|Brooks Saddle Impressions||Souplesse||1/7/11 8:53 AM|
For almost 10 years, I had been using Selle Italia Max Flite Trans Am
saddles exclusively, and had never had any issues, even on the longest
However, in 2010, I encountered what I can only describe as "Sudden
Saddle Rejection Syndrome" with my beloved Selle Italia. I initially
thought it was just a case of the old saddle being worn out, but I had
the exact same painful experiences when swapping out my existing
saddle for a brand new version of the same model.
I made it through the balance of 2010 using a Selle Italia FLX Trans
Am, which is a quite comfy touring saddle -- but, boy, it is ugly.
In comparing my experiences with the two saddles, I've come to the
conclusion that (1) I now need a wider saddle [the Max Flite is 142 mm
wide, while the FLX is 165 or 170 mm wide]; and (2) I need a saddle
with a smooth surface [the Max Flite had stitching in the seating area
that definitely added to my discomfort]. Both saddles have cut outs,
and I'd probably want to continue down that route.
I'm thinking of giving a Brooks saddle a try, but I've read reactions
to Brooks that run the gamut. On the one hand, some describe them as
the most comfortable saddles ever. On the other hand, I've heard them
described as tortuous "butt axes."
I realize that everyone's back side is different, but I'd sure be
interested in feed back on the Brooks saddles.
|unk...@googlegroups.com||1/7/11 9:18 AM||<This message has been deleted.>|
|Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||russell...@yahoo.com||1/7/11 9:18 AM|
B17 on the touring bike. Swift on the Waterford. Swift on the
CAAD9. Professional on the Litespeed brevet bike. Used it in PBP.
Professional on the CAAD7. Professional on one single speed bike.
Fizik Aliante on the carbon light weight bike because a Brooks just
doesn't look right there. Some Nashbar saddle on the other single
speed bike. Long long ago I used an Ideale leather saddle. Back when
Ideale was a French rival of Brooks. But Ideale is no more.
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||archbishop||1/7/11 9:25 AM|
I have owned a wide-range of Brooks saddles and if you're going to try them, it helps to start with the model based on your saddle-to-handlebar drop. General rule I use is that the B17 works best when the handlebars are about even, the Swift when they're slightly below saddle height, and Swallow for the biggest drop. The advantage of the Swallow, my favorite Brooks model, is that the distance between leather mounting points fore-aft is the longest, so the leather fits more hammock-like providing more give. New B17s are almost rock-hard by comparison. The Swift is somewhere in-between.
My Seven Alaris has a Ti Swallow on it, drop there is about two-to-three inches. My fixie has risers, about a one inch drop so it has a Swift. My Riv's bars are slightly above saddle height so that one has a B17. All feel perfect. I put the Swallow on the Riv once when I was in a pinch and it was unbearably uncomfortable, so I do think my theory has some weight to it. It's not simply a matter of which one works best for which person, has more to do with the bike and its geometry/set-up.
When you immediately starting rejecting your long-time fav saddle, did you change anything on the bike? New stem, handlebars, cranks, pedals, etc? If so, maybe the equilibrium between the three major contact points was thrown off.
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||Chip Bole||1/7/11 9:37 AM|
For me, the Brooks Pro's only shortcoming is the shape of the rails. As designed, I cannot move the Brooks as far back as I would like or as I can on newer saddles.
Compared to frames from the time of Brooks' greatest popularity, newer bikes seem to have steeper seat tubes in general. The combination of short rails and steep angles means I sit on the Brooks' metal hoop at the rear on some frames.
When I can get the saddle back as far as I want, the ride is very good.
Sent from my BlackBerry device from Cincinnati Bell Wireless
Brooks saddles used to be the standard as far as comfort is
concerned, but their leather quality has become very variable, to put
The Gilles Berthoud saddles appear to offer all the comfort (and
more) of the Brooks in a higher quality package, albeit it not as
pretty to the traditionalist's eye.
In PBP 2007, 50% of U.S. randonneurs were on a traditional leather
saddle. Their popularity surprised me, because when I started
randonneuring, John Bayley and I appeared to be the only ones riding
The torture device comment comes from people who look at a new,
not-yet-broken-in saddle and notice that it can be very hard. A
good-quality saddle becomes comfortable after a few hundred miles,
and remains so for at least 20,000 miles.
Recent Brooks saddles either stayed hard for thousands of miles
(Professional) or began sagging after just a few months of
randonneuring (B-17)... The Berthoud was comfortable from the get-go,
and has remained so for a few years now, for several riders of the
Cyclos Montagnards group.
2116 Western Ave.
Seattle WA 98121
Follow our blog at http://janheine.wordpress.com/
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||Clayton Scott||1/7/11 9:40 AM|
I have been using b.17s for while, but got frustrated when I burnt through my last one in 7 months and went ahead and purchased a Berthoud touring saddle.
I have only been using it for 2 months now but so far so good. It is a little narrower than a b.17 but not in a bad way. Still has enough room accommodate my sitbones. The shape seems perfect for me.
The craftsmanship is stunning compared to Brooks.
Compared to the now incredibly saggy brooks it does feel a lot firmer. I did ride a 200k permanent within a few weeks of owning it and toward the end I did have to ride out of the saddle occasionally to give my slightly protesting sitbones some relief. It was not agonizing and only started setting in during the last few miles but was noticeable and distracting nevertheless. (Still significantly better than having the metal frame of the b.17 dig into me though.). So far the Berthoud is perfect for up to a 100 miles and I expect it to get even more comfortable as the saddle and I get more used to eachother.
I purchased mine from Rene Herse Bicycles who lets you try the saddle for 60 days and return it if you don't like it. I suggest you give it try.
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||Kevin Foust||1/7/11 9:39 AM|
I too have been a victim of sudden saddle rejection syndrome. For decades I rode Brooks Professional saddles on all kinds of bikes. Then one sunny afternoon on a club ride, on a bike I'd been riding for years the saddle became a little uncomfortable. It got worse over the next few months to the point where I didn't even want to ride my bike anymore. I hadn't changed anything on the bike setup. I bought a new Brooks Professional and still couldn't find comfort.
I never figured out why the saddle quit working for me and I don't really care. It did lead to an expensive search and a garage full of saddles that aren't just right, sort a princes and the pea problem. Eventually I landed on the Selle Anatomica, made in WI, and the Brooks B17 Imperial. The Selle is slightly more comfortable for me. Specifically, I like the Selle much better on long climbs where I am ridding up on the bar tops.
If you are already committed to spending ~$180 on a saddle I would seriously consider the Selle Anatomica. One downside of the Brooks is that the rails are short. Depending upon your bike fit you may have difficulty in getting the correct fore/aft positioning for the Brooks.
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||Steve Rice||1/7/11 9:56 AM|
I have to agree with the disappointing quality of the B17s recently. I have been using a mixture of Team Pros and B17s on my bikes. The Team Pros tend to last a long time (the only one I have really killed saw me through 30,000+ miles). I have seen the Berthoud saddle on a friend's bike and it will be the next saddle I purchase for my primary brevet bike. Even though the appearance isn't as "classic" as a Brooks, the thickness of the leather is enough to make me want one.
|Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||El Paso Bent Rider||1/7/11 10:34 AM|
Last July my wife and I went from riding recumbents to a new Co-Motion
tandem. I do a lot of brevet riding and she is wanting to join me.
Our riding styles are so different that we decided a tandem would be a
great way to ride together while each working at our individual
level. We love the tandem but we really struggled with our saddles.
The bike came with Selle Italia Gel saddles. From the start, my
stoker was having problems. We discovered that the saddle just was
not wide enough for her sit bones. We tried other saddles that
friends had available. Still no go. We bought her a Terry Rosy which
had great reviews for wide sit bones. No improvement. As a last
resort, I took my Brooks B68 off of my commuter bike and immediately
all her problems were resolved. She has not had a saddle issue since.
That allowed us to start increasing our mileage. Once we got to where
we were regularly doing rides of greater than 60 miles, I started
having issues with the Selle Italia Gel. On the Viva Vegas Century, I
experienced some bad saddle sores. The Gel just didn't do it for me
on the longer rides. I ordered a Brooks B17 saddle and from day 1, my
saddle issues were resolved. With the B68 and B17 we get comments
from our weight weenie friends about how heavy the saddles are. I
would rather carry a few more grams and be comfortable than not be
able to sit on the saddle without wincing.
It seems Brooks are either a love or hate affair. We fall on the love
Fred & Sandy
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||B&B Gear / Rando Richard||1/7/11 10:49 AM|
As has been pointed out, the Gilles Berthoud series looks very
interesting, although I have not yet tried one (yet).
As a rather newbie randonneur (since 2007), I too have struggled with
saddles, having used various types, including the Selle An-Atomica. My
current saddle is a now-discontinued Selle Italia Max Flite Genuine
Gel (147mm wide). The problem with these types of mainstream "racing"
saddles is they are constantly fiddling with the design to appease the
general public, so IF you find one you like, it may not be available
in a year or two, when yours is finally worn out. For a long analysis
and review of my "saddle battle" visit this page, entitled Saddle
Quest--Search for the Holy Grail: http://www.randorichard.com/hints-helps/saddles
RBA, UT SLC
Salt Lake Randonneurs, New 2011! | http://www.RandoRichard.com/brevets
Blog | http://www.RandoRichard.com
Rando Gear | http://www.bgear.com
|RE: Brooks Saddle Impressions||Bruce...@GDC4S.Com||1/7/11 11:25 AM|
I've used various flavors of Turbos and Flites over the years; I used a Flite TT for my '03 600km. My comfort on Flites has gradually declined over the last decade; at this point, I mainly use them for shorter rides like commutes and speed work. I still use Turbos as my main saddles for rides up to and including 400km and don't notice them when I'm using them.
I've been using a Fujita Belt for my longest rides the last few years; it's a B17 knockoff that's been out of production for decades. It is very comfortable, although the added suspension of a leather saddle can be a bit disconcerting immediately after switching from a plastic saddle...it's easy to mistake for a soft rear tire.
I've also used Brooks Swift, Flyer and B72 saddles, but I'd prefer a Turbo or the Fujita to any of them. I've kept them around with the intent of trying them on seatposts with finer angular adjustment, since the comfort of a leather saddle appears to be much more sensitive to angular adjustment than with their plastic counterparts. Unfortunately, leather saddles also typically have much shorter rails than plastic saddles; this necessitates a seatpost with setback, and very few of the seatposts I already own incorporate both setback and fine angular adjustment. (I'm aware this can be solved with money, but it isn't a priority.)
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||Bill||1/7/11 12:22 PM|
I used B17s for a number of years. They eventually developed a ridge
down the center, becoming the dreaded "butt axes". I had Selle
AnAtomica cut slots in them and they became much nicer. Once I
eventually tried a Selle AnAtomica I regretted the time I spent
fooling with the B17s and replaced all my B17s with SAs.
SA leather is waterproof -- I've tested them plenty in Seattle -- so
SAs should not be tensioned as tightly as Brooks saddles. That will
I'm not entirely anti-Brooks. I rode a Team Professional and after
|Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||Souplesse||1/7/11 12:23 PM|
Nope, didn't change a thing on the bike, which made the onset of
saddle problems all the more surprising. Completed PBP '07 on the
Flite with no complaints (from my back side, at least). Now, I'd be
hard pressed to ride 100 km on it.
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||Steve Palincsar||1/7/11 12:32 PM|
On Fri, 2011-01-07 at 11:49 -0700, B&B Gear / Rando Richard wrote:
Even worse, the same brand and same model name will be available, but it
For many of us who have been on it one or more times, it might also be
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||s-o||1/7/11 12:53 PM|
On Fri, Jan 7, 2011 at 5:53 PM, Souplesse <joseph....@gte.net> wrote:
> I realize that everyone's back side is different, but I'd sure beI used to ride Brooks saddles, and I loved them. My favorite was a
narrow rail, long adjustment B17 that needed the matching Campagnolo
seat post. I still have that saddle here somewhere.
When I returned to cycling a few years ago, I decided to try the Selle
An-Atomica. After a few minutes fiddling with the fore-aft adjustment,
everything just worked. The An-Atomica is synthetic enough to survive
a 600k in the rain, and it still feels like my old Brooks did on its
If your budget has room for a An-Atomica, go for it.
|Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||DrCodfish||1/7/11 2:26 PM|
A couple comments on Brooks Saddles:
1. I've heard complaints about Brooks' quality dropoff but only from a
minority of those I know who ride them so I wonder if they are all
uniformly stinky now or if there are a few more than the zero loosers
we were used to in the past. For this reason I consider these
anecdotal comments, or perhaps absent any scientific analysis we might
consider this 'noise' and not statistically valid.
I ride Brooks sadddles exclusively and have never had a problem, But
then it has been years since I have purchased one so my data set is
pre-problem era Brooks. Consider this: If you do buy one and find
that you like it, you may not be buying another saddle for years too.
2. The most common complaint I have heard is that they generally have
shorter rails and thus less fore/aft adjustment than many people
want. I believe they offer a model now with longer rails.
3. If you are concerned about forking out a Carradice bag full of
dollars, pounds, or euros for a big, heavy, leather saddle that you
might not like may I suggest you make your purchase from Wallingford
Bike Products: www.wallbike.com. I don't know about now but for many
years Bill offered a 6 month money back, no questions asked guarantee
on Brooks saddles. You won't find that kind of deal anywhere else.
Not to mention that Bill, the proprietor is one of the nicest guys you
will ever want to do buiness with. No affiliation, just a happy
repeat customer here.
4. One mistake I have seen many new proud Brooks owners make is to
grease up the brand new Brooks with Proofhide right away. Then the
saddle gets soft and stretches so out comes the shiny new saddle
tensioning spanner and they crank the adjusting bolt a couple turns.
the saddle stretches, they tighten again and voila: saddle no good no
mo! My recommendation is that you not apply proofhide at all, and any
time you tension, never make more than a quarter turn. If the saddle
makes you cry like a baby, it is probably not going to ever be your
fave, and soaking it with proofhide or some other leather softener is
probably not going to make a difference other than to make it so soft
that it will stretch too much to be any good for the next rider. If
it hurts you some after 75 miles, keep riding, you've got a chance.
If it meerly bruises your butt for your first few rides, you are
probably on your way to saddle nirvana, you just need to toughen up
and the saddle WILL confom to your conotours, give it time. Remember,
if you buy from Wallbike, you've got 6 months to give it a shot. And
of course if it feels good right out of the box, well, you'll be
happy, probably for a long while.
5. Brooks' are not for everyone. Some people love them from the
first mile, some require a break in period (hard to say if you are
breaking the saddle in or if it is breaking you in) and for some they
truly are a midievil torture device that only gets worse with time.
BTW Brooks Swift and Pro are my faves, my first Pro was a second hand
saddle that I got a great deal on but which I did not care for much at
first, In time it became my two wheel barcalounger which I now prefer
over the swifts. I checked prices on these things a while back and am
now thinking of becoming a full time Brooks flipper. (Thanks for the
good deal MIke!!)
Yr Pal, Dr Codfish
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||texaspamrides||1/7/11 3:02 PM|
|Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||WMdeR||1/7/11 3:30 PM|
>I realize that everyone's back side is different, but I'd sure beDear Souplesse,
I've ridden Brooks Professionals and B-17s over the years. A good
Brooks Professional is my second-favorite saddle of all time.
If the saddle fits you reasonably well (you prefer pitched to flat
saddles, you don't want/need a big center hole in your saddle, and a
saddle with a narrow waist works for you), if you can get your
preferred position on the bicycle given the short rails (sub-73 deg
seat tube angle for me), and if you get one that wears evenly (this is
less certain in the last few years), then they're durable and
They're certainly worth consideration given that you're starting to
play Musical Saddles again.
The Brooks B17 works pretty well for a broad range of people who set
up the handlebars about level with the top of the saddle. The Brooks
Pro (and B17 narrow) seems to work better with a slightly lower
handlebar setting (~2" below level). I never warmed up to Swifts or
Swallows (and not from lack of trying). I still have two Brooks
Professionals. One dates from the late 1990's and comes out only for
special events--less and less often now that I've settled on a plastic
saddle I like (Fizik Aliante Ti--I have three of them). The other is
on my 2003/4 Alex Singer and sees limited long-distance use (the bike
has evolved into my touring machine. The Professional that came with
the bike broke in funny, and this is a warranty replacement).
They get proofed very occasionally (once a year when they're in heavy
use), and I've never needed to touch the tensioning screw on a
professional or a B17 Champion Special. A note: I weigh 150lb more
or less. I have sent a recent-vintage (2004) Professional back for
uneven wear. The leather was noticeably thinner and more flexible out
of the box than my older saddles, and broke in unevenly.
If I were in the market for a leather saddle today, I'd give the
Berthoud saddles a shot. Berthoud seems genuinely interested in
producing a durable good, and two of the three people I know
personally who have his saddle like it a great deal. The third really
didn't bond with it at all.
William M. deRosset
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||Vik Banerjee||1/7/11 3:38 PM|
I've had no issues with my four B17s in terms of quality or comfort out of the box.
I own 2 Selle Anatomica saddles and they are more comfortable than my B17s by a noticeable margin. I had a SA that stretched out very fast, but they replaced it no questions asked.
I'd like to try the Berthoud saddle next time I need a saddle. For the Rando bike I'm building up for 2011 I'll use one of my SA saddles.
Last time I checked wallbike had a 6 month trial period on Brooks saddles bought from them. Seems like a risk free way to try one out.
Sent from my iPhone
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|Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||Bob the Wheelbuilder||1/7/11 7:02 PM|
I have a B-17 on my tourer, a Swift and a Team Pro on rando bikes and
love them all. I have also heard good things about Berthoud and Selle
An-Atomica saddles, but I haven't ridden them. For reference, my
favorite plastic saddle is a Fizik Arione.
|unk...@googlegroups.com||1/7/11 9:48 PM||<This message has been deleted.>|
|Re: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||B&B Gear / Rando Richard||1/8/11 12:52 AM|
I also had the same immediate problem with my SAA saddle, so I made a
thin strap to pull in the sides of the saddle (which I now supply to
those purchasing saddles from us): http://www.bgear.com/store/index.php/bike-components/saddles/b6229.html
I know others have laced in the sides to get the same benefit. Back in
2008 and again in 2009 I e-mailed Tom Milton regarding this "design
problem," but never received a response.
RBA, Salt Lake Randonneurs | http://www.RandoRichard.com/brevets (New
|RE: [Randon] Brooks Saddle Impressions||Jim Logan||1/8/11 8:13 AM|
I too have ridden Sella Anatomicas for 3+ years to good results on my rando bike. I wish they had a Ti frame model. My saddle is a non-issue for the first 24-48 hrs of ride, and then some butt cream does the trick. I broke the rails on my first SA.
I have a Ti B17 on my carbon bike. It's quite comfortable at least to 12 hrs, though I trust my SA more for ultras and haven't ridden my B17 longer.
From: ran...@googlegroups.com [mailto:ran...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Pam Wright
Sent: Friday, January 07, 2011 6:02 PM
To: randon subscribers
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|Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||William Beck||1/8/11 10:59 AM|
It's amazing how different people's experiences are with Brooks B-17
saddles. So I'll just add mine:
1) I still ride the same titanium B-17 that I bought in 2006. I rode
my first 400K on that saddle after it had only been broken in on a
single previous century, and it was still more comfortable than my
previous Selle Italia Turbomatic. Since then, I have ridden it maybe
25,000 miles, and it is still going strong, and still quite
I proofhided it right from the start, and it feels more flexible than
new ones, but I think I've only needed to extend the tensioner once.
In other words, it has gotten softer, but without stretching! Part of
the titanium frame near the front broke last year, so I sent it to
Brooks for repair. They fixed it and didn't even charge me.
2) I've also bought a second titanium B-17 and a standard B-17 over
the past year or two, and the quality seems good on both of those as
well. I actually find them pretty comfortable right out of the
package. The standard B-17 has been on my indoor bike and ridden over
a thousand hours, and it still looks essentially brand new.
As you call probably tell, I like them.
|Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||Steve Park||1/9/11 12:16 PM|
I've gone back to plastic saddles on road bikes (after having ridden
Brooks and SA for years). My Fizik Aliante is just a bit more
comfortable than my Brooks Team Pro. They are both comfortable and
have similar shapes. The Fizik probably won't last as long, but it's
also about half the price of a Brooks.
The B17 is great for my upright commuter.
|Re: [Randon] Re: Brooks Saddle Impressions||B&B Gear / Rando Richard||1/9/11 4:42 PM|
So Steve, you have gone back to narrower plastic saddles? Interesting.
Any idea what your sit bone width is? (I have done my own method of
measuring. That was by sitting on a piece of cardboard which was on a
wooden stool, while leaning forward as if on a road bike -- it is
approx. 11cm). I wonder if people with narrower widths can tolerate
plastic saddles, whereas those with wider sit bone widths require
wider saddles like a Brooks, SA or GB (Gilles Berthoud).
Another factor that plays into saddle preference is whether or not one
uses aerobars. I use them extensively on both training rides and
> R. Stum
> I've gone back to plastic saddles on road bikes (after having ridden