I am a daily bike commuter anx my bike lives in the wild. From my reading Brooks need TLC. That's not my style.
I consider my shorts (performance elite bibs - new in February) and they are great so far.
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I became a Brooks convert 12 years ago. I think the TLC you speak of is overstated. I treat my 4 Brooks saddles once a year with a leather dressing (Proofide), and try to keep the 4 bikes dry when it rains. I do not see that as a lot of TLC. I have one saddle that I adjusted the tensioner once. Once among 4 saddles over 12 years is not a lot of TLC.
Others have said that a saddle of the right shape is important and they are right. The problem with paddled foam and plastic saddles is that they break down. The advantage of the leather saddle is that it distorts to match your unique shape. So a good leather saddle gets better with age. Once your leather saddle is broken in, there will be no sit bone issues. Of course you still have to choose the right shape, and if you need a cut out for prostate relief, then you have to pick a saddle with a cut out.
There are a couple of manufacturers for leather saddles, and Wallingford Bikes (www.wallbike.com
), carrys most of them, and has a generous return policy. Most of my leather saddles have come from them.
Brooks has a new line of saddles based on a rubber-cotton composite. They are supposed to be maintenance free, but that is all I know about them.
I have broken in 5 Brooks's black saddles. Breaking in took 1 day for a Conquest, 2 B-17s, and a B-17 Imperial, a couple of weeks for another B-17 Imperial, and It took all summer for a stubborn Team PRO saddle (I later sold the saddle to a collector for use in a display). You results would probably be different.