Author Topic: Brooks saddle break in period  (Read 43475 times)

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Offline Tourista829

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2009, 02:05:16 am »
I have a Brooks Professional. It took me 500-750 miles before it felt good. I like to get out of the saddle as much as I can and change my riding position. If you are riding in a more upright position, the Brooks will distributes your weight, so you are not constantly on your sit bone. I spoke to Alex Dowd, of Villin Cycleworks in Gainesville, Fl., and he recommended the Selle Italia gel flow saddles. He rides them and swears by them for long distance touring.

hmoore71

  • Guest
Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2009, 12:01:54 am »
I have an old Team Pro (20 years) but I think the real question is not how it long it takes to break in the saddle but how long for your butt and the saddle to come to know each other. I have found the Team Pro to be my favorite saddle and I don't believe it is much softer today then the day I bought it.

Once I have gotten use to the Team Pro then switching to say my Brooks Colt (20+ years) or one of the two Brooks Conquests the ride is pretty much the same.

I am convinced that not every Brooks saddle fits everyone the same. Lot of people swear by the B-17 and I have tried a couple and they don't work for me. And while the Conquest is suppose to be similar to a sprung Team Pro  I don't have a real good relationship with them either. Both the Team Pro and the Colt resonate with my sit bones.

If the saddle doesn't fit at the get go "breaking" it in is just changing the saddle dynamics and molding it in to a different form. I believe you want a leather saddle to be harder rather than softer when it fits right. Otherwise you lose the natural spring and damping inherent with a leather saddle. Just my opinion.

BTW I picked up the idea to use Obenauf's Saddle Goop from Rivendell and for a $20.00 bucks direct purchase got the equivalent to a large number of Brooks Proofhide cans.

Offline diesel9er

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2009, 04:27:06 pm »
I recently purchased a Selle An-Atomica saddle made in Wisconsin and found it instantly comfortable. Maybe I just have good sit bones! They do retro-fits on Brooks Saddles (I'd never do it) where they give the old male anatomy a break. They look like Brooks, cost more, but feel great. I did carefully follow the set up instructions from which I learned more than I ever wanted to know about setting up a saddle. Who knew it could be so difficult! After tweeking with it for a week or so, I have one sweet saddle. Couldn't be happier.
http://www.selleanatomica.com/

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2009, 09:47:17 pm »
I recently purchased a Selle An-Atomica saddle made in Wisconsin and found it instantly comfortable. Maybe I just have good sit bones! They do retro-fits on Brooks Saddles (I'd never do it) where they give the old male anatomy a break. They look like Brooks, cost more, but feel great. I did carefully follow the set up instructions from which I learned more than I ever wanted to know about setting up a saddle. Who knew it could be so difficult! After tweeking with it for a week or so, I have one sweet saddle. Couldn't be happier.
http://www.selleanatomica.com/

No experience was not your experience.  I just could not get comfortable on one of Wisconsin made saddles.  My touring partner could not get comfortable on a Brooks saddle.  I have one of Tom Milton's (Mr. Sell An-Atomica's) retrofitted Brooks B-17's and like it.  I also have a Brook B-17 Imperial and like it.  I will probably add lacing to the Tom Milton B-17 as it has gotten soft enough that I see some structural issues on the horizon.  I strongly disagree with the poster that said "I believe you want a leather saddle to be harder rather than softer when it fits right."  By the way, the cut out on the modified B-17 is different than the cut out on their proprietary Wisconsin made saddle.

As for the comparison between the Brooks Team Pro and Brooks Conquest.  I have had both.  The Conquest has a longer nose (I think the width is about the same).  The leather on the Team Pro is much harder and takes much longer to break in. 
Danno

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2009, 08:50:12 pm »
I read an article somewhere about how to artificially break in a Brooks saddle in a couple of weeks. The process required oil, a heat lamp, rubbing, and a baseball bat. I think weight is applied also. It simulates body warmth and useage. I guess it works. It does not require actual use of the saddle on the bike.

hmoore71

  • Guest
Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2009, 08:53:34 pm »
<<I strongly disagree with the poster that said "I believe you want a leather saddle to be harder rather than softer when it fits right."

Any particular reason to disagree? I would like to hear why you strongly disagree with me. Maybe you can explain why Brooks makes the saddle that thick and hard?  Also why is it one of their oldest and best selling saddle?

I'll save you some trouble. For a number of people it works wonderfully well right out of the box. No breaking in needed. For a lot of other people it is the most horrible saddle they could have bought and no amount of breaking in is going to make it into a B-17 that they should have bought in the first place.  Maybe that is why Wallbike has the return policy it has.

<<As for the comparison between the Brooks Team Pro and Brooks Conquest.  I have had both.  The Conquest has a longer nose (I think the width is about the same).  The leather on the Team Pro is much harder and takes much longer to break in.

I have two Conquest and they measure exactly the same as the Team Pro and the leather seems to be the same. I can't say anyof them are "broken" in. I keep them waxed and out of the rain.

Of course I'm not a Brooks saddle expert by any means having only but have ridden a few thousand miles on them and an Ideale and a Belt now and then.

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2009, 11:53:58 pm »
I read an article somewhere about how to artificially break in a Brooks saddle in a couple of weeks. The process required oil, a heat lamp, rubbing, and a baseball bat. I think weight is applied also. It simulates body warmth and useage. I guess it works. It does not require actual use of the saddle on the bike.

I'd be interested in hearing how this is supposed to work, unless your butt is shaped like a baseball bat.  :-\  The purpose behind saddle break-in is to mold the saddle to match your specific anatomical structures. Heating and oiling the leather alone only soften the leather. It takes specific pressure from your anatomy to make that mold.

As a general rule, the goal for any bike fit issue is to match the bike to the body, as best you can. Trying to change your body to match an improperly fitted bike or components may work in the short term, but will likely lead to discomfort and possible injuries down the road...so to speak. This is typically an issue of saving a few bucks now versus getting things right the first time.

Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2009, 01:58:52 pm »
Regarding I strongly disagree with the poster that said "I believe you want a leather saddle to be harder rather than softer when it fits right."

Lets start by talking about how the Wisconsin made Selle An-Atomica saddle work.  It has a fairly soft leather.  To prevent stretching, the manufacturer laminates some other material on the underside.  The saddle basically functions as a hammock for your left and right butt cheek.  I don't care for this saddle because the shape is wrong.  The technology is very interesting.  And as I said, I have a friend who won't ride anything else.

With a Brooks saddle, a different technology is used.  You start with essentially a rigid mass.  Now that rigid mass comes in different shapes (B-17s, Team Pros, Swallows, etc.).  Two things will happen over time.  The saddle will stretch, and it will soften.  I don't know if the saddle stretches because it softens, or soften because it stretches.  The beauty of the Brook style leather saddle, is that there are all these small regions where the leather will stretch and soften to conform to the shape of the rider.  For example, my pelvis is not symmetric.   And ever since I turned 40, I can longer maintain a dense sheath of muscle that used to insulate my pelvis from the saddle.  So if you look at any Brook saddle that I have ridden, you will find two dents that define where my pelvic bone were supported by the saddle.  And one of those dents will be bigger and deeper than the other dent.  This is the part I referred to when I expressed my belief that a broken in saddle will be softened. 

From front to back, the saddle will stretch (and soften).  This is why there is a tension mechanism.  Perhaps this is what you are referring to with "I believe you want a leather saddle to be harder rather than softer when it fits right."

Regarding the properties of Team Pros and Conquest saddles.  I slightly mispoke, it is the Team Pro that was longer (I feel the older I get, the more dyslexic I am).  I bought my Team Pro in 2002, and the Conquest in 2004.   It sounds like your saddles were older than that.  Running changes get made to manufactured goods all the time, so perhaps we are both right.  As I recall My Team Pro and 1st B-17 were the same length, but the Team Pro was an inch narrower.  The Conquest was the same width as the Team Pro, but an inch shorter.  When I started getting prostrate issues, I had to convert over to cut out saddles.  There was a grad student at UofM that collected old steel bikes and wanted leather saddles to put on them.  I sold him my Team Pro, so I can't go out and reinspect it for dimensions.  Brooks replaced the Conquest with the Flyer, so I can't the dimensions off Brooks or Wallingford.  This part of our discussion is starting to feel silly and stupid, as we arguing over a saddle that is not made anymore.

My perspective on leather hardness had to deal with how long it took me to break the saddle in.  I use the formation of pelvic dents as my metric for saddle break in.  It took summer of riding to break my Team Pro in to the point where it was comfortable.  My Conquest broke in after a couple of rides as did my first B-17.  Given that Brooks provides a saddle tension mechanism, the saddles probably never stop breaking in.  I had heard that some saddles, like the B-17 Standard, come with softer leather because Brooks thinks the target market does not have the patience to break the saddle in.  And there is the "Aged" product line that guarantees a softer saddle from the very first ride http://www.brookssaddles.com/en/Shop_SaddleLineCat.aspx?line=Aged.  Glad to hear that your Team Pro was comfortable from the first contact with your "behind". 
Danno

Offline labreche

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2009, 07:32:16 am »
I had bought a B-17 saddle about three years ago and I have put about 1500 miles and the saddle is still as hard as whenI bought it. In January I bought a Brooks Flyer S Special. I used it everytime I cycled this year which amounted to approx. 2500 miles and it has started to soften and moulded to my contours and I have found it to be very comfortable.

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2009, 10:57:33 pm »
I'm partial to my B-17 Narrow.  It fit me and was comfortable right out of the box.  I got lucky, I guess.

Offline ezdoesit

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2009, 08:16:45 am »
I guess I am one of the lucky one's I bought a b-67 and right out of the box it was and has been the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat on.:)
Remember it's mind over matter
you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more Drive Less

Offline tonythomson

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2009, 08:55:20 am »
Does anyone use a sheep skin cover on their Brooks during very hot (talking 90s plus) dry weather?  I used one years ago and found it helped with - well you can work that out. Was very comfortable. 
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

meyers66

  • Guest
Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2010, 08:39:31 am »
Hi, I use a Brooks Champion Flyer and find it works great in all temps and in high humidity. It is comfortable and broken in with Prooffide. I don’t know the correct angle and tension of the seat however. Any pointers? I’m noticing a dip in the middle of the saddle and the nose is a bit higher than the mid section. I’m thinking I should use the wrench and tighten it. Any suggestions? I don’t want to stretch it out too much and affect the life of the saddle. 6′1″, 213 lbs if that matters. I’ve checked the Sheldon Brown site.

Offline Spokey

Re: Brooks saddle break in period
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2010, 06:13:56 pm »
I have a couple B17s.  The most recent is about 8 years old.  It is still hard.  I don't think it is particularly more or less comfortable than when I bought it.  It certainly has deformed a bit to my butt but there isn't a big difference between that and my mid-90s B17.  Both have sides that have splayed out a bit.  Others drill holes and lace them but mine don't rub.   I'll consider this when they do.

Regarding leather thickness, I don't know if they specifically look to make some saddles thicker than others, but they used to say that the leather varied from one saddle to another because the cows varied.

I don't know if Brooks still has the same recommendations, but back then they warned about using anything other than Proofide.  They cited something about the ingredients and I think they warned about particular ingredients in other oils.  I went to the site which appears to be somewhat new and there is no longer any care information.  I will post a scan of what I got if I can find it.  I looked recently and so far it has not shown up.  It's a short one page set of instructions.

Adventure Cycling's Proofide Product Page says only use proofide.

Sheldon Brown has an article on leather saddle breakin and treatment on all this.

Personally, I liberally apply Proofide when I first get the saddle.  I repeat once or twice during the first and maybe second season.  After that, I do that late winter and if the whim moves me, one other time.  I buff off the top but leave it as is underneath. 

I try to put my cover on if it rains.  I did forget to bring my bike in last summer and it was out all night in the pouring rain.  The next morning, I removed the saddle and hung it in the basement from a bungee from a joist.  That was mostly so I could hit my head on it every time I went in to that part of the basement.

I chose the basement because I run dehumidifiers down there for my servers and figured it is actually drier down there (I have hot water heat.  If I had hot air, I'd have hung upstairs). 

I just left it there for a week.  It seemed to be dry after 2 or 3 days but I wanted to be sure.  After a week I did a good Proofide treatment and put it back on the bike.   This recovery seems to have worked fine.  I can't tell that it ever spent the night being abused.

On tensioning.  I did buy a brooks spanner when i bought the first saddle.  I have never used it on either saddle and I am 6'4" / 250lb.  At this rate, the saddles will definitely outlive me.