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Brooks Question.(17 posts)

Brooks Question.Len J
May 27, 2003 5:51 AM
Well I have moved to the dark side. Took delivery of a Brooks Swift last week in time for the weekend. Rode 70 on Saturday, 40 rain shortened on Sunday and 50 on Monday, all with minimal discomfort, I am so far impressed.

A few Questions for you Brookites:

1.) In order to get the right setback, I had to slide the seat all the way back on the rails. Will this damage the saddle? Any recommendations for more setback seatposts? I currently ride a Dura-Ace Post.

2.) I've read all the articles on Breaking in a Brooks, and came away nothing if not confused. Anyone have a break in method that actually works?

Thanks in advance & thanks (so far) to MB1 & J for the push to the dark side.

re: Brooks Question.JS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 5:59 AM
no advice for setback, sorry.

re: break-in...your rear on that swift is the best break-in. other methods are suspect. my b17n took 600 miles. earn it and reap the rewards. take a shortcut and you may have to replace the saddle and break another in sooner than later.

welcome. i'll send you an e-mail sometime with the secret handshake.

re: Brooks Question.Humma Hah
May 27, 2003 6:01 AM
1) Anything you break can be replaced, except the leather itself. That's pretty remarkable for a saddle.

2) Brooks has been in business building saddles for longer than bicycles have been called bicycles (they originally made velocipede saddles). If they give break-in or care advice, or advise against a particular procedure, I'm inclined to listen. Proofide is about six bucks for enough to last 10-20 years ... use as directed and smile.
re: Brooks Question.tarwheel
May 27, 2003 6:45 AM
I've had the same problem regarding the rails with my Brooks Swift. I couldn't use it at all on my Gios, because with it's steep seat tube angle I couldn't come close to moving it far enough back. On my Merckx, which has a slack (72.5) seat tube angle, I still have the Swift pushed all the way back. No problems with the rails yet, but I am considering installing a setback seatpost. I picked up a used Selcoff Biopace seatpost that has two settings, one with about 2 cm more setback, and will probably give that a try sooner or later.

As far as breaking in the saddle, I bought mine used and it was already broken in mostly. I would stick to the Brooks' advice, which is just to use a little Proofide and lots of miles. My previous leather saddle (a Lepper) was fairly stiff at first and then magically disappeared under my butt one day when it finally broke in. With my Swift, the critical factor for comfort seems to be getting the setback, height and angle dialed in. Mine didn't get comfortable until I raised the nose slightly higher than the rear, although all my other saddles work best dead level. With the Swift level, I kept feeling like I was sliding forward.
re: Brooks Question.Pjkad
May 27, 2003 6:30 PM
Tarwheel, I too had a Lepper which was great..until the frame broke. I'm not getting another one until they change their design. How do you compare the Swift to the Lepper in shape, comfort, etc.?
re: Brooks Question.MXL02
May 27, 2003 7:10 AM
I have B17 about 2 months old on my commuter and it is by far the best thing I have ever ridden. I spoke to Bill at Wall Bike, and he said the B17 has thinner more supple leather than the Swift, because most aggressive riders want more support, so it will take longer to break in. I am also considering a Swift for my race bike, which coincidentally, is of Italian origin, and therefore with steep STA, it is difficult to get the saddle back far enough. I invested in the Selcof two position post, FWIW, it has been a great help on other bikes I have had with steep STA's. I will probably have to switch out the Chorus Ti post now on my Colnago once I get the Swift.

PS- I am also getting Brooks' for the Tandem, probably a Team Pro for me and a Team Pro S for my Stoker. She is not a fanatic like me, and she hates to ride because of the saddle discomfort. I am praying that the Team Pro S will do the trick, and get her more enthusiastic about riding.
re: Brooks Question.hnmalone
May 27, 2003 7:14 AM
1) I have my Team Pro all the way back as well, without any indication that I am creating a problem, i.e. there is no rail flexing or creaking. (re: creaking -- did you remember to put some grease on the rails?) I use a Thomson Setback seatpost. I particularly like the two-bolt clamp design, which allows me to micro-adjust the seat angle, which I have set dead-level. The only problem you might have with a Thomson Setback is that the setback is achieved by angling the post backwards from a point about 3.5 inches below the rail clamp; therefore, you need at least that much exposed above the end of the seat tube.

2) I agree that Proofide and miles is the way to go. However, it won't hurt (you and the saddle) to back off the tension-adjusting nut a half turn for a few hundred miles while you and the saddle get used to each other.
More answers...Dale Brigham
May 27, 2003 7:56 AM

Glad to see you have been assimilated. We are Brooks!

1) I'm with you on the setback quandary. I found that compared to San Marco Regal, the Swift is about 5 mm farther forward (i.e., less setback) on the seatpost rails (Ritchey Pro) when shoved as far back as humanly possible. As many have stated, some seatposts have more setback than others (duh!). For example, the Campy Chorus post on my Colnago has more setback than the Ritchey post on my Steelman. If I were looking for more setback, I'd shop for the right post.

2) Brooks is fairly clear about break-in procedures -- Proofide top and bottom (for rain protection), ride, ride, ride... a bit more Proofide on top, ride, ride, ride... a bit more Proofide top and bottom, ride, ride, ride.... Repeat as needed. Adjust tension nut every year or so. This seems to be working on my Swift.

Dale (I am of the Brooks collective)
re: Brooks Question.Leroy
May 27, 2003 8:26 AM
I began with a team professional on the gios compact pro, about a month ago. Using a daytona seatpost gets me enough setback. The cannondale has a thompson elite post with its new team professional that I just got - liking the gios' saddle so much; so they're on both bikes now. I rode the new saddle for the first time yesterday about 2.5 hours - no problem. The saddles filter out virtually all "road chatter."These are the 'presoftened' variety. I applied some mink-oil topside and underside as Sheldon Brown advises - he says just use any leather protecting oil - he's got a friend that uses 30wt oil - works fine. These are amazing saddles. Ride great; look great. Welcome to the light.
re: Brooks = good bike buttSteve98501
May 27, 2003 12:05 PM
I have my Brooks B-17 all the way back on my seatpost also. It's been that way for the two years I've had it, and no problems with the saddle. I needed more setback due to steep STA on my current frame, so I "customized" an inexpensive Kalloy post by cutting it, overlapping with the remaining quill, and welding it and welding braces to it for additional strength. That increased the setback by an additional 27.2 mm. Wish I had thought of that sooner.

My Brooks broke in easily in about 200 miles. Since my first ride was 82, it only took a few days. And it only gets better after that. Come to think of it, one ride was a century that rained the latter half, and the saddle got soaked and has been formed to my butt ever since.

Good luck!

What a coincidence!Gregory Taylor
May 27, 2003 12:51 PM
I just put a Brooks Team Pro on my fixed gear this weekend. Beautiful saddle...antique Brown with the big rivets. I bought it from the "used gear" section at Wallingford. The saddle didn't look like it had ever been mounted on a bike, so I'd call it new.

Right out of the box, it is remarkably comfortable. I can't wait until it is fully broken in.

Like you, I noticed immediately that I had to slide the saddle allllll the waaaaaay back on the rails. It's still about 2cm forward of where I ran my old saddle, but I'll live with it for now. The seatpost is an odd size, and finding one with more set-back is probably not in the cards. So far, I don't have enough miles to tell if the saddle rails will live under my weight. However, they look beefy, and the saddle is within its range of adjustment, so here's hoping...
Welcome to the comfort side, got your seatpost right here!MB1
May 27, 2003 1:11 PM
Thompson "Laid-Back" seatpost. Available in a lot of sizes and colors with a real nice 2-bolt adjustment.

Ooooooh! That's NICE! (nm)Gregory Taylor
May 27, 2003 1:44 PM
That has less setback than my current post. nmLen J
May 27, 2003 2:03 PM
Your current post=? nmStampertje
May 28, 2003 1:41 AM
Dura Ace nmLen J
May 28, 2003 3:23 AM
Welcome to the comfort side, got your seatpost right here!Steve Bailey
May 28, 2003 4:24 AM
The Thompson's a nice post,but actually doesn't offer any more setback then a typical Kalloy, Ritchey or Ultegra/DA. I have one on my Proflex (with a B17 of course)and it has a nice 2 screw adjustment, but for even MORE setback, go with a CLB

Steve Bailey