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Rode 30 miles on a new Brooks Swift last night.(20 posts)

Rode 30 miles on a new Brooks Swift last night.STEELYeyed
Apr 30, 2002 5:34 AM
I would rather coat my a$$ with honey and sit on a nest of fire ants than ride that Brooks one more mile,the saddle is absolutly medieval. I'm glad I got one with a full money back comfort warranty. Sorry about the explative,....been watching to much Red Dwarf.
LOL :-) (nm)Dave Hickey
Apr 30, 2002 5:39 AM
Apr 30, 2002 5:43 AM
Some people swear these things are as comfy as a Lazyboy recliner. Mine isn't. It's like sitting on a rock. I tried to break it in, but I don't think my butt can take it that long.

If someone wants to make some money, offer a service breaking in Brooks saddles. Better yet, maybe Brooks could offer "pre-broken-in" saddles, sort of like Levi's. Get some really big fat guys to ride them for a few months, then sell them. Maybe they could take a mold of your butt and break it in to match.

I guess we are wimps. Funny how my Selle Italia SLR, which looks like nothing, feels fine for rides hundreds of miles long, and I can't stand the Brooks for 10 miles.

Brooks DOES offer pre-softened saddles. Don't know ifscottfree
Apr 30, 2002 6:20 AM
they use fat guys though. You pay about 10 extra bucks for the broken-in models.

People say give the things a chance, but my experience is, if you're gonna like Brooks, you're gonna like Brooks right away. It will certainly get better with time, but if you find it agony out of the box, it won't get THAT much better.

Like many, I swear by Brooks. But I come from the Brooks era, pure retro, and many of my friends from the 70s and 80s say the best thing about 'modern' bikes is the modern saddle.
You'll like it right away, or not at allRay Sachs
Apr 30, 2002 6:27 AM
That's been my experience too. I love the wider Brooks (B-17) on my touring bike and other bikes with a more upright position. But I liked them from the first ride and they just got better as they broke in. I tried the Swift for one of my more stretched out bikes and didn't hate it, but never liked it much. For those, I prefer a hard plastic saddle like the Body Geometry Pro, the Squadra, Rolls, along those lines.

It's ALL personal preference.

same heredzrider
Apr 30, 2002 6:40 AM
Tried a Brooks Pro many years ago and suffered mightily. It or I may have adjusted someday, but I wasn't willing to wait to find out. Gave up and got a San Marco Concor and have had a very happy butt ever since. Brooks saddles may eventually fit everybody, but I don't understand why some folks think they are better than saddles that cost less and fit from the start.
same herecurlybike
Apr 30, 2002 6:47 AM
I think it is the trial by fire complex, you gotta do that to deserve the pleasure of a bike ride. myself, I prefer the saddle that you don't know you are on. In the old days the top pros had the domestiques do the initial break in. Let them try that today, hah.
patience, grasshopper ...tarwheel
Apr 30, 2002 5:46 AM
I had an Ideale leather saddle -- beautiful honey color with copper rivets -- back in the mid-80s that I never could seem to break in. Must have put 1,000 miles on that saddle before calling it quits. Apparently there are some techniques for hastening the breaking-in process, but they all sound rather complicated to me -- stuff like soaking the saddle overnight, beating it with a rubber hose, etc. Myself, I've been looking for a nice used Swift that someone else has already done most of the hard work of breaking it in.
let me add ...tarwheel
Apr 30, 2002 5:51 AM
I picked up a slightly used Lepper leather saddle -- which is actually lighter than the Swift -- a few weeks ago and it is breaking in nicely. At first, it wasn't any more comfortable than my Selle Italia TransAm Max, but after a few hundred miles it is definitely more comfy -- and it gets better each ride. The leather on the Lepper doesn't seem to be as thick as the Brooks, and it is only available in natural color. Harris Cyclery and a few other places sell them for $100-120. Weighs about 340 g..
let me add ...Pjkad
Apr 30, 2002 3:58 PM
I agree with tarwheel. I have a Lepper (new). It took about 300 miles, but I swear by it now. I ride 4-5 hours and don't feel a thing. They are much lighter weight than Brooks, and the shape fits me. If anyone is thinking of leather (for their saddle anyway) check out Lepper.
patience, grasshopper ...curlybike
Apr 30, 2002 6:42 AM
I had an Ideale with the "rebour" treatment, supposed to be pre-broken in, hogwash! Never could stand that saddle, I rode that thing, determined to get it to the great comfort that I was told to expect. All I ever got was a raw tookus. I finally sold it at a great loss, 20 years later, to someone that begged me for it. Oh well, some things you gotta find out yerself. I thought you would like to hear that you were not alone.
the funny thing is ...tarwheel
Apr 30, 2002 7:02 AM
I've seen old Ideale saddles sell for $100 and more on eBay. My brother has my old Ideale in his stuffed away in his garage or basement somewhere. I keep trying to talk him into finding it, so we can sell it.
re: welcome to the club bro nmcyclopathic
Apr 30, 2002 7:25 AM
Probably a set-up issue, but if you're comfortable without it...cory
Apr 30, 2002 7:31 AM
I've had at least half a dozen Brooks Pros and B-17s (they got sold with the bikes or, in two cases, stolen), and they've always been pretty comfortable right out of the box and broken in after 200 mi. or so. Did the Wildflower last weekend without giving my @ss a thought (legs and lungs were another story; WHY don't I stay in shape during winter?). Everybody's different, but if you were THAT uncomfortable, it almost had to be setup. But if you're happy and got your money back, no harm done.
Agree, setup is keySteveS
Apr 30, 2002 11:19 AM
I had at least 3 leather saddles over the years and had problems with them all, then a year or two ago ran across Rivendell's site and took their advice on setting up the rear slightly higher than the nose on a Brooks. Voila! Peterson was correct, the saddles ride great to me. (to be fair, my WTB SST 98 and 2000 also ride well, they just look nearly as good)

Saddles are so individual it is impossible to specify for anybody. I could and would never ride a Flite, yet some people like them a lot. Who knows?
of all the brooks saddles the swift is the toughest to break inSpirito
Apr 30, 2002 7:40 AM
its basically a result of not much leather compared to the others being strung tighter to begin with. if its any consolation you are not the first to experience this. it will take longer than the others brooks saddles to fit you and offer comfort.

contrary to what some think riding it is the only way to soften it ...water , beating with a hose, proofiding it before it needs it are all pretty pointless and akin to offering a new lover extended foreplay the morning after a dismall, hasty and lacklustre performance that lasted less than a minute and was more fuelled by alcohol than passion and. the fact that her frustration was kept awake by your snores doesn't exactly smooth things over.

if indeed you are a don juan (with a required splash of marquis de sade) then the swift may be for you and you posses the tenacity. the greatest coupling that ever was awaits your patient approach.

but if your more in the ideology of Al Bundy then your swift will be the Peg in your life and will be a constant miserous struggle who's moribund sweetness will never override the sour and regretted beginning.

if you want something instantly to ride on get a new style saddle - some are ok - most are designed to be ok for most people. the swift is magical but riding out the discomfort will result in a fit better than you could ever imagine.

if the hottest, most mysterious and only dreamt of woman jumped in bed with me within minutes of us meeting i would either be looking for cameras or checking under the shets to acertain that it indeed is a woman. even then my desire would be a little deflated as the build up is a big part of the thrill.

also i would check that the saddle is positioned properly. this can be similar to not checking under the sheets and the apparent bad fit could be the source of your frustration as well. it happens all the time around the meat packing district here in NYC.

(ouch followed by aaarrGGGGGGGhhhhhhhhh - well, for most anyway )

think about it - you bought the lightest, littlest bit of toughened leather stretched over some Ti rails. the most tweaked ferrari in the parking lot takes a little while to get used to and master. most people learn to ride horses that are on their way to the glue factory whilst you chose a bucking horse.

put it on your shopping bike and take it for 5 and 10 mile rides - dont over soften it prematurely as this is a one way process, meant to preserve it and sure to shorten its life. be patient and it will reward.

very poetic, but...DougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 8:02 AM
I have a hard time comparing a saddle to sex, if that was the analogy you intended.

The breaking-in mechanism is that you sit on the saddle, and you cause it to deform to match the shape of your parts, right? I can see that working for where your pelvic bones sit, but what about the softer areas? I can't imagine my perineum is ever going to put a dent in that 1/4 inch thick hard-as-a-rock leather shell.

I think some others got it right. Either they pretty much fit right away, or they never will. Breaking-in might make them a little better, but not transform a torture device into a cushion.

It's hard (if not impossible) to argue with others' claims of comfort, but to some extent I believe the Brooks phenomenon is a bit of the Emporer's New Clothes.
Having left Brooks for another womanscottfree
Apr 30, 2002 8:30 AM
a few years ago -- looking for the soft comfort of a new love -- I can only say I'm glad I gave up my wandering ways and came home. Brooks is the only saddle I've ever tried that I never think about on a ride. It's like there's nothing down there.

But that's me. For others, it's like having a cleated boot stuck up your crack. No amount of softening or breaking in is going to change that. I tell folks they can determine within five miles if Brooks is for them.
I've been married for 19 years and.......STEELYeyed
Apr 30, 2002 8:34 AM
I can't go through that much pain to build a relationship with a saddle. I would rather keep my 10 year old Flite that I always come back to after a fling with something that looks or sounds to good to resist. I'm committed and faithful to my wife,.........but I am a bit of a saddle slut.
Try a wider model BrooksGary
Apr 30, 2002 1:53 PM
The Swift is a narrow Brooks with a width of 152mm.. I have a B17 Narrow which is also 152mm wide and found that it just never got that comfortable. I bought a B17 Standard which is 170mm wide and it is a big improvement. The leather on the wider versions have more give.

Also, the general guidance for break in is at least 100 miles plus a treatment or two of Proofide. I bought my B17 Standard from Wallingford Bike and since it was a return, it was already partially broken in plus it was cheaper. Maybe you should trade it for a wider one. Don't give up, they are great saddles.