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Brooks help

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Old 12-08-12, 08:05 PM
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ze_zaskar
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Brooks help

Hello everybody

I've also posted this question on the general forum, so here is the original text:

"I'm currently in search for the perfect Brooks for me. I've used a B17 standard for some time, and then replaced it (but never sold it) because it was too wide to get behing it on technical mtb. But after 3 years of plastic saddles I gave up, I need leather!

So I installed back my old B17, this time on a Surly Pugsley, with a 100mm bottom bracket. To my surprise, it is a little easier to get behind it with the wide BB(feet more apart), so technical terrain is now possible. But it would still be nice to move a little easier on the saddle, and I feel that I didn't got a particularly thick saddle, since the leather is little over 4.0mm.
This causes the saddle to sag a little too much. I weight 200lbs unequiped, by the way. So a thicker leather would be good.

I ordered a B17 Narrow to try the different width. When it arrived I was surprised with the leather, really thick at 5.5mm, just what I wanted. I also could move really easly around the saddle, but it was too narrow for me. I was sitting on the metal frame, and feeling generally unsupported. It was sold.

So, what are my options?
The B17 Select has a width that I can live with (but not perfect), and supposedly has a very thick leather. I'm not a big fan of the raw colour, but I see that it darkens over time.
The Team Pro looks like another option. I've read that it has thicker leather than the B17, and is a little narrower than the B17. But will it be too narrow for me? Is the profile of the Team Pro much rounder than the B17?

Thanks in advance"

Like I said there, I know that I'm searching for something a little hard to get. Wide for the sitbones, narrow for the technical descents and thick leather.

Thanks again for any help on this
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Old 12-08-12, 08:17 PM
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Brooks ain't all That.

Try some other saddles.
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Old 12-09-12, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Brooks ain't all That.

Try some other saddles.
I agree somewhat. Brooks saddles have their merits but in general have the pattern of narrow nose with sharply-flaring sitting part. Ze_zaskar seems to like that overall style but OTOH perhaps it makes it harder to get an ideal fit compared to most plastic saddles that usually have a more gradual transition between fore-aft widths. Tried a used Brooks Pro a long time ago on a racing bike: it was already a bit swayed so the narrow nose was pretty uncomfortable. Had a Campy saddle tool but the tension nut was right next to the stiff skirt, adjusting the tension would seem to risk damaging the nose so I bought a Unicanitor racing saddle which was fairly comfy. On current touring bike I tried a B17 Select (so pretty) & it was comfy except for the skirt causing thigh chafing. Replaced it with a Fizik saddle which is comfy up to about 40 miles & after that causes some general but not terrible soreness. More than once the cheapo stock saddles have worked fine even for riding 100's of miles per week. Width & roundness are important but it seems that surface slickness is important too. Brooks surface is usually very smooth as opposed to many plastic saddles with a textured finish and/or thin padding that helps prevent fore-aft sliding.

Brooks has such a wide array of models which is nice but buying various ones can run into serious $$.
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Old 12-09-12, 04:05 AM
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Confort wise the B17 works really well for me. I use my B17 Standard for hours with no chamois without problems, except the too thin/soft leather sagging too much.

Any comments on the Team Pro?
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Old 12-09-12, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
This causes the saddle to sag a little too much.
did you try tightening the bolt at the front of the saddle a little bit at a time (not too much) until the sag has gone.

this is what I've done in the past and sorted it.
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Old 12-09-12, 07:12 AM
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Yes, I've used the tightening bolt, but the leather only stayed at correct tension for some kms. I think the problem really is the leather thickness, or the lack of it. Also, I've only used Proofide on it, so it is not a mater of bad conditioning
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Old 12-09-12, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
Yes, I've used the tightening bolt, but the leather only stayed at correct tension for some kms. I think the problem really is the leather thickness, or the lack of it. Also, I've only used Proofide on it, so it is not a mater of bad conditioning
Have you tried lacing it? It seemed to add lots of support when I laced mine.
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Old 12-09-12, 11:56 AM
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Can't really lace mine, because I use a Thomson seatpost. The seatpost head is right between the skirts
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Old 12-09-12, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
Yes, I've used the tightening bolt, but the leather only stayed at correct tension for some kms. I think the problem really is the leather thickness, or the lack of it. Also, I've only used Proofide on it, so it is not a mater of bad conditioning
Sag is a big problem with tensioned leather saddles. I believe this critical design flaw, along with the invention of superior materials, is what led to their general replacement by the modern "plastic" saddle.

A Brooks saddle starts out uncomfortably hard; by the time it starts "breaking-in" it already has started to sag, too. If you ride a Brooks long enough, it will eventually sag down to the rails, despite the provision for retensioning the leather with the adjusting bolt. "Plastic" saddles will sag too as the foam padding compresses, but not as far as tensioned leather saddles.

Once a saddle sags, it becomes uncomfortable to many bicyclists, because the saddle depression prevents one from shifting their weight forward or rearward to temporary relieve a pressure hotspot. You will gravitate to the low spot despite repeated attempts to reposition. The combination of pressure, friction and road shock concentrated in one spot eventually causes rash/saddle sore/general pain in the perineum (not arse).

You don't actually sit on your arse ("sit bones") on most bikes/saddles, except in the case of extremely upright bikes like English roadsters (aka 3 speeds), which is exactly the bike for which a Brooks saddle was designed. The generous proportions of a Brooks saddle are to support more of your anatomy, the arse (sit bones). On most drop handlebar bikes, the rider's weight is supported more by the perineum than the arse. This is why skinny saddles are often as comfortable as the much larger Brooks for many bicyclists - you don't actually use/need all the saddle width of the Brooks. In fact, the wide part of a Brooks saddle actually interferes with your effort to move rearwards, so I think one could argue a Brooks is less comfortable by design. If you are a bicyclist who is unfazed by sag and never needs to reposition, then a Brooks would work well for you. For the rest of us, a modern design skinny saddle is as good or better than a B17. I'm partial to the Selle Italia Flite myself. I see they call it a "Flite 1990" now, to distinguish from the "improved" variants of the Flite made since. Someday I'd like to try a Fizik saddle.
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Old 12-09-12, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
Can't really lace mine, because I use a Thomson seatpost. The seatpost head is right between the skirts
Actually you can, I've done it with a B17 and Thomson. In fact it is probably as easy on a Thomson as any seatpost, because the saddle rail clamping mechanism is relatively compact on a Thomson.
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Old 12-09-12, 01:00 PM
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I have to take another look at it, I guess I was wrong
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Old 12-09-12, 02:19 PM
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They list widths on their website. Pro is 160mm wide.
http://www.brooksengland.com/catalog...m+Pro+Classic/

Avoid the S model, that would not be the width you want.

Pro is slightly rounder than B17.
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Old 12-09-12, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
I have to take another look at it, I guess I was wrong
I simply lace a few holes behind the seatpost and a few in front of it.
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Old 12-09-12, 02:36 PM
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I did not like the B 17 with a zero setback seatpost. so I traded it away..
the Selle Anatomica might shove back further as they made the rail adjustment range longer,

But I got a composite Fizik Vitesse that Brompton got made, special batch..
with a high clearance rail bend, that seems to work.
it is OK out in the weather.. being not leather..

Have a 30 year old Brooks Pro, on the long touring bike..
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Old 12-10-12, 05:41 PM
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Thanks for all the help
Fietsbob, what differences do you feel between the B17 and the Team Pro?
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Old 12-11-12, 01:17 PM
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So today I re-tensioned the B17, but this time applyed some loctite to the bolt. Went on a 40km road ride and it kept the tension. Felt a lot better. Still, thicker, firmer leather would be nicer, so I think I will order both the B17 Select and the Team Pro. I'll see which one I like the less and sell it
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Old 12-11-12, 01:32 PM
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Difference is the frame shape, and the Leather dies to shape the leather is made to go with that .

B17 is flatter across the back, Road racers used the Pro.
The Traditional Campag Seat posts , are perfect with Brooks saddles.

That is why there was a combination wrench was made By Campag, open end for Brooks tension nut,
boxed end for the clamping/angle adjustment bolts on top of the <C> seat post ..
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Old 12-11-12, 04:39 PM
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Thanks
Let's see of that roundness isn't too much for me. I had a Fizik Gobi XM that traumatised me on round profile saddles
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Old 12-11-12, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ze_zaskar View Post
So today I re-tensioned the B17, but this time applyed some loctite to the bolt. Went on a 40km road ride and it kept the tension. Felt a lot better. Still, thicker, firmer leather would be nicer, so I think I will order both the B17 Select and the Team Pro. I'll see which one I like the less and sell it
B17 is intended for a more upright seating position, typically handlebar height above saddle height.

TP is intended for a more modern seating position, bar even with or below saddle height.

Wallbike has a free trial and return policy which you may wish to take advantage of, rather than dealing with selling a used saddle.
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Old 12-11-12, 06:08 PM
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I'm in Europe, so can't really enjoy that free trial thing. On the other hand, I can get Brooks saddles A LOT cheaper than you on that side of the pound.

My handlebars (flat) are about 2cm lower than my saddle
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Old 12-11-12, 07:24 PM
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A visitor to the shop had a lot of miles on his B 17, the leather had a sway back drape to It,
but He after 10's of thousands of miles that was His shape.
like the saddle on a Horse.. they are not flat, either.

Coming From Europe, said he and is SO rode on a tour of Iceland,
before coming to North America


My Pro's are 20 and 30 years old. from before Selle Italia Bought out Brooks,
and promoted the fashion of color choices , and Titanium Rails.
In consistently wet weather, my commuter uses a S I Turbo, under Plastic Bags.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-11-12 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 12-12-12, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Difference is the frame shape, and the Leather dies to shape the leather is made to go with that .

B17 is flatter across the back, Road racers used the Pro.
The Traditional Campag Seat posts , are perfect with Brooks saddles.

That is why there was a combination wrench was made By Campag, open end for Brooks tension nut,
boxed end for the clamping/angle adjustment bolts on top of the <C> seat post ..
My first Brooks was the Pro combined with a Campy Record seat post & I had the Campy saddle wrench too. The Brooks Pro had some sway...I tried to use the Campy wrench but there was near-zero clearance between the saddle leather & the tension nut; plus the tension nut was somewhat recessed above so that merely reaching the nut w/the wrench would have displaced the leather, actually turning the wrench would have really risked (in my estimation) stretching out the leather esp since it had little flexibility near the nose. Was a moot point since I discovered that the bike shop owner had sold me a used saddle as new. BTW he was the same guy that famous Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein plugged in his book! (Carl was a cyclist & had his bike stolen on the night of the Watergate indictments.) Bike shop owner later had his store closed due to delinquent property taxes.

So IMHO the Brooks tension nut design is dumb, VO saddles have a hex-nut. Brooks owners seem to manage tightening so I guess that's not a big issue but still. Also Brooks Pro doesn't have loops for a saddle bag.
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Old 12-12-12, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
So IMHO the Brooks tension nut design is dumb
It's not the smartest of designs. I had to cut a flat screwdriver slot on the rear end of the bolt of my B17 to be able to hold it
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Old 12-12-12, 10:47 AM
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The stamped out, Brooks 12 point wrench works better, but the Campag one
feels so much better in your hand,
and the z bend to get to the bolt head on top of the saddle, does help..

Selle Anatomica's use of a allen socket bolt is easier to use.. Brooks is keeping a century old design,
Aka Tradition..
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Old 12-12-12, 05:15 PM
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Something I just posted over my other thread at Classic & Vintage:

"Regarding leather thickness, I just had a little email chat with Bill Laine from Wallbike, and he said something interesting:
The thicker leather on the Team Pro is somewhat myth, and it's firmness is more related to shape than anything else"
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