Author Topic: Brooks Saddle Repair  (Read 3004 times)

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Offline nmwinow

Brooks Saddle Repair
« on: September 28, 2023, 05:51:22 pm »
About 100 miles ago I replaced the backplate on my 17 year old, 40,000 +/- mile Brooks B-67. About 1,000 miles ago I replaced the leather tensioning bolt. I'm just a so-so mechanic, but the Brooks is a simple machine, right? I'd be interested in hearing other's experiences on these repairs or relating my own if any are interested. I understand there are shops that have experience in these repairs, you don't have to send your saddle to the Brooks factory, but I wanted to do it myself.

Most folks said that cutting your own throat was a better idea than replacing the original bolt with OEM, so I used what I had in the garage and it works just fine. Using an OEM bolt is like trying to replace a length of threaded pipe without a union. But when I replaced the backplate, the tensioning bolt just popped out after detaching the springs and rails from the old (broken) backplate. However I didn't prove that when re-assembling; it was difficult so I assembled the rails and springs and replaced the non-OEM bolt in place as before.

I bought a new backplate out of Netherlands, couldn't find one in the US. Drilling out the old rivets and replacing them with new (oversized copper ones) was easy. Putting the whole thing back together was very hard; just getting a wrench on the spring nuts was difficult. After I rode it 20-30 miles it seemed that the springs were better aligned and I was able to tighten them down easily. Btw, they squeaked horribly (same sound as the broken backplate) until I tightened them.

I also have a newer B-67 with 10k? miles and a B-17 with <1k miles. I despair of ever riding comfortably on the B-17 but that's another story.

Offline misterflask

Re: Brooks Saddle Repair
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2023, 08:21:25 pm »
I have two Brooks Conquests, which appear to be very similar saddles to your B-67.  The first one I bought around '96.  It was the first Brooks I'd broken in in 20yrs or so and it was substantially broken in in about 2 weeks.  This is awesome, I think.  Unfortunately, in less than 20years, the leather pulled off the rivets at the nose. I postulate that the supple leather in this particular saddle wasn't up to typical Brooks longevity.  Fortunately, the steel nose is long enough to unobtrusively add a duplicate set of rivets.  I got the rivets from Sella Anatomica (my other favorite saddle).

The other slightly newer saddle I noticed had adopted the banana shape of a garage sale find.  My fault through inattention to tensioning.  I got it fairly wet, and blocked it into a normal shape with wood wedges.  After it dried out and was tensioned, it would hold the proper shape unloaded but it would flare out at the bottom when loaded.  I punched four holes in the flanges (searching for the right word here) and laced the flanges together with an old shoelace.  The shoelace was intended to be replaced with something fancier, but that was one of those upgrades that never happened.  I had feared that the lacing would have to be as smooth as possible with the saddle to prevent chafing, but it's just turned out not to be a thing.

Yes, tightening those nuts on the springs is a special experience.  It helped to have a bunch of different wrenches that could sort of fit in different ways.

Offline nmwinow

Re: Brooks Saddle Repair
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2023, 09:43:23 pm »
Both of my B-67s broke in in 200-300 miles but this new B-17 is still like new after 500-600. I give up.

I’ve never tightened either of the B-67s and they have that sag and the spread ‘flanges’ you mentioned. I over tightened the old one after reassembly and hated it immediately. Loosened it up as it’s always been and loved it immediately. Both sagging saddles are so comfy I’ve never thought of it as a problem but the spread out does look odd. Is yours more comfortable since you’ve laced it?

Like you say, I used three different wrenches, half a flat at a time to do the initial tightening.

Offline misterflask

Re: Brooks Saddle Repair
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2023, 07:46:43 am »
Skirts!  That's the word I'm looking for- saddle skirts.

I can't claim I noticed a difference in the ride with the sagging.  It was just kind of an observation- 'oh, that can't be good'.  At some point it seems the saddle wouldn't be doing it's job as designed.

The lacing really stiffens it up, but if you were bothered by stiff saddles you wouldn't be riding Brooks.