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Brooks saddle, should I give it a try?

Old 07-14-22, 05:00 PM
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HendersonD
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Brooks saddle, should I give it a try?

I have a 13 day 680 mile bike tour starting the third week of September. I am using a Trek 520 touring bike that currently has a Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow saddle. I am thinking about purchasing a Brooks saddle to use on this tour. A few questions:
  1. If I go this route, which Brooks should I purchase? I know the B17 is the classic choice
  2. The B17 is a leather saddle so how would this work on a tour when rain is likely?
  3. Do you think the Brooks will be more comfortable than my current Selle Italia saddle?
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Old 07-14-22, 06:19 PM
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If your current saddle works for you, I wouldn't change it.
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Old 07-14-22, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HendersonD View Post
The B17 is a leather saddle so how would this work on a tour when rain is likely?
Saddle cover. Thread, 'bout two months back:

Leather Saddle Rain Cover?

Do you think the Brooks will be more comfortable than my current Selle Italia saddle?
My derriere says flip a coin between my Brooks Pro and my Selle Italia Epoca. Noted: derrieres are sort of a personal, individual thing.



Current tensioned leather saddles:
Berthoud - France
Brooks - UK
Gyes (Cardiff, Dia Compe, Fenix, Fyxation, Lekker, Origin8, Papillionaire, Shinola, Sobdeall, Spa, Torelli, Velo Orange, Zimbale, etc.) - Taiwan
Ideale - France
Lepper - Netherlands
Nasiruddin (Persons) - India
Rivet - AFAIK manufactured in Taiwan by Gyes but to their own proprietary designs
Sella Italia - Italy
Selle Anatomica - USA
Selle Monte Grappa - Italy
Tabor - Portugal
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Old 07-14-22, 07:05 PM
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B17 does not work for me when I use the drops on drop bars. It is a bit too wide for me. I prefer the Brooks Pro or a Conquest which I think is discontinued again. That said, B17 is very popular.

If you ask 100 cyclists how to break in a leather saddle and the best means of care for it, you will get about 120 different answers.

As noted above, if you are happy with your saddle, keep it. And as noted above, use a rain cover for rain. I put the rain cover on every evening when camping so that the dew does not get it wet.

A lot of people do not like leather saddles after they gave them a try.
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Old 07-14-22, 08:01 PM
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Only you can answer your question. Everyone's back end is different. I have a half-dozen-ish Brooks saddles (B17 Imperials, std B17, B17 Flyer) and they are all comfortable..to me. If you're going to try one, get it now and start riding it. Several of mine..nearly all, were purchased used/like-new. Besides a price discount over new, they are also broken in to some extent. All of mine, new or used, have been comfortable right out of the box.
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Old 07-14-22, 09:02 PM
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Brand new Brooks Pro on a 520 is the most comfortable combo IMO. Setup with an inch or two drop from saddle to the bars, and level the saddle tilt to the pavement. Look for one with the thickest leather you can find, and once it breaks in, sell it to a friend and find another new one!
As always, YMMV.

PS - I offer a service to break in your new Brooks Pro for no charge - just cover shipping!

Last edited by SalsaShark; 07-14-22 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 07-15-22, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by HendersonD View Post
I have a....bike....that....has a...saddle....
....Brooks saddle.....questions:
  1. If I go this route, which Brooks should I purchase? I know the B17 is the classic choice
  2. The B17 is a leather saddle so how would this work on a tour when rain is likely?
  3. Do you think the Brooks will be more comfortable than my current Selle Italia saddle?

1. dunno..........it's your butt.
2. buy a raincover. liberate a shower cap from your hotel. save a plastic bag from seventy-leven.
3. see #1 above.

Last edited by saddlesores; 07-15-22 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 07-15-22, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
B17 does not work for me when I use the drops on drop bars. It is a bit too wide for me. I prefer the Brooks Pro or a Conquest which I think is discontinued again. That said, B17 is very popular.

If you ask 100 cyclists how to break in a leather saddle and the best means of care for it, you will get about 120 different answers.

As noted above, if you are happy with your saddle, keep it. And as noted above, use a rain cover for rain. I put the rain cover on every evening when camping so that the dew does not get it wet.

A lot of people do not like leather saddles after they gave them a try.
Spending $120 on a Brooks saddle and not liking it is a concern
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Old 07-15-22, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Brand new Brooks Pro on a 520 is the most comfortable combo IMO. Setup with an inch or two drop from saddle to the bars, and level the saddle tilt to the pavement. Look for one with the thickest leather you can find, and once it breaks in, sell it to a friend and find another new one!
As always, YMMV.

PS - I offer a service to break in your new Brooks Pro for no charge - just cover shipping!
Is this the Brooks Pro saddle you are talking about?
https://www.brooksengland.com/en_us/...o-special.html
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Old 07-15-22, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Saddle cover. Thread, 'bout two months back:

Leather Saddle Rain Cover?



My derriere says flip a coin between my Brooks Pro and my Selle Italia Epoca. Noted: derrieres are sort of a personal, individual thing.



Current tensioned leather saddles:
Berthoud - France
Brooks - UK
Gyes (Cardiff, Dia Compe, Fenix, Fyxation, Lekker, Origin8, Papillionaire, Shinola, Sobdeall, Spa, Torelli, Velo Orange, Zimbale, etc.) - Taiwan
Ideale - France
Lepper - Netherlands
Nasiruddin (Persons) - India
Rivet - AFAIK manufactured in Taiwan by Gyes but to their own proprietary designs
Sella Italia - Italy
Selle Anatomica - USA
Selle Monte Grappa - Italy
Tabor - Portugal
It does seem like a pain in the @ss (no pun intended) to try an keep a leather saddle dry on a long tour whether keep it dry overnight while camping or even in use during heavy rain
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Old 07-15-22, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by HendersonD View Post
Spending $120 on a Brooks saddle and not liking it is a concern
There is so much loving talk about Brooks on BF you can sell it here for a very minor loss.
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Old 07-15-22, 05:51 AM
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I love my Brooks B-17, but it took me awhile to figure out how I liked them adjusted on the bike. I have to tilt the nose up quite a bit or I feel like I’m sliding of the front. Once it’s to my liking I forget it’s there.
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Old 07-15-22, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by HendersonD View Post
It does seem like a pain in the @ss (no pun intended) to try and keep a leather saddle dry on a long tour whether keep it dry overnight while camping or even in use during heavy rain
Tensioned leather rubber saddles: Brooks C17 (Italy), Selle Anatomica R2 (USA)
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Old 07-15-22, 06:21 AM
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Not all butts like the B17...

  1. If I go this route, which Brooks should I purchase? I know the B17 is the classic choice
  2. The B17 is a leather saddle so how would this work on a tour when rain is likely?
  3. Do you think the Brooks will be more comfortable than my current Selle Italia saddle?
I tried many saddles including a few brooks till i found the right brooks for my lacking in its own padding butt, the B67 sprung. It was only after that could i handle century rides. If your saddle works and you can handle the daily miles stay with it. My butt and saddle became happy together in only a few high millage weeks but others say it takes longer. The C17 cambium I think requires less of you and may be weatherproof it has a denim look, my bottom did not like it. Best of luck in your travels.
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Old 07-15-22, 06:24 AM
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I got a C17, thinking rubber would solve the humidity issue. Its a nice saddle, but the hammock-style didnít work for my lower back problems.
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Old 07-15-22, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by HendersonD View Post
Is this the Brooks Pro saddle you are talking about?
https://www.brooksengland.com/en_us/...o-special.html
That is the one. They used to make a less expensive standard rivet version called the Team Pro Classic, but it was discontinued a year or two ago.
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Old 07-15-22, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Brand new Brooks Pro on a 520 is the most comfortable combo IMO. Setup with an inch or two drop from saddle to the bars, and level the saddle tilt to the pavement. Look for one with the thickest leather you can find, and once it breaks in, sell it to a friend and find another new one!
As always, YMMV.

PS - I offer a service to break in your new Brooks Pro for no charge - just cover shipping!
From a few comments that I have occasionally seen, I have come to the conclusion that if you are one of those that wants your Brooks brand new and not broken in, the Cambium saddles like the C17 might be what you need.

I like my Brooks leather saddles well broken in, have Brooks leather saddles on most of my bikes. Tried a C17 thinking that it would be nice to have a saddle that I did not have to worry about getting wet, and I found that to be a medieval torture device. That said, I have met a lot of randonneurs that prefer the Cambium over leather, and they do LONG distance rides on them.
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Old 07-15-22, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
From a few comments that I have occasionally seen, I have come to the conclusion that if you are one of those that wants your Brooks brand new and not broken in, the Cambium saddles like the C17 might be what you need.
I have Cambium saddles on most of my bikes and they are great, but the 520 still gets the leather treatment!
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Old 07-15-22, 09:28 AM
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IME it takes about 500 miles to break in a B-17, about 1,000 miles to break a Team Pro in. So if you're going to get one for a tour in late September, get it now and start riding!

Should you change saddles? If your current saddle is comfortable on rides up to touring distance (perhaps 50 miles/day), why mess with success? If you're uncomfortable, and it's more than just sitting on a bike for 3-7 hours at a time, look for something else.

Should you get a Brooks? I've got two B-17 and one Pro on three bikes, and it's a pleasure to ride them. What does that tell you about how well one will do for you? Not a darn thing. My unscientific observation on a Trans-America ride was that something like 75% of the tourists I ran across were riding Brooks, and probably over 50% of the randonneurs I've seen on brevets were on Brooks saddles. They work for a lot of people. OTOH, they don't work for everyone, there are some people who tried a Brooks saddle and never got comfortable. There are a handful who post in every thread here with Brooks in the title about how one didn't work for them.

Rain (or heavy sweat)? Start by putting a goodly dollop of Proofide on the top, and some on the bottom of the saddle. Leave it out in the sun on a sunny day (where you can keep an eye on it!) and let the Proofide soak in. Get an Aardvark saddle cover and put it on when it starts raining -- you can ride with it.
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Old 07-15-22, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
From a few comments that I have occasionally seen, I have come to the conclusion that if you are one of those that wants your Brooks brand new and not broken in, the Cambium saddles like the C17 might be what you need.....
Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
I have Cambium saddles on most of my bikes and they are great, ...
Thank you for confirming my suspicion.

But I am one that prefers a well broken in leather saddle which I think is why the Cambium ones did not work for me.
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Old 07-15-22, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by HendersonD View Post
I have a 13 day 680 mile bike tour starting the third week of September. I am using a Trek 520 touring bike that currently has a Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow saddle. I am thinking about purchasing a Brooks saddle to use on this tour. A few questions:
  1. If I go this route, which Brooks should I purchase? I know the B17 is the classic choice
  2. The B17 is a leather saddle so how would this work on a tour when rain is likely?
  3. Do you think the Brooks will be more comfortable than my current Selle Italia saddle?
Your Selle Italia looks like a fairly narrow saddle (140mm). I think I'd start with a Brooks B17 Narrow. (My favorite.)

But I would not start a tour on a brand-new one if you have never ridden a leather saddle before. Put it on your bike, go on a couple of short rides to adjust it where it works best for you, then work up to longer rides as you break it in.
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Old 07-15-22, 12:00 PM
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Gyes (and others) make leather saddles that have a waterproof fabric glued (?) to the bottom side to help prevent water damage from tire spray in wet conditions (your butt will cover the top side of it unless you're not riding - then get a cover). Some say that the glued, stiff fabric makes break in slower and the saddle stiffer. Dunno. Whatever you do, make sure you try it well in advance and break the saddle in. If you're happy with your current saddle on rides of this length, don't change it to something less idea because someone told you it was "best for touring".
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Old 07-15-22, 12:57 PM
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The Brooks Cambium IWII.

The Selle Anatomica R2's rubber top has adjustable tension.
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Old 07-16-22, 12:39 AM
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I’d recommend you do more research OP.

Ive not been to the Brooks site in a long time but they used to recommend the b17 for riding bikes whose handlebars higher than the saddle.

Its not a rule cast in stone as I know of riders who swear their b17 is comfy when higher than their bars irrespective of what Brooks says, however the approach of going against the manufacturers direction might best be approached with some caution.

Butts and saddle fit is very individual so what might work for one might be the equivalent of a medieval torture device for another so good luck!!!

https://sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html

https://sheldonbrown.com/leather.html

Brooks currently suggest: “
Which is the right Brooks saddle for me?Our leather saddles come in different shapes and styles depending on what kind of bike or riding position. For example, a wider saddle with springs is ideal for an upright, 90-degree posture. Middle widths are often used for touring or commuting when the spinal angle of the rider is in a 45 to 60 degrees position. As a general rule, the more athletic the riding position, the narrower the saddle.”
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Old 07-16-22, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
B17 does not work for me when I use the drops on drop bars. It is a bit too wide for me. I prefer the Brooks Pro or a Conquest which I think is discontinued again. That said, B17 is very popular.

If you ask 100 cyclists how to break in a leather saddle and the best means of care for it, you will get about 120 different answers.

As noted above, if you are happy with your saddle, keep it. And as noted above, use a rain cover for rain. I put the rain cover on every evening when camping so that the dew does not get it wet.

A lot of people do not like leather saddles after they gave them a try.
I was using a cheap shower cap to keep my Brooks Flyer Special dry after Iíd noticed my Brooks cover wasnít up to the torrential rain hereabouts. Alas the UV from the sun had recently degraded the cap significantly, over time, so Iíve grabbed a silicone swim cap from a local Op shop to try.
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