice/recommendations (to include other saddles) would be greatly appreciated...thanks in advance
Yr butt will be doing the breaking in. I tried various saddles over the decades and tried leather saddles a couple times when my butt was well accustomed to riding many hours daily throughout the year. Never found them worth the effort compared to picking the right saddle to begin with. I have an older version of a Specialized Avatar. Found it to be better than my old style road saddles from the 80's.
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Old 09-04-17, 01:50 PM
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How soon are you planning on touring? If in the next few weeks, be aware that a traditional leather saddle that isn't an instant "fit" might mean a tour from hell, even if that same seat is next year's sweet ride.

The same cautions are true for non-leather based saddles fitting you but they do come out of the box with the designed softness so they either work of don't. You will change a little to fit it but those seats won't change.

Ben
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Old 09-04-17, 02:08 PM
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mr apc, there are lots of good seats out there, Brooks aren't necessarily the answer. One issue to keep in mind is that for a leather seats best long and even short term life, you dont want to leave it out in the rain uncovered and not to ride it if it does get soaked, so if this is a factor, look to non leather seats.

being new to cycling, it will probably be tough for you to know what seat works for you, but there are lots of good ones out there even if for you it may be a bit of a crapshoot to know which ones to try.
Seeing them and touching them in a store really doesnt give you a proper idea.
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Old 09-04-17, 03:10 PM
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Brooks Cambium C17 Carved .... my favourite saddle .... I've had a few other good ones, but this one is the best IMHO

the most comfortable saddle that I have used for long distance (more comfy than a well worn Brooks B17 or a Gilles Berthoud Aravis)
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Old 09-04-17, 03:55 PM
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I've recently run the saddle gauntlet myself, and I keep coming back to the Brooks B17 Professional. Expensive. Worth it. Those big ol' hand-hammered rivets just keep getting purtier and purtier being rubbed down daily by my butt cheeks!

I've got the WTB Deva saddle saved to my wishlist on Amazon. I've heard that more guys than gals use that saddle.

By the way, @52telecaster , dude, that Bob Jackson is sure looking good!
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Old 09-04-17, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
I've recently run the saddle gauntlet myself, and I keep coming back to the Brooks B17 Professional. Expensive. Worth it. Those big ol' hand-hammered rivets just keep getting purtier and purtier being rubbed down daily by my butt cheeks!

I've got the WTB Deva saddle saved to my wishlist on Amazon. I've heard that more guys than gals use that saddle.

By the way, @52telecaster , dude, that Bob Jackson is sure looking good!
ty and i am happier than a pig in you know what. i dont even have a bike computer on it right now cause i just want to ride.
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Old 09-04-17, 09:13 PM
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I have run the B17 Imperial for years on my Surly Disc Trucker. I was at my LBS on Saturday and the salesman asked me "How do you like your Brooks"?

My answer was that we ride a lot and I don't think about my saddle. I understand Brooks have a cult following and of course that's why I bought it, but I also have absolutely no complaints at all about how it performs.

Find what works for you and run it.

I know I MUST have a cutout.

I rode 145 miles on that Brooks this weekend. Obviously it's doing the job.
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Old 09-04-17, 10:47 PM
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Synthetic touring saddles often have choice of 3 different widths, Brooks B17 only has the "narrow" option which nonetheless has same wide nose & stupid flaring skirt. Sure, lots of folks love their Brooks but reviews are distorted by Brooks selling the vast majority of leather touring saddles vs umpteen plastic touring saddles splitting the vote. I've wasted over $500 on Brooks saddles that never fit correctly.
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Old 09-05-17, 04:29 AM
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Tensioned leather saddle manufacturers/suppliers: Berthoud, Brooks, Cardiff, Dia Compe, Fyxation, Gyes, Lepper, Papillionaire, Persons, Rivet, Sella Italia, Selle Anatomica, Selle Monte Grappa, Spa, Tops, Torelli and Velo Orange.
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Old 09-05-17, 04:45 AM
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A B-17 came on my bike. If I didn't have fenders I would be concerned all the time. As it is, I carry a plastic grocery bag at all times in the panniers. The picture above shows the nose elevated. That's also what I did and it made so much difference in comfort.
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Old 09-05-17, 05:36 AM
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I've used any number of saddles over nearly 4 decades of riding, and more than 150k miles under my belt. In my racing days I would ride only a Selle San Marco. I was always a little leery of Brooks saddles, thinking that they were for tourers or old guys (Freds). But some years ago I bought my first one, and became a convert. All of my bikes now have Brooks saddles.

Everyone's body and riding position are a bit different, and what works for me or someone else may not work for you. Brooks saddles are, and have been popular because they are comfortable for a great many people.
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Old 09-05-17, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Tensioned leather saddle manufacturers/suppliers: Berthoud, Brooks, Cardiff, Dia Compe, Fyxation, Gyes, Lepper, Papillionaire, Persons, Rivet, Sella Italia, Selle Anatomica, Selle Monte Grappa, Spa, Tops, Torelli and Velo Orange.

Some are makers some are just marketing the others.
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Old 09-05-17, 09:43 AM
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I'm a Brooks fan. Most Brooks I've installed took 500-1,000 miles before they "disappeared" under me. A couple were comfortable the day I installed them.


I've gradually transitioned all my bikes to two-bolt seatposts. These make it easy to perform slight adjustments of saddle tilt, which really helps get a leather saddle comfortable.


While not every butt is comfortable on a Brooks saddle, I've seen more Brooks saddles than any other brand on long-distance tourers and randonneuring bikes. Given the propensity of experienced cyclists to tweak things, I think that fact says volumes about what's comfortable for most people.
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Old 09-05-17, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by apc65 View Post
any advice/recommendations (to include other saddles) would be greatly appreciated...thanks in advance
Yep. What works for your butt doesn't work for others, and what works for other butts may not work for you. They are in the minority, but there are folks who don't like Brooks, don't think they are some magical solution for everyone.

Is the stock saddle uncomfortable for you? IMO one of the worst things you can do is to start changing out bits of your bike to someone else's preference. You aren't building the bike for them, you are building it for you, unless you know something isn't working it is free to give it a go for a week or two. You may well find out you like what is already there (or, it may suck and you know you want it gone). It is actually how I found my preferred saddle, riding around for a bit on a worn out example on a used bike that I was originally going to take off and toss in the saddle box.

Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Tensioned leather saddle manufacturers/suppliers: Berthoud, Brooks, Cardiff, Dia Compe, Fyxation, Gyes, Lepper, Papillionaire, Persons, Rivet, Sella Italia, Selle Anatomica, Selle Monte Grappa, Spa, Tops, Torelli and Velo Orange.
Always wondered about the others. Any worth a try, any worth staying away from? I see the Gyes and Cardiffs regularly at much more attractive prices than the Brooks, it is more of a name-premium or more of a you get what you pay for situation?

Last edited by jefnvk; 09-05-17 at 04:41 PM.
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