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How much break in on a Brooks before a tour?

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How much break in on a Brooks before a tour?

Old 06-30-10, 07:34 AM
  #26  
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Why not bring both saddles in the event that one does not work out too well? If I had a spare non-leather saddle I might bring it for rainy days while I protect my leather saddle in a pannier. I assume that the saddle you have is sized for your sit bones and not too narrow.

I broke in a Brooks Conquest (discontinued model) a few months ago, method is below. Like badamsjr and positron, I use water.

The goal here is to use water to make the leather moist, not too wet. If too wet, you can destroy the saddle. I soak the saddle for 15 seconds in cold water and towel dry. Let it rest for 15 minutes (while I am installing on the bike) so that the water that got into the leather can soak into the leather and ride it a short distance, maybe 5 miles. Stay close to home in the event that the leather takes shape sooner than expected so you can get off of the saddle. If that is not enough, next day use a 20 second soak. And if that is not enough try a 30 second soak a day later. Do NOT try to get it to the completely broken in shape, just give it a good start this way.

Once it has the desired shape, dry out the saddle and then apply proofhide. I put a proofhided saddle in a clear plastic bag in the sun so that it can get well warmed up to let the proofhide soak into the leather without getting dangerously hot. WHen you take it out of the bag, wipe off excess proofhide with paper towels.

If you weigh over 200 pounds, 15 seconds of soaking might be too long.
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Old 06-30-10, 07:58 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by TimButterfield View Post
I bought a new B17 Standard and, when riding that saddle, perineum pain begins within half an hour or so. I then bought a new B17 Imperial and find it to be very comfortable with no discomfort at all so far. I hope the first will become more comfortable once I give it a cut out similar to the Imperial.
I asked Brooks and they advised me against making a cutout in the B17, they said it'd ruin the saddle.

Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
I'm not sure about this, but I think that Brooks riders who are suffering from any kind of pereneum pain are simply not getting their weight on their sit bones. Your body weight should never be on your pereneum (chode, taint, call it what you like) on any saddle. A cut out in a saddle should (in my theory) be unnecessary if your weight is properly distributed via a correctly angled and oriented saddle. Remember, before you flame me: this is just my theory.
I'm pretty sure I was sitting on my sitbones. It's just the middle was too high no matter what the angle or position of the saddle was. I think if it had a channel or cutout in the middle it would work much better for me. My sitting position was quite upright on this bike as well.

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Old 06-30-10, 09:29 AM
  #28  
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Old 06-30-10, 12:11 PM
  #29  
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I really appreciate all of the feedback and tips on speeding up the saddle break in everyone provided.

I put an older Terry Race saddle from another bike that I've had good luck with in the past on my tourer last night and rode about 15 miles before dark. It has a higher rise in the back sit bone area and a larger cut out than the Fly has. The results were no numbness at all and only a little feeling of pressure on the sit bones. I attribute that mainly to the fact that I just haven't used it in a while and my arse needs a little adjustment time. This will probably be my fail safe saddle to take.

I still want to put the Brooks on the bike I'm taking and give it a good 30 -40 mile ride as a test. It may feel different than on the bike it is currently on. It is dialed in nicely now but may not make the transition as well. I originally mounted it on a bike I ride more often than the tourer to break it in faster. If it feels good then the choice gets tough and I may lean toward the Brooks with the thought that it will only get better with each day. The other factor is the destination and chance of moisture along the coast. I can cover it at night but don't want to ride with a cover. However I have fenders so it would take some pretty good rains to have to resort to that and I don't think that is too likely in OR in July. The Terry is pretty light so the suggestion of taking it also may be an option if I have room.

I do know that once the B17N gets on my Expedition is isn't coming off until either it or I wear out. I also know that any new saddles in my future will probably be Brooks. I was pretty impressed with the fact that it wasn't uncomfortable even when I first used it. I've also been dissapointed in the lifespan of the Terry Fly. I also had a newer version of the Race that did the same thing a couple of years ago. Their older models with the raised rear seam to hold up fine.

Another question: Once a Brooks gets well broken in and the sit areas concave, does the then relatively higher nose area pose a greater problem with pressure on the pereneum? Do you just give it slightly more angle to compensate?
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Old 06-30-10, 12:37 PM
  #30  
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Once you get one well broken in, you can adjust the front bolt slightly to tension the center, OR (and not everyone likes this idea) lace it. After a cutout and breakin on my B68, it had a large sag in the center that I was unwilling to try to remove with tension, so I laced it along the edges of the cutout and bottom edges, and now it rides like a dream!
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Old 06-30-10, 12:47 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by badger_biker View Post
I really appreciate all of the feedback and tips on speeding up the saddle break in everyone provided.

I put an older Terry Race saddle from another bike that I've had good luck with in the past on my tourer last night and rode about 15 miles before dark. It has a higher rise in the back sit bone area and a larger cut out than the Fly has. The results were no numbness at all and only a little feeling of pressure on the sit bones. I attribute that mainly to the fact that I just haven't used it in a while and my arse needs a little adjustment time. This will probably be my fail safe saddle to take.

I still want to put the Brooks on the bike I'm taking and give it a good 30 -40 mile ride as a test. It may feel different than on the bike it is currently on. It is dialed in nicely now but may not make the transition as well. I originally mounted it on a bike I ride more often than the tourer to break it in faster. If it feels good then the choice gets tough and I may lean toward the Brooks with the thought that it will only get better with each day. The other factor is the destination and chance of moisture along the coast. I can cover it at night but don't want to ride with a cover. However I have fenders so it would take some pretty good rains to have to resort to that and I don't think that is too likely in OR in July. The Terry is pretty light so the suggestion of taking it also may be an option if I have room.

I do know that once the B17N gets on my Expedition is isn't coming off until either it or I wear out. I also know that any new saddles in my future will probably be Brooks. I was pretty impressed with the fact that it wasn't uncomfortable even when I first used it. I've also been dissapointed in the lifespan of the Terry Fly. I also had a newer version of the Race that did the same thing a couple of years ago. Their older models with the raised rear seam to hold up fine.

Another question: Once a Brooks gets well broken in and the sit areas concave, does the then relatively higher nose area pose a greater problem with pressure on the pereneum? Do you just give it slightly more angle to compensate?
Leave the angle alone....either tension it with the tension bolt, or if you ain't afraid of doing a little leather work, lace it.
I'm not exactly Mr. Leather artist, but I prefer lacing. It seems like at least half the stories I hear about people trying to adjust the tension bolt don't end well.
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Old 06-30-10, 12:54 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Leave the angle alone....either tension it with the tension bolt, or if you ain't afraid of doing a little leather work, lace it.
I concur.
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Old 06-30-10, 07:34 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by benda18 View Post
grundle.
tickle bridge. gooch. barse. watford gap. crabwalk. miracle inch. biffen bridge. chinrest. driving range. tweenis. crossroad. bungus. bonch. ginch. skid row.
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Old 06-30-10, 08:30 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
tickle bridge. gooch. barse. watford gap. crabwalk. miracle inch. biffen bridge. chinrest. driving range. tweenis. crossroad. bungus. bonch. ginch. skid row.
Wow, I know that English has a lot of words for either extremities of that region but I am at awe before so much creativity for the part that goes between!
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Old 06-30-10, 08:30 PM
  #35  
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Moving on a more productive note (from my last post about the diversity of taint nomenclature)...

Adjusting a Brooks to the correct angle and fore/aft position is CRITICAL in benefiting from its design. The back of the saddle has a rise in order to allow your sit-bones to hold your weight. Furthermore, I think that soaking the saddle in water or applying water directly to the saddle as a break-in method is unnecessary, and perhaps even foolish (though it may work for some)

My opinion of the correct setup of a Brooks saddle is as follows. For those who can't bear to read my rambling words, I've highlighted the important parts:

1. The nose of the saddle should be angled in such a way that your weight will mostly be on the back part of the saddle, and the midsection and nose of the saddle should not be invading your nether region. Bikes with upright riding positions (cruiser or riser bars) will perhaps have the nose angled a tiny bit up, and bikes with a more aggressive position (handlebars an inch or more below the height of the saddle) will likely have their saddle level or angled a tiny bit down. My handlebars are level with my saddle on my Surly LHT, so the mounting rails of my B-17 are perfectly level (checked with a torpedo level at the time of installation).

2. The saddle should be adjusted to the fore/aft as to assure that the rider's sit bones are contacting the saddle about 1.5 inches in front of the rivets. This should assure that the middle section of the saddle is not holding your body weight, but serving as a "table" to rest your taint and "gentlemen" atop. A prerequisite for achieving this setup is that that your frame, stem, handlebars, and seatpost should be fitted properly.

3. I can't imagine why some people feel the need to soak their saddles in water and then ride them in order to break them in. Brooks explicitly warns against riding a wet saddle, and I believe that it could stretch and weaken the leather around the rivets.

Instead, heres what I do:

Before I ever ride the saddle, I treat it with Proofide. I aggressively massage every square inch of the saddle with the Proofide (not too much, not too little...using common sense as a guide....). Then I let the Proofide dry and sit for several hours or overnight. Then, with a dry, clean rag, I polish any excess off the saddle so that I don't get a stain in my shorts.

4. Then the saddle is ready to ride. The effect that other posters have tried to achieve here with water soaking is something that I achieve with my own sweat. Rather than saturating the leather and stealing it of its natural oils as the first step, I seal them in first with the Proofide and then let my own "natural moisture" aid in the break-in process.

5. As for maintainence, I try to keep my saddle out of direct UV light for extended periods of time, and I cover it with a plastic bag or waterproof saddle cover if I'm parking it or riding it in heavy rain. Fenders are a really important measure of protection to keep water from spraying up against the bottom of the saddle. It seems to me that adjusting the tension bolt up front should only be necessary in the event of a lapse of care, perhaps in which you've ridden the saddle when its soaked and stretched it out, or otherwise mistreated the leather of the Brooks. I've been on my current B-17 Champion Special on my main bike for 3 years now, never having adjusted the tension because I've protected the leather well. I weigh 190 lbs, and I live in hot, humid Japan, so I think if anybody was going to naturally stretch their leather more than I have, they'd have to be significantly heavier, sweatier, and smellier than I.

Obviously everyone is going to have their own methods for dealing with their Brooks. These are mine, and they've suited me well. I've never ruined a saddle with the above techniques, all my saddles look practically brand new, and I never, ever, ever have any butt, chode, grundle, asscheeck, or genital discomfort before I hit 100 miles of continuous riding (and at that point, you're on your own).
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Old 06-30-10, 08:55 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by LHT in Madison View Post
Why not bring both saddles in the event that one does not work out too well? .
Or pack a spare taint.

Seriously, if it feels pretty good now, take a few more rides on it before then and it'll probably be fine. I have 3 of them ( a B17, a Swift, and a Team Pro). All 3 were fine out of the box for me (even the pro), but maybe I'm just taintless or something. Level positioning has worked for me on all 3, and I've never adjusted them any different after break in. BTW, "Seat Saver" from Hammer Nutrition works great for those long days if some chaffing starts (or to help prevent it before it does). Have fun on your trip.
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Old 07-01-10, 07:33 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
Before I ever ride the saddle, I treat it with Proofide[/I][/U]. I aggressively massage every square inch of the saddle with the Proofide (not too much, not too little...using common sense as a guide....). Then I let the Proofide dry and sit for several hours or overnight. Then, with a dry, clean rag, I polish any excess off the saddle so that I don't get a stain in my shorts.
I purchased my Brooks while on vacation in England last year and the gent in the bike shop I bought it at told me his method of treating the saddle. He indicated treating the underside of the saddle was more important than the top and he melts the Proofhide and pours it onto the underside and works it around. I didn't feel like taking the chance of getting the Proofhide liquid without hitting the flashpoint, so I did a modified version. I heated up the saddle a little in the oven and spread the solid Proofhide on the underside. It melted and soaked in nicely to the leather and then I did the normal application to the top. That seems to have worked quite well and although my saddle hasn't "dimpled" yet, it has good flex to the leather and I think that is why it has worked for me since day one.

BTW: The purchase has a story but briefly it was a feel good moment as we left Oxford having dealt with a round about accident and rental car exchange the day before....... It turned the low light of the trip into one of the highlights for me.
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Old 07-01-10, 01:36 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
I asked Brooks and they advised me against making a cutout in the B17, they said it'd ruin the saddle.
Thanks. I'll try LHT in Madison's quick water soften method first.
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Old 07-01-10, 01:47 PM
  #39  
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Brooks B-17s and Champion Flyers have worked for me right out of the box...no break in req'd. YMMV.
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Old 07-01-10, 02:13 PM
  #40  
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Me too! I have a Selle Ana on my tourer that was a B17. Sweet from the get-go. I have a Swift on my roadie and it is yet to show any bone dents at 5000 miles. Comfortable, but I think I'm sitting on the rear part of the saddle.

If you have doubts, dare I say it, take them both.

Best, John

Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
I have a B17 (regular) and a B17N (narrow) on my bikes.

The B17 got reasonably comfortable after about 100 miles. The B17N however has not softened up one bit, even after about 200 miles and chopping the sides off.

FWIW I'd say that if the Terry is an older saddle, just get a new one and deal with the B17N some other time.
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Old 07-03-10, 02:08 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by badamsjr View Post
Once you get one well broken in, you can adjust the front bolt slightly to tension the center, OR (and not everyone likes this idea) lace it. After a cutout and breakin on my B68, it had a large sag in the center that I was unwilling to try to remove with tension, so I laced it along the edges of the cutout and bottom edges, and now it rides like a dream!
First time I've ever seen this. did you just use a drill to make the eyelets? It looks like you laced the top and bottom, are they tied together or separate? The laces don't run into you?
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Old 07-03-10, 04:33 PM
  #42  
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I used a leather punch (looks like an oversized hole punch for paper, with a wheel that has different size punch cutters) to cut the holes. There was a complete thread on lacing a Brooks, and some of the posters said they had trouble using a leather punch, because the leather is so thick on Brooks, but I was persistant, and gave the punch a little twist while under pressure, and was able to get it to work on four different saddles. Some of the posters suggested using a drill, bur my problem with that is it might tear the leather, the holes may not be clean, and if you slip with the drill, you could even injure yourself. I wear leather gloves, and use a fair bit of pressure, but it has worked well for me. My punch is about 40yrs old too, so a newer one might work better.

I have this one cross-laced, top to bottom. Top right to bottom left, and vice versa. The laces have not caused any problem--to the contrary, they have enabled me to stiffen up the center of a "well broken in" saddle (significant sag in the center after a cutout to aleviate 'hot-crotch') without chancing overtightening the adjustment bolt. The profile view shows how well I have been able to straighten the line of the saddle. Before lacing, there was about 1 1/2in sag!
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Old 07-03-10, 04:48 PM
  #43  
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P.S. Just did a search for 'lacing a brooks' and found the thread--titled "Lacing a Brooks...how I did it". Good pictures, and reminded me that there are more ways to lace a brooks. The OP's method is bottom-to-bottom, which I saw on a 'pre-aged' B68 I bought. I like the top-to-bottom method, but it requires you to do a cutout, sort of like Selle Anatomica saddles.
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Old 07-03-10, 05:01 PM
  #44  
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I was part of the original test group for Brooks before they introduced the Imperial to the general public. They sent me a B-17 N and for the life of me that thing nearly killed me (well at least it gave me a high voice) I have several regular B-17's and they never hurt me like this even out of the box. I traded it for a Brooks Pro model which I didn't really like all that much either so I sold it too. I now ride my B-17 that is 4 years old and its a very comfy saddle and was right out of the box though not as nice as now. Ya just gotta ride em cowboy. I would not go on an extended tour with a new Brooks unless I had another saddle that was pretty comfortable that I could change out every other day.
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Old 07-03-10, 07:51 PM
  #45  
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Thanks love mine out of the box (on the butt) but even after tensioning it sags a bit. when I grab the two bottom 'flaps' and pull it goes almost perfectly level, may try soemthign like a cutout lacing after it's nice and worn in.
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Old 07-04-10, 01:27 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by badger_biker View Post
I purchased my Brooks while on vacation in England last year and the gent in the bike shop I bought it at told me his method of treating the saddle. He indicated treating the underside of the saddle was more important than the top ....
At least he knew what he was selling. This is what Brooks say you're supposed to do in their instructions. The proofide is absorbed far faster through the rough "unfinished" underside of the saddle and you break in the saddle much quicker as a result. Brooks explicitly tell you to apply very little proofide to the top.
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