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Attn: Brooks saddle experts -- Need advice!(15 posts)

Attn: Brooks saddle experts -- Need advice!Dale Brigham
May 6, 2003 7:05 AM
Hey, campers!

I'm about to order a Brooks Swift saddle from Bill Laine at Wallingford. Spoke with him this a.m., and he thinks it fits my "aggressive" style (that's a laugh!).

Just want to know if any of you have tried this saddle, and if so, what advice you have on setup (level vs. tilt) and break-in (Proofhide, of course, but where/how?).

Also, opinions on color (black vs. honey) are welcome. My Steelman is persimmon sparkle (orange), with black saetpost, stem, and bar. I'm thinking black is safest choice, but am open to suggestion.

Many thanks!

At your age, my manOldEdScott
May 6, 2003 7:34 AM
tilt that saddle NOSE UP! Your boys will thank you.

Proofide the top, using very little, but work it in good with your warm bare hands. Let it sit overnight and buff off. Maybe do it again in a week. MAYBE a third time a couple of weeks later. Then forget it for six months or so. Twice a year, give it a treatment. Not too often.

Oh, and slather some Proofide on the underside. Don't rub it in or buff off, just put it in there to protect from tire spray, etc.

Did you get a Brooks wrench to adjust the tension? (I THINK the Swift uses one; most do). After a month or so, you might notice a little sag, or some squeaking because the leather has stretched. Tighten it with the bolt at the nose, but not much. A half turn is a lot.

Black is always nice, and I have a couple; but in my mind there's nothing prettier than a honey Brooks. Beware, though: It won't stay so very pretty. The leather darkens and stains and looks pretty funky after awhile. By that point, though, you will love it so much you'll just look on it as 'character.'

Congratulations! You are now one of US ...
What Ed said, word for word, has kept me comfy since 1980 (nm)cory
May 6, 2003 8:28 AM
Thanks, Cory! (nm)Dale Brigham
May 6, 2003 8:33 AM
Thanks, Ed!Dale Brigham
May 6, 2003 8:31 AM
Yes, upward tilt on the saddle nose is my friend (and the "boys" best friend). Also, thanks for your Proofide tips, which are identical to those on the Brooks website (brilliant minds thinking alike?).

The Swift comes with the wrench and a tin of Profide "free of charge" (a funny term applied to a $150 saddle), so I'll be set in those categories. After more than a half-dozen $75 saddles I have tried in the last few years, I guess it's time to buy the real deal.

I agree that the honey Brooks are droolingly pretty, but my bike's color scheme might not get along with that hue (almost too close to the Steelman's persimmon). I'm thinking black is byootiful, in this case.

Thanks again, Ed. I am so becoming a silver-haired geezer on a bike, and with the Brooks, the transformation is complete. Outa' my way, ya' little whippersnappers!

One more thing ...OldEdScott
May 6, 2003 8:45 AM
Don't believe all that happy hooey about it taking hundreds or thousands of miles for a Brooks to get broken in and comfortable. It will probably be comfortable right out of Bill's well-packed box, or at least in very short order. It gets MORE comfortable as time goes on and it shapes to your butt, but don't be a'feered of riding the stiff-looking, hard-as-a-brick monstrosity that UPS delivers to you. All sweet little babies look scary when they first come!

Persimmon, eh? Gotta wonder how British racing green would look with that. Too much?
Chose black, the coward's way out.Dale Brigham
May 6, 2003 9:47 AM
No bravery here. Just a nice basic black. The Brit green is tempting, but a bit edgy for me. I'll make my next Brooks a honey, Ed, just 'cuz you like 'em. I just might pick my next bike's color to match the saddle.

The Swift is on it's way, and I might have a chance to ride it by the weekend. Unless it absolutely kills me to ride it (which my Regal does to me after 8 hours or so, anyway), I'm hoping to ride the Swift in the 600K brevet on Memorial day weekend. One of us will be broken in after that two-day (40 hr. time limit) trek, I guarantee.

Thanks again for your advice and support, Ed!

Ed is right on the money as......cycleaddict
May 6, 2003 9:30 AM
usual. I'm a recent convert from Italian plastic to British leather. I rode a standard B-17 all winter and then found a deal on a Ti Swift. Both were comfortable right out of the box--no breakin required in my case at all. I'll never go back.
Honey is IMO the nicest way to go. If you ride in the wet, get the dedicated saddle cover from Brooks.
re: Attn: Brooks saddle experts -- Need advice!FTMD
May 6, 2003 12:43 PM
I'm soooo not trying to rain on your parade, and this is too late since you've already purchased, but I had a swift from wallbike that I returned. I did all the proofhide stuff and still could never get it to soften up at all. I even put it on my mtb thinking that might help. Eventually returned the saddle and have seen others on here (Sloan maybe) comment on the difficulty of the break in period with this model.

Another thing, depending on your seatpost and/or seat tube angle, you might have a problem getting the nose down close to level. I had mine on a 73.5 STA bike with a Thompson and had to buy an aftermarket kit for the post head to give me enough horizontal adjustment.

All that said, I still want to try a B-17 at some point in my life.
Thanks for the words of caution.Dale Brigham
May 6, 2003 1:26 PM
I too might not ever get along with the Swift, but at least I can send it back for exchange or refund (why I bought from Wallingford, BTW), unlike the droves of unsuitable $75 saddles that I gave away or sold for pennies on the dollar.

I'm not sure how my Ritchey Pro seatpost will do with the Swift, but it does seem to have a wide range a saddle tilt adjustment. I'm hopeful that it will also be simpatico with the Swift. Time will tell!

Again, thanks, FTMD!

Can't compare model to model...Lone Gunman
May 6, 2003 5:42 PM
I have 2 Brooks Pros, they were the cheaper alternative to the Swift. Your butt feels "bruised" but it is a temporary condition until you and saddle come to an agreement. I guess that is what some consider a breakin period.

As far as angle, being the saddle is smooth, I tend to slide forward. It put alot of pressure on my wrists, shoulders and triceps. I tilted the saddle up a little past level and all is well. Amazing what that minor adjustment did.

You might have less slide adjustment with a Brooks as I think the bends in the rails might be make it shorter availability to adjust.
Thanks, LG! I'll pay close attention to the tilt. (nm)Dale Brigham
May 6, 2003 7:40 PM
re: Attn: Brooks saddle experts -- Need advice!bianchi boy
May 6, 2003 5:49 PM

I've got a black Swift that I got used and it looks great. I really like the honey colored ones too, but agree the black would look best on your bike.

I had trouble adjusting the Swift just right and replaced it with a Koobi. The main problem I've had with the Swift is that it's difficult moving it far enough back on the rails for the proper knee-over-pedal position. The Koobi is great for shorter rides, but it wasn't so comfortable after 70 miles on a century I did last weekend. Today I put the Swift back on my bike and I'm gonna give it another try. Perhaps I just didn't leave it on long enough to break in to my butt or didn't have it dialed in.

The funny thing is that the Swift is the exact same dimensions as my Koobi saddle, but the rails are positioned very differently. The Koobi is centered perfectly on the rails, but I have to move the Swift all the was back as far as it will go.
Good advice, BB! I'll keep an eye on fore-aft position. (nm)Dale Brigham
May 6, 2003 7:44 PM
re: Attn: Brooks saddle experts -- Need advice!mackgoo
May 7, 2003 2:34 PM
I'd go with the honey. I wanted a honey Swallow a few years ago but all that was left was black.
I have to disagree with what I saw as a general consensus and say get the level out and set it flat.