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  1. #1
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    Knife Weilding Maniac: Butchered Brooks

    I was just going to put this in my build thread, but I know there are lots of snow bikes sporting leather saddles so I figure a thread is in order.

    I've always wanted to butcher and tie my Brooks, but never had the guts. Yesterday, after much planning I finally broke out the leather hole-punch and Olfa knife.

    Started with this:


    Ended up with this:








    I wanted to combine the sit-bone comfort of the Brooks with the t'aint comfort of my Specialized BG seat. I tried to cut so that if you drew a straight line between any two rivets there would be leather for the full length of the line. I expect some stretch, but hopefully it won't be too drastic. Initial impressions are good, but I have yet to ride further than the end of my driveway.
    I'm covered in beer.

  2. #2
    No, that's not phonetic
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    When the shell flexes do you get a vasectomy?
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  3. #3
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    Respect !

    I like the shot from the side, Brooks should make one like this (mail them the picture ).

  4. #4
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Sexy!

  5. #5
    bored ex-shop rat
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco
    Brooks should make one like this, mail them the picture
    strictly speaking, they did! exept the hole, B15 Swallow,first designed 1937


    But also a hole in the hide is not a new idea for Brooks, designed 1890


    The folks at Brooks are allways ahead of time
    Last edited by velopax; 11-09-2009 at 07:52 AM.
    Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. Charles M. Schulz (1922 - 2000)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    When the shell flexes do you get a vasectomy?
    Hopefully I can keep the teabag suspended above the cup.
    I'm covered in beer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by velopax
    strictly speaking, they did! ...
    That's exactly what I was going for. I matched the general dimensions of the cutout against my Specialized Avatar, and I cut an oval hole instead of the Brooks design. I proof-hided the new edges and rubbed them with the body of a Crayola marker to round and polish them.

    Oh, and I trimmed the nose.
    I'm covered in beer.

  8. #8
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    i have an imperial brooks (brooks with standard hole cut from factory) on my pug, always have- best saddle EVER ( and i own all kindsa saddles including other brooks). mine never ever pinches, and im kinda "fleshy" so you should be fine if the cut is the same as on an imperial...maybe take some trace paper to your local brooks dealers store?

  9. #9
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    Nice work.

    I was riding a Professional yesterday that I Swallow-ized a while ago actually. I've played around with a few older, beat down ones, and actually had good results getting some give back in the saddle by doing it. Leave 'em in the rain and crap too long, and they become more brick like than when new Such actions do allow them to be cheap to pick up though.

    It's a good way to get comfortable with it too, rather than taking the knife to a well loved, or brand new one.....

    I just Proofide the hell out of it, massage it with a ball peen hammer in the sit pockets a touch, carve it up, and ride away

    The taint hole though? That scares me
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith
    Nice work.
    I was riding a Professional yesterday that I Swallow-ized a while ago actually...The taint hole though? That scares me
    Fear of pins and needles in my jiggy bits (very real possibility and a uniquely uncomfortable experience) > fear of castration by soft leather (It's not going to happen. Seriously don't you guys sport a chamois...or at least pants?).

    I wish I could have used a Pro due to the stiffer leather, but my larg-ish butt (I'm just big sit-boned!) won't fit within the frame. I have an old Pro from the '60's that I had thought of modding, but I figured I'd be better served by starting with a saddle that fit.

    I'm winterising my house today but if I get out for a ride I'll ride that saddle and take a camera. Mendon, tscheezy...if I end up gelded, I owe you guys a beer.
    I'm covered in beer.

  11. #11
    hispanic mechanic
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    As velopax posted, Brooks did this a long time ago, and I'll bet saddle-induced castrations were probably not en vogue, even in the 1890s!
    Sella An-Atomica uses a cutout like this, and I've toyed with picking up a Pro used from some hipster who's moved on to mopeds and trying it out.
    So let us know if you go post-op, CLONG!

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  12. #12
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    Clong, did you cut the sides of the saddle at all or just hole punch and tie them?

  13. #13
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    I cut from the front rivets back to the edge of the Brooks logo on the side and hole punched/tied from there back. Tying and tensioning the skirt helps support the sit area of the seat. If I hadn't tied it I would have had to tighten the bolt at the nose. If you're not too heavy you could probably cut forward from the rear frame as well and just leave a narrow strip to draw underneath like Brooks does on the Swallow.

    I've got about six hours on that saddle after a few rides and I think i made the right decision. It's supremely comfortable and supportive, and no more numbness! I can't speak to the long term durability at this point, though.

    I recently Imperialised my standard Champ-Flyer and trimmed the nose too. I'll post pics in the next few days.
    I'm covered in beer.

  14. #14
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    If i did this to my saddle excluding the long center hole would i still need to tie it, cheers.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007007
    If i did this to my saddle excluding the long center hole would i still need to tie it, cheers.
    I'm not sure what you mean. Without the long centre hole and the tied skirt, it'd just be a B.17.

    I gotta say, I'm no expert. This practice has a long tradition and there's plenty more info out on the 'net than I can give you.

    If you just want to trim the skirt and forgo the rest I'd go for a Swift-like shape:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/s...oks-swift.html

    Check here for more butchered Brooks:
    http://www.wallbike.com/content/butchering.html

    And MTBR:
    Butchered and Tied.
    Selle AnAtomica Mod.
    I'm covered in beer.

  16. #16
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    I have a B17 and i want to cut it down on the sides like you have, but i don't want to have the long oval hole on the top of the saddle, basically i want to cut it so it looks similar to the swallow, would i still need to tie it as you have, hope this explains better.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007007
    I have a B17 and i want to cut it down on the sides like you have, but i don't want to have the long oval hole on the top of the saddle, basically i want to cut it so it looks similar to the swallow, would i still need to tie it as you have, hope this explains better.
    Tying has more to do with adding tension to the top. Try trimming the sides first and if you find that there's new sag to the saddle, then tie the sides.

    What you're describing is very similar to the Swift, which are untied but made with thicker leather.

    Be sure to check those links I posted, there's lots of good info in there.
    I'm covered in beer.

  18. #18
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    Noob to this forum - sorry to drag up an old thread, but wondering what the long-term looks like for this saddle? Clong, did it end up changing shape because of the added hole, or otherwise deforming in funny ways? I'm thinking about doing this to one of my old Brook's saddles (a flyer I'd like to use for touring), but it's very hard to bring yourself to knife such an expensive saddle.

    Any input would be appreciated... Thanks!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by freebeernbrats
    Noob to this forum - sorry to drag up an old thread, but wondering what the long-term looks like for this saddle? Clong, did it end up changing shape because of the added hole, or otherwise deforming in funny ways? I'm thinking about doing this to one of my old Brook's saddles (a flyer I'd like to use for touring), but it's very hard to bring yourself to knife such an expensive saddle.

    Any input would be appreciated... Thanks!
    I did this mod to both my B.17 and my Flyer. The Flyer gets way more mileage on my monstercross bike and has really taken the shape of my "seat zone." Both saddles are quite comfortable and I generally ride them sans chamois. Tying is mandatory because with less leather you'll get slightly less support. I definitely wouldn't soak the leather with conditioner, either. One treatment a year is more than enough.

    I lightly traced the shape with a pencil beforehand, then left it alone for a while 'til I got up the courage to cut. IPA is a tasty courage enhancer. I used a sharp utility knife and worked very slowly so that I didn't lose control and make a big gash. Lastly I beveled or "chamfered" the edges for comfort.

    I"ll try to post pics of the Flyer this weekend. I'd be really interested to see your results and hear a review after some touring.

    Good luck!
    I'm covered in beer.

  20. #20
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    I think you did a nice job but removed too much material. My An-Atomica has a much narrower slit. If it had been my saddle I would have sent it to AA as they modify Brooks with their own saddle design. Somehow I think you would have been more satisfied with their results, but you did do a credible job even if the layout may not be ideal.

  21. #21
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    Yeah but...

    The rails on a Brooks don't bend like the Selle AnAtomica's.
    The leather on the Brooks is better - requires tensioning less often.
    The tensioner on the Brooks does not back off.

    I have 2 AnAtomica's and 2 Brooks' and they are all way comfy but the Brooks is a better product IMO.

  22. #22
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    here is a good tutorial I used for several of my Brooks saddles.....


    http://members.iinet.net.au/~jdekter/misc/brooks.html
    How to butcher a Brooks saddle

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by suba
    I think you did a nice job but removed too much material.
    Thanks for the compliment, but I'll have to respectfully disagree with your second point. I've since removed a bit more, though there's leather in a straight line between every rivet.

    Quote Originally Posted by suba
    My An-Atomica has a much narrower slit. If it had been my saddle I would have sent it to AA as they modify Brooks with their own saddle design.
    That's your prerogative, but it seems like a pretty simple mod to me, not worth contracting out.

    Quote Originally Posted by suba
    Somehow I think you would have been more satisfied with their results, but you did do a credible job even if the layout may not be ideal.
    I looked at the SA stuff and decided that I didn't want the slit to be as long. For my "anatomy" I wanted the hole as far forward as was reasonable. As far as being more satisfied, doing it myself was quite satisfying, and comfort is not an issue thus far. I'm very happy with my mod.
    I'm covered in beer.

  24. #24
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    Not to bring up a dead thread but...

    Did the same thing with my brooks b17. Marked where I wanted to cut with electrical tape and found out that a serrated steak knife was the ONLY thing I had available sharp enough to cut the leather, it killed the battery of my dremel tool every centimeter of progress I made. Would have taken a week to cut that way.

    Before...


    After...


    It's still just as comfortable as ever. Perhaps since I'm only 145 lbs, but I have yet to feel the need to tie the mid section, the seat holds its shape and firmness.

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