Author Topic: Brooks Sadles  (Read 9725 times)

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Offline Jane Pullman

Brooks Sadles
« on: June 26, 2013, 01:57:00 pm »
This question is really for the women out there, but I would appreciate the man's perspective too.

I am heading out for my first long tour (Atlantic Coast Route) in early September and am considering buying a Brooks saddle based on reading about saddles on Sheldon Brown's website.  If you have experience touring with a Brooks saddle and you are a woman, I am very interested in which Brooks saddle you used and if you would recommend it.  I'm also interested in knowing if you would recommend a Brooks women's saddle with springs.  Finally, how was the 'breaking in' process for you?  Its a big decision for me because of the obvious comfort and budget considerations.  Thank you!


Offline staehpj1

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2013, 03:14:39 pm »
Not a woman, but...

My one and only Brooks (B17) was only OK when new and never got any better.  After it was really broken in I hated it.  It was definitely not worth the extra weight.

I am not at all fussy about saddles and have been fine with the original saddles on all my bikes.  I'd use any of them on a multi month tour.  If buying new I buy a racing style saddle like one of the Prolog models.

I am probably not typical though.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2013, 03:19:18 pm »
Just my perspective.

A lot, a really lot, has been said about Brooks saddles. I'm sure your searches have confirmed that. The most commonly stated comment is that saddles are very personal and that only your own experiences can provide reliable information for you.

My experience:
 - It took me thousands of miles to break it in, but until it was broken in, it was as comfortable as my previous saddle,
 - Once broken in, it was much more comfortable--not easy-chair comfortable but comfortable enough to not cause problems.
 - I take reasonable care to keep it dry. I cover it at night. Nevertheless, it gets really wet from time to time. It's outdoor gear. It's going to get wet on tour. But it has not suffered from it.

My opinions:
 - Unless you have a very upright riding position, you do not want springs.
 - Use Proofide and not other products.
 - Don't expect miracles.
 - Don't buy preaged saddles.

Offline Jane Pullman

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2013, 03:42:20 pm »
Thank you for the reality check.  I do plan on doing thousands of miles, but was glad to hear your Brooks was comfortable enough before it was broken in.  One thing that appeals to me about Brooks is that they, apparently, breath and therefore don't cause chafing, etc. in hot weather.

Offline cyclingacrossmaerica

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 06:47:49 am »
I recently bought a Brooks Saddle (B17) for my Surly Trucker and immediately went on a two-day 110 mile cycle. Although I haven't broken it in yet, I find that it is just as comfortable (if not ever so slightly more comfortable) than my old saddle (which came with the bike).

I'm looking forward to seeing whether it gets more comfortable as I break it in.

Offline Wuwei

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 02:45:37 pm »
I'm male and have put about 15,000 miles on my B17. I would suggest that you try the saddle and break it in first before committing to it. As far as the model, it seems to be more a question of the width of your seat bones when choosing the right Brooks Saddle.
It took me less than 1000 miles to break mine in and it seems to get more comfortable all the time.
As others have said, you either love it or hate it.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 10:13:51 pm »
Brooks saddles do not mean you won't have issues with chafing or saddle sores. I (61 yr old male) ride only Brooks and when it is very hot and a very long ride, or hours in the rain, I have what can be best compared to diaper rash, until I started using Lantiseptic ( Other creams did not prevent the rash under those harsh conditions.
BTW, my B-17 was comfortable right out of the box, but the Pro has slightly different dimensions and never felt right.

Offline Jane Pullman

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2013, 10:35:44 am »
Thank you everyone for your input.  I think I'll start off with the saddle I currently have and see about getting a Brooks next year when I plan on starting out in Spain and riding east or heading south into North Africa - haven't decided yet.  Can't afford the Brooks right now anyway.

Stay safe and enjoy the ride.


Offline reed523

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2013, 09:42:47 pm »
Another male here albeit a 140 lb one if that makes any difference.   Started a coast to coast with 800 miles on a Brooks B17.  Best purchase I ever made.  Butt is NEVER a limiting factor for length of ride.   2 years and 10,000 miles later, the saddle goes on whichever bike i'm riding.  Interesting side note:  I put it on my newest ride (Salsa Fargo) and the local collective have all been taking it for test rides.  Based on the feedback i've gotten, the LBS has sold three Brooks because of it.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2013, 12:59:00 pm »
Black treated leather is harder and takes longer to break in.  White and natural (honey) leathers are softer and take less time to break in.  Different saddle designs may take more or less time to break in.  I had a Brooks Conquest (no longer sold) that broke in during a day of riding.  I also had a Brooks Team Pro that took 3 months to break in.  Even within a color and saddle type, there are variations.  I have 3 Brooks B-17s, and the last one I bought (a B-17 Imperial) took a week to break in.

Breaking in means that the saddle stretches and deforms to match you.  So your body is supported over the entire contact area of the saddle, and not just 2 or 3 hot spots.

My advice would be to get one of the Brooks honey colored saddles.  Talk to the folks as Wallinford bikes,, and see which one they think would be right for you.   They also carry quality leather saddles from other makers that have entered the saddle market.  My Conquest has springs, and I don't think they do that much.  I don't think you need springs for road riding.

There is also Selle-An-Atomica, sold only by them.  This operates on a slightly different strategy.  Your butt flops on two semi-independent leather hammocks.  I have a friend who swears by them, but I was not impressed.  There is no break in time needed though.  It is worth your time to look at though.

Guys, especially middle aged ones, often have prostrate issues that need saddles with cut-outs for "the goods".  I have no idea if there is a female equivalence.

Regardless of what saddle you chose, it needs to be set up properly.  Loosely this means level with the front of your knee over the ball of your foot when the pedal is at the 3 o-clock position.  It is just a guide, and feel free to deviate in favor of your comfort.  I use a carpenters level, and like my saddle nose down from level by one bubble. 
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 01:01:08 pm by paddleboy17 »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2013, 05:37:03 pm »
This question is really for the women out there, but I would appreciate the man's perspective too.

Mostly from a man's perspective: I've got a B-17 on each of my bikes.  Putting a seat cover on to keep the saddle from getting soaked is worth it to me for the ride.  Get it adjusted right (two-bolt seatposts are wonderful things) and you'll never look back.

From a woman's perspective, my daughter stole the sprung Brooks Champion I was going to ride on our TransAm two months before we left.  She still does overnight/weekend tours on it, four years later.  I re-tightened her saddle once on the TransAm, and I think she may have tightened it once or twice since then.  I haven't got that saddle back.


Offline iwstamp

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2013, 12:17:36 pm »
I am a male and love, love, love my Brooks Saddle(s). I have the B17 on my touring bike and a standard model on my racing bike. I wouldn't ride with anything else. Break in was pretty quick (about 100 miles for each). My wife on the other hand hates it (tried it for one ride)... too hard no padding and pain in her unmentionable areas. I ended up getting her a Terri saddle. Made for women (has a hole in the middle) and she loves it. So we're both happy...

Offline TCS

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2013, 01:34:03 pm »
Some riders love their saddles so much, they name their children Brooks.  That's cool, but Brooks isn't the only tensioned leather saddle in town.


Selle Anatomica
Selle Monte Grappa

Cardiff, made by Gyes
Velo Orange, made by Gyes
Zimbale, made by Gyes
Origin 8, made by Gyes

Dia Compe

Lepper (out of business?)
Ideale - definitely out of business

No connection to any retailers mentioned, examples only.  There are plenty of places to get any of these.

(I suspect the Torelli, Dia Compe, Spa, Papillionaire and Rivet saddles are also manufactured to specification by Gyes.)

I started riding tensioned leather saddles in 1979 and have since.  I currently own, ride and like my Brooks Pro,  two Persons #77 Deluxes, a Selle Anatomica Titanico NSX Watershed (NOT a split saddle, unlike other Selle Anatomica models) and a Gyes GS17A.  I'm unimpressed with the construction of the lower frame of the Tops tensioned leather saddle I have.

PS - Please don't name your child Selle Anatomica.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 09:34:25 am by TCS »
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2013, 02:05:22 pm »
I own 2 Brooks saddles:

1. Brooks B17 Aged
2. Brooks Flyer (which is basically a B17 with springs)

Summer 2012 I biked across America on the B17 Aged. I really liked it but could ask for a bit more cushioning. The saddle coupled with my Assos bike shorts made me do the entire trip without any serious butt soreness.

When I came home I bought the Flyer and wanted to break it in during the year to come (during commuting and have it ready for another big trip). I thought the Flyer was the perfect saddle beacuse of the springs.

Now a year has passed on with my Flyer saddle. I don't like it at all. I weigh 155 pounds and the springs are SO rock hard that I can barely feel any improvement in terms of cushioning. It also makes a lot of cracking noises. Thus, at the moment my aged B17 is my preferred saddle.

Note: If you really start reading about the Flyer saddle you will experience that many other users (in different bike forums) are complaining about the rock hard springs.


Offline wannatour

Re: Brooks Sadles
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2013, 09:19:35 am »
I'm female and have owned two women's Brooks saddles, and I had to give them both up in favor of the Selle Anatomica.  I think my mistake was in buying the women's specific Brooks, however.  The rails on the women's models are VERY short, and I just couldn't get the saddle far back enough AND get the angle correct so that it was comfortable.  I really think a men's Brooks would have worked fine, given that the Selle works well for me.  The advantage of the Anatomica is that it's supposedly waterproof, and it's easier to adjust the tension on it.  The Brooks saddles are certainly prettier, but I'm afraid comfort trumps aesthetics for me. 

If you do want a Brooks, my advice would be to buy a men's Brooks or try out the women's first and make sure it fits on your bike.  I think there's someplace online that lets you return it if it doesn't work out for you in a certain amount of time.