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Brooks Saddle help

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All my bikes (5) sport B-17s.  On long, long rides everything else may hurt, but never my backside.  The leather on the B-17s is not quite as thick as on the Professional models.  The 17s break in much faster.  It was the most comfortable saddle I ever sat right out of the box and just got better from there. 
You have to be careful not to overdo saddle maintenance.  The Brooks website does not recommend saddle soap.  They say use their proprietary product - Proofide - to maintain the saddle.  I bought a tin with my first Brooks years ago and I've still got some left.  A good application of the stuff - its a little like shoe polish - top and bottom when saddle is new and then maybe annually thereafter is all you need, unless your saddle has been abused by neglect (left outside for weeks in the rain and sun, etc). 
A Brooks saddle is a hammock.  A piece of leather suspended at each end. It will stretch over time and use.  That's why it has the adjusting nose cap, so you can take up the stretch if the saddle gets too saggy.  If you oversoften the leather you accelerate the stretching process and reduce the life of the saddle.  Also, don't get too aggressive with the nose cap stretching as you can literally tear the front rivet out and ruin the saddle. 
B-17s.  They're the Bomb.

I've ridden a Brooks B-17 Narrow extensively since 2007 both with running shorts over completely unpadded sports underlayer, and with CW-X triathlon shorts that have limited chamois. For four years prior to that, I was riding stock saddle (and am lucky still to have my reproductive organs, we can be sure).

I wore the running shorts/unpadded underlayer (the combination being even less thick than basketball shorts) when the saddle was new and that was far and immediately superior in feel and endurance to wearing standard cycling shorts on a stock saddle. I purchased the CW-X's BECAUSE they have limited chamois while offering other characteristics that I enjoy, not because I found padding to be necessary on the B-17, even in its narrow form.

More important than break-in I found is getting the perfect seat-angle with a Brooks. I now have mine just ever so slightly rearward. Using a carpenter's level helps.

I love, love, love Brooks, but Selle Anatomica is also worth checking out, one has to admit. Best of luck.

The aged b-17 will take less time to break in. Proof-hide it before you use it, make sure to get the underside.  There are so many diffferent shorts out there I can't make a knowledgeable comment other than get the right size and the more padding does not mean more comfort. Good luck.

Don't assume that the Brooks is automatically better for you.  Many love them and I am not knocking the Brooks line for folks who they work out well for, but it is not necessarily the best choice for everyone.  My personal experience was that the Brooks was OK when it was brand new, but I hated it when it broke in.  Since it was only OK even when new it and was worse after a year or so it definitely was a poor choice for me especially since it weighed a good bit more than any of the other saddles I have used and also cost more than most of them.

Personally I always advise giving whatever saddle comes with your bike a good chance before trying something else.  I have found that any of the saddles that came with my bikes were fine for a multi month tour once I broke in to it.

If you are really serious about the brooks, buy it from somewhere that will let you return it for a refund.  I think that Wallingford will let you return it up to 6 months after purchase and REI will take it back pretty much forever.


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