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    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
     
    Use the medium designed specifically for proofing leather saddles. Brooks Proofide works and doesn't result in premature sagging. My favorite Brooks is a Professional I bought in 1987. The 1990 Brooks Conquest sprung saddle I use for touring is like a Lazy Boy chair now after at least 20,000 miles.

    The Olmo commuter bike I imported from England came with a "pre-softened" Brooks Professional. It feels about the same as my old saddle from '87.

    Don't try to accelerate the break-in period with non-Brooks products. Just apply Proofide regularly and ride often!
    • CommentAuthoryoshi
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011 edited
     
    I've been using the Obenauf's Heavy Duty Leather Preservative (LP) for a brooks pro and a B-17. I haven't used proofide but the obenauf's smells good (beeswax) and I believe it's all natural.

    The brooks pro is twice as old and half as broken-in.

    I got a brooks brand cover with the pro model and it's really nice. For the B-17 I stuff a disposable hotel shower cap into the underside of the saddle's nose and then you have a cover whenever you need it.

    Sheldon Brown does (did) not recommend using mink oil because it apparently allows mold to form:

    "Note; treatment and break-in of leather saddles is not an exact science, and there are those that claim that some of the products I've listed are harmful to leather. [I can confirm that a product called mink oil will eventually allow mold to form. This is more likely with organic products than with synthetic ones -- John S. Allen] If absolute safety is your primary concern, using Brooks Proofide according to directions is probably the best approach...but you may find that the break-in period is un-necessarily long with this approach."
    • CommentAuthorgavilan
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
     
    Awesome. Thanks for the input, everyone!

    I may get me a nice cover next time I am at Velo Cult. :)

    Sam:gavilan: (I think) It took me about 2,000 miles to break mine and by that point I was thinking dark, dark thoughts about everyone on bikeforums.net who recommended Brooks to me along with the entire staff at Brooks.


    bwahahahaha.... yup... that's exactly it.
  1.  
    I've got between 6 and 8 thousand miles on my BrooksB17special. A few crashmarks, too...

    But that Brooks is easily one of my most cherished possessions. I haven't done any brevets, and I certainly don't have the mileage or years on it that some do, but it has already displayed a versatility in comfort that I only truly appreciate as I learn about body geometry/bike fit more and more- from centuries to Fiesta laps.

    I only proofide it like they tell me to- the stuff's not that expensive and lasts awhile, as you don't need much. The key is just to keep the leather from getting too dry (its been too long since you last applied proofide) or too wet ( you let it get soaked in the rain).

    Awesomely, even if you do let it get too wet or too dry, it'll probably be reconditionable(sp?) and/or still the most comfortable saddle you've ever ridden. I had bad luck with the Brooks cover(s). It tore pretty easily, but it had seen a lot of sun and rain by that point. Now I rock out an oversized, strongly elastic Serfas brand seat cover, which has the added bonus of making it look completely like a cheepo seat when I lock my bike up.

    I think some people need to break theirs in, some don't. I didn't. I don't think it was the seat, I think it was just my butt already being used to abuse by other seats before I started in on the Brooks. And I do ride a fair amount.

    Damn, that 2 cents ended up being more long-winded than usual... oops!:face-devil-grin:
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
     
    Good call on the cheapo seat cover. I hadn't thought of that, but constantly worry about my saddle getting ripped off. I was just thinking on my ride in about getting a cable and lock for when I go out to dinner or something where I'll be away from my baby for a while.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011 edited
     
    I think a "happy relationship" with a Brooks saddle is based as much on your butt getting used to the saddle as it is on the saddle adapting to your butt: For some this process will take longer; for others, shorter.
    • CommentAuthorAlanKHG
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
     
    I was touring on a Flite & swapped that for a Brooks in Madison, WI and was far more comfortable starting at mile 0. Dunno.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
     
    Yeah, I'm really happy day 1 with the B17's I've bought new. I ride with bike shorts too which may soften things a bit while I'm waiting for the saddle to break in. B17's tend to break in fairly quick. The wide models meant for riding with an upright body position take a really long time to break in.
    • CommentAuthorStephan
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
     
    I too have had no problem breaking in a B-17. I'm on my second one and third leather saddle over all. The first B-17 I broke in on my 30 minute commute. Frequent but short rides led to a painless break-in period. The saddles end up slightly askew because that's how I ride apparently, and that is the point of a leather saddle isn't it? The leather conforms to you.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
     
    The slightly askew typically means the leather was cut from the side of the cow which causes the leather to sort of lean to one side more than the other. I've had several saddles do this while riding I can't feel it whatsoever. None of the people that have had that happen to their saddles that I've talked to can feel it either while riding. The more expensive saddles are center cut pieces of leather from the top center of the cow.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsvelocity
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2011 edited
     
    t.e.d:Good call on the cheapo seat cover. I hadn't thought of that, but constantly worry about my saddle getting ripped off. I was just thinking on my ride in about getting a cable and lock for when I go out to dinner or something where I'll be away from my baby for a while.


    Pitlock is an awesome alternative to the bike seat cable and lock. I have these on a number of my bikes and I recommend them highly.
    • CommentAuthorsurlygurl
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2011
     
    I think I'm the only one not feelin' the Brooks love. I have a B67-S and it really isn't that comfortable. I suppose I'll give it some more time before I decide to sell it, but I don't think I'll be putting a Brooks on my second bike.
  2.  
    I'm another B-17 owner, about 2 years old give or take, I remember the break in period not being the most fun but I wouldn't own another saddle. Never used any of the treatment stuff so I have no input on that one, I just rode it out and it's still in great shape.
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2011
     
    svelocity:
    t.e.d:Good call on the cheapo seat cover. I hadn't thought of that, but constantly worry about my saddle getting ripped off. I was just thinking on my ride in about getting a cable and lock for when I go out to dinner or something where I'll be away from my baby for a while.


    Pitlock is an awesome alternative to the bike seat cable and lock. I have these on a number of my bikes and I recommend them highly.


    Thought about those, but if a thief can't loosen the allen bolt on your seatpost clamp, what's to keep him from loosening your saddle rail clamp? The cable won't be on there all the time; just when I go out to dinner or a bar.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsvelocity
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2011 edited
     
    t.e.d:
    svelocity:
    t.e.d:Good call on the cheapo seat cover. I hadn't thought of that, but constantly worry about my saddle getting ripped off. I was just thinking on my ride in about getting a cable and lock for when I go out to dinner or something where I'll be away from my baby for a while.


    Pitlock is an awesome alternative to the bike seat cable and lock. I have these on a number of my bikes and I recommend them highly.


    Thought about those, but if a thief can't loosen the allen bolt on your seatpost clamp, what's to keep him from loosening your saddle rail clamp? The cable won't be on there all the time; just when I go out to dinner or a bar.


    http://www.urbanbiketech.com/Pitlock-Locking-Skewers-p/lanyard.htm

    BTW: Any thief with the time, tools, and determination can steal anything. Pitlock (or any lock for that matter) is not thief-proof but if a thief sees something that going to cause him/her more than a few seconds to steal then he/she will move to the next bike.
    • CommentAuthorAron0104
    • CommentTimeApr 10th 2011
     
    I've been riding the B17 since February. It took me a good two hours to find the correct riding position for me. I ride more upright on my bicycle and need to tilt the nose up to keep from sliding forward. I've been advised to get a wider saddle due to my upright posture but I like the way the saddle feels while riding.

    I recently picked up a B67 S for my fiancee's mixte. She loves, loves, loves her new saddle. So much more comfortable than her previous saddle. I can't wait to log some serious miles on our saddles and break them in.

    Seeing that we've just spent over $200 on both of our saddles, I've been locking them with a thick cable attached to a U-Lock. Given enough time, a thief can and will steal anything. I just hope a thief will look at my set up and think "eh, too much work" and move on.
    • CommentAuthorrandomjive
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2011
     
    Another B-17 lover here! Just give it time and then it's like sitting on a cloud :face-angel:
    • CommentAuthorjuanrcm
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2011
     
    New B-17 owner and am liking it alot. Still may need to tweak angle a bit as I ride it more but I like the extra width vs my old saddle. Am using Lexol conditioner to aid in the break-in process.
  3.  
    I've been using a broken-in B17 since January. I've moved it to several bikes and found it really more comfortable. Why didn't I tried this years ago? It could have save my lower back!
    Then I bought a new B67s in Februaru and discovered it even more comfortable.

    Now what to do with 10 old saddles that I've collected over the years...
    • CommentAuthoryoshi
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2011
     
    markphilips:Now what to do with 10 old saddles that I've collected over the years...


    Art Project!
    • CommentAuthort.e.d
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2011
     
    markphilips:I've been using a broken-in B17 since January. I've moved it to several bikes and found it really more comfortable. Why didn't I tried this years ago? It could have save my lower back!
    Then I bought a new B67s in Februaru and discovered it even more comfortable.

    Now what to do with 10 old saddles that I've collected over the years...


    I need one. Decided to build up a fixie for the summer bar season. :face-devil-grin:
  4.  
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2012
     
    So THAT'S where the organizers of the Fox & Hounds Ride found the still photo for their FB page! It was a fun 36 mile ride, complete with post horn. The hounds (Justin McMenamin, et alia) found Shaun Wallace and his foxes, but they managed to get back home to Adams Avenue Bicycles before the hunters caught them.
    • CommentAuthordstone
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2012
     
    I just got a B-17 Standard about 10 days ago, I have put around 200 miles on it since. I have followed all of their directions, holding off on proofiding and tensioning it for a few hundred more. Overall very satisfied, vast improvement over my previous saddles and well worth the price (I even get a discount from the UCSD BS for being a bike commuter : ) ). It is a beautiful Thing.

    The only thing I have to comment on is not a matter of the quality of the product, but rather its positioning on the seat post. I have the ridge of the saddle parallel to the ground (when there is full air in my tires!), but I have not determined the optimal position along the lengthwise cross-section of the bike. I know one is supposed to have their rear-end mainly positioned on the back of the saddle, not the nose, so I am considering moving the saddle further forward, relative to the cranks. Anyone have any experience/advice with regards to this?
    •  
      CommentAuthorHans
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2012
     
    Fore and aft position would depend on the position of your handlebars and torso dimensions. Generally, the more forward/lower the bars, the more forward your seat. I personally slightly tilt my saddle up in front, sliding me to the back of the seat, and have my bars slightly lower than my saddle.
    • CommentAuthordstone
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2012
     
    Hans:Fore and aft position would depend on the position of your handlebars and torso dimensions. Generally, the more forward/lower the bars, the more forward your seat. I personally slightly tilt my saddle up in front, sliding me to the back of the seat, and have my bars slightly lower than my saddle.
    Thank you, that basically specifies my situation as well.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsvelocity
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2012
     
    dstone:
    Hans:Fore and aft position would depend on the position of your handlebars and torso dimensions. Generally, the more forward/lower the bars, the more forward your seat. I personally slightly tilt my saddle up in front, sliding me to the back of the seat, and have my bars slightly lower than my saddle.
    Thank you, that basically specifies my situation as well.
    I would agree; however, the more the saddle softens the lower your seat bones will be in relation to the nose of the saddle. If your handlebars are lower than your saddle or if you ride in the drops, I have found the nose of the saddle becomes quite uncomfortable in the region where we prefer to be comfortable. This may require you to either tighten the leather a half turn or so or edge the nose down a bit. Personally, I never really got comfortable with my B-17 on my road bike since my Pacer has me in a more aggressive riding position. I've since move it over to a bike that has me riding in a more upright position and the saddle is amazingly comfortable.

    Regarding the proofride... I think it's important to rub some on top and more importantly under the saddle once a year (or more if you notice it really drying out or leave it outside a lot) for a little protection from the environment. I was instructed by a bike mechanic to really keep a Brooks saddle flexible (you should be able to lift the side flaps easily) so I initially put a lot of proofride on (once every 3 months in the first year). I don't know if this is right or not but it sure made it soft and comfortable. This year I did notice that I had to tighten up the leather with about one full turn and it made the saddle even better. It was a bit too hammock-ky So maybe you don't need to ride it as soft as I have. I've seen folks who have their Brooks as hard as rocks and love it. Thinking about it... maybe since it I made it too soft was the reason it didn't work on my road bike...hmm
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2012 edited
     
    The saddle I have that has been most resistant to break in is an Ideale from France that was originally on a beloved 1977 Motobécane Grand Jubilé. I treated it regularly with Proofide ® and rode it for thousands of miles before the chain stay broke at the dropout and killed the bike. It's now on a 1975 Austro-Daimler Vent Noir; quite comfortable in spite of its recalcitrant hardness.

    I have other Brooks saddles in various states of break in, as well as the Brooks tension adjusting wrench for the nut at the nose. Once they start to sag, it does noticeably change the geometry of the fit. It's important to Proofide ® regularly to prevent cracking, especially around the rivets.
  5.  
    •  
      CommentAuthorHans
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2012
     
    Bummer, Brent. A properly broken in saddle is like a nice pair of shoes. They're better than new, and tough to replace.
    If you still have your old saddle, you could actually pick up a good frame for next to nothing. I've seen where this was been done (unless Ideales were made available with brass plated frames as an option) with beautiful results!
    •  
      CommentAuthorSariously
    • CommentTimeMay 5th 2012
     
    Got my very first Brooks saddle (B17) today from Adams Avenue Bicycles. Like many of the previous posts, I didn't experience any discomfort at all despite that it's not been broken in. Rode a bit under 20 miles today. At the shop, they measured the positioning of my previous (Jamis stock) saddle and matched that positioning when they installed the Brooks. However, I think I may have to play with the positioning/angle a bit since it find myself having to reposition myself farther back since I slip forward a bit on the saddle.
    Brooks
  6.  
    Raise the nose of the saddle few degrees at a time until you find that sweet spot.
  7.  
    I have about 15k miles on my black Brooks B17 Special (copper rivets but not Ti rails)

    They're guaranteed to 1,000,000mi, right?

    So, in keeping with my bizarre superpower of being able to break unbreakable bikey things just by riding them (eg. some forks, a frame, some great handbuilt wheels, a seatpost, etc) I successfully managed to break my Brooks just by riding it.

    I heard a metallic 'clink' sound twice on the final run in to TNR last week at the velodrome, and couldn't figure out what I had dropped/broken until I got there, put my weight on the saddle and sagggged. The entire tensioning bolt was gone!

    I couldn't find the piece/pieces, so, even though I'm confident it can be fixed, I'm not sure if I'll have to shell out for it. Hopefully I remember to update when it all gets resolved. In the meantime- loaner seats are tough to adjust to!
  8.  
    Hippy,

    You may be able to find the parts locally, I just don't know where. The Wallingford site at least gives you a good idea of prices and what's available. They have good prices on Schwalbe tires and tubes, which I buy there. They also have had deals on saddle bags and Brooks saddles but not lately.

    Wallingford Bicycle Parts
    =======================

    Saddle Parts

    1) Brooks tension shackle ($3.50)

    2) Brooks tension pin assembly ($6.20)

    Be sure to note the difference between the short 64mm Tension Pin Assembly & the long 70mm Tension Pin Assembly
    ==========
    You probably don't need this but I added it just for reference.
    3) Brooks nosepiece ($4.00)


    I came this close to scoring the ultimate 56cm bike last week. I'm still talking to myself for hesitating. sheesh.


    Let's keep it together out there!

    OKB


    Bicycles and bacon,.... it's a love story. Ha!
    • CommentAuthorsrvienna
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2012
     
    HippyOnaBike:I have about 15k miles on my black Brooks B17 Special (copper rivets but not Ti rails)

    They're guaranteed to 1,000,000mi, right?

    So, in keeping with my bizarre superpower of being able to break unbreakable bikey things just by riding them (eg. some forks, a frame, some great handbuilt wheels, a seatpost, etc) I successfully managed to break my Brooks just by riding it.

    I heard a metallic 'clink' sound twice on the final run in to TNR last week at the velodrome, and couldn't figure out what I had dropped/broken until I got there, put my weight on the saddle and sagggged. The entire tensioning bolt was gone!

    I couldn't find the piece/pieces, so, even though I'm confident it can be fixed, I'm not sure if I'll have to shell out for it. Hopefully I remember to update when it all gets resolved. In the meantime- loaner seats are tough to adjust to!


    I snapped the tension pin on my Brooks a few months back (not all the way through) and took it to Mission Hills Bike Shop and they fixed it free of charge. The tension pin has a pretty long warranty.
    •  
      CommentAuthormarkphilips
    • CommentTimeOct 13th 2012 edited
     
    Another alternative to Brooks saddle. I really like the Cardiff saddles; brushed saddles tend to be softer with less (or none) break in period. This one has a reinforced nylon mesh on on the underside. I guess the shoestring located in the middle of the saddle prevents center splays as the saddle gets old which is one of the complaints of many long distance touring cyclists.

    Here are a couple of photos of a Cardiff brushed saddle side by side with a Brooks B17
    Untitled Untitled
    Untitled Untitled

    - This is a Cardiff Brushed leather saddle is a great looking light tobacco color
    - Copper plated hammered rivets and rails give this saddle the ultimate old world charm and set it apart from the Cornwall and Wessex models
    - Genuine stretched cow leather
    - Saddle bag loops in the back
    - Tension is adjusted with either the supplied spanner or a 4mm Allen key
    - Laces allow you to adjust how much the center splays out
    - 285mm x 175mm
    •  
      CommentAuthorGeoff
    • CommentTimeOct 13th 2012
     
    I'll bet Apple will sue them for infringement.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeOct 13th 2012
     
    Geoff:I'll bet Apple will sue them for infringement.
    Apple probably would.

    Brooks definitely should.
    •  
      CommentAuthorGeoff
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
     
    Looks like vegans will soon be able to enjoy a Brooks saddle:
    http://www.brooksengland.com/cambium/
    • CommentAuthorbossvoss
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2013
     
    ^^^^^
    I think I might buy one of those for my Brompton (currently have the standard Brompton seat due to the leather issue)
    • CommentAuthorbossvoss
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2013
     
    Metro Cyclery has Brooks Cambium loaners that you can try on your bike before you buy. After a 1 day trial I was convinced. Going to pick up two this afternoon (for my Brompton and for my daily commuter/touring bike). Also comes in a darker color (Slate) which is my choice.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2013
     
    Hey, I have a brand new B17 (wider rivets) that has less than 100 miles on it. I switched to a B67 because I needed the width for some obvious reasons.

    I'll sell it for what I paid for the used B67. $95.