What do you say about the Brooks? For touring and transportation, it’s still the standard by which all others are judged.
Brooks England →
Posted 1.11.11 in Stuff We Like | Bookmark or Share
Beautiful shots (as always!). Since you’ve brought up the subject, is there any significant difference in ride between the sprung and unsprung Brooks saddes? I’ve been thinking about going the sprung route on an old steel frame mountain bike I want to rebuild to take some of my commuting load this year.
I don’t ride anything less! I have two B-17 Specials, and one B-67. My upright bike has the sprung B-67, while my “saddle-even-with-the-handlebars” bikes have the B-17. If you’re seated more upright, the sprung/wider models are the better choice than an unsprung/narrow model. Brooks’ site does a good job explaining/categorizing their models.
Love the saddle both for looks and comfort. And the price is not bad compared to the few other leather saddles out there. BUT – the rails are too short and I can’t adjust the seat far enough back on my current bike so I’m not currently using it.
I picked up a B-17 std. after enough reviews that led me to believe that it truly was the way to go for my commute. It really is a terrific saddle.
I have a second B-17 that I’m saving for a future build. If I didn’t have it(thanks for my brother in law) I’d consider the Velo Orange saddles for sure…
I agree with Spencer; the sprung models are nice for bikes set-up for an upright riding position. They do tend to squeak a little, and if you’ve never ridden one, they may take a little while to get used to, but on the right bike they are downright heavenly.
Brooks is indeed the standard. I also like this
Alan, if you have a moment, could you comment on your experience riding the Brooks vs. the Selle Anatomica on your Surly? Have you had any ‘sag’ issues with the SA?
I have a B17 Champion Edition and a sprung B66. They’re both comfortable, not magical. My biggest wish with Brooks saddles is for more length. It seems like the VO saddles might address this from what I’ve read.
But, Adam, comfortable saddles are magical… ;-) (there are a helluva lot of uncomfortable saddles on the market).
VO saddles do have longer rails, so the other half cut a slot in one. Very comfortable, except it needed to be longer. So now we have an SA, which is perfect.
I put a very wide Gyes saddle on my city bike, and it is absolute heaven. Blasphemy, I know. I do have an aged Brooks on the touring bike, if that redeems me. ;)
This summer I switched out my standard width Cardiff (Brooks B17 replica) for a Brooks B68 (like a B67 without the springs). Wow. It turns out that I have widely-spaced sit bones and that concentrates the pressure too far out to the side on almost all conventional mens saddles. On the Cardiff, I could feel my sit bones resting directly on the metal rail out at the sides, rather than on the leather suspended inside the rail. The B68 is like a revelation for me; wide and flat, no springs necessary, no interference with the rail. For the record, I am using it in conjunction with drop bars set very high so that the flat portion of the bar and the hoods are slightly above the saddle, and the drops slightly below. The saddle came pre-textured and treated, broke in instantly, and still looks and feels as good as new.
@Daniel, I have wide sit bones as well, and the B-67 on my Allant is a dream come true – the most comfortable saddle I have ever owned right out of the box. The stock saddle on the Allant was squish and made my butt go numb and achy after about 20 minutes. I am planning on getting a Civia Loring next month, which comes stock with the B-67 as well, so that is perfect.
Personally, I have never heard any squeaking from the springs on my Brooks, I have felt them absorbing road bumps though. At this point i can’t imagine owning a bike without a Brooks on it
I had an opposite experience. I couldn’t get rid of a “charley-horse” feeling I was getting with my B-17. I read somewhere online that this sometimes results from a saddle that is too wide for your anatomy and/or riding position. A trip to a good LBS with a sit-bone-measuring-device revealed that mine are a bit on the narrow side, so a B-17 Narrow is now on its way. We’ll see how that does.
You need one of these (I know, the price is out there, but it’s a beaut’):
Thanks for the link. Nice review and beautiful saddle!
The Brooks is more firm, the S-A is more hammock-like. I’m comfortable on both, but the S-A fits me better out of the box. I’ve had to snug up my S-A only once in two years, so it’s holding up well.
That’s cool. Fit is so critical is saddle comfort!
Good luck with your B-17N!
Ha, Brooks saddles are easily the nicest ones out there, but for comfort nothing beats Spongy Wonder bike seats. I have two of them. I sat on a bike with Brooks 17 saddle and my reaction was “no, thank you”. I prefer to have my rear and sensitive parts treated super-nicely with the Spongy Wonder seats.
Very nice pictures. The timeless look of Brooks saddles is one I like a lot.
There are some very interesting youtube clip about how brooks saddles are made. Craftsmanship is something to be preserved, I think.
Still, ever since I started riding recumbents (European brands like Optima, Challenge and HP Velotechnik) about a decade ago, I’ve never ever had the desire to go back to a saddle.
I own (for half an year now) a Champion Flyer, so…
Some thoughts I had not seen written in any of the so much blogs and forums yet:
Apparently, Brooks did not much to make their products look “modern”. To me, this means that if you get Brooks, you take a very old design which proved very worthy, but you’ll carry extra weight and perhaps lose the opportunity to use something more modern. In the other hand, newer brands do not come with the time-proven assurance…
This saddle works with the principle of conformation, not cushioning, which makes it very comfortable in ONE correct positioning. This perfect position takes time to be found, but once found is ideal to ride REALY LONG distances without trouble. But if you like to keep changing things on a bike (handlebars, for example) or changing the seat post height often, you could get less comfort if you do not readjust the saddle properly.
Springs are so hard you barely notice they are there. Absolutely no negative effects on pedalling (I personally would prefer softer springs).
Overall, a very good choice. In the age of carbon this and titanium that, the price they ask is perfectly reasonable, it should not even be considered a “very expensive” saddle as I so often see.
I have had the sharp Plastic and Gel Saddles and I did not like them they gave me a sore Bum,so I choose Brooks problems solved.
Also a Brooks looks very Classy on a Bike,it makes it stand out in a Crowd even though your Bike might not be that nice.
My newest Bike is a Surly LHT and I just did not like the Gel Saddle that came with it. So I got a nice Brooks Champion Flyer with Springs in Honey Brown. The Bike is Black so the Tan Saddle makes it stand out.
I have Brooks Saddles on all my Bikes,I have not noticed any Squeaking in the Springs yet on the B 67 or the Flyer .
I’m considering going to a Brooks Flyer (a sprung B.17). Anyone had any experience with VO saddles in comparison to Brooks saddles. The VO equivalent looks like the Model 5.
While not explicitly VO saddles I have owned two Cardiff saddles which are essentially the same thing from my understanding (if I am wrong someone please correct me) and made in the same factory. Both have broken at the rails in the rear where a poor tack weld is all that holds the thing together. I would be very wary of purchasing one especially mail order. If you have a LBS that will replace them if they break (as mine did with the Cardiffs, which do have a 5 year warranty BTW although that does you no good if you are riding when it snaps) perhaps a little less concern may be in order. Check out my review here:
Otherwise, spring (OMG bike humor can be so lame….ok I’m done) for a Brooks.
What’s funny to me is that after some time my sit bones felt great on the Brooks saddle. I was riding so often in the summer, I feel I got a good shape in the saddle. Funny thing was if I sat in a car seat for more than an hour my sit bones hurt. Funny, huh?
I tried to like them, had a Brooks Pro on my touring/commuter for about a year. I never got completely comfortable with it and eventually sold it to a hipster fixie rider (lots of those in S.F.) It was too wide throughout and not long enough for me. Wrong shape too, with too much curve in the middle. I’ve gone plastic and got a Fizik Gobi that fits me pretty much perfectly. It’s way lighter, too..
The good thing is that the Brooks held it’s value in the secondary market quite well. I think I only took a $10 haircut on it when I sold it.
I love my Brooks B-17. Right out of the box it was the most comfortable saddle I have ridden and after a bit of break I easily get my required 50-60 miles per day while on tour without any complaint. I proof hide it about every 4 months and keep it covered in the rain and dew. After about 2 years and about 8000-10000 miles I have not had to adjust the front tension screw. (I am 6′-5″ and weigh about 235 lbs.) I ride with drop bars that are set at saddle height.
Since the B-17 is so comfortable I decided to put a B-67 on my more upright Fuji Cambridge. This was a mistake as the saddle was too wide and became uncomfortable after a few miles. I tried to break it in and live with it but eventually I had to switch back to a narrower saddle. I guess you can get too wide, even with a big rear like mine.
Regarding Velo Orange saddles…
My VO Model 3 saddle also broke at the rear weld of one rail, but VO’s customer service in response was phenomenal. Mail order returns are the fly in the ointment of on-line buying, but VO didn’t make me send the broken saddle back. Instead they accepted the e-mailed photo I had included in my correspondence and issued me a credit right away. The associate assured me that it was a known weakness that has since been remedied. I ended up replacing it with a B17 (from VO), which I found a little softer and faster to break in, and ultimately prefer, but the VO saddle was a good one with its own merits.
Don ,I have not had any problems with my B 67 on the Dutch Bike it is very comfortable,I have this Bike since September 07. I have a Black B17 Champion Standard on the Audax which was hard to break in but is grand now after two Years,I originally had it on a Raleigh Metro Pioneer.
I have a B 17 with Copper Rivets on my Brompton which is very Comfy. Now the Surly LHT and the new B17 Flyer Saddle no problems from the word go. I have gone about 100KM on the Flyer Saddle and is very comfortable.
So out of the four Brooks Saddles only the Black B17 Champion Standard gave me any trouble and was hard to break in but is great now.
I think what can be surmised by the varied preferences stated above is that saddle fit is highly personal. In other words, each person’s physique is unique and finding a saddle that meshes well with their particular shape is extremely important.
Nothing more personal than the exact shape of your a$$. I always wonder why more shops don’t have a robust test saddle offering. No one is going to know if a saddle works for them without an extensive test period.
When I bought my last new saddle, I think I tried 4 different models on my commuter over the course of about 3 months. It took me at least a week of fiddling with tilt, height and fore/aft adjustment with each to gain a true understanding of the fit profile of the saddle. I guess that most people won’t go to that amount of trouble to ensure an excellent fit, but I can’t think of any part of a bike that’s more critical to enjoyment.
Oh, and the shop that was so patient with me and offered advice and test saddles to ride for months on end with no sale guaranteed? They earned my business, and they will get plenty more of it.
Ive had the same Brooks B17 Narrow for 28 years. I paid $19 for it, brand new, in a junk bin when the Brooks was out of “fashion”. It’s never needed an adjustment or proofhide, and still retains it’s firmness and original shape. (I must have gotten a good cow) It’s been on various bikes…..from mountain to road. It currently sits on an old tourer set up as a single speed commuter. My new cyclocrosser will be getting a honey brown this year.
I think it depends on your riding style,how long you are going to be Cycling on your Bike. If you are Constantly Cycling for long Hours like in Touring. Then getting a new Saddle and using it straight away on very long rides can be a great shock to your Undercarraige.
Constantly Riding for around ten Hours on a new Saddle could be dreadful needing Copious quantities of Assos Cream for relief,much Pain. I think of those Old Cowboy Movies when one sees the Tenderfoot taking up Cattle herding on the Chisolm Trail for the first time. They get on a Horse with a Leather Saddle then spend 14 Hours in the Saddle and they are in agony by Nightfall.
So breaking in Saddles should be a long and gentle experience,a bit at a time short journey’s especially on these Leather ones.
I have a Brooks Champion Flyer. It’s okay for about an hour, then my perineum becomes uncomfortable. I think I need a better seat post, because it seems to slowly slip backwards over a week’s time. Even then, I have a hard time of it – I think my sit bones might also be wider – I think they are contacting the outer rail.
So, I’m contemplating the b68 or the one like that has the springs as part of the rail. I would really like the green Champion Special, though, because of the color.
Even then, I’ve thought to try some plastic saddles because they would be lighter and also more weather proof.
Just my two cents…
My first leather saddle came from a U-Pull-It auto parts lot; the proprietor also salvaged bicycle parts and once a month he allowed me to rummage through the 50-gallon barrel at the back of the lot. I was fifteen and came up with not one, but two leather saddles, a Brooks and an Ideale. I paid fifty cents for each saddle (it was 1978 and everyone was switching to plastic saddles so no one wanted these). I took them home, cleaned them with a soft bristle brush, rubbed some of my mom’s Mink Oil on them, wrapped them in strips of bedsheet rag to bring them back into a sort of saddle shape, and tossed them under my bed for a few weeks. I put the Brooks, the wider of the two, on my bike and voila! It was The Perfect Saddle.
I have ridden leather saddles, and mostly Brooks, ever since.
[…] EcoVelo Ã‚Â» Blog Archive Ã‚Â» Stuff We Like: Brooks Saddles This summer I switched out my standard width Cardiff (Brooks B17 replica) for a Brooks B68 (like a B67 without the springs). Wow. It turns out that I have widely-spaced sit bones and that concentrates the pressure too far out to the . […]
Hi Alan and all. I ride a new Kona Dew and am currently working on the finishing touches as far as accessories go. Love the Brooks line. While the dew is categorized as a hybrid, it’s actually pretty close to a positive relationship between saddle and handlebars. Any idea which Brooks would be better for that kind of setup? I like the b67/68, but I wouldn’t call the Dew “upright”