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Brooks saddles popular for tourers

Old 05-01-10, 10:39 AM
  #1  
azesty
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Brooks saddles popular for tourers

I just had a look at a tour bike porn page. It shows fully loaded tour bike after fully loaded tour bike.

https://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/fullyloaded

As I am thinking about what I want to put together and have just started breaking in a Brooks B17, I strolled my way through these bikes, and started noticing lots of Brooks saddles. Having come from a research background I started counting the numbers. I didnt do it from the beginning, but did count them for the last 266 (excluding recumbents).

Just a tad over 40% of bikes had some kind of Brooks saddle. They were not that common on tandems, though there was one that had two, and a few that had one.
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Old 05-01-10, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by azesty View Post
I just had a look at a tour bike porn page. It shows fully loaded tour bike after fully loaded tour bike.

https://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/fullyloaded

As I am thinking about what I want to put together and have just started breaking in a Brooks B17, I strolled my way through these bikes, and started noticing lots of Brooks saddles. Having come from a research background I started counting the numbers. I didnt do it from the beginning, but did count them for the last 266 (excluding recumbents).

Just a tad over 40% of bikes had some kind of Brooks saddle. They were not that common on tandems, though there was one that had two, and a few that had one.
For me a leather saddle is the only way to go. I did trans continental on a Wrights 5N over 30 years ago, I still have that saddle, it is on my current tour bike. I am going to swapping it for a Brooks Flyer shortly. The Wrights is about at the end of it's life span.

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Old 05-01-10, 12:07 PM
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I have to say the Brooks Imperial is the most comfortable touring saddle I've yet owned. I can't believe I don't see more of them.



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Old 05-01-10, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by azesty View Post
Having come from a research background I started counting the numbers. I didnt do it from the beginning, but did count them for the last 266 (excluding recumbents).
Interestingly enough when actually on tour I haven't seen many Brooks saddles. I met a lot of other riders on the Trans America and there were mostly other brands of saddles among them. So when everything I read here made it sound like everyone used one I was puzzled.

At the time I did a quick survey of folks on tours, by looking at the serendipity page on crazy guy. It randomly picks a set pictures from all the pictures on the site. Well I forget the exact count, but brooks saddles were a relatively small minority at the time.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say I am not a Brooks fan. The one that I owned was just OK, but nothing special comfort wise when new. When really broken in I hated it. It would have to be really special to be worth the extra weight and to me it wasn't.
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Old 05-01-10, 03:59 PM
  #5  
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Same at brevet starts. Maybe 70 riders, 2-3 Brooks, 1-2 Anatomica, most folks on saddles with cut-outs, see a lot of Terry Fly and similar - that's most common. A few Specialized BG saddles. Ever see a thread on BF where people were suggesting minute adjustments or modification of saddle or position with any saddle other than a Brooks?
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Old 05-01-10, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Same at brevet starts. Maybe 70 riders, 2-3 Brooks, 1-2 Anatomica, most folks on saddles with cut-outs, see a lot of Terry Fly and similar - that's most common. A few Specialized BG saddles. Ever see a thread on BF where people were suggesting minute adjustments or modification of saddle or position with any saddle other than a Brooks?
Lots in the road forum. That said, the Brooks is very sensitive to adjustment. More so than any other saddle I've owned.
But once its dialed in it really is the only choice for my touring or commuting needs.
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Old 05-01-10, 04:37 PM
  #7  
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Once I went to a Brooks, I had no desire to go back to anything else. After my Brooks was stolen (along with the bicycle) this past Easter, Rowan built me a "frankenbike" from bits and pieces we had here. I was sort of toying with the idea of just picking up a cheap saddle from somewhere, but Rowan offered me one of his partially broken in Brooks saddles, and I rode a 300K on that saddle after a test ride of less than a km.

Brooks saddles just work.

I'm now looking for a green one, preferably with titanium rails.
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Old 05-02-10, 12:57 PM
  #8  
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I had been seeing Brooks for years and loved the classic look to them but as an occasional cycle tourer neophyte who weighed over 200 lbs and who had a pretty sedentary lifestyle leading to poor blood circulation I chronically had issues with the saddles I already had including the ones with cut-outs and claiming therapeutic properties. I figured that the softer the better, right? Any time I held a new and obscenely hard Brooks in my hand my natural instinct screamed out in anticipated pain and thus I would shake my head in revulsion and try to forget the hellish images I conjured up of what a day on such a saddle would be like. As the years went on, however, and biking became more of a way of life for me and as a consequence my circulation improved, I started to hear things like how a Brooks saddle would form to your anatomy and for longer rides this was more ideal than a soft saddle that didn't support soft tissue structure properly. The more I read about how soft saddles actually put more pressure on soft tissue and how the ischial tuberosities (the sit-bones) needed to be supported and act as a bridge for the soft tissue the more it made sense to me. That said, sit too long in any saddle and you will eventually become uncomfortable. There is no such thing as a silver bullet in bicycle saddles. Sitting was only meant to be a temporary posture. I can't even sit in a Barcalounger for more than a couple of hours before I become uncomfortable.

Finally after years of struggle I decided that I had nothing to lose but a few bucks and pulled the trigger on a sprung Brooks. I have to admit that the first tour with the leather saddle left some painful memories. What I learned on that trip however was that you shouldn't try to break-in a saddle during a tour but that after it was broken-in I could sit longer than any other saddle I had tried. In fact after that particular tour, every time I sat back on my bike it was like putting on a well made and comfortable pair of shoes. I fell in love with Brooks by the end of that summer and now I have them on all my bikes and even prefer the unsprung versions. I guarantee though that sometime during a tour that I will become uncomfortable but that's the nature of cycling for hours on end but I can last longer with my sit-bones supported properly with a Brooks... but that's me. I am convinced that the structure that one sits on needs to be properly supported for maximum comfort on a saddle but I am under no illusion that Brooks are for everyone, my wife doesn't have one and she is much more fit that I am and anyone who says that a Brooks is the answer to everyone's sit needs is full of it. If you want maximum comfort for longer periods of time than any saddle can provide for you then maybe you should try a bent but that topic is for another forum where you certainly wont find me hanging out...

For a good read about saddles and support try some "Sheldon"
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Old 05-02-10, 02:27 PM
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I can testify that you really have to buy the right Brooks for your bike setup and sit bone width depending on how high your bars relative to saddle are. My first Brooks was a B-17N. The most uncomfortable saddle ive ever owned, ever!! I rode that thing for a very long time trying to break it in and all i ended up with was black and blue. Crazy but i really wanted a Brooks as i loved the look and the history. They make saddles similar to when i was young, all leather and no padding. Being a glutton for punishment and after trying so many other saddles over the years, i bought another Brooks. A B-17 to replace it and now all my bikes have B-17's. I learned that even if your not a big wide boned person(Im 6ft-190lbs small boned) that you can have sit bones further apart than a larger bigger boned person. My sit bones were sitting on the edge of the B-17N so i found out and that i was using the wrong saddle for sitting more upright which a B-17N is not for. The width of the B-17 is perfect for me. So one has to make sure they do some reading up on Brooks site before purchasing,they know of what they speak after more than a 100 some odd years of making them.
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Old 05-02-10, 04:57 PM
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The saddle I've seen most on touring bikes............. WTB seems very popular.. maybe because they are cheap and comfortable? I don't know the answer but it's what I've noticed.
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Old 05-02-10, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
The saddle I've seen most on touring bikes............. WTB seems very popular.. maybe because they are cheap and comfortable? I don't know the answer but it's what I've noticed.
Not denying that you will find a good WTB saddle but in this case you got the first part right; cheap - but I've never liked most stock WTB saddles.
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Old 05-02-10, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by twodeadpoets View Post
Not denying that you will find a good WTB saddle but in this case you got the first part right; cheap - but I've never liked most stock WTB saddles.

I don't have personal experience with them.. I ride a Selle San Marco Rolls and like it just fine.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by twodeadpoets View Post
Not denying that you will find a good WTB saddle but in this case you got the first part right; cheap - but I've never liked most stock WTB saddles.
I had a WTB SST on a 92 Gary Fisher ProCaliber. I liked it quite a bit. Good for road and off. The turned down nose was a nice feature that other saddles didn't have at the time. My tourer though has a Brooks Flyer. The shaped form and spring make it perfectly comfortable for me.
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Old 05-02-10, 08:24 PM
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Brooks B-66, Brooks B-17 and Brooks Flyer. You may occasionally see a Brooks B-73 or more rarely a Brooks B-130 on a roadster.
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Old 05-03-10, 09:00 AM
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I have a friend who, years ago (30 years ago, maybe a few more), did a cross-country with a cycling buddy.

They both rode Brooks saddles.

Now, he can't stand to even look at my Brooks (I have two, a B-17 and a B-17 Narrow).

He hates 'em. "Like riding in iron pants," he says.
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Old 05-03-10, 11:14 AM
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My issues with saddle sores and butt pain seemed to drastically decrease after I switched to Brooks.
Count me as a believer.
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Old 05-03-10, 11:22 AM
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My bike came with a WTB SST stock. It was a butt-hatchet for me, so I immediately threw down some money to try out a Brooks B-17. For some strange reason, it actually feels more uncomfortable now that it's breaking in than it did when it was fresh, new, and hard
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Old 05-03-10, 11:31 AM
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I got the B17 saddle and so far spent around 300 miles on it and the lack of cutout bothers me still. My sitbones are fine, though it's hard, but the area between sitbones suffers I'm not sure I can wear it in enough to be comfortable. I may end up with s WTB saddle, they're my favorites.

The first few rides felt like I was sitting on a chunk of wood.

I did a 50 mile ride on my aluminum commuter with WTB Lazer saddle and my butt didn't hurt. One day on my steel Kona Sutra with the Brooks B17 and I was constantly aware of my butt and the soft parts were chaffed.

I spent lots of time tweaking the position, but I don't think any more that I will be able to ride the B17 for many days in a row.
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Old 05-03-10, 12:09 PM
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I have a wtb pure saddle that I really like. I've been using it 5 years, I think it's the oldest component on my bike. I tried a brooks for a while that a friend gave me, I could never get comfortable on it, too much perineum pressure no matter how much I fiddled with it.
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Old 05-05-10, 08:21 AM
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I asked for RMA on mine, no reason to torture myself any further, let's see if they take it back.

I'm gonna get the WTB Laser V SLT. It has leather on top, Kevlar on the corners, high density padding, ventilated frame and the similar shape/tech as my other WTB saddles that I like, I have an older WTB Laser V Pro on my commuter which is basically like SLT but without the fancy materials, just synthetic cover and some standard padding.

https://wtb.com/products/saddles/performance/laserv/

https://wtb.com/technology/saddles/
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Old 05-05-10, 09:01 AM
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For the first year on my Brooks I'd have been willing to give it away however, after much adjusting (up, down, forward, back, tilt up, tilt down) I finally have it in a position where it is comfortable. (Very comfortable) The adjustments I made were very small and at first I thought I had to move things a lot to make a difference but in the end that wasn't the case. Differences of as little as an eighth of an inch were noticeable. We all know that one saddle is not right for everyone and it may be that a Brooks requires more patience and adjustment than people are willing to put into it. Interestingly, on my road bike I ride with a saddle that is a rock (Specialized Roman SL) and it disappears when I ride that bike so cushioning isn't the issue with comfort (for me anyway).
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Old 05-05-10, 09:11 AM
  #22  
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I am always glad whenever someone finds the right saddle for oneself. It can be so difficult.
This being said I use a pre-aged Brooks and I concur with Bikearound that small differences in set up can make it painful or a absolutely comfortable. The very relative softness of the pre-aged is a plus for me at 190 lb and the laces a bigger plus as they allow me to adjust the shape of the saddle in a very localized way.
I had to be convinced before I gave a Brooks a try but I believe that they can be fine tuned to work in most cases. For the bigger persons (I was once 235 lb heavy) they may be the very best choice in the form of the B67 or even the plushiest B135 or B190.
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Old 05-05-10, 09:30 AM
  #23  
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I love how the flyer springs soak up the road rattle, my spine is loving it.
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Old 05-05-10, 09:35 AM
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I can't return it. I'm stuck with this chunk of wood...

I tried all tips I can find and no matter how it's adjusted my perineum rubs and starts to chaf. My sitbones are positioned properly, the problem is that the area between is too high and too hard.

Someone asked this question before here: what if I make a cutout? Will it ruin the structural integrity of the saddle?

Otherwise, anyone interested in hardly used Brooks B17N saddle with a maintainance kit?
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Old 05-05-10, 09:56 AM
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They have a pretty good resale value on ebay, if you decide to sell it.
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