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Help with Brooks saddle decision(25 posts)

Help with Brooks saddle decisionTower
Jan 27, 2004 8:29 AM
I'm currently riding a ProLink Genuine Gel and have noticed more and more numbness. Don't know if it's a change in riding posture, lack of winder miles, addition of winter weight, desire to finally try a Brooks saddle, or combination of everything.

Ride is a LeMond Zurich (all steel, not the new steel/carbon). I'm 6'4 and *ahem* 240.

That said, I think the B17 would be right for me since they advertise it being perfect for larger framed riders, which I certainly am. Specifically I'm looking at the B17 Champion Special because I like the looks of the brass rivets and beveled side edges. It says the rails are made of copper, can that be right?

After all my ramblings, I suppose my questions are:
- Copper rails on B17 CS hold up to big rider?
- Is the B17 narrow that much different?
- If I go with the C.S. which color would look best on frame below? Black, Honey or Green. I'm leaning towards honey.

Fairly certain I'm going to order from wallbike.

Thanks for any advice!
Black. Can't help with the other questions. (nm)giro_man
Jan 27, 2004 8:36 AM
There was a similar discussion on this last week...Gregory Taylor
Jan 27, 2004 8:49 AM
The B.17 is a good saddle for a larger rider. I'm 6' and 190, and I love mine. It's a standard B.17, basic black. Goes with anything....
There was a similar discussion on this last week...Tower
Jan 27, 2004 9:44 AM
Thanks! Where's part 3 of your article? It appeared to be cut off. Do you have a pic of your B17?
No pics here at work...Gregory Taylor
Jan 27, 2004 10:01 AM
It's just a plain ol' B.17. Black with copper colored rivets. Oh, and two moon-sized concavities where my butt-cheeks have found a home.

There is no Part 3 -- it cut off at the "Pro and Con" summing up section. Actually, this write-up has not found a home yet. Oh was good practice.
I've now got it on order.MichaelM
Jan 27, 2004 2:43 PM
Went for a Swift, as I wanted the most Turbo-like Brooks.

Now the important part:
In British Racing Green to go with the B.R. Green Lemond Alp D'huez (853, not Alu).

I'll try and post a pic when it arrives.
Jan 27, 2004 8:54 AM
I believe the rails are copper-plated. They will hold you fine.

The B-17 will be perfect for you. Don't get the narrow.

The Honey Champion Special is one of the most gorgeous things you'll ever lay eyes on. But it wouldn't look right on that Z. Get black.

Wallbike is a great idea.

Don't put too much Proofide on it.

Don't do anything special to 'break it in.' Just ride it.
I'm with Ed on this one, except for Wallbike.Cory
Jan 27, 2004 9:09 AM
I have B-17s on three bikes, and my experience jibes with his except that I'd buy from Rivendell because I like Grant and he can use the money. Don't know how the prices compare, though.
FWIW, once or twice a year with Proofide seems to be plenty, and I think the difficulty of break-in for Brooks saddles is exaggerated. Mine were all pretty comfortable right out of the box, though they do improve. Set-up is critical, though. Just a millimeter or two of tilt makes a big difference.
"Grant...can use the money"landru
Jan 27, 2004 10:44 AM
I can't help but comment on your statement about Grant needing the money. Man o man I got so tired of him whining about his financial situation in the Readers. It got to the point that I eventually figured it was just a ploy so that people would send him business. I am glad I'm not a creditor of his and I would hope that none of them read his stuff otherwise he'd never get another loan. He always seems to be on the brink of bankruptcy. I can't dis Grant too much though because I won a couple bikes from him back when he was Bridgestone and does seem to be a good guy but you can't beat that return policy from Wallingford.

Back to the topic at hand, I was also considering a Brooks for at least the tandem but i'm somewhat concerned that their saddle with the "lowest return rate", the B-17, seems quite a bit wider than what I'm used to. I am a bigger guy as well, 6'2" and 192# and from what I read that model may be what i need. I also ride "aggressively" and the B-17 seems to be marketed as more of a "touring" saddle so that along with the difference in width has me undecided. If I do get one though it's going to be honey colored. Maybe the Lemond could be painted to compliment the saddle!
Go Wallingford!Andy M-S
Jan 27, 2004 1:12 PM
If the B17 looks too wide--or too heavy--you might consider a Swift. Lots of cash, but incredibly comfortable, and the only Brooks for which you won't need a special wrench.
Jan 27, 2004 9:47 AM
I'm afraid you're right re: the honey CS on the Zurich. I think the saddle is stunning (can you imagine in a few years?!) but black would be best. I really know the truth, but am hoping someone will say the honey will look good!
I feel your pain.OldEdScott
Jan 27, 2004 10:01 AM
I went through the exact same agony with my Zurich.
re: Help with Brooks saddle decisionJS Haiku Shop
Jan 27, 2004 9:12 AM
don't have/haven't seen the CS, but i do have b17 narrow saddles on 2 bikes. they have been good for some pretty long rides. fwiw, btw, no problems in rain or bad weather. they are holding up fine after 1-2+ years of all-weather and all-day rides. i treat them occasionally with proofide, and otherwise keep them wiped down and clean (enough), as they've been covered in mud and road grime from time to time.

in relation to the size difference, i've not ridden the full-width b17, though it appears the size difference is just 18mm, which is just 7/10ths of an inch. still, that small difference would make me dislike a saddle 7/10" smaller than the b17 narrow. so be advised.

as far as price, i don't see paying $40 for different rivets. but that's just me. consider buying the b17 standard to see if you like it. do you have more than 1 bike? i'm considering putting a b17n on my mtb, too.

regarding the copper rails, the wallbike website says COPPER RIVETS. the rails are either steel or Ti. the other 2 (b17/b17.n) have steel rails. i've had no problems with either b17.n saddle's rails.

cosmetically, it only really matters to one person.

good luck.
ps. i'm a big wallbike proponent. highly recommended. nmJS Haiku Shop
Jan 27, 2004 9:13 AM
re: Help with Brooks saddle decisionTower
Jan 27, 2004 9:42 AM
Great insight, thanks. The care of the saddle doesn't worry me much as long as I follow their recommended practices. It's worked for them this long....

As for the copper discrepancy: the Brooks website states "With copper rails and chamfered sides" yet as you state, wallbike site says copper rivets and no mention of the rails. Suppose I could email wallbike for the difinitive answer.

I have a MTB also, but it's not ridden much anymore since I bought the LeMond. However if I like the B17 so much, I could order one for the MTB, and tell the wife it's best for child-rearing purposes. :-)
Thanks for the replies........another questionTower
Jan 27, 2004 9:53 AM
Somewhere in reading about Brooks there was mention about needing a seatpost with setback b/c the saddle rails are shorter thus not allowing much aft movement.

I have a Thomson elite currently (no setback) and my saddle is fairly centered.

I'll certainly try it with what I have before I drop more coin on a new post, but what's been the experience with seatposts with a Brooks?
good comparison fer yeJS Haiku Shop
Jan 27, 2004 10:01 AM
from thomson elite with san marco regal to same with brooks b17 narrow with no fore/aft positioning problems. on a surly steamroller.

and, from ritchey pro with b17 narrow to same with koobi silver, same. reverse, sure, but still applicable.

There's not much rail. But if you useOldEdScott
Jan 27, 2004 10:05 AM
a no-setback seatpost now, and center your current saddle, you MAY get by with it. Many if not most people find they need a setback with Brooks, I think.
It depends..Gregory Taylor
Jan 27, 2004 10:06 AM
Try it with your current set up first, and see if you can make it work.

I needed a seat post with more set-back to make mine totally comfortable. Wallbike has some posts that will fit the bill for not a lot of $$.
I needed more setback with my Brooks Colt saddleDale Brigham
Jan 28, 2004 8:34 AM
I changed to a Salsa post to get a bit (a few mm) more setback when I changed from a San Marco Regal to a Brooks Colt. The Brooks Swift I also have has a bit more aft-adjustment range (i.e., clamping area on rails extends farther forward) than the Colt. The aft-adjustment range (and rail configuration) seems to vary among the Brooks models.

I echo others who recommend trying the new saddle out before buying a new seatpost. If you need a new one with setback, I can recommend the Salsa post.

re: Help with Brooks saddle decisionfredstaple
Jan 27, 2004 7:42 PM
I am pulling off my 22 year old Brooks B-17 today and replacing with a Swift. Black because that is the colour a seat is supposed to be. Will let you know how it goes. I am on the too large side as well.

I love the B-17, but just felt like trying something different. The Swallow is a cool looking saddle, but a little too expensive to get along with the Swift.
Brooks Swiftfredstaple
Jan 28, 2004 12:46 AM
Rode the new Swift today right out of the box and loved it. There is a little less bulk than the B-17, but plenty of room for my behind. It felt fine for the hour I was on the bike, it will only get better with time.

The Swift has a more racing style appearance than the B-17 and is a bit narrower, you can find the specs on line. The large rivets are cool and worth the $, IMHO. Big rivets came from the day when mechanics would strip the leather saddle, cut it down for weight savings and then put it back on the frame using the same holes but larger rivets. This is what the guy at Brooks told me.

You will be happy with either, just give it some time.
Brooks FinesemargoC
Jan 28, 2004 5:07 PM
I had a brooks saddle a long time ago on a different bike. When my current saddle started getting uncomfortable I got a finese from wallingford. My seatpost had some setback but I felt I needed more and I could not tilt the seat back far enough. I got a campy chorus titanium seatpost and it seemed to solve those problems. The nose of my seat is tilted up but believe it or not it's actually very comfortable! Setup is the key for a brooks saddle I think.
Get a Team Professional!Dave_Stohler
Jan 28, 2004 10:31 PM
Really-those B17's are kinda cheap and nasty. A Team Pro is really the best saddle for a road bike. Get one in honey-it will age the best, and it won't let the dye rub off the way black does.
Cheap and nasty?.......please elaborate..........Tower
Feb 2, 2004 5:53 AM
They look well made to me. It's my understanding the B17's are not hand made, however they must be the most popular model for SOME reason................