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Fot the Brooks-curious:(19 posts)

Fot the Brooks-curious:OldEdScott
May 22, 2003 7:33 AM
Ed Pavelka reviews the B-17 this week.

http://www.roadbikerider.com/products.htm
That break-in thing again...tip for potential buyersSilverback
May 22, 2003 7:50 AM
This comes up every so often, and you'd think Pavelka would know better than to try the hot water trick. I'm an OLD rider, and he's been writing as long as I can remember.
FWIW, though, I have one standard B-17 and two of the Rivendell honey-brown ones, which are made of thicker leather. The standard (clunky, black) one was pretty comfortable right out of the box and took only a couple of hundred miles to conform to my butt. The two Riv versions have at least five times the mileage on them, and they're still sort of working their way toward complete comfort.
Not ridable in the rain?LC
May 22, 2003 9:02 AM
I was almost going to try it, but now I know it can't take any rain. This is a big concern for those of us that live in the "sun challenged" NW.
no problems hereJS Haiku Shop
May 22, 2003 9:06 AM
many miles in rain and adverse conditions.

fenders for the underside and back, your arse for the rest. if you feel the urge, cover it with a plastic grocery bag.

don't leave it sitting outside in the rain all day without your backside and you shouldn't have a problem.
rain not a problem with a few precautionstarwheel
May 22, 2003 9:12 AM
I have a water-proof seat cover that I stick in my saddle bag when I think it might rain. I cover the seat if it starts raining. Most saddle bags will shield the underside of a Brooks saddle from road-spray. It's also a good idea to treat the underside of the saddle generously with Proofide. Your butt will shield the top of the saddle fairly well in light rain, and a little dampness actually helps break in a new leather saddle.
Not ridable in the rain?Zenith
May 22, 2003 10:17 AM
I am fairly new to cycling but have spent many years on horseback. Talk about leather... boots, bridle, saddle, girth, etc. Equestrians ride in the pouring rain, they ride in the snow, they ride through streams too. Not to mention that a big, sweaty animal is wearing all this equipment and kicking up mud all over the place too... And won't even get into what boots go through (literally).

I spent hours regularly cleaning and conditioning my tack not only to help break it in, but to keep it supple and properly oiled so it would stand up to the abuse and stay safe...

I'm not that familiar with the Brooks saddles but I would assume that the same rules would apply... A little glycerin soap with a damp sponge after every ride and a little saddle oil (I like Lexol) every once in a while to keep it supple and repellant of the elements. Helps the leather get that nice, rich tone faster too.

If my (horse) saddle got drenched, I'd have to spring into action as soon it came of the horse: towel dry as much as I could, then work in a healthy dose of glycerin soap with as little water as possible, and finally finish up with a touch of oil. Usually survived as good as new.

Wonder if the same routine works on Brooks.
Z
here's my routineJS Haiku Shop
May 22, 2003 10:27 AM
* ride it
* hang it up in the shop
* ride it again next time
* put some proofide on every few months it if i remember

seems to be working ok.
The difference isOldEdScott
May 22, 2003 10:32 AM
a Brooks (bike) saddle doesn't sit atop a frame, like a horseback saddle. It's just a hunk of leather stretched like a hammock between two rails. If it gets wet, and you continue riding it, it stretches and sags between the rails. It can stretch so badly that you can't even tighten it up adequately with the tensioning bolt.

That's the theory, anyway. I've never seen it happen, and I've ridden several in poor weather over the years. The important thing to remember is, let it dry naturally, don't apply heat and don't use the tensioning bolt or put any Proofide or other treatment on it UNTIL it's totally dry.

I really wouldn't worry about it. I try to remember to carry a freezer bag with me on days it might rain, but if I forget I don't sweat it. Brookses are tougher than people let on.
The difference isZenith
May 22, 2003 10:37 AM
Ohhhh...

Didn't know about the "hammock" construction... stretching it while wet would be a recipe for disaster then.

I do agree that leather is usually much tougher than people think... it' still skin after all.

Z
I was just thinking the same thingKristin
May 22, 2003 10:50 AM
Well cared for tack = good tack. Leather is leather. Perhpas tightening could be an issue, since its a smaller peice. The biggest difference I can see between them is that caring for the Brooks is much fastter!! :-)
The biggest difference is expenseOldEdScott
May 22, 2003 11:02 AM
People who think bikes are expensive ought to try horseback riding on for size. You balk at paying $150 for a good leather (bike) saddle? Try over a thousand for a horse saddle. And that's just the start ...

Plus you don't have to feed a bike.

I love horses. But my years of involvement with them have led me to to the rather startling position that cycling is a damn cheap sport.
You don't need to pay 1K for saddleKristin
May 22, 2003 11:30 AM
My saddle (horse) was purchased for $300. $1000+ and your talking about the Colnago of saddles. As with everything the costs rise with the level of competition. We bought Midnight in '83 for $300. She was a 3 y/o barchip mare who had never been trained and wasn't show quality. We boarded her ourselves on borrowed land near a watershed project, where my father built a barn and coral. We bought used tack and I read books on how to ride/train instead of taking lessons. Because she was a trail horse on mild, soft trails, we didn't bother with shodding her; we simply spent some additional time caring for her hooves. I spent hours out on the trail escaping the entire world, which gives my childhood memories a rather Narian quality. The most expensive costs were feed and vet bills. Once the big purchases were out of the way, the monthly cost was around $200. Still more than non-competitive cycling, but not unmanagable.
You can buy a $10 bike saddle too. And a hundred dollarOldEdScott
May 22, 2003 11:38 AM
bike. I was just trying to indicate that, if you're going to be as involved in and committed to horses as most people on this board are to bikes, you're going to spend MAJOR coin.

My daughter shows hunt-seat and dressage. I just bought a $1200 dressage saddle for her. God knows what the hunt-seat saddle cost. My wife didn't tell me. I don't mind. It keeps the spousal complaints down when I buy a $150 Brooks!
Your daughter is very blessedKristin
May 22, 2003 12:16 PM
Most kids don't get to compete with that kinda swag. At least not any of the kids who grew up on my block. Anything can be expensive if you decide to do it all the way. But for most poor sods, there are less expensive ways to do those same activities. (Most things anyway--I can't imaging ever yachting on a tight budget.) I'm actually glad my dad steered me away from competition and swag. I have no ribbons in my scrapbook; but all those hours spent riding on my own forged me. That small wood taught me so much about who I am. I'm sure I would have learned equally valuable lessons had I gone the route of showing, but I can't regret a minute of it.

I have friends who pour 3K+/year into computer gaming. Others spend it on golf or cars or boats. But nothing HAS to cost money to be fun. ...except, of course, yachting.
I was right down the middle...Zenith
May 23, 2003 8:31 AM
...of the budget Vs. all-out spectrum...

I was blessed with a great, easy-going horse. Albeit he was constantly overweight, and "how now, brown cow" chestnut color, and was old enough to buy a beer long before I could. We weren't much to look at standing next to my prep school friends' important horses from Germany... but you should have seen us work! That tiny little horse (about an inch or so too big to be a pony) and I usually won because he was so consistent and level-headed... and he took as good of care of me as I took of him...

Spirit is happily retired on a family's farm at the ripe age of 30 or so...

As much as I love my new sport, I wish my bike could eat carrots out of my hand... on the other hand, I'm glad I don't have to "muck-out" the room where it lives.

Z
:-) nmKristin
May 23, 2003 8:34 AM
Don't ride it in a simmering hot rain ...Humma Hah
May 22, 2003 12:37 PM
... the writer tried conditioning his saddle in HOT water, probably nearly boiling, a procedure that was probably used to form the thing in the first place. The heat was almost certainly the problem.

I've been assured that getting a little wet won't hurt a Brooks much, by folks who have used 'em for years. You buy a Brooks, move it from bike to bike for maybe 30 years, and then when you die, either you're buried with it or your cycling relatives fight over it.

Put a little Proofide on it, and under it, when you get it. They say Proofide is animal-fat based, as opposed to glycerine soap, synthetic "mink" oil, or other treatments. It's specially-designed for the leather-under tension design of a Brooks saddle. Some other treatments could potentially over-soften it, or reduce its breathability. The $6 can of Proofide will last years, so its not as if you're getting hugely ripped off if there really is some other product that will work.
Ouch! Ruining a $150 saddle!tarwheel
May 22, 2003 9:06 AM
I can't believe he would put a brand-new, $150 Brooks ti saddle in boiling water. That ranks right up there with a certain RBR moderator (who shall remain un-named) who cut the steerer tube too short on a $600 Colnago fork!

I keep trying new, light-weight products and gravitating back to the old, heavy stuff that is more comfortable and reliable. Tried an aluminum/carbon frame but the road buzz drove me crazy and I went back to all steel. Tried Speedplay pedals and they hurt my knees, so went back Looks. Tried a number of lightweight saddles and have gone back to a Brooks on my long-distance bike. Tried a couple of frames with threadless forks/stems, but went back to threaded on my newest bike. I'm not a retro-grouch, but I'm more interested in comfort than lightness.
Amen! While Brooks ain't my saddle of choice I agree.dzrider
May 22, 2003 10:31 AM
Give me a long wheel base, a low bottom bracket, a steel fork, a stem I can easily move up and down and a cold beer at the end of the ride. I'm too old obsess about my weight, ride ultra-light bikes, or chase skinny women.