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  1. #1
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    B17 owners, breakin time?

    I have always been in love with the look of the Brooks B17 leather seat.
    I have never tried one mostly because I have heard they are quite uncomfortable
    until they are broken in.

    Please be honest.
    How long did it really take you to break in your Brooks saddle?
    Did you treat the leather to help the break in? If so what?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    I bought mine about a month before I

    started the Tour Divide. I gave it a good coating of Snoseal, my favorite boot waterproofing.
    I have well over 4000 miles on it and can honestly say I have only had 1 uncomfortable ride on it. And that was when it was over a month old. More important than break in is getting it properly adjusted. You sit in the seat, not on it. Just a slight tilt either way makes a big difference. Every time I look at mine it looks wrong bur feels right. Enjoy, Harry

  3. #3
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    I honestly cannot remember if I had a "break-in" point as such as my B17 have been pretty good to me straight out of the box. My Team Professional on the other hand is taking way to long.

    Andrew

  4. #4
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    My experience is similar to Aushiker's.
    I had used a B17 special on a surly long haul trucker for thousands of kilometers of primarily road and dirt road and it was great right out of the box. I did not treat it with anything, never have. I rode it in really wet conditions as well, I live in Vancouver Canada, with no issues.

  5. #5
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    I have a b17 on a vintage road bike that is mostly ridden around town with non-bike pants or shorts. Even so, it was pretty comfortable right out of the box. I'd say within the first 200 miles or so it was nicely broken in to my sit bones. I followed Brooks' suggested Proofide treatment schedule.

  6. #6
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    I treated it once with the Brook's sealant before putting it on my bike and it's been comfortable from the first ride.

  7. #7
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Thanks everyone I really appreciate your posts, you've convinced me I'm going to give one a try.

    Does anyone remember if a tin of the waterproofing/breakin cream comes with a new saddle or must be purchased seperately?

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  8. #8
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    No

    It is extra

  9. #9
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    I love my Brooks and the character it has gained over time. Even bad scuffs in the leather can also be re-pressed using a nail file and some water and a stainless steel spoon, and buffed out with patience. I'd have them on all of my bikes if it weren't for the weight issue (or the price of the Swallow ti models).

  10. #10
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    I bought mine used for about half of retail. A bit of adjustment and it was ready to go.

  11. #11
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    B17 out of the box.
    Swift, never, sold it.
    Swallow, 1 month of sweat on the trainer over the winter.

  12. #12
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    I have had a B17 on my Surly LHT since 2008 and love it. BUT breaking it in took me 3-4 months and about 800 miles. I almost gave up several times. I kept coming back to the B17 because nothing else seemed to work any better. My break in regimen involved several applications of saddle cream and riding. When my butt got too sore for the B17, I'd switch out saddles. The other saddles hurt different parts of my anatomy, but gave the B17 sores time to heal.

    Mind you, I think this had more to do with the fact that I was getting back into serious cycling after a 15 year hiatus than the saddle itself. I used to ride a B17 in the 90s and I do not recall having a hard time breaking one in the first time. Back in the day, it seemed like I could ride anything without a problem. These days, my anatomy is far more particular. Other than my well broken in B17, the only other saddles that work for me are WTB's Speed and Pure models, which work for me right out of the box.
    The older I get the better I was...

  13. #13
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    I understand the Brooks saddles have a leather tightness/tension adjustment that is adjusted with this special wrench that comes with a Brooks tuning kit.

    Has anyone adjusted the leather tension to help with fit or breakin?


    Thanks again everyone for all your posts.
    I'm becoming a Brooks expert(haha) pretty fast with your help.
    I found a B17 with Ti rails from BikeSomeWhere for 279 free shipping.
    Will post some picture once it arrives and I get it installed.

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  14. #14
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    From everything I've read, the tension nut should only be used to re-tension a very used and sagging saddle. Once you reach the end of the screw (about an inch) the saddle is shot. Considering a well-cared for Brooks should really last a lifetime, that's some pretty infrequent tightening. I'd like mine to last that long, and that's why personally I'd shy away from trying to break it in (break down the leather) quicker than your butt naturally does, but that's just me.

    I've got maybe 800 miles on mine and haven't touched the tensioner.


    Also, in case the inevitable happens (mine fell over onto concrete once) and you scuff that pretty saddle that you've put hard-earned miles on, I used the following method on mine and it worked very well. Save the link or take note of the process

    Refinishing A Scuffed Brooks Saddle

  15. #15
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    I have a B-17 that was aged (already broken in). I received it on a Thursday, and raced the Dirty Kanza 200 that Saturday, with no problems at all. If you're really worried about it, the aged saddle might be something to look at.

  16. #16
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    My experience has been that once I got the seat angle right, it was comfortable. No real extended break in period. I have the wrench for tensioning the saddle, but have used it maybe once on my saddles in 8 years.

  17. #17
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    Recently got my first B17 and it's been comfortable out of the box. Only have probably 200 miles on it so I know it still has some breaking in to do. Longest ride so far was 56 miles with about half that on old railroad tracks and dirt roads I was was comfortable.

    Looking forward to it getting used to my bones for some 100+ mile days soon.

  18. #18
    AZ
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    Proofide the wee out of it and ride it.

  19. #19
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    mine felt pretty good out of the box also, but after about 3-4 months of commuting 1.5 miles each way, it is really starting to feel good and I now understand why everyone raves about these saddles.

  20. #20
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    My B17 S (short) was good to go out of the box. The B17 narrow broke me, bruise my sit bones, bad. Took about 4 months of regular use to make it comfortable. Have a new B17 of my Fargo and it was good after a few proof hide application, I'd say it perfet now.
    “Singlespeed, build character, destroy ego”

  21. #21
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    I probably should have asked the in my first post.
    How many are using a B17 without padded bike pants?

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  22. #22
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    I do. Since the bike I have mine on is for around town use, I am almost always wearing jeans or cargo type shorts. Its probably the most comfortable saddle I've used for that.

  23. #23
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Quote Originally Posted by breckenridge View Post
    I do. Since the bike I have mine on is for around town use, I am almost always wearing jeans or cargo type shorts. Its probably the most comfortable saddle I've used for that.
    Cool thanks. I'm putting this seat on my bikepacking bike and I usually wear REI nylon hiking pants with the zip off legs. Saves me from packing long pants once the riding is over.

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  24. #24
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    You should be fine, I'd just do your breaking-in with un-padded pants too, so it can soften up in the right spots. I've never gone farther than 20 miles on mine, but even in jeans its never bothered me at all.

  25. #25
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    Mine has been pretty good out of the box but just gets better with time. I do not touch the tension although I do have less than 1k miles on it but I have noticed it is very sensitive to the angle it is mounted at. Cheapie seatposts without fine adjustment could make setting your brooks up much more difficult.
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  26. #26
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    I almost never use padded pants.
    The older I get the better I was...

  27. #27
    Clyde on a mission!
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    Not a B17, I got the Team Professional instead and worried a bit about the breaking in thing. Turned out I didn't have to because it felt great from day one.

    I treated the underside with a good layer of Proofide and gave it another one a couple of days later. Topside got a thin layer of Proofide and I polished it off the day after. Other than that I really haven't done anything to it.

    The first two rides the saddle was rather slippery which I felt in my arms and neck (grabbing on tighter to the handle bar to keep in place) but since then it hasn't been an issue.

    I ride padded shorts on the trails and unpadded when I'm just cruising around town, both work just fine.

    Awesome saddle, love it!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
    I honestly cannot remember if I had a "break-in" point as such as my B17 have been pretty good to me straight out of the box. My Team Professional on the other hand is taking way to long.
    Andrew
    I've had the same experience. B17 no break in time. Pro, way too long.
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  29. #29
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    I bought a B17 for my touring bike this year and find it pretty awesome. No break-in time for me either. I did note the top being a bit slippery for the first couple of rides due to the proof hide you apply to it the first time. Other then that it's been great and i'll be getting one for my future bikepacking rig as well.

  30. #30
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    Any one ever try the Imperial B-17 saddle with the cutout in the middle? Just wondering if that's worth it for a bit more comfort and pressure relief??

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    I probably should have asked the in my first post.
    How many are using a B17 without padded bike pants?
    If i am riding up to twenty miles than i'd go without padded pants. For longer trips i'd take padded underwear with a small padding. I also have a pair of bibs with larger padding and while they are great for modern narrower saddles they make my thigh muscles rub against the B17, experienced that today on a 100km trip. I guess good "seamless" underwear would be best.

  32. #32
    SpoK Werks Handmade Goods
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    I have a couple of B17's but they were always too wide for me and I never could get them broken in right. However, I switched to a Swift and after doing the recommended slathering under and on before riding and then a few "after coats" it broke in within a couple hundred miles. I'm now on 20,000 km and I still love it! The best saddle that I've ever owned.

  33. #33
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Well I am still waiting for my B17 to arrive. I finely received a tracking number from BikeSomeWhere.
    Should arrive this Thursday Man that vendor is slow to ship. Order places 09/28

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  34. #34
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    Finely arrived. Did a 4 hour ride and you guys were right
    right out of the box this saddle is comfy. As some have said a little slick I hope that changes once the treatment soaks in.

    So now for my last question. Should I dye the leather black to match this bike silver and black color scheme?
    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 11-06-2012 at 02:21 PM.

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  35. #35
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    Very nice, I wish I'd gotten the copper riveted one. The honey color is my favorite. Id leave it as is personally!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogus View Post
    mine felt pretty good out of the box also, but after about 3-4 months of commuting 1.5 miles each way, it is really starting to feel good and I now understand why everyone raves about these saddles.
    DITTO, I loved my B-17 out of box. I love it more now. I wish it didn't weigh 2 lbs.

  37. #37
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Quote Originally Posted by henrymiller1 View Post
    DITTO, I loved my B-17 out of box. I love it more now. I wish it didn't weigh 2 lbs.
    Yes that is why I went with the Ti model 428g or 0.944lbs

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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    Finely arrived. Did a 4 hour ride and you guys were right
    right out of the box this saddle is comfy. As some have said a little slick I hope that changes once the treatment soaks in.

    So now for my last question. Should I dye the leather black to match this bike silver and black color scheme?

    Honestly, if you wanted black, you should have bought black. I wouldn't mess with dying it yourself. There's probably more chance of damaging the leather than it's worth. It will darken due to sweat and so forth but I think you're stuck with brown.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Speed View Post
    Honestly, if you wanted black, you should have bought black. I wouldn't mess with dying it yourself. There's probably more chance of damaging the leather than it's worth. It will darken due to sweat and so forth but I think you're stuck with brown.
    Black was sold out. I have a little experience with leather, dying black is pretty easy.
    I think I'll keep it the stock color for now it might not stay on this bike.
    I'm trying to build a rails to trails bikepacking bike and I am not sure I want to stay with this 26" mtn bike I'm thinking a 29er might work better and I would want this seat on that bike.

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  40. #40
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    Hi SingleTrackLovr. I wouldn't dye it. You'll find (at least I did) that your honey brown saddle will become a rich, robust coffee-with-a-dab-o'-creme brown as you ride it more. All 3 of mine turned out uniquely gorgeous. Except the black ones which no matter how long I rode them stayed as black-as-dog-lips. B-17's work super. Enjoy! PS AND don't forget to cover them up when its wet.
    Last edited by coffeemuggr; 10-14-2012 at 05:46 AM. Reason: Brain fart

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    Please be honest.
    How long did it really take you to break in your Brooks saddle?
    Did you treat the leather to help the break in? If so what?

    Thanks
    I have 4 B17s [one of which is a Champion Flyer with springs]. 3 were comfy right out of the box. 1 was crazy uber stiff and took a year of casual riding to break in.

    My GF hated her B17S imperial for the first week of bike commuting. Asked me to take it off. I forgot due to an out of town job. When I got back 2 months later I asked her if she wanted it gone. She said no she loved it now.

    For the "normal" B17s I just used a heavy initial dose of Proofide top and bottom. Followed by a light treatment once every 6 months.

    For the crazy hard B17 I used a lot of Neatsfoot Oil on the bottom to try and speed up the softening. It seemed to help. I also used some Proofide on top.

    I've heard all sorts of answers from people on Brooks break in so I don't know that there is anyway to know for sure. If you can buy your B17 from a store try everyone they have and skip any that seem unusually hard. Even my softest one [in relative terms] has not sagged or needed any tension adjustment after years of use.

    BTW - on mt MTBs I use Selle Anatomica saddles. Waterproof leather and they are soft hammock style saddles so there is no break in at all.

    Selle Anatomica - We make the world's most comfortable bicycle saddle. Period.

    I never wear padded bike shorts with my leather saddles. 8-10hr rides day after day are no problem. Previously with a wide variety of plastic saddles I suffered a lot on long rides.
    Safe riding,

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  42. #42
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    A little offtopic, but here it goes
    I used to ride with a B17 standard, but ditched it because it was too wide to get behind on technical descents. Anyone here has experience with the Narrow version? Is it much easier to get behing than the normal B17?

  43. #43
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    A little offtopic, but here it goes
    I used to ride with a B17 standard, but ditched it because it was too wide to get behind on technical descents. Anyone here has experience with the Narrow version? Is it much easier to get behing than the normal B17?
    I agree. The B17 is wider than my WTB speedV which is what I use on my DH bike.

    I bought this seat for a bikepacking rig set up for long days in the seat riding railroad gravel to concrete bike paths.

    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 11-02-2012 at 05:30 PM.

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  44. #44
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    On my current B17 (my 2nd) I have maybe 10,000 miles. I got it right before an Alaska --> Mexico ride and did absolutely nothing to it. It was broken in and giving me no trouble by the time I made it to the middle of British Columbia; ergo, 2-3 weeks of hard riding.

    I concur with all of the comments about adjustment. Pair the saddle with a good adjustable seatpost that has a bit of setback. Fine tune the tilt of the saddle and you will have the best saddle around.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    I agree. The B17 is wider than my WTB speedV which is what I use on my DH bike.
    I've been curious about how the width feels relative to a standard saddle. Most folks I know ride all Brooks all the time so they cant compare how a really wide Brooks saddle compares to a wide/mid/narrow standard saddle.

    I've heard that Brooks saddles ride like they are narrower than measured, true? A buddy with a Swift (153mm wide) said it rode similar to a WTB Silverado (135mm wide) despite almost an extra inch of width.

  46. #46
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    I think that could be an accurate statement in terms of feel when you're on the saddle depending on your sit-bones, but you'd definitely notice the width if you were shifting off the back for a descent. The rearward edge of a Brooks is kindof no-mans land due to the metal support under the leather, so where you are sitting is a bit forward of the widest flare of the rear of the saddle.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTscoob View Post
    I've been curious about how the width feels relative to a standard saddle. Most folks I know ride all Brooks all the time so they cant compare how a really wide Brooks saddle compares to a wide/mid/narrow standard saddle.

    I've heard that Brooks saddles ride like they are narrower than measured, true? A buddy with a Swift (153mm wide) said it rode similar to a WTB Silverado (135mm wide) despite almost an extra inch of width.
    I've been riding this b17ti for several weeks now(daily) and honestly I don't notice the additional width.
    I've had no issues sliding off the seat and returning.
    That said I'm not riding the ski resorts.
    Just my normal XC trails for daily exersize.

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  48. #48
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    For me, the problem with the B17 width is not really getting behing, but more the return to the normal position

  49. #49
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    A little update,
    I have about 30 rides over 250 miles now and I really like this saddle.
    I don't know if I have broken any brooks saddle rules and voided my warranty but I wanted to see what this leather tension adjustment was all about so I loosened the locking nut and cranked the bolt in by 3 full turns. I couldn't believe how much softer and pliable the leather became. It actually conforms to my butt bone when I put my full weight on it now.
    I plan to keep an eye on everything but for now I like the adjustment.

    EDIT:
    Now I'm not recommending everyone go out and soften your saddle but for us
    Geriatric patients anything that will allow us to get a few more miles under the saddle
    before crashing in the tent with our advil and whiskey chaser it might be worth a try. haha
    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 11-26-2012 at 02:59 PM.

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  50. #50
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    Straight outta the box, paddingless perfection

    +1

    My team pro took a linseed oil soaking and two thick proofide coats and only became more grippy until a serious two hour downpour 10,000 miles later loosened it up under me.
    I liked the slipperyness of plastic bag covers on it, though.

    My copper rivet flyer came with a semi-slippery cover that is totally perfect.

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