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Brooks vs. Synthetic Saddles

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Brooks vs. Synthetic Saddles

Old 05-31-14, 03:39 PM
  #26  
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I have a WTB Pure V Race saddle that I got on my birthday tour from a friend. It is pretty comfortable with little pain aside from a long day in the saddle and even then not so bad.

I do want to try the Cambium saddle from Brooks because it looks promising and I don't have to sit on a dead animal like the rest of Brooks stuff. Most of the reviews I have read of it are quite positive and my only issue with it currently is I wasn't selected for the test ride program and neither were any of my friends. However probably thousands upon thousands of people signed up so my chances were slim.

Also someone made a mistake earlier: the Cambium saddle is not synthetic it is natural rubber and organic cotton attached to steel rails.
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Old 05-31-14, 03:58 PM
  #27  
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It turned to jello. .. Imagine jello on your bum.
some Gel topped saddle are even more Jello like .. though I wouldn't make Jello shots with the stuff..
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Old 06-01-14, 06:22 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by ChooseTheWrench View Post
I understand the appeal behind Brooks saddles once they are truly broken in, but I still prefer my Fizik Arione. What does the rest of the touring community prefer and why? Are there any riding conditions when one option beats the other flat out?
I'm 1-for-3 on Brooks saddles. My Long Haul Trucker has a B17 (1200+ miles on it) that I primarily use for commuting. I'd say it is a keeper. That said, when I did a 100-mile overnight ride, I could barely finish because of my sore ass.

I put a Brooks Team Pro on my old steel roadie (handlebars are 2-3" lower than seat) . I've been trying this for a year now...probably 800 miles on it or more. After yesterday's 50-mile ride, I'm done with it. I could barely finish the ride because of a sore ass. For sub-30-mile rides, it feels "good". I've tried fore/aft angle adjustments.

I put a B17S on my wife's touring bike a couple years ago. What a disaster that was. First, I have no idea why the "S" model is shorter. What about a women's anatomy calls for a shorter saddle? The saddle just didn't work because it made her lady-parts extremely sore. The only thing that prevented sore lady-parts was a huge downward slope, which didn't work because of all the pressure shifted towards the hands. Yet my wife can routinely do 75-mile rides on a triathlon bike with one of those hard-ass saddles.

I love the idea of Brooks. The saddles look classy. But I can't recommend anything but maybe the B17 on a touring rig. I know that some people swear by the Swift/Swallow/TeamPro on a road bike, but seems like the probability of success is too low.
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Old 06-01-14, 10:27 AM
  #29  
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I've got 7k miles or so on the b17 standard on my touring rig. My observations:

1. It is by far the most comfortable saddle I've used in 25 years of cycling, right out of the box.
2. It has a very small sweet spot compared to other saddles. You've got to get the fore-aft and tilt adjustments dead on, otherwise you are riding on the rivets.
3. Unsurprisingly, Sheldon Brown was right. Once your B17 starts to sag, ignore the tension nut and lace the flaps. I did that 2k miles ago and haven't had to touch the tension since. Before lacing I had to tinker with it every 500 to 1k miles. I think lacing the flaps is really the key to getting a lifetime of comfort out of a B17.
4. The leather of my saddle shows no signs of wear. I treated it very thoroughly with Sno-Seal before I put it on the bike (warm the leather and add beeswax based Sno-Seal until it will absorb no more). I touch it up once every six months or so though I'm not sure of the necessity or efficacy thereof. It just seems like cheap insurance to preserve my favorite perch.
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Old 06-01-14, 09:29 PM
  #30  
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Have the SI Turbo from an older Centurion Ironman. Not very comfortable for longer ride. I prefer a laced Brooks Professional with a flatter top. The Brooks stays firm on longer ride. I don't ride in the rain, so water is not an issue. B17 is also good as long as it is tighly laced. All B17s sag badly for me after 300 miles. The main advantages of a laced leather saddle are firmness and dryness on longer ride.

It takes about 3000 miles for the laced Brooks to feel good. 5K would be ideal under normal riding condition with minimal leather conditioning compound.
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Old 06-01-14, 11:16 PM
  #31  
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I dumped my last Brooks saddle thirty-five years ago and will never look back. Especially when broken in, they put too much pressure on sensitive vasculature and nerves for my liking. Other than the fact that Brooks don't work for me, I can ride reasonable daily distances (say anything less than 300 Km/day) on almost any saddle that has some sort of cut-out/depression in the center.
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Old 06-02-14, 04:11 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
I have a Selle Anatomica Titanico. I've been very pleased with the ride. Unfortunately, it keeps stretching. I've been riding it for about 6 months, 5K miles. All the tension adjustment is nearly used up. I still have several turns of the threads left, but less than 10.
I was informed in response to this, that Selle Anatomica sells a longer replacement bolt for $5.00. I ordered one in the hopes I get a solution to my problem of little adjustability left.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:34 AM
  #33  
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I went through a period of testing a lot of different saddles trying to find the "right one." After picking up a Swift in a trade, I really liked the saddle but found it to be too narrow, so I got a B17. The B17s served me well for several years until I picked up a Fizik Vitesse in another trade. The Vitesse is shaped similar to a B17 and wider than most conventional saddles, although slightly narrower than a B17. Long story short, the Vitesse was just a comfortable or moreso than my B17s and weighs less than half as much in the titanium rails version. I have been able to buy other Vitesse saddles on eBay for low prices ($10-25), so I have now installed them on all of my bikes. I still have one B17 but I'm not currently using it on a bike. It's hard to use a saddle that heavy and expensive when I can save more than a half-pound just by switching to a Vitesse for a fraction of the cost.
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Old 06-02-14, 06:46 PM
  #34  
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I had a Brooks B17 for a couple of years, and it just didn't work for me. Leaving aside the maintenance question - though that was a problem for me, and I basically wrecked the saddle - it was just not the right fit for my butt. In particular, it was far too wide. It's possible that the narrower, sportier Brooks saddles, such as the Swift, Swallow or even just the B17 Narrow would work better for me, but they are still wider than the synthetic saddles I prefer, and I've found a few models these days that work really well for me. So I'm not too inclined to experiment, given that I feel that I can get a perfectly comfortable saddle that isn't a Brooks. And though I know it's not very cool to make a point of this on the Touring forum, a typical Brooks is quite heavy!

But you know, all that is just me. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to saddles, which is why there are so many to choose from. Lots of people are really, really happy with their Brooks. They're a fine product. Nothing wrong with that. They're just not for me.
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Old 06-03-14, 01:31 PM
  #35  
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Ride what your butt smiles at. My butt happens to like a fine piece of leather and it smiled all the way cross the country with a shower cap on the days it was needed. Just a smilin and a grinnin Jack. Just like I like fine piece wood work, a nice piece of metal or metal work I'll take a brooks everyday. Now we got to interdisperse some lace into this saddle some how. Yeah.... Plastic foam and gel...but no smile.
.
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Old 06-03-14, 04:08 PM
  #36  
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My wife and I are in the Brooks camp. I have a Brooks Flyer on my Tricross with about 7500 miles and a B17 on my Fargo with about 3500 miles. I put a pre aged sprung Brooks on my wife's bike, and she loves it! I will say that my saddles did take around 1000 miles to feel real comfortable, but my wife's was comfortable at the beginning. The extra care is not a big deal and I appreciate things that are well made.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:33 PM
  #37  
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I'm into my 3rd week on a Brooks Cambium C17 on my commuter / tourer. Like any saddle, fit is a key factor in comfort, and now that I have that dialed in, it just brings a smile to my face every time I place my butt onto it. I'm trying to figure out how I can justify replacing the saddles on my other bikes now.
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Old 06-03-14, 10:36 PM
  #38  
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All this discussion of Brooks saddles reminds me of this blog post I did in 2011. The video may bother some people so if nudity and saddles bother you please do not click through.

Andrew
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Old 06-04-14, 07:13 AM
  #39  
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Thanks. I'm not a fan of brooks. But now I wouldn't mind being one, if I were lucky enough to select my owner
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Old 06-04-14, 02:33 PM
  #40  
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I have been using a Brooks B-17 for a few years. I often heard about the breaking in of the saddle but frankly I didn't notice any discomfort at all. The saddle was perfect right from the first ride. As a matter of fact I remember commenting that there was no sensation of a seat. It was like sitting on air. Really. After 6 years and many tours, it still a perfect fit.
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Old 06-05-14, 11:29 AM
  #41  
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I believe that ladies seat is a bit too high, her hips seem to be rocking back and forth a bit too much. Maybe its the wide angle and low position but it looks that way.
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Old 06-05-14, 12:06 PM
  #42  
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I recently went through a trial of approximately 15 different saddles, leather and synthetic. The synthetics were comfortable for short rides, <10miles, but they were noticeably more uncomfortable the longer the rides went.

I could not ride Brooks, the B17, the Imperial, or the Flyer. I am a very small rider and right out of the box, Brooks felt hard and slippery to the point where my arms and hands went numb after 1 mile, even the aged. It felt like riding on a rock. The only thing it had going for it was that longer rides I did not feel the heat build up on my carriage.

I am now riding a Selle Anatomica. It's taken some adjusting, but definitely felt great out of the box. I was warned by the representative that at my weight, I would still need to break in the saddle (and this was true), but there was no riding period that felt terrible, like the Brooks.

I've tried all the above-mentioned saddles for up to 100 miles, or immediately chucked it due to acute discomfort.
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Old 06-05-14, 04:01 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I believe that ladies seat is a bit too high, her hips seem to be rocking back and forth a bit too much. Maybe its the wide angle and low position but it looks that way.
Thoughts:
Loved the video, the booty, and particularly, the song.
And agreed;
Her seat is set a bit too high. Hips are rocking too much for real riding for her.
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Old 06-05-14, 07:39 PM
  #44  
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But now I wouldn't mind being one, if I were lucky enough to select my owner
put it in your Last Will your hide can be tanned too .. not sure if its as good as Cowhide ,

because other than shrunken heads and Nazi lampshades, its not done very often..
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