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RANT: I am so done with Brooks saddles

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RANT: I am so done with Brooks saddles

Old 08-25-14, 08:13 PM
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Hmmmm. Got one on my mountain bike. One on my Touring bike, one on my wifes bike and 2 on the Tandem. Don't know why you're griping. Get over it, and get a saddle that you're comfortable on. Ours were great outta the box. Lots of people say they have to be broken in-not so in my book. Can't please all the people all the time.
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Old 08-25-14, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MassiveD
Leather is a technology, like tying knots or sharpening knives. If you don't have any meaningful skills your mileage with saddles, rope, or knives may vary. Significantly. Try reading something to make up for your shortcoming vs. starting posts advertising them.

Not the op, and Generally don't rant about the limitations of leather saddles. However I have stated that I have experienced disappointment in the performance of my Flyer and been derided for that by the "if its sagging you messed up" brigade. Now I hear that if you don't understand leather technology then that could be why.

So as to experience with leather, here is some of that experience. A friend bought a pre softened b17 seven years ago, and the leather broke at the nose a year later(he still owns brooks and has had good luck with most). He gave me the rail, and I stretched this leather over it. I don't know how many miles, but more than the average. This leather is half the thickness of even a modern brooks, but was tanned in the eighties, so is stronger than current most leather available. I ride it in the rain with no cover fairly often.


This one is covered with elk leather, and gets ridden in all weather as well. I have made a few of these for others, but am now out of the extremely thick elk, and I doubt I can source any more.


And here is an Ideal that was thrown away by a bike shop(along with the Puch it was attached to that I later sold for 200 dollars). I originally thought to recover it as well, but tried restoring the leather first. It was bad(think flared out beef jerky)but two weeks of Lanolin, some saddle(horse)restoration experience, and lots of elbow grease and its now one of my regular riders.


Been working with tack for a long time, not professionally, but more than the average brooks owner who has no problems with their saddles.
The pictures are pretty poor, but I don't usually take photos of my stuff, so just ran out and took these tonight.
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Old 08-25-14, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Of course the Brooks saddle will be rock hard. And it will remain rock hard for its entire life. If it goes soft, something has gone terribly wrong.

This is one misconception ... some people think that breaking the saddle in should make the saddle soft. But that will never happen. It will conform to your shape, but will never become soft. It's not supposed to become soft. The hardness is what makes it comfortable. The hardness forces you to sit on your sitbones, where you're supposed to sit, rather than on your soft bits.


And when you install it ... install it with the nose tilted UP.


BTW - I've ridden as much as 80 km in a bathing suit and beach shorts on one of my Brooks saddle ... comfy as.
At about age 15, a friend and I rode our Raleigh three speeds down to the harbor for a swim. After swimming in salt water we got on our brooks saddles with wet bathing suits and rode home. End result - leather hammocks, surprisingly comfortable. Three inch deep hammocks. Not recommended.
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Old 08-25-14, 09:02 PM
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1) Saddles are like shoes. Brand A may be great for one fellow and terrible for another. Same for brands B through Z. No reason to take it personally if one brand works better for someone and worse for someone else.

2) Brooks quality has decreased over the years. They used to use only the best part of the hide. Now they use all of it. So it's more of a lottery than it used to be. You might get a good one that lasts forever. You might get a complete POS. The "select" models may be the equivalent of the old (pre 1985 or so) models. Or maybe not. And the idea that "mad cow" has anything to do with it is really, really funny.

3) None of them tend to work very well for the "modern" (seat well back and bars well below the seat) position. Brooks saddles were designed at a time when the typical position included high handlebars and a well-forward seat. Many folks (myself included) find that raising the bars makes a wondrous difference. You probably also will find that once the bars are raised, the seat can be angled upwards so that the rear portion of the seat is level, making the nose of the saddle point upwards at a surprising angle. This means that you are no longer thrown onto the bars by a downward-sloping saddle, and also that the upward-pointing nose no longer digs into your naughty bits. If you insist on a handlebar lower than the saddle, you may well find that there is no acceptable compromise: if the seat points upward, the nose digs into you, and if you lower the nose, the rear of the saddle will tilt down and slide you into the nose anyway. And regardless, because you didn't buy the select grade the saddle will be worn out before you finish experimenting anyway.

4) None of the above is accurate for anybody but me. Some people insist that Brooks is the only saddle worth making and that if it doesn't work for you then you are doing something wrong. Other people insist that Brooks cannot possibly work for anyone (after all, it didn't work for them) and that anyone claiming otherwise probably enjoys BDSM in their spare time.

5) HTH!
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Old 08-25-14, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
12) Brooks quality has decreased over the years. They used to use only the best part of the hide. Now they use all of it. So it's more of a lottery than it used to be. You might get a good one that lasts forever. You might get a complete POS. The "select" models may be the equivalent of the old (pre 1985 or so) models. Or maybe not. And the idea that "mad cow" has anything to do with it is really, really funny.

!
Well, at least I didn't say it was directly caused by it, or swear by it. Wish I could find the report on leather being less available from more mature cattle. It was a research paper I found online a couple years ago, and I simply read it and moved on. I do know for a fact that MCD did effect the prices of leather. And when materials prices go up, sometimes you do start to cut corners and use lesser quality product.
At the time I read it I was just looking for any reason why I was seeing new saddles failing, when every one I owned from the eighties was going strong.
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Old 08-26-14, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by shipwreck
Well, at least I didn't say it was directly caused by it, or swear by it. Wish I could find the report on leather being less available from more mature cattle. It was a research paper I found online a couple years ago, and I simply read it and moved on. I do know for a fact that MCD did effect the prices of leather. And when materials prices go up, sometimes you do start to cut corners and use lesser quality product.
At the time I read it I was just looking for any reason why I was seeing new saddles failing, when every one I owned from the eighties was going strong.
That ended up being more insulting than I meant and I apologize for it. I really just thought it was funny that a mis-folded protein could end up being blamed for saggy bicycle saddles. It's such a strange world...
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Old 08-26-14, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
To each his own. <<shrug>>

I have Brooks saddles on all my bicycles and have put thousands of kilometers ... like 50,000+ ... onto my Brooks saddles. And I love them. They are the most comfortable saddles I've ever experienced.

Oh, and I'm a woman.
I'm not a woman. But I agree with you. I have two vintage bikes, an old Nishiki and a Raleigh Super Course. Both have Brooks saddles.

Both are comfortable enough that I don't think of them while riding.

And that is the best endorsement possible for a bicycle seat.

Tomorrow's ride will be 28 miles with 2200 vertical feet climbs included.

I loaded the carbon bike in the back of the Jeep, anticipating those hills.

But then this thread made me think of the Romin seat on the Tarmac . . . and the Brooks B17 saddle on the old Super Course.

Excuse me. I'm going out to switch bikes.

Brooks saddles have no equal. Trolls without names, dissing anonymously on a product, won't change that.

Duane Behrnes
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Old 08-27-14, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Route 66
Not the kind of thread I was hoping to read today considering my B17 is supposed to be delivered on Monday.
No worries, I just bought a b17 in April, got about 2,700 miles on it now. I never even think about it so it must be comfortable. Only possible complication is the perceived necessity of hauling a saddle cover around in case of rain.

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Old 08-27-14, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sharpshin
No worries, I just bought a b17 in April, got about 2,700 miles on it now. I never even think about it so it must be comfortable. Only possible complication is the perceived necessity of hauling a saddle cover around in case of rain.

Mike
Well, fortunately (or unfortunately), I don't have to worry about that. They say we're in the worst drought here in 500 years!
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Old 08-27-14, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Duane Behrens
I'm not a woman. But I agree with you. I have two vintage bikes, an old Nishiki and a Raleigh Super Course. Both have Brooks saddles.

Both are comfortable enough that I don't think of them while riding.

And that is the best endorsement possible for a bicycle seat.

Tomorrow's ride will be 28 miles with 2200 vertical feet climbs included.

I loaded the carbon bike in the back of the Jeep, anticipating those hills.

But then this thread made me think of the Romin seat on the Tarmac . . . and the Brooks B17 saddle on the old Super Course.

Excuse me. I'm going out to switch bikes.
Coincidentally, I swapped out a Romin for a B17 on my AWOL, and my butt tells me it was the right move! I did a fairly long (for me) ride on Sunday, about 80 km with a good number of climbs and at the end of the day I was still comfortable in the saddle. My Brooks is only just showing some signs of break in as I've got about 450 km on it, but it's a substantially better fit for me than the Romin.
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Old 08-27-14, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
That ended up being more insulting than I meant and I apologize for it. I really just thought it was funny that a mis-folded protein could end up being blamed for saggy bicycle saddles. It's such a strange world...
No problem, I was just trying not to be one of the crazys who espouse a theory and then stand behind it even when proven wrong by everything. You are so right though, that even if there is a tiny shred of truth to it, its pretty darkly hysterical>
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Old 08-27-14, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Route 66
Well, fortunately (or unfortunately), I don't have to worry about that. They say we're in the worst drought here in 500 years!
Same here, but mine went out of state and went through a few deluges.

Never have treated it with Proofide (??), nobody local carries it.

It is my understanding that one applies Proofide to soften the leather. I don't need it softer.

Mike
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Old 08-27-14, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Sharpshin
Same here, but mine went out of state and went through a few deluges.

Never have treated it with Proofide (??), nobody local carries it.

It is my understanding that one applies Proofide to soften the leather. I don't need it softer.

Mike
I've used Proofide and I've also used the baseball glove treatment available at REI and other sporting goods outlets. Can't really tell the difference.
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Old 08-27-14, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Sharpshin
Same here, but mine went out of state and went through a few deluges.

Never have treated it with Proofide (??), nobody local carries it.

It is my understanding that one applies Proofide to soften the leather. I don't need it softer.

Mike
I'm not really sure about that - I'm a Brooks newbie, but it seems to me that Proofride helps preserve the leather without softening it unlike some other non-recommended treatments. I've used Proofride a bit during the break in period and it sure doesn't seem to soften the saddle!
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Old 08-27-14, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Duane Behrens
Brooks saddles have no equal. Trolls without names, dissing anonymously on a product, won't change that.
A little harsh don't you think? The OP related their experience with their brooks saddles. They didn't bash them, or suggest that others would necessarily have the same problems that they did. You call the OP a nameless troll, but they have a couple years of posting history and if you look you will see that it generally all reasonable discussion. Also most of the folks on both sides of this discussion are "nameless" including many of the most respected members of this forum.

Brooks saddles are just saddles not some perfect creation that must be revered by all. They work well for some and not for others. Why do folks seem to take any negative brooks comment as if their personal ox was gored.

Lots of people love their B17, which is great, but of all the saddles I have owned it was my very least favorite. That is how it is with items like saddles, how well they work out is very dependent on the user and the usage.
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Old 08-27-14, 01:32 PM
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My biggest complaint with Brooks (other than the fact that they weigh the same as a small boat anchor) is if you do ever get used to them, and not all will by no fault of their own, is that now it's difficult for me to be comfortable on anything else. I would love to find a lightweight synthetic alternative that felt the same.

Shipwreck, beautiful work on those saddles, do you think we could do something with some of my deer and bear hides hanging around?
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Old 08-27-14, 01:37 PM
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Different saddles for different butts.. I'm a B17 owner, not pre softened etc. Rode it right out of the box comfy with no break in. Only issue I had was not knowing to set it up to "cup" when I first got it.
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Old 08-27-14, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
A little harsh don't you think? The OP related their experience with their brooks saddles. They didn't bash them [snip].
No? :-) Here are direct quotes from the OP:

"DONE! I've become a Brooks hater."

"[Saddle 2] was an unmitigated disaster."

"The thing just sucks plain and simple. I think I got so pissed that I tossed it in the trash can instead of selling it to some poor sucker."

"Part of the Brooks disaster. . . "

"It makes the Brooks slightly less ****ty . . . "

End quotes. And my question to you is:

What for you, exactly, qualifies as "dissing?" :-) Small thing, and no one should lose sleep over it. But whenever a product is slandered by someone who posts anonymously, I have two knee-jerk reactions: (a) the troll works for a competitor, or (b) the troll has some other sort of horse in the race. This one was exceptional.

Brooks may not be the best thing ever. On the other hand . . . when's the last time you saw a cowboy riding on a vinyl saddle? Take care. DB
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Old 08-27-14, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Duane Behrens
No? :-) Here are direct quotes from the OP:

"DONE! I've become a Brooks hater."

"[Saddle 2] was an unmitigated disaster."

"The thing just sucks plain and simple. I think I got so pissed that I tossed it in the trash can instead of selling it to some poor sucker."

"Part of the Brooks disaster. . . "

"It makes the Brooks slightly less ****ty . . . "

End quotes. And my question to you is:

What for you, exactly, qualifies as "dissing?" :-) Small thing, and no one should lose sleep over it. But whenever a product is slandered by someone who posts anonymously, I have two knee-jerk reactions: (a) the troll works for a competitor, or (b) the troll has some other sort of horse in the race. This one was exceptional.

Brooks may not be the best thing ever. On the other hand . . . when's the last time you saw a cowboy riding on a vinyl saddle? Take care. DB
86 Posts in 2 years is one point against not being a troll in my book. And reviewing the OP's post history.. not seeing any troll like behavior, but I did find this.

Originally Posted by ppg677
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.
Doesn't look to me like someone trying to take brooks through the mud... looks more like someone frustrated after wanting brooks to work out for them perhaps a bit too much. You'll also note his statements you cherry picked may be a bit crude, but they are honest personal experiences.. not exactly dissing brooks as a whole, but rather his own experiences with them. Calling it dissing is like when you have an employee not fulfilling their duties and you have to explain to them "(Persons name) we have noticed that you seem to be doing a lot of personal tasks rather than your assigned work for this job" and saying that's a diss.. yes he stated it more crudely, but you can't use statements like that in a good work environment like you can here.

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Old 08-27-14, 02:21 PM
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I like my Brooks saddle.....I liked some plastic saddles.....The problem I had with plastic saddles was I wore the covers out in a couple weeks.Some were plenty comfy.
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Old 08-27-14, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport
Doesn't look to me like someone trying to take brooks through the mud... looks more like someone frustrated after wanting brooks to work out for them perhaps a bit too much. You'll also note his statements you cherry picked may be a bit crude, but they are honest personal experiences.. not exactly dissing brooks as a whole, but rather his own experiences with them. Calling it dissing is like when you have an employee not fulfilling their duties and you have to explain to them "(Persons name) we have noticed that you seem to be doing a lot of personal tasks rather than your assigned work for this job" and saying that's a diss.. yes he stated it more crudely, but you can't use statements like that in a good work environment like you can here.
That about sums up what I was going to say. So rather than bother to echo it I'll just say that I agree with what you just said.
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Old 08-27-14, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
My biggest complaint with Brooks (other than the fact that they weigh the same as a small boat anchor) is if you do ever get used to them, and not all will by no fault of their own, is that now it's difficult for me to be comfortable on anything else. I would love to find a lightweight synthetic alternative that felt the same.

Shipwreck, beautiful work on those saddles, do you think we could do something with some of my deer and bear hides hanging around?
That's hilarious, reminds me of a situation in the old Pogo comic strip, where Churchy La Femme is offered a 100 dollar a day job, and he turns it down because if he ever lost the job, he couldn't afford that kind of pay cut

Bear hide... That would be pretty cool. Talk about style points with the coffee shop crowd! Or the mountain man cycling set. When I have stretched my saddles, its been an ongoing thing, it took several tries to get it just right for my personal posterior. I made two that looked just alike, and one of them is pure torture. Given the fact that I can ride an old Schwinn mattress saddle and like it, that means something!

I have thought about going whole hog and making an actual mold for the leather and casting some iron bucks to really get the rivets in right. That's the second hardest part. Honestly, I think I am going to by a Gyes or Persons saddle next, just to try it out. I promise not to start a thread if one of those fails
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Old 08-27-14, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport
86 Posts in 2 years is one point against not being a troll in my book. And reviewing the OP's post history.. not seeing any troll like behavior, but I did find this. Doesn't look to me like someone trying to take brooks through the mud... looks more like someone frustrated after wanting brooks to work out for them perhaps a bit too much. You'll also note his statements you cherry picked may be a bit crude, but they are honest personal experiences.. not exactly dissing brooks as a whole, but rather his own experiences with them. Calling it dissing is like when you have an employee not fulfilling their duties and you have to explain to them "(Persons name) we have noticed that you seem to be doing a lot of personal tasks rather than your assigned work for this job" and saying that's a diss.. yes he stated it more crudely, but you can't use statements like that in a good work environment like you can here.
Okay. Thanks.
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Old 08-27-14, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport
Different saddles for different butts.. I'm a B17 owner, not pre softened etc. Rode it right out of the box comfy with no break in. Only issue I had was not knowing to set it up to "cup" when I first got it.
Please share the secret. I also have two Brooks saddles. Both were - and are - comfortable as installed and with no adjustments. What did I miss and what do I need to do to "cup" the saddle? Thanks.
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Old 08-27-14, 09:19 PM
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I rode Brooks exclusively from 1970 to 1990. Then modern materials and saddle science came along. I wouldn't ride a Brooks saddle if Brooks wanted to sponsor me. Won't be using whale oil lamps at the house either.

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