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Thread: Brooks Saddle?

  1. #1
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    Brooks Saddle?

    This has been asked in a couple other forums but thought i'd ask here since its going on a VRC bike.

    I just picked up a B17 Brooks that is mint and has been broken in already, i bought a used one because i didn't feel like riding a thousand miles a a board before its broken in. Anyways i have tried so many different saddles and can't find one i'm comfortable on except a Avocet Touring which i only have one and they look weird. I tried Turbos, Avocet R1s, WTB all sorts, Selle and about every other one you can think of, btw Turbo imo is the worst. None really seam to be all that comfortable, and it not like i have a bony ass either (kinda chubby) I'm 165-170#, sometimes in the winter close to 180 and i use padded shorts blah blah.

    So i thought i'd try a Brooks B-17 and give it a whirl.

    How many use a leather brooks for normal trail riding xc/super d type riding on there VRC bikes or there newer bikes?

    thanks sorry so long i know
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  2. #2
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by YakimaDeathYaks View Post
    that is mint and has been broken in already
    That doesn't make sense. :P

    Quote Originally Posted by YakimaDeathYaks View Post
    Anyways i have tried so many different saddles and can't find one i'm comfortable on except a Avocet Touring which i only have one and they look weird. I tried Turbos, Avocet R1s, WTB all sorts, Selle and about every other one you can think of, btw Turbo imo is the worst. None really seam to be all that comfortable, and it not like i have a bony ass either (kinda chubby) I'm 165-170#, sometimes in the winter close to 180 and i use padded shorts blah blah.

    So i thought i'd try a Brooks B-17 and give it a whirl.

    How many use a leather brooks for normal trail riding xc/super d type riding on there VRC bikes or there newer bikes?

    thanks sorry so long i know
    I don't think Avocet Touring saddles look funny at all. I also have saddle issues and Turbos also fit me worst out of all the older saddles. I also can't get into the Brooks because I just can't get them to feel right and I end up with a nose up saddle. Veloculture really likes them but I think he only has them on his rando/touring bikes.

    I'm of the camp: use the saddle that's most comfortable to you but I'm not a purist.

  3. #3
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    Tp me, the Turbo is the most comfy saddle. Turbomatic. Never tried the brooks but i am a weight weenie and it hurts to attach anything heavier than something else on a bike. It's silly, i am a fool... so what? That's why i end w/ wtb titanium saddles or flites.
    Last edited by colker1; 09-14-2013 at 12:29 PM.
    want: Ibis ti handlebar. suntour 31.8 front derr. bottom pull

  4. #4
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    The Brooks is broken in has about a 1000 miles on it on and was never abused or leaned up against anything so no scratches or scuffs, looks new just broke in.

    Theres just something about the Touring saddle make it looks like its fromt the 70's or something

    I like the Avocet Spenco Gel those are comfty but the outter stretch cover always tears.

    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    That doesn't make sense. :P



    I don't think Avocet Touring saddles look funny at all. I also have saddle issues and Turbos also fit me worst out of all the older saddles. I also can't get into the Brooks because I just can't get them to feel right and I end up with a nose up saddle. Veloculture really likes them but I think he only has them on his rando/touring bikes.

    I'm of the camp: use the saddle that's most comfortable to you but I'm not a purist.
    1985 Ritchey Timber Comp
    1985 Ritchey Ascent
    1987 Ritchey Timberwolf

  5. #5
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    I have a B-17 that I hated on one bike and loved on another. It fits better on some bikes than others, I think. They can't sit back as far as other saddles I have.

    So just like with horses, the saddle has to fit you and your mount.

  6. #6
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    I don't think Brooks need broken in; it's a myth, a part of the mystique where everyone chimes in their secret recipe... The B17 is wide, so it distributes weight over more a$s than many racing style saddles. My big issues with them are, like Colker, the crazy weight and that if - like me - you need to milk a top tube for length with set-back seatposts and a saddle near the front of the rails, the short rails on a Brooks lose me most of an inch. I'd need to have a frame built around a Brooks and it doesn't mean that much to me.

    I've found the new wide-width Specialized saddles to be very comfortable. Oddly, of all the vintage I've tried, the only one that seems to do it for me is the Flite Titanium.

    However, contact points are areas where I throw "correctness" to the wind.

  7. #7
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    Set back and weight are the only issue I have with Brooks. That said, I own of a dozen and love them. Swift, Swallow, Pro's, Champions, Standards and B72's. They just work for me. Break in has never been an issue either. They just get better.....like me.
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  8. #8
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    I've ridden several Brooks saddles on different bikes. I'm not a fan of the B-17 as it's too wide for me. My thighs hit the saddle when I'm peddling with my butt slid back on the saddle - it gets irritating after a while. I think that the narrower Brooks ride nicely though - the Swift and the Swallow. However, with all Brooks saddles the rails are really short and I can't slide the saddle back far enough on bikes with steeper seat tube angles - if the angle is 72 or less I'm fine, but with a 73 or 74 the Brooks is out.

    Another "non vintage" option is the Selle Anatomica saddle. It looks similar to Brooks (although not quite as pretty), but has much longer rails. I'm able to use it on any bike. Last summer I did a tour for 8 days using the Selle Anatomica, and although my butt hurt by day three, it hurt a lot less than it would have with a different saddle.
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  9. #9
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    I am always a fan of a true leather saddle and personally, I just don't worry about the weight of them. In some instances where the rails have been of any concern, I simply used a laid back post and had plenty of room to get the right saddle position. If you are trying to use a clamp on top of the post style seatpost then results may vary.

    I personally have no bikes left that do not have a leather saddle of some sort. I have a mix of Brooks B.17, Brooks Professional, and various models of the Ideale. For me, they fit my sit bones perfectly and make long rides SOOO much more comfortable.

    Biggest piece of advice I can give is to make sure they are properly treated. I have found Obenauf's Saddle Goop to be the best for that but you can use Proofhide or many others with similar effects.

    For me the beauty of these beyond the general comfort ends up being the durability. I first started riding these out of desperation. I was a broke college kid and couldn't afford to keep buying endless numbers of flites that kept ripping every time I crashed. I spent hundreds upon hundreds (I wonder exactly how much of that is still sitting in student loan debt??? ) on other saddles and finally stumbled on an Ideale 89 sitting in a close out bin at a shop. I gave the guy $20 for it, put it on and have never went back to any other type of saddle. 16-17 years later that saddle is still on a MB1, has lived through thousands and thousands of miles, seen a gazillion crashes, and just gets more comfy.

    If you find the b17 is a little too wide for you, check out the professional. They are tiny bit narrower but not as narrow as the Swallows/Swifts.

    Let us know how it works out for you.

  10. #10
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    Putting my B17 on my mountain bike was one of my better decisions. My rides top out at three hours and my rear is never the first part to give out on me. I don't use a chamois either - just merino wool boxers under gold shorts that have a little stretch and elastic waist. It's the best riding setup I've found.

  11. #11
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    I have 1 b17 and 1 special. Both are great for long rides. One has definitely "broken in"; the other has been ridden same miles and has not. Very comfy, provided you have your handlbars above your saddle. If you bars are lower than your saddle and your saddle is "broken in" with the u-shaped hammock effect, then you need to butcher it to alleviate pressure/numbness on the underbits and side flare. I drilled out holes for lacing and then did a cut-our in the center patterned after the Brooks imperial. My b17 now flexes when I need it too, doesn't chafe my fat thighs, and makes ding-a-ling happy. As modified...best saddle ever for gravel grinding and long tours. Haven't been on singletrack with it.
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  12. #12
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    I had a Ideale alloy cradle leather saddle (similar to a Brooks professional) in the early 1980's and it was the best of all the 'leathers'. It came impregnated in oils, rather than 'dry' like the Brooks were, and was an easy break-in. I found the Turbo to be better though.

    I guess everyone has a favourite, and what fits 1 person does fit another. I love my ISM Breakaway saddle, but thats contemporary. The old Masters used to soak their Brooks in oil (linseed I think) but that created many an amusing story as to the effects on one's shorts.....

    I found the B17 to be prone to establishing a strong, sharp centre, front to back that I could not live with. The Professional was less inclined to do that. The wonderful virtue of solid leather was its ability to shape into one's sit bones. It's enemy was water.

    Whatever did happen to Ideale? They were the best in their day.

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  13. #13
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    Broken in by someone else.

    Good luck.
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  14. #14
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    What Hollister said.

    The whole thing with breaking one in is that it fits your butt, just right, in all the right spots.

    With another persons sitbones etc the high and low spots won't fit just so.

    I hop on any of my bikes with a Brooks, and it's like, fwoomp, right into place. Another riders bike with a Brooks, and I spend the whole time trying to find the right spot, and never finding it.

    Love the Flyers, nice a comfy with a bit of spring action.

    GOB, funny you mention finding them always to be nose high. All mine are too, and at least for me, it's no issue. Perhaps differing anatomy comes into play, but I settle onto the wide section of the thing, and don't feel excessively poked in the junk at all.....

    Get one new, and just ride it. I find a few applications of Proofide over the first few months will help with the initial softening, as well as some gentle, wrist only tapping with a ball peen hammer at the sit bone points will help to hasten the process if you're the highly impatient type
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  15. #15
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    Thanks guys, i just installed the B-17 on my Ritchey and took a ride around the neighborhood and so far so good, i'll try to get a ride report on it this weekend and see how it does on some rocky nasty singletrack.
    1985 Ritchey Timber Comp
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  16. #16
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    Re: Brooks Saddle?

    I have the b17 ti version on a rigid surly, and ride very rocky rooty single track. (Part of my commute) the seat performs well! Leather is the real deal if weight isn't a priority.

  17. #17
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    Thought I'd chime in with a second for the Sella AnAtomica, in case the Brooks doesn't work. What Laffeaux didn't really say was that they don't require the break-in period that other leather saddles do. This works for me because, between having too many bikes in rotation and not nearly enough time to ride any of them as I'd like, it would take me forever to break something else in.

    I used to use Turbos, but honestly always had problems with numb parts. As it became financially feasible for me to experiment with other saddles, I settled on the Terry Fly for a while. But then, when I discovered the Selle AnAtomica (I bolted one on a road bike the week before a week-long, 350 mile tour a few years ago, and NEVER felt uncomfortable on it), money suddenly didn't even matter. Nothing has improved my biking experience or joy as much, for a long time. So now I'm slowly converting most of my bikes over - VRC and all.

    I will say that the main down side, for me at least, is that it's almost impossible to get "behind" the saddle for descents. Too wide. So for my next, modern, real mountain bike, I plan to add a dropper post. I'm NOT going to go without this saddle!

    For what it's worth, they're made in the USA by a really nice family, with great customer service and a compelling story, too.[ATTACH=CONFIG]832860

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  18. #18
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    I ride a (blue!) Brooks B-17 on my main hardtail (a 2005 Klein Attitude), since I do a lot of mixed road-trail rides on it with a lot of long seated spinning sessions. Biggest problem is keeping it dry. I can drop behind the saddle on descents pretty easily, FWIW (bent the bag loops in a little). My old Ritchey and Goat both have Brookses on them, too, but those don't get a ton of miles.

  19. #19
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    I have b17 narrows on both off road bikes (fat bike and monster cross) but I do not ride off the back much any more. I love the bontrager ass hatchets (sella san marcos) but only for their get out of the way aspect.

    I never had to break my Brooks in - they felt awesome out of the box. I even have on my beach cruiser (b68).

    The only time I do not like them is on my fixed gear bike (low nose) I cannot seem to get them adjusted so they do not kill my man bits. But I only ride that bike for workouts and time trials - so modern WTB seems best.
    My bike is heavier than yours - it does not have Carbon or Titanium parts - I love it!

  20. #20
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    I've been using an Origin8/Gyes 17-A for the last year on my hardtail and it's been awesome on road and singletrack. It's like a narrow B-17 and I did a DIY selle anatomica slit in it. Very nice hammock effect and the laces keep everything nice and taute. Definitely had to bend the bag loops on the rear in a little bit, though, to minimize the chance of snagging on shorts.

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