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Disadvantages to Brooks Imperial?

Old 10-02-10, 10:11 AM
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Disadvantages to Brooks Imperial?

When comparing the B17 and Imperial, it seems like the Imperial has all the benefits of the B17, plus the cutout to relieve perineal pressure. I'm wondering if there are any downsides to the Imperial that would make someone prefer a B17. Is it just an issue of price or tradition, or is there something else?
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Old 10-02-10, 10:38 AM
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Speaking personally, I have no perineal pressure with my b17, so the imperial is addressing a non-issue for me.
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Old 10-02-10, 11:26 AM
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For a while I thought I liked the B67, because it is pretty wide, and sprung, and never felt like it needed to be broken in. It was just comfy from the get-go. But after a while I started to notice that on longer rides I would often get chafing on my inner thigh. I thought I was just too fat, but eventually I started to wonder if the saddle was actually too wide for me. So I tried the B17, and it definitely felt better when pedaling. However... it's frankly rock hard in comparison to the B67, and after more than about an hour in the saddle, I would come home with a "mashed" feeling in my prostate area. So I then tried the B17 Imperial, and that's where I am now - I haven't had the chance to do any touring on it yet, but so far on my day rides it has seemed just about right. It still needs a bit of breaking in, but I get the shape of the B17, and the middle isn't mashing my tender areas to a pulp any more. Incidentally I did try the Selle Anatomica previously, and that wasn't comfortable for me - so they do seem to have differences (even though they look the same). I really like the Imperial so far.

The only potential downside which I have heard of is that with the slot on top, the leather might end up stretching out sooner than the full B17 would... but that's just theoretical. My gut tells me that if you take care of it, use the Proofide and don't ride it when it's soaking wet, use fenders on the bike and a seat cover in the rain (I like the DryRide), then it'll probably last as long as any other Brooks.

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Old 10-02-10, 12:20 PM
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Particularly if one tries out the lattest greatest every 3 months. Not being snarky, this is a reality compared to people in the past. Ride the same Brooks for 35 years and the mileage might be different, the way they did in the past. I liked my B17 so much I immediately bought another one in reserve. Not the same world the Brooks was origninally introduced in.
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Old 10-02-10, 07:58 PM
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I was a Brooks Imperial seat tester before they were released, mine is a pre-production model. I also have two bikes with a B-17, one with a B-68 and one with a titanium rail professional. In my opinion each model has a slightly different focus. The Ti-pro is on CAAD 9 with handlebars below seat, for riding fast and mostly looking at the road-
comfortable for me. The B-17s are on my commuter bikes, with handle bars above seat and a fairly upright seating position- comfortable. The Imperial is on a sport touring bike with handlebar and seat about level and relaxed seating position- very comfortable. B-68 is on a very upright winter commuter comfort bike- comfortable. Over time, I've swapped the Imperial among different bikes. The Imperial on my commuters and comfort bike - was good- perhaps not as comfortable as the well worn B-17s or B-68. The Imperial on a Trek 520 was very nice [primary test seat]. Imperial on the CAAD, nice - but the Ti-pro is very comfortable there and weights less. So the Imperial is probably optimal when the handlebars and seat are about level. Downside the the Imperial - none. One caveat - it did seem to take a lot of adjustment to seat angle and position with the Imperial to get it just right. On the right bike and adjusted this Imperial was and is the most comfortable bike seat I've ridden on [been biking since 1960].
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