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Longer mileage comfort, Brooks saddles(13 posts)

Longer mileage comfort, Brooks saddlesContinental
May 8, 2003 9:27 AM
I'm trying to make my bike more comfortable for longer rides, more than 50 miles. I've raised handlebars to 3 cm below saddls and increased tire size from 23 mm to 28 mm. These made a huge difference. I'm considering a Brooks saddle but don't know which to buy. B17 or B17 Narrow? Is there any procedure for measuring my bones to make a rational choice? Is there anything else I can do to increase comfort for long rides? I don't care if my average speed declines by 0.1 mph or if my bike weight increases by 500 grams.
re: Longer mileage comfort, Brooks saddlesbig fred
May 8, 2003 9:44 AM
I ride a Brooks Swift (Ti rails, narrow nose) and I am not svelt by any stretch (built like a football player). Most of my rides are in the 80 - 150 mile range and the Brooks Swift is great.

What I don't like about the larger Brooks saddles is that they tend to be TOO wide and while narrowing my Q-factor (the width of the cranks arm to arm) is nice, the saddle inteferes with that narrowness. In other words, it rubs the heck out of my legs on a power stroke.

Try the Swift. No matter what, they all shape to your sit bones after a few rides and become quite comfortable. I like my Swift so much that I may purchase more to put on my mountain bikes and other road bikes.

Good luck.
other thoughtsJS Haiku Shop
May 8, 2003 9:48 AM
double wrap your bars, at least on the tops--i don't do this, but others swear by it.

wear two pairs of shorts--double chammy. helps when breaking in a brooks, or otherwise on long rides.

if not brooks, get a gel seatcover. the QR version is relatively inexpensive and fairly durable, if not installed and removed often.

get a good pair of gloves. more importantly for arms and hands, though--tune in your saddle tilt so your weight is mostly on your butt & legs. YMMV, but it works for me.

brooks saddles: check the width and profile of the most comfortable (least uncomfortable?) saddle you've used, and compare it to brooks saddles. the b17 narrow is 152 mm wide at the back (widest point), and fairly flat across the top, with a fairly narrow nose. consider this when comparing saddles. check the branfordbike.com and wallbike.com sites for brooks measurements. the former lists dimensions of saddles from different manufacturers.

some folks like chammy cream: bag balm and similar. i tried it for a while, but after finding that brooks b17n saddles fit and are comfortable for my arse (after a period of adjustment), i've gone on longish rides without any discomfort, without any chammy cream. the cons of lubrication are that it has to be reapplied on long rides or rides in wet conditions, and that it sometimes is difficult to wash out of some shorts.

the supposed downsides of brooks saddles: weight (b17n=~450 grams or 1 pound), appearance (retro, but that's a bonus to some!), and break-in. on break-in, some say that they're comfy out of the box, and just get better. another supposed negative is that they don't do well in wet or inclement weather, but i've not had that problem after plenty of ice, snow, rain, hail, and muddy rides.

also, saddle time--put in more, but gradually. good for building a long-distance arse, and your knees will thank you for the easy build-up.

HTH.

-J
Wall biketerry b
May 8, 2003 9:52 AM
Talk to Bill at Wallingford - www.wallbike.com - he offers a 6 month, no hassle return policy. You could try whatever is recommended and try a different one if that did not work out.

Personally, I have a Swift. It's very comfortable, but not so much so that I could allow myself to use a 600 gram saddle. I opted instead for a San Marco Regal - about the same shape, just as comfortable (out of the box) and 300 grams less.
second, and secondJS Haiku Shop
May 8, 2003 9:57 AM
second wallbike.com--i have purchased several items from Bill, including 2 saddles and 2 carradice bags, as well as a rack, and some other stuff. he's an excellent resource, and his purchase policies rock.

second the regal--comfy for me for up to 125 miles. after that, i'm wishing for my b17n. IMHO, 3/4 pound of extra weight is worth staying comfy in the saddle on long rides. for most, a comfy saddle is the holy grail--for which everything else is willingly sacrificed.
interestingterry b
May 8, 2003 10:07 AM
that the Regal starts to die for you beyond 125. I actually did 110 on a new Regal a couple of weeks ago and I'll admit it was starting to bug me a bit. Or, it might have been the 90 degree heat, the hot desert wind or the dead, bloated Oryx by the side of the road. Not sure how my Swift would have played out, but I'll admit to being superficial and say I just can't handle the aesthetic - too many memories of my 1972 Raleigh Grand Prix. No reflection on the quality of the saddle though - while it's not on my bike right now, I don't plan on parting with it.
Oryx? where are you riding? nmJS Haiku Shop
May 8, 2003 10:14 AM
White Sands Military Reservationterry b
May 8, 2003 10:18 AM
Southern New Mexico - they opened it up for a Century this year. There is a standing herd of Oryx, and I happened to ride by a big, dead one.

One other fun tidbit - lots of unexploded ordinance. They made you sign a waiver that said, "If you didn't drop it, don't pick it up." Military humor.
strange antelope, explosives, and alien encounters, eh? nmJS Haiku Shop
May 8, 2003 10:38 AM
truly a Saturday to remember (nm)terry b
May 8, 2003 10:42 AM
White Sands Military Reservationn ?Steve Bailey
May 8, 2003 2:23 PM
Opened up what ?.

I have to ask. I assume you're riding paved sections of roads inside the actual missle range in the Alamgordo area (as opposed to Trinity Site ?) that is normally closed to the public ?. Didn't know there were any.

That would be so cool !.

Hell, ride the Space Shuttle landing strip !.

Or maybe the rocket sled track ! - didn't they just set a new land speed record ?, what a draft that would be. Hmm... Rocket sled..... well, maybe not !.

More info requested.

Steve B.
Opened upterry b
May 8, 2003 5:56 PM
The WSMR activities team put on a nice little 108 mile ride in the middle of April dubbed the "First Ever White Sands Century." All paved, albeit mostly on bumpy chip-seal roads, a big loop that started and ended at Tularosa High School. Well-covered sag stops and great scenery (dead Oryx notwithstanding.) And then there are all those cool classified areas testing who knows what.

I found it pretty challenging, some long but not steep climbs and lots of heat and wind. The last 75 miles into a head wind actually. The information for it was sparse, I happened to find about it on the Bicycling Forums. There was a little bit on line, including registration information at the web site for the annual Bataan Death March celebration (no irony there.)

It was fun.
dead bloated orcs?mtncranker
May 8, 2003 11:08 AM
Sounds like Mordor!