Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

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LifeIsGood
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Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by LifeIsGood » Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:55 am

I received a Brooks B17 bicycle saddle as a Christmas present. I've read all the rave reviews but my first impression looking at the seat is that it doesn't seem like it would be very comfortable. I'm afraid if I use it and then don't like it I've wasted a fairly large sum of money. http://www.amazon.com/Brooks-Standard-B ... B00BCU5PJI
Any feedback would be appreciated.

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Crustus
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by Crustus » Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:03 am

Back when I used to ride a lot, I had a brooks saddle. It took a couple hundred miles to break it in but after that is was better for long rides than the gel saddle I had on my other bike. I also treated it with an oil (Neatsfoot) that people used to use on baseball gloves (water/sweat protection).
And . . .

treypar
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by treypar » Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:17 am

I do not use a Brooks Saddle but have a friend that does. He thinks that they are the best but it sure looks uncomfortable to me. I personally like the Terry Fly TI saddle.

livesoft
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:18 am

Not surprisingly, even Brooks saddles have already been discussed on the forum. :)

Here's a thread where that happened: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 2#p2127452

It sure seems like a bike saddle would be ripe for a customization outfit: You get a kit in the mail of some memory foamy thing and squish it with your butt into an exact impression of your anatomy. The outfit takes that and uses a 3D printer to make the mold of your custom-fitted saddle, then makes the saddle, puts the BrooXs name on it (it will be made in China), and ships it back to you.

There are already custom earbuds places that make molds of your ears and 3D print them. Or dentists that do things with your teeth.

Until that happens, you have to ride 10,000 miles with a bona fide Brooks saddle to have it conform.

Full disclosure: I've had a couple of Brooks leather saddles over the years.
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goblue100
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by goblue100 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:46 am

What type of rider are you? If you are only ever riding a few miles at a time a Brooks saddle is probably overkill. If you are a self described "roadie" than the Brooks may be what the Doctor ordered. It doesn't take anything like 10,000 miles to break in a Brooks, but 500 to a 1,000 is not out of the question. That doesn't mean it will be miserable until then, it just won't be as comfortable until that point as it eventually gets.

Here is a link from cycling legend Sheldon Brown's website:
http://sheldonbrown.com/leather.html

" Leather saddles have only one advantage over plastic, but it is a big one:

They are much more comfortable!

They are not for everyone. Leather saddles are substantially heavier than synthetic ones, and they do require breaking in. A new leather saddle is quite hard and rigid, and it takes several hundred miles to break one in. "

Disclaimer: I do not have a leather saddle but my brother swears by his. I may get one some day.
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4nursebee
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by 4nursebee » Sun Dec 28, 2014 9:07 am

No Brooks here, they don't make recumbent seats.
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Raybo
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by Raybo » Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:28 am

As I understand it, there are two types of bicycles seats. One is a "hammock" type like the Brooks B17 and the other is metal covered by something, usually synthetic.

The hammock type ones support you by the stiffness of the material and eventually conform to your sit bones. After that, it is like sitting on a custom-made seat. The best example is like leather shoes. At first they are tight but eventually they conform to your foot and become like slippers. This what the B17 is like.

The covered metal ones are often Ok until whatever is between the metal and seat cover deteriorates. Then, it become painful. You cannot break-in metal!

I have ridden thousands of miles on both types of saddles. I started out with a covered metal one and it never got comfortable. Then, on the advice of other bicycle tourists, I bought a Brooks B17. It hurt for the first 100 miles, or so, and then it got more and more comfortable. Today, years later, I don't even notice it.

I wrote an article about sitting and long distance riding that you might find interesting: http://www.biketouringtips.com/showTipC ... ?tipID=848

The true test is what kind of seat would I buy if I have to replace my current one. I'd buy another B17 in a heart beat, but I wouldn't look forward to the first few rides!
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by THY4373 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:38 am

I have two Brooks (a Team Pro bought new and a Swallow that came on a lightly used bike I bought). They are both very comfortable to me the Team Pro took a few hundred miles to break in but wasn't bad even before break-in. My two Brooks are the best saddles I have ridden on. I also have two Selle Anatomica saddles and they are also very comfortable (right up there with Brooks) but they don't have quiet the same craftsmanship as Brooks but still very comfortable and a great deal when on sale for $99 like during the holidays. The good news is if you don't like your Brooks you can flip it on Ebay/CL and get most of your money back. They hold their value very well.

livesoft
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:48 am

Raybo wrote:As I understand it, there are two types of bicycles seats. One is a "hammock" type like the Brooks B17 and the other is metal covered by something, usually synthetic.
[…]
The covered metal ones are often Ok until whatever is between the metal and seat cover deteriorates. Then, it become painful. You cannot break-in metal!
While I have had a couple of Brooks saddles before, I do not use one now. I use a gel-covered seat of plastic that fits my anatomy well. There is no metal other than the rails of the seat somewhat like a leather saddle. So there must be at least 3 types of saddles, the two you mentioned and a third kind with a plastic substitute for the leather and no metal for rivets. My gel + plastic seat is more than 20 years old.

I can understand the physics of the Brooks saddle and the way weight would be more evenly distributed with fewer high pressure (force) contacts after the saddle was broken in. I can understand how leather would flex and give while riding, too.

Finally, all us cyclists know that one doesn't sit in the same exact position on the saddle all the time. One moves forward, backward, tilts, and even stands, etc. Even small changes of hand position on the bars changes the distribution of one's weight on the saddle.
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ubermax
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by ubermax » Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:59 am

I have a Fizik Arione saddle on my road bike , it's long, narrow, & hard but very comfortable ; from a quick look at the Brooks site it looks like the B17 comes in road & touring models , not sure what you have LisG but for comfort you want a hard saddle , not intuitive but true .

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Post by davebarnes » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:08 am

I love my Brooks B17. Have had it on my bike since 1978.
The only saddle I will ever own.
Last edited by davebarnes on Mon Dec 29, 2014 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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livesoft
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:19 am

To specifically answer the OP: You should install and use the Brooks saddle for a few hundred miles or more. If after that, you do not like it, then you can sell it for much more than it cost since it will have been freshly broken in. You should have no thoughts about returning the saddle or letting go of it for at least another year. In fact, if next Christmas, you want to get rid of it, please contact me and I will buy it from you.
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by tacster » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:50 am

When I first got my Brooks saddle it felt like sitting on a 2x4. After about a thousand miles of riding it still felt like sitting on a 2x4, so I ebay'd it for what I had in it. Nice saddle but it just didn't work for me.
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stlutz
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by stlutz » Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:09 pm

The reputation of Brooks saddles is primarily because of history and not because they are better than other options that are out there *currently*.

Before bike fit became a legitimate pursuit for geeks, most saddles were, well, saddle shaped, which tended put your weight on all of the wrong places. Saddles have since become flatter going across, meaning that you sit on the places your supposed to sit. They key is to get a saddle that appropriately matches the width of your sit bones.

My observation is that people who got into long-distance riding back in the mid 90s use and love their Brooks saddles. People who got into it in the past 10 years or so are much more diverse in their saddle choices. I know people in this group who have tried Brooks and like them and those who do not.

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Cosmo
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by Cosmo » Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:54 pm

LifeIsGood wrote:I received a Brooks B17 bicycle saddle as a Christmas present. I've read all the rave reviews but my first impression looking at the seat is that it doesn't seem like it would be very comfortable. I'm afraid if I use it and then don't like it I've wasted a fairly large sum of money. http://www.amazon.com/Brooks-Standard-B ... B00BCU5PJI
Any feedback would be appreciated.
So you are making a judgement by just looking at it? When it comes to bike seats, you cannot judge a book by its cover. It is gonna take several hours on the seat before you can make that determination.
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:01 pm

Back in 72, I bought a Raleigh International with a Brooks Pro. I worked at the bike shop and the customary initial break in was to pound the thing with a rubber mallet during any down time or breaks at the shop. I probably did that for 8 hours altogether. I rod that saddle in ABLA ----> USCF races, to get to work and later on a college competitive cycling club in the 80's. I bought a newer, lighter saddle in the mid 90's and threw out the brooks. It was never uncomfortable for me and I've ridden lots of criterium races and road races up to 100 miles.

I would never today choose to buy one compared to a lighter, lightly padded model.
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paulsiu
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by paulsiu » Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:09 am

Mines is quite comfortable. I had mines since the early 90's, so it's pretty broken in. One issue with leather saddle is that you have to maintain it. If you let it sit in water and dry it out it will be ruined. If treated well, leather saddle last a pretty long time.

One note with saddle is that not all butts are the same, so one shape will work with someone and be painful to another.

Paul

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by TroyMcClure » Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:30 am

I'm a randonneur / long distance cyclist, I've tried and owned a lot of saddles, and I've had a lot of saddle sores. I'm 35 so I guess I cannot be considered 'old generation', I've tried a lot of the latest stuff, and some unusual ones too (I've owned one which you could inflate...).

The B17 is basically the only saddle which I can ride for 40+ hours and still have a fresh butt.

Though it's not just the saddle, you have to have a correct riding position to start with (= mind the height of these handlebars, that also decides how much pressure there is on your behind), your bibs need to be comfortable with a padding that suits you (no underwear of course, except in freezing conditions), and finally you need to have the right type of cream.

With a B17 with the nose tipped slightly up, some Rapha bibs and some Scholl Hirschtalg Extreme cream, I have the perfect combination.

Your weight will also affect your experience and how long it takes to break in. I've owned a Team Pro which had a very thick hide and which I basically could never break in properly, and a Swallow which I didn't like.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by monito » Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:34 am

I've been commuting for 4 years year round in Chicago--polar vortex minus 50 to 100 degrees dog days of summer. Riding 6 to 10 miles each way. My first Brooks was the B17 which took about a week to mold to my sit bones. One of the best things to do to speed up the process is to apply Proofide (leather dressing) which keeps it under warranty as well as helps to protect it from a small amount of moisture (think light rain). I always have a plastic shopping bag rolled under the rail which I pull out and put over to both protect it from the elements and avoid unwarranted attention--saddle being stolen.
I found the B17 great and it led to my buying a B67 which is a wider and sprung version.
During a bad storm my bike was locked outside and the bag flew away, saddle got soaked. Let it dry once I got home. That was 6 months ago and the saddle seems to be doing just fine :)

Maintenance is minimal to virtually none: an application of Proofide every six months or so, and putting that infamous plastic bag over it so avoid it getting wet when it pours.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:44 am

I've been riding a Brooks for several years and most of my riding friends have switched over, too. The leather, while not cushy, does make a "hammock". To me, the padded ones feel good but are generally foam over hard plastic so once you compress the foam, you are riding on hard plastic. Ultimately, the choice of a saddle is a highly personal decsion.

As someone else mentioned, use Brooks' Proofide to treat the saddle. I also apply a layer from the underside to condition it and waterproof it. The biggest danger to these saddle is getting wet and being used when the are soaked.

LifeIsGood
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by LifeIsGood » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:31 am

Bogleheads never fail to deliver ! Thanks for all the terrific input. I needed a nudge one way or the other and based on the responses I'm going to give it a try. I'm not a serious distance rider. I ride a hybrid bike about 20mi/ride and get in ~ 2,200 mi/yr. I'll keep you posted.

3504PIR
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by 3504PIR » Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:18 am

You really need to have a saddle that fits your seat rather than the other way around. It might work for you and it might not. Was it fitted?

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by c.Alvin » Mon Dec 29, 2014 4:05 pm

I have owned a Brooks saddle for a number of years and would never sell it. Yes, it did require a break in period of a few hundred miles. It is a relatively comfortable saddle, but it requires regular maintenance. The Brooks saddle would not be my first choice for a long century ride. I keep it on my second favorite road bike. The saddle is beautiful and looks like an antique. I always get compliments on the Brooks saddle. Everybody's buttocks are little different. You need to judge the comfort level for yourself. If you are very concerned about pressure points, I would error on the side of caution.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by boglebill » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:24 am

Brooks saddles are like Subarus. Everyone who has one LOVES them. I do not have one, but I would definitely get one for the right bike.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by monito » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:41 pm

I bought Brooks C19 Cambium Carved All Weather

It replaced the B67 I have been using for years. B67 being leather would stain clothes. Have not had that issue with C19. Comfort is the same and the greatest advantage is that it being rubber there's zero concerns about the elements as well as no maintenance needed.

*** Edited B67 as the right model number for saddle | Added additional info for C19
Last edited by monito on Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

badger42
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by badger42 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:43 pm

boglebill wrote:
Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:24 am
Brooks saddles are like Subarus. Everyone who has one LOVES them. I do not have one, but I would definitely get one for the right bike.
Oddly enough, I have both a Brooks saddle and a Subaru.

On my 'nice' bike, I have the B-17 Champion Select. My wife's bike has a C-17. If I were to do it again I would do the C-17 for the low-maintenance factor (not no-maintenance; the bolts do need to be periodically tightened down or they will come out), but I do like the B-17.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:47 pm

I have 4 of them.

A B-17 Special Titanium on my road bike
A Standard B-17 on the front seat of my tandem
A Flyer Special on my mountain bike (B-17 top with springs)
An old Brooks Professional I took off an old road bike before I sold it and am keeping in case I wind up with a 4th bike.

Been riding on Brooks saddles for 40 years since my first Peugeot PX-10 at age 14 and wouldn't ride on anything else.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:05 am

I bought one and didn't think that it was worth the price. I did ride many miles on the thing.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:15 am

I have a B67 on my Brompton. For upright riding I prefer the wider B67 over the B17. I chose the leather over the Cambium C19 as once they break in, they are comfortable.

They do take a long break in period. Leather treatments can soften the leather. Brooks Proofide saddle cream can soften the leather. ~$10 at Amazon.

Once a Brooks "fits" you, it will has a long time.
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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by Point » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:20 am

Back in the day (early ‘70s) we would take a new Brooks and put it in a bag, fill it with neatsfoot oil, and soak it for the weekend. If it needed a little softening after that, pound it with a rubber mallet. Worked like a charm. Great saddles.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by Cycle » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:26 am

4nursebee wrote:
Sun Dec 28, 2014 9:07 am
No Brooks here, they don't make recumbent seats.
If they did, it probably would cost more than the bike

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:46 pm

FYI, there are now several other modern saddle makers operating in the Brooks "space" of full leather saddles:

Gilles Berthold, a famous small French pannier and handlebar bag manufacturer is now doing full leather saddles:
http://www.gillesberthoud.fr/_en/selles/index.php which can be found at various small niche cycle shops in the US like Compass Cycles.

Sella Anatomica, a small American company also has a line of leather saddles: https://selleanatomica.com/

Brooks is the largest, most famous, and oldest leather saddle manufacturer by far. But there are a few other niche options. They won't be any cheaper than Brooks. But some people who have a hard time getting a Brooks to work for them have found success with one of these others. They all operate on exactly the same principal of a heavy tensioned cowhide saddle that breaks into your exact anatomy.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by cyclist » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:59 pm

Cycle wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:26 am
4nursebee wrote:
Sun Dec 28, 2014 9:07 am
No Brooks here, they don't make recumbent seats.
If they did, it probably would cost more than the bike
The solution seems obvious to me: Have your recumbent seat (probably already extremely comfortable) and have Brooks saddles on your other bikes. (For me, B17s on my "regular" bike and my folder.)

Problem solved!

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by monito » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:05 pm

badger42 wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:43 pm
My wife's bike has a C-17. If I were to do it again I would do the C-17 for the low-maintenance factor (not no-maintenance; the bolts do need to be periodically tightened down or they will come out), but I do like the B-17.
Could you please elaborate on tightening the bolts.
What'd you say after your first installed it? I ride year round in Chicago (90s summer, humid spring and fall, -20 winter), plenty of potholes (vibration loosens parts, would you recommend Locktite??)

It makes sense needing to tighten bolts down the line. I guess I got spoiled with my other Brooks having rivets. The flipside on tightening would be the tensioning bolt on the front for the leather ones. I've done it twice in about 3 years on the B67 which was my main up to July.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by badger42 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:32 pm

monito wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:05 pm
badger42 wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:43 pm
My wife's bike has a C-17. If I were to do it again I would do the C-17 for the low-maintenance factor (not no-maintenance; the bolts do need to be periodically tightened down or they will come out), but I do like the B-17.
Could you please elaborate on tightening the bolts.
What'd you say after your first installed it? I ride year round in Chicago (90s summer, humid spring and fall, -20 winter), plenty of potholes (vibration loosens parts, would you recommend Locktite??)
The C-17 is comfy from day 1. We had an issue with the bolts coming loose after maybe a year - I might consider one of the milder grades of loctite, but really, tightening them down works pretty well.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by kaesler » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:10 pm

I have biked for many decades and put my first Brooks, a B-17, on a new bike about 6 years ago. I love it. Ultra comfortable from day 1 in my case. Didn't seem to need breaking in,

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by Desert » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:21 am

texasdiver wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:46 pm
FYI, there are now several other modern saddle makers operating in the Brooks "space" of full leather saddles:

Gilles Berthold, a famous small French pannier and handlebar bag manufacturer is now doing full leather saddles:
http://www.gillesberthoud.fr/_en/selles/index.php which can be found at various small niche cycle shops in the US like Compass Cycles.

Sella Anatomica, a small American company also has a line of leather saddles: https://selleanatomica.com/

Brooks is the largest, most famous, and oldest leather saddle manufacturer by far. But there are a few other niche options. They won't be any cheaper than Brooks. But some people who have a hard time getting a Brooks to work for them have found success with one of these others. They all operate on exactly the same principal of a heavy tensioned cowhide saddle that breaks into your exact anatomy.
I have used a Selle Anatomica saddle for the past couple years. This saddle is comfortable when new, with no break-in period.

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Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:40 pm

Desert wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:21 am
texasdiver wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:46 pm
FYI, there are now several other modern saddle makers operating in the Brooks "space" of full leather saddles:

Gilles Berthold, a famous small French pannier and handlebar bag manufacturer is now doing full leather saddles:
http://www.gillesberthoud.fr/_en/selles/index.php which can be found at various small niche cycle shops in the US like Compass Cycles.

Sella Anatomica, a small American company also has a line of leather saddles: https://selleanatomica.com/

Brooks is the largest, most famous, and oldest leather saddle manufacturer by far. But there are a few other niche options. They won't be any cheaper than Brooks. But some people who have a hard time getting a Brooks to work for them have found success with one of these others. They all operate on exactly the same principal of a heavy tensioned cowhide saddle that breaks into your exact anatomy.
I have used a Selle Anatomica saddle for the past couple years. This saddle is comfortable when new, with no break-in period.
I've heard they are good. Apparently Ideale Saddles (the old French counterpart to Brooks) is getting revived and will have new saddles out this month. http://www.victoire-cycles.com/en/news/ ... ddles.html

So the retro leather saddles are making a comeback.

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