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brooks b17 narrow - too narrow?

Old 12-14-06, 12:51 PM
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brooks b17 narrow - too narrow?

hi, i just got a b17 narrow. i decided on the narrow because my old selle italia is about the same width. on the brooks though, my sit bones are riding on the rivets and it's pretty uncomfortable. think i went too narrow and should be riding the reg. width?
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Old 12-14-06, 01:25 PM
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As you have found out the edges of this style of saddle are not soft. Unless you don't have it adjusted right, then you may need a wider saddle. One problem with some Brooks models is the rails do not allow the saddle to be pushed as far back as most. I'm making a custom tourer, and am having the seat tube angled back to get the normal adjustment range with the brooks rails. I would check how much wider the normal B17 is, since to ride on the outside of mine would probably mean a sit bone spread of several inches wider than normal, which is not likely. People can have really big asses, mine isn't bad, but the bones are still in there at a pretty narrow width.

I did give a fitting guide for the B17s, on this board where I gave the actual spread of my sit bones, and a test where you could sit on wood pieces to estimate your fit. If you are a smart user of the search feature you should be able to pick it out, search on B-17, wood, whacking, sit bones, and my name. I'm not that smart I couldn't find it.
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Old 12-14-06, 09:26 PM
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Sounds like you should try moving the seat back. I have a brooks pro that I have changed out for the brooks narrow. For me the narrow had more fore & aft comfort.
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Old 12-14-06, 11:25 PM
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I have a B17 Narrow. I just couldn't imagine sitting so far back that I sat on the rivets- they are practically on the edge of the saddle, right?
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Old 12-14-06, 11:37 PM
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yeah, when i was installing it, i was thinking, jeeze, doesn't this thing go further back? i have it slammed all the way back so i guess the only option is a layback seatpost or sell this one and get the wider B17.

Peterpan, i'll try looking up your fit guide, but you're saying that i shouldn't be anywhere near the edge of the seat. the wider B17 is only 15mm, or half an inch, wider than the narrow. like you said, i shouldn't be that much wider than other peoples' asses, especially being 5'7" and 135 lbs.

the other idea i had was to get a helping hand to measure the distance between my sit bones and comparing that to the brooks widths.

Last edited by coolie; 12-14-06 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 12-15-06, 03:46 AM
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Take an ordinary corrugated cardboard box. Cut off the four lid flaps. Stack them on something you can sit on with your femurs slightly raised (knees higher than hips). Watch TV or something for a half hour. You will have a perfect imprint of your anatomy to measure.

Humans tend to be within 15% of each other in skeletal structure as far as size. You should not be sitting on any rivets.

Curious: what type of bike are you riding with that narrow? If you are on anything other than a dedicated roadie, you may have trouble with a narrow. Typically, they are not for tour bikes or MTB's or comfort types. Are you riding with your bars higher than the saddle? Narrows are usually used with the bars a little lower. For bars equal with the saddle height, B17 Standard's are more the norm.

If a road bike, try the set-back post option you described. Also, try tilting the saddle up a notch. Many riders get more comfort from a Brooks by this set-up. as suggested by the company. If the saddle is pointed down or even level, you could be doing a very long isometric push-up onto the rivet area without knowing it.
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Old 12-15-06, 04:06 AM
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If you can't get the adjustment sorted out, I have a relatively new (100 miles on it) Brooks B17 Black that I would trade to get my skinny butt on something more my size. Just thought I would offer. Ty
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Old 12-16-06, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jcm
Curious: what type of bike are you riding with that narrow? If you are on anything other than a dedicated roadie, you may have trouble with a narrow. Typically, they are not for tour bikes or MTB's or comfort types. Are you riding with your bars higher than the saddle? Narrows are usually used with the bars a little lower. For bars equal with the saddle height, B17 Standard's are more the norm.
i'm riding a mountain bike set up for commuting, with the bars lower than the seat. i don't see how the narrow is specifically for road bikes. i thought all the B17s favoured bar setups that are level with or only slightly lower than the seat.

i tried tilting the seat up last night, will have to take a proper ride on it soon and find out if that made a difference.
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Old 12-16-06, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by kayakboy
If you can't get the adjustment sorted out, I have a relatively new (100 miles on it) Brooks B17 Black that I would trade to get my skinny butt on something more my size. Just thought I would offer. Ty
i might take you up on that, since a friend of mine is flying out to ludlow VT in the next couple days. somehow i doubt i'll decide by the time he leaves though...

how did you decide you want a narrow, BTW?
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Old 12-16-06, 09:11 AM
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check out this series of comments/recommendations by Big Paulie from the BF 50+er forum about seat posts that allow more fore/aft positioning for a B-17:

https://www.bikeforums.net/fifty-plus-50/253380-first-ride-brooks-b17.html

The lack of a 'long' seat rail is the main reason I've not gotten a Brooks yet - simply because I don't want to have a seat that won't let me adjust it 'every which way'...supposedly this limitation has been recognized and 'long rail' Brooks are to be available spring 2007.
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Old 12-16-06, 05:18 PM
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I ride a swift right now, I got this one whole sale for pedi cabbing, next stop will be my mountain bike. I am a 30'' waist primarily though. I think that less is usually more. Lighter, less bulk betwix my knickers...
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Old 12-16-06, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by coolie
i'm riding a mountain bike set up for commuting, with the bars lower than the seat. i don't see how the narrow is specifically for road bikes. i thought all the B17s favoured bar setups that are level with or only slightly lower than the seat.

i tried tilting the seat up last night, will have to take a proper ride on it soon and find out if that made a difference.
I said "typically", not "specifically". There are all kinds of cross set-ups and frankenbikes, like my Trek 930, for instance. Depends on what you can tolerate or like. B17's typically favor a level-to-above bar set-up.

The narrower the saddle, the more aggressive the posture you can obtain, again, typically. Racing bikes have bars that are usually lower than the saddle, and usually don't sport B17 Standard's.

The term 'Commuter Bike" means differnet things to different people. To the Dutch, it's single or 3-speed with baskets. To some metro-crazies, it's an MTB with bars lower than the saddle, or, a single speed ridden with no brakes at all

We're trying to get you comfy here. Try what I've suggested. Get your weight off your hands and the saddle under your weight. I think it'll help.
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Old 12-17-06, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jcm
Humans tend to be within 15% of each other in skeletal structure as far as size. You should not be sitting on any rivets.
Speak for yourself. The indentations from my ischial tuberosities were so close that parts of the extra-large rivets on a Team Professional ended up sitting proud of the leather and cutting into my knicks. The B17 Standard suits me much better than the Narrow or the Professional. Yes, I am male but some say I ride like a girl.
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Old 12-17-06, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jcm
Curious: what type of bike are you riding with that narrow? If you are on anything other than a dedicated roadie, you may have trouble with a narrow. Typically, they are not for tour bikes or MTB's or comfort types. Are you riding with your bars higher than the saddle? Narrows are usually used with the bars a little lower. For bars equal with the saddle height, B17 Standard's are more the norm.
I've always believed that individual preference far outweighs such general rules of thumb that involve saddle vs bar height, to the extent that the rules of thumb are often completely misleading. A B17 Narrow has very similar dimensions to the vast majority of standard MTB saddles out there, which IMO are perfectly well suited to both MTB and touring.

FWIW, I've commuted, toured and MTB'd with a B17 Narrow. It's fine for the first two, but a bit sucky for the last as it's too slippery to give good traction. And the saddle is usually a lot higher than the bars.
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Old 12-17-06, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by LWaB
Speak for yourself. The indentations from my ischial tuberosities were so close that parts of the extra-large rivets on a Team Professional ended up sitting proud of the leather and cutting into my knicks. The B17 Standard suits me much better than the Narrow or the Professional. Yes, I am male but some say I ride like a girl.
The other side of the 15% Rule is that the rest of us are an 85% Majority.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by womble
I've always believed that individual preference far outweighs such general rules of thumb that involve saddle vs bar height, to the extent that the rules of thumb are often completely misleading. A B17 Narrow has very similar dimensions to the vast majority of standard MTB saddles out there, which IMO are perfectly well suited to both MTB and touring.

FWIW, I've commuted, toured and MTB'd with a B17 Narrow. It's fine for the first two, but a bit sucky for the last as it's too slippery to give good traction. And the saddle is usually a lot higher than the bars.
Yet again, I said "typically". This is all written com, and we can't observe each other as we ride. Plus there is the lack of voice inflection which humans absolutely require for total understanding in communications.

There are always personal preferences and there's nothing at all wrong with that. My own were very much different when I was younger than now.

Having said that, there is a reason that "Rules of Thumb" exist. That is: a Starting Point. Given certain but incomplete information via the limited com described above, we simply assume to begin somewhere. That's all.

I know a guy who tours on an a$$ hatchet and is quite content to do so. Conversely, the "Rule of Thumb" says that drop bars are the most versatile and comfortable type there is. However, I use North Roads on my roadified MTB for very long rides and find them to be about as perfect a setup as I can devise.

It's all good stuff. <--- inflection
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