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Brooks a BF Practical Joke?

Old 06-29-09, 06:04 PM
  #1  
divtag
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Brooks a BF Practical Joke?

I was at the LBS today trying to decide between a Surly CC and a LHT (as I have been going back and forth for over a month). They don't have any in stock, but I was getting quotes between the CC and LHT with a things swapped.

Anyhow, they had a Brooks hanging on the wall and I checked it out. That thing was harder than a brick. If you hit the Surly steel frame with the Brooks, the frame would break before the seat. With all of the Brooks love on here, I have come to the conclusion that it has to be a BF practical joke.

"Oh no worries it will break in after 6 months." Then after six months when you get off the bike and are still walking like you just finished your first night in prison, everybody points at laughs, "Hahaha we got another one." Kind of like a frat hazing or something and you only find out it was all a joke upon learning the secret handshake after 6 months.
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Old 06-29-09, 06:14 PM
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It's no joke.

I own 3 Brooks saddles. I won't ride a bike with anything else. Each one was more comfy straight out of the box than any other saddle I've used. They are so comfortable, I seldom wear padded bike shorts unless I'm riding over 30 miles.

The secret is that, while they appear to be rock-hard, the fact is that they give just enough under one's body weight. As they break in, they give just under one's sit bones.

Riding a Brooks is like sitting in a leather chair.
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Old 06-29-09, 06:25 PM
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I have been bike touring for over 25 years and have twice traveled from San Francisco to Bar Harbor Maine. I'm leaving on Thursday for a short 350 mile loop of the Adirondacks. I Did then and do now ride a leather bike saddle. Its like sitting in an easy chair!
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Old 06-29-09, 06:50 PM
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Definitely NOT a joke. It did take me 800 km (about 3 weeks) to break in, but I've logged something in the neighborhood of 50,000 km on mine now and it is conformed beautifully to my lop-sided shape, and is the most comfortable saddle I've ever used.

I'm about to break in a second one.



But I will add I experienced some scepticism when I first saw them too ..... however I figured if hundreds or possibly thousands of randonneurs used them, then they must be all right ..... and so I got one and have no regrets.
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Old 06-29-09, 07:10 PM
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I have a couple of leather saddles, both Ideale and Brooks. Leather saddles are the most comfortable. As a matter of fact, I just ordered another B-17 narrow today. My other B-17 narrow did hurt my sit bones after about 45 miles before it was broken in. I could easily ride it out of the box for 20-30 miles with no discomfort. Once it is broken in, they feel even better and can ride all day with no discomfort.

But don't just believe us, try a Brooks and one of those big soft comfy saddles. Tell us which one hurt you more after a full day of riding.
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Old 06-29-09, 07:25 PM
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While my B-17 Imperial is far from being broken in, within the first 15 minutes of riding, I could feel a bit of softness, and an overall comfort while riding. The next day I took it for a ride and doubled back home to take off my padded shorts, as I found them just to be a hassle and adding more bulk. I can only imagine how its going to feel fully broken in. While it's not for everyone, it certainly is for me.
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Old 06-29-09, 07:31 PM
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Now don't forget in order to properly break in your new Brooks saddle you're supposed to first smear it liberally with a special concoction called Proofide (an anagram for "ripe food"). Then you sit on that sucker for thousands of miles.

I'm sure you get plenty of "glowing recommendations" here. That must prove it's not a practical joke. Right?

Well, I fell for it. I bought a Brooks B-17 last month. I guess I'll know in a few months whether I was had or not. When I bought it I told the young shop guy I wanted the leather saddle there. When he grabbed it off the rack he said, "that doesn't look like leather to me". He even got me to double check it wasn't made of wood or something. I had never seen one close up before, and this ain't no luxurious Corinthian Leather after all. It reminds me more of the boiled leather used for ancient Roman armor rather than something you'd want to sit on.
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Old 06-29-09, 07:39 PM
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Exactla LandKurt. It looked/felt like a log. Looked like a could block sword attacks with it and the sword would chip.
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Old 06-29-09, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by LandKurt View Post
Now don't forget in order to properly break in your new Brooks saddle you're supposed to first smear it liberally with a special concoction called Proofide (an anagram for "ripe food"). Then you sit on that sucker for thousands of miles.
The proofide isn't supposed to help break the saddle in, although for some reason a lot of people seem to think it is. It's just there to protect the leather.

Don't knock it till you try it!

I'd much rather have my Brooks than some soft cushy painful thing.
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Old 06-29-09, 07:49 PM
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I like these threads, I always get a good laugh. I suspect that if this were a equestrian forum, these same folks would want saddles with silk pillows for their tushies.
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Old 06-29-09, 07:56 PM
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I have mixed feelings about the Brooks. I have one, but even after 1000 miles, I don't find it as comfortable as some of my other non-leather saddles. I'm not a Brooks evangelist, though they are clearly a high quality saddle.

I've more a belief that so long as the saddle you have isn't anatomically terrible for you, pretty much you wear in to the saddle as much as the saddle wears in. Simply put: your bum and muscles mold around to the shape of the saddle. My personal evidence:

one year, Brooks relatively comfortable, cheap no name saddle awful. Used Brooks mostly for commuting, and most cycling done on Brooks.

Next year, Brooks cripples me, no name saddle actually used for tour instead of Brooks. Guess which saddle I used for commuting to work on and for most cycling?

This has also happened to me with a couple of other saddles. Each saddle has been noticeably different, though I tend to go for narrower rather than wider saddles (e.g. my Brooks in a narrow).
Which then brings me to the point of ever wonder why Brooks are so comfortable when you are recommended to put 500-1000 miles on it before passing judgement?
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Old 06-29-09, 08:00 PM
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Not everyone recommends any type of break-in...myself being one of them. For any saddle, position is the most important thing. While a leather saddle will conform somewhat to your tushie after some miles and butt sweat, if positioned properly it should be plenty comfy out of the box and perhaps improve with miles.

That said, saddles are a very personal thing, just because thousands of people find one saddle comfy does not mean it will be comfy for you.
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Old 06-29-09, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
I like these threads, I always get a good laugh. I suspect that if this were a equestrian forum, these same folks would want saddles with silk pillows for their tushies.
+1

I've never ridden a horse and have never come anywhere near the gear required to ride one until I moved into this cabin with Rowan. One of the ideas behind the building of the cabin a number of years ago was that it would be a bit of a retreat for small groups of people who wanted to ride horses in the hills around here. And it is full of horse gear ... two saddles, saddle blankets, and several other things I'm not familiar with.

We lifted the saddles down from the rafters where they were stored ... and I was surprised by how incredibly heavy they were ... but not surprised by how hard they were.
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Old 06-29-09, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
It's no joke.

I own 3 Brooks saddles. I won't ride a bike with anything else. Each one was more comfy straight out of the box than any other saddle I've used. They are so comfortable, I seldom wear padded bike shorts unless I'm riding over 30 miles.

The secret is that, while they appear to be rock-hard, the fact is that they give just enough under one's body weight. As they break in, they give just under one's sit bones.

Riding a Brooks is like sitting in a leather chair.
Sorry, couldn't help myself. I have a nice leather chair. My Brooks most definitely do not in any way resemble the comfort of a leather chair. Now my leather Selle An-Atomica...that's another story.

Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Not everyone recommends any type of break-in...myself being one of them. For any saddle, position is the most important thing. While a leather saddle will conform somewhat to your tushie after some miles and butt sweat, if positioned properly it should be plenty comfy out of the box and perhaps improve with miles.

That said, saddles are a very personal thing, just because thousands of people find one saddle comfy does not mean it will be comfy for you.
If it doesn't meet your comfort criteria after a few hundred miles, return it.
And chipcom is dead on...position is the most important thing. If you ride mostly upright, you've got a shot with Brooks. If you ride mostly on the hoods and/or drops, don't do it. Your junk will thank you. Take it from someone who put waaay too many miles on his 2 Brooks before crying uncle. Good luck!
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Old 06-29-09, 08:50 PM
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I have a team pro. . . I had my doubts for 3 months of riding. . . It's worth the work. It will last a LONG time.

Another plus, I got hit by a car, it slammed the bike into the ground, and the saddle took a huge portion of the hit, along with the handlebars. It trashed the handlebars, and the brooks got a shave off the left side. I still ride it, and it didn't even bend the framework. It's a quality product if you give it a chance. : )
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Old 06-29-09, 09:17 PM
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I've ridden 100,000 miles.
Never had a Brooks - don't want one.
Never had padded shorts.
Never had the slightest problem.
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Old 06-29-09, 11:23 PM
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I'm part of the Brooks cult club with 4 of them (just sold #5)
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Old 06-30-09, 12:01 AM
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divtag,,,I'd wear a cotton/polyster dress shirt for cycling as a sun barrier before I'd sit on a Brooks.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
divtag,,,I'd wear a cotton/polyster dress shirt for cycling as a sun barrier before I'd sit on a Brooks.
An excellent choice. That's the sort of thing Rowan wears when he works in the orchard in the summers here ... and Australian summers can get very hot with very intense sun. Now preferably the long-sleeved dress shirt should be 100% cotton for maximum breathability.

If it gets really hot while riding, you can soak the cotton shirt in water and it will help keep you cool.
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Old 06-30-09, 12:40 AM
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exactly. before lycra and middle age I discovered that wearing a long sleeve shirt was better than burnt arms or UV lotion. I forget when I was wearing them but it was crossing the central valley of California a couple times and discovered a cheap dress shirt was the best thing. I'm only 53 but the spots, blotches on my arms are the results of a time in the sun,,UV sun tan lotion just develops a layer of scum. It's weird how one remembers things. I rode lots of miles with a racing club but the time solo touring between 18-24 taught me most of what I know.
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Old 06-30-09, 01:20 AM
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Allow me to summarise this thread, as it has been done dozens of times in the past:
1) Some people have Brooks saddles and love them
2) Some people have used Brooks and hated them
3) Some people have never used Brooks and are happy with what they have
4) Some people have never used Brooks and are not happy with what they have
5) Brooks saddles are expensive and take more maintenance than non-leather saddles.

Is anything new really going to come out of this thread?
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Old 06-30-09, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by stevage View Post
Is anything new really going to come out of this thread?
does anyone but Brooks have a $30 leather mudflap? They sure know their market.
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Old 06-30-09, 05:50 AM
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Chipcom had it right. POSITION IS EVERYTHING!! Any saddle can hurt if you don't have it in the right position.
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Old 06-30-09, 06:59 AM
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"Hi BF'ers, are you pulling my leg?"

Heh.... As you can see, yes there are a lot of people in here who use Brooks saddles. In my case, it took about 100 miles or so to break in my B17, and now it has a decent amount of give. (I'm also on the lighter side, around 160 lbs.)

Brooks or leather saddles don't work for everyone, but don't let the look and feel of it put you off.


Originally Posted by stevage View Post
Is anything new really going to come out of this thread?
Nope. Since when has that stopped anybody?
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Old 06-30-09, 07:38 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
The proofide isn't supposed to help break the saddle in, although for some reason a lot of people seem to think it is. It's just there to protect the leather.

Don't knock it till you try it!

I'd much rather have my Brooks than some soft cushy painful thing.
A lot of people think that because Brooks specifically says Proofhide helps the break in process.

A new saddle should be treated with Brooks Proofide leather dressing to help assist the ‘breaking-in’ process
I drank the Kool-Aid about when I first got my LHT because I was apparently determined to be the most conformist ****** ever. I spent literally 3 hours adjusting it to start off with, because it was VERY picky about the tilt. Slightly too high and I was getting poked in the junk when I was in the drops, slightly too low and I was sliding forward when sitting upright and had to exert constant pressure on my wrists to avoid sliding onto the nose. After a bunch of tinkering, however, it finally felt "right".

After that it was fairly comfortable for 10 mile rides with no bike shorts on, so that's a good sign. I usually don't wear bike shorts though for anything less than 20 miles. I put about 250 miles on it before the Surly went in for it's 30 day tuneup, and when I switched back to the Nebula saddle on my Trek 7.3 (which I'd found perfectly comfortable before this) I did find it significantly less comfortable than the Brooks.

I've now got the Surly back and it still feels pretty good. I'd assume after another 250 miles or so, it'll feel even better. I too am surprised it feels as good as it does, I didn't even know leather could BE that hard. When I first got it, I rapped it with my knuckles and went "Ha ha, good one, Bike Forums" But it seems like there may be something to it.
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