Author Topic: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?  (Read 7751 times)

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Offline mh5

Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« on: November 13, 2010, 08:03:45 pm »
I've given up on the stock saddle that came with my Trek 520 and am going to upgrade to a Brooks B17.  Does anyone know if the aged version is worth the extra cost?  And, will it hold up as long as a standard model? I'm not too concerned about the break-in time but I like the pebbled texture of the aged model and was wondering if it is as good as the original.

Thanks in advance!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2010, 10:49:09 pm »
As a B-17 (standard) user who's never tried the pre-aged variety, I don't see the need for the pre-aged.  I've never been uncomfortable on a new B-17, and all four have become even more comfortable within 500 miles.

That leaves the texture.  I prefer to be able to shift slightly on occasion, and don't want no steenkin saddle texture grabbing my shorts as I wiggle.

They'll age fast enough, you don't need to hurry a Brooks!

CyclesafeSr

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Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 08:06:33 am »
Two B-17's with absolutely no break-in issues.

Offline shorecycler

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 09:46:00 pm »
Just like the first guy said, the little bit of frictionless wiggle on the original B-17 is really a nice thing to have and you will probably only be uncomfortable on your new saddle for the first few rides, as was the case with me at least. Either way, you won't regret the decision to get one. They are all the hype you've heard, endless love for both the Brooks I own.
Enjoy the Ride!

Offline knolltop

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Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 07:45:11 am »
As a B-17 (standard) user who's never tried the pre-aged variety, I don't see the need for the pre-aged.  I've never been uncomfortable on a new B-17, and all four have become even more comfortable within 500 miles.
That leaves the texture.  I prefer to be able to shift slightly on occasion, and don't want no steenkin saddle texture grabbing my shorts as I wiggle.
:thumbsup:
+-+ Michael +-+

Offline Galloper

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 09:18:31 am »
Hmm!   Must have changed the style, the preaged I bought several years ago was not textured.   It broke in more quickly than a standard and after that has exactly the same wear pattern so you don't need to worry about longevity.   

The pre aged took about 500 miles to break in, I find a standard takes about twice that.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2010, 11:59:16 pm »
Break in a B-17? Mine felt great the first ride. Now the Professional model is another story. That may take 1000 miles to break in, but then it lasts 10 times as long too. I've owned both.

Offline ducnut

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2010, 06:53:37 pm »
Break in a B-17? Mine felt great the first ride. Now the Professional model is another story. That may take 1000 miles to break in, but then it lasts 10 times as long too. I've owned both.

^^^+1

I tried the Professional. Right off, the saddle shape and I obviously weren't going to get along. Exchanged it for a B17 Imperial. Bliss! I can't believe how much more rigid the Professional is. I can't imagine breaking in one. Whew! You must be someone special.

Offline peterharris

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2010, 11:00:53 am »
Okay ... pardon me for butting in but I couldn't resist getting more info about Brooks saddles. The responses to the original post make it sound like this is the saddle to end all saddles. And, I'll admit, I've never heard anything but good things about Brooks saddles. BUT ... once I get up to about 35-40 miles for a ride, my perineum begins to hurt a lot on the stock Bontrager saddle that came on my Trek. I've used chamois butter and that seems to help some (which leads me to believe part of the problem is chafing) but I've been shopping around for a saddle that has a cut-out to supposedly relieve that discomfort.

Some of the Brooks saddles I've looked at have that cut-out. For those without the cut-out, is it just that the leather eventually "deforms" to fit your body during the break-in period? Seems hard to believe but it's also hard to ignore the passion people seem to have for those saddles. Does it make sense to pay a little more to get a Brooks with a cut-out or just go with the regular style? I'm confused and don't want to drop $100+ on a saddle that doesn't agree with me. From a price perspective, it's pretty competitive with some of the (reportedly) better saddles I see at REI and most LBSs so that's not an issue.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2010, 01:26:17 pm »
Some of the Brooks saddles I've looked at have that cut-out. For those without the cut-out, is it just that the leather eventually "deforms" to fit your body during the break-in period? Seems hard to believe but it's also hard to ignore the passion people seem to have for those saddles. Does it make sense to pay a little more to get a Brooks with a cut-out or just go with the regular style? I'm confused and don't want to drop $100+ on a saddle that doesn't agree with me. From a price perspective, it's pretty competitive with some of the (reportedly) better saddles I see at REI and most LBSs so that's not an issue.

The leather in a Brooks saddle will deform to match your pelvis (AKA your seat bones).  If you also need a cut-out, you have at least 3 choices:  buy a Brooks B-17 Imperial, buy any other Brooks saddle that you like and send it to Monarch Leather for cutting, buy one of Tom Milton's leather saddles.  Your tender soft tissue will not put a dent in a Brooks saddle, so it sound like you need a saddle with a cut-out.

I forget the name of Tom Milton's saddles, but if you go to mcmwin.com you can look at them.  You also have to go through him to get Monarch leather to put a cut-out in your Brooks saddle.  Tom used to sell Brooks B-17s with a cut out, but that was before he designed his own saddle.

I have a Brooks B-17 Imperial and I am happy with it.  I also have one of his modified B-17s and like that too.  I have ridden one of Tom's saddles, and it does not work for me, but I have a buddy that prefers the Tom Milton saddle over a Brooks saddle.  I have a B-17 that I am going to send to Monarch Leather to have them put a cut-out in it.

If you are reluctant to buy a Brooks saddle, wallbike.com used to have a 90 day no questions askeded return policy...
Danno

Offline pptouring

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2010, 07:08:14 pm »
I bought a Brooks B-17 Special a few weeks ago and totally love the thing! For years, I have been riding on a Terry Ti and it's a great saddle too, but my Brooks blows it away. Just this week alone I've commuted 90 miles on it and that is without wearing cycling shorts, just normal shorts and underwear, and this is something I don't think I could have ever done on my Terry even after breaking it in. I keep hearing, "just wait until your Brooks is broken in and it'll be even better!"  My response, "OK, if you say so, but it's great now!" Anyway that is my $.02.  

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2010, 09:37:32 pm »
I've been shopping around for a saddle that has a cut-out to supposedly relieve that discomfort.

Some of the Brooks saddles I've looked at have that cut-out. For those without the cut-out, is it just that the leather eventually "deforms" to fit your body during the break-in period? ... I'm confused and don't want to drop $100+ on a saddle that doesn't agree with me.

To start from the end, as somebody noted up-thread, buy the Brooks from wallbike.com and if it doesn't work, you can get your money back.  Note he also re-sells those returns at a discount, but if there's a model you're interested in on sale, buy it pronto, because they don't last.

The leather will stretch slightly so the saddle cradles your sit-bones.  It will continue to stretch IME, and you'll need to tighten it slightly on occasion.

The two things that make a Brooks less than comfortable for me are stretching and getting the tilt slightly wrong.  I've converted all but one of my bikes to a two-bolt seatpost so I can do fine adjustments on the tilt.

Two other things to note (see rec.bicycle.* archives for details).  Reputable bike shop owners and mechanics have stated that you don't need a cut-out if your saddle fits you and is adjusted correctly.  Also, there are some butts that seem not to fit a Brooks saddle.  (That last is hard for me to believe, since mine fits quite well!)

Offline ducnut

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2010, 01:11:07 am »
Okay ... pardon me for butting in but I couldn't resist getting more info about Brooks saddles. The responses to the original post make it sound like this is the saddle to end all saddles. And, I'll admit, I've never heard anything but good things about Brooks saddles. BUT ... once I get up to about 35-40 miles for a ride, my perineum begins to hurt a lot on the stock Bontrager saddle that came on my Trek. I've used chamois butter and that seems to help some (which leads me to believe part of the problem is chafing) but I've been shopping around for a saddle that has a cut-out to supposedly relieve that discomfort.

Some of the Brooks saddles I've looked at have that cut-out. For those without the cut-out, is it just that the leather eventually "deforms" to fit your body during the break-in period? Seems hard to believe but it's also hard to ignore the passion people seem to have for those saddles. Does it make sense to pay a little more to get a Brooks with a cut-out or just go with the regular style? I'm confused and don't want to drop $100+ on a saddle that doesn't agree with me. From a price perspective, it's pretty competitive with some of the (reportedly) better saddles I see at REI and most LBSs so that's not an issue.

When people ask me about the comfort of my Brooks, I always tell them that it's not a comfortable saddle in a "Lazy Boy" sorta' way. You're not going to get on it and say "Wow! This saddle feels incredible!". It's just a tool that'll allow one to cover many miles without discomfort. As mentioned, it conforms to your body and just allows you to get on with your business of riding.

If you have a sensitive perineal area, don't consider anything but a saddle with cutout. I've had issues down there and found that I actually prefer women's models of plastic saddles over the men's, as women's models have a more generous cutout. So, it's not surprising that the B17 Imperial worked so well, for me.

What caused me to give up on plastic saddles is that the padding breaks down/compresses so quickly. When doing long mileages, sitting on a hard piece of plastic is the last thing I want. The Brooks just relaxes at pressure points and allows me to keep on going. Whereas, plastic saddles just feel like I'm sitting in the bleachers at a high school football game.

As for what your LBS offers, so many are closed minded toward the high mileage, touristy types. We're anomolies. Therefore, the Brooks saddle, and many other peculiarities about us, remain unknown to them. My LBS raves about the Fiziks they carry. I tried a couple. Sitting on a formed piece of plastic isn't very accommodating to my rearend. The Brooks is willing to accommodate, by conforming. When I asked about a Long Haul Trucker, they responded with "Why?". When I inquired about why they don't stock a single Brooks, they laughed. Anyway, those guys pound out 30 or 40 miles and talk about their pace. Try and get them to ride that same bike and saddle 500+ miles in a week. Suddenly, they won't be raving about their setup; they'll be questioning it. So, I choose to let the locals go on with their cycling interests and me with mine. I'll just take up my inquiries with like-minded riders like the ones that hangout here.

I broke in mine using neatsfoot oil, per Sheldon Brown. This process has a huge impact on the initial suppleness of the saddle.
http://sheldonbrown.com/leather.html

As mentioned, Wallingford offers an exchange program. That's what I did. Bill is an exceptionally nice guy and their business is very personable.
http://www.wallbike.com/index.php

Offline pptouring

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2010, 07:03:36 pm »
... I always tell them that it's not a comfortable saddle in a "Lazy Boy" sorta' way. You're not going to get on it and say "Wow! This saddle feels incredible!". It's just a tool that'll allow one to cover many miles without discomfort....

I would agree with this statement.

Just finished 120 miles of commuting this week to and from work and without wearing cycling shorts, nutter butter, bag balm, etc... and my bum is fine.  

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Brooks B17 - Standard or Aged?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2010, 07:57:45 pm »
All this assumes that you have been properly fit on the bike, that is, the saddle is located correctly on the post fore and aft, height and tilt. If in doubt see a professional and pay the $100. Also, remember that saddles vary in how they sit above the rails so be sure to measure the fore and aft, tilt (a level can be helpful), and height of a properly fit saddle before swapping for another.