Three Saddles: A Photo Essay

Saddle Comparison
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Brooks B17 / Brooks B67


Saddle Comparison
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Selle An-Atomica Titanico / Brooks B17


Saddle Comparison
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Brooks B67 / Selle An-Atomica Titanico


Saddle Comparison
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Brooks B17


Saddle Comparison
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Selle An-Atomica Titanico


Saddle Comparison
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Brooks B67


Saddle Comparison
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Brooks B17


Saddle Comparison
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Selle An-Atomica Titanico


Saddle Comparison
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Brooks B67


Brooks England
Selle An-Atomica

17 Responses to “Three Saddles: A Photo Essay”

  • Jay says:

    Very interesting! This sort of comparison is extremely useful.

    I just bought a Velo Orange version of the B67 (wider with springs) for my fairly upright Trek hybrid with North Road bars, and now I’m questioning if it’s too wide.

    I used to have a relatively narrow, classic 80’s type saddle on there before putting on the new one – like a Turbo – which I found extremely comfortable, until I put on a crazy tall stem to get my bars higher. In reality, my bars are really now only slightly above my saddle – almost level – even with the really tall stem because my legs are really long and my torso is shorter. I have a hard time getting my bars high enough due to my long legs.

    So now my bars are around even with my saddle, and the Turbo-type saddle was too narrow for me, so I tried the wider saddle.

    I’m now finding (after only a weekend ride) that the new wide leather saddles appears wide at the skirts, which kind of rub my thighs more than I like. Any ideas for how to resolve this? Tighten the string between the skirts to pull them in closer? Adjust the saddle in some way? Cut away some of the leather? Or buy the Velo Orange leather saddle that is sprung but isn’t as wide? Maybe I’ll get used to it?

  • Alan says:

    @Jay

    I think those are all possibilities. I’d start with the least invasive adjustments before moving to the more extreme measures such as trimming leather. You may find a small adjustment to the strings or perhaps even a fore-aft or angle adjustment will do the trick.

    Alan

  • Bike Hermit says:

    Alan,
    Wish I had tour photo skills! I found a YouTube video about Brooks and posted it at Bike Touring News. Pretty interesting, I think.

  • Mike I. says:

    I’ve been making minor adjustments to my B-17 saddle to fine tune the comfort. I started out with the saddle at too steep an angle (high in the back) because I misunderstood what folks meant when they say a saddle should be close to level. Thus, I kept sliding forward and had to readjust my position frequently. To be honest, I’m still a little confused by the whole angle thing and am curious how you adjust seat angle.

    When folks say the saddle angle should be close to level, what do they mean since the saddle itself has a curve to it?

  • Alan says:

    @Mike

    The angle of your saddle should be determined by what works for you on your particular bike. For example, a bike with high handlebars may dictate a saddle with a raised nose, while a bike with low handlebars may require a “level” or even slightly downhill orientation. What you hope to achieve is an angle that doesn’t put inordinate pressure on sensitive tissues while also not causing you to slide forward. Sometimes it takes a fair amount of trial-and-error to get it just right.

    Alan

  • Joseph E says:

    Jay, my wife and I both got Brooks B67 saddles last Christmas (you should always put something expensive on your wish list, just in case). While hers has hardly needed adjustment and was nice and firm to begin with, mine seemed to be a little saggy, and the “skirt” edges (the sides in the middle) spread soon. I didn’t want to adjust it, but soon I realized the saddle was bottoming out on the rails on bumps, so I got up the courage to tighten up the bolt a couple turns. This fixed the sagging and also fixed the wide skirt issue, at first. Eventually, the leather stretched a litte more. I got the tension right, but I had to lace up the sides and tighten them that way.

    Jay, is sounds like you have the “aged” version which is softer and comes with the sides already laced. I would expect this one to stretch naturally, so you should try 1)tightening the adjuster bolt (use the Brooks spanner / wrench that comes with the saddle, and give it a couple of quarter-turns); if the tension seems nice and tight, move to 2) tighten the laces.

    Avoid getting the saddle wet, and use Proofide sparingly, just twice a year (too much can make the leather stretch faster). But I think your problem is normal; the B67, especially the aged versions tend to stretch and require adjustment.

  • jason says:

    This is great.

    I have two problems with my brooks b67

    One the rails are to short and it pushes me up into my bike to much. I always have to shift my foot back. Any ideas for a fix besides the 200$ plus way back stem from Riv?

    Two I can never get that straight seat angle that you have in your picture. Mine is always angled up into the sky sticking up. Seems like i can never get the nitto stem to keep the seat level.

    thanks

  • Alan says:

    @Jason

    This V/O seatpost should take care of both of your issues:

    http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/components/seatposts/vo-grand-cru-seat-post-long-setback.html

    It has 30mm of setback and it also has a micro-adjust clamp.

    Alan

  • jason says:

    What a life saver. Thanks.

    I didnt realize this was so differant from my Nittor Crystal Fellow that I have been having problems with

    http://www.rivbike.com/products/show/nitto-crystal-fellow-seatpost-272-x-250/11-031

    verse

    http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/components/seatposts/vo-grand-cru-seat-post-long-setback.html

    thanks again

  • Dixon says:

    This is a prime example why I come to this site daily. Very informative, applicable to me, presented artistically.

    I own a Brooks B-67…my rump loves it, (as do I) at times my groin suffers.
    Thanks to EcoVelo I learned of Selle An-Atomica…I think there my be a better choice for me.

    Thank you very much.

    Dixon- Bellingham, Washington

  • Mel Hughes says:

    Alan,
    Thank you so much for the excellent visual comparison! Now I can literally “see” the differences between my B17 and the Selle An-Atomica. Like Dixon says above, the great photographs and excellent discussions are why I look forward to reading every day.

  • Bryan Wilson says:

    Thanks Alan, very informative. Can people comment on their experience with these saddles n the rain? I’d love a B67 but don’t want to have to worry about getting it wet, which seems problematic for commuting and shopping.

  • Walter Enomoto says:

    While not EXACTLY on topic, check out this unique POV bike vid.
    See if you don’t find your self humming along…(or trying to get it out of your head).
    http://vimeo.com/22043613

  • Alan says:

    @Dixon, Mel

    Thank you! :-)

  • Alan says:

    @Bryan

    As long as a bike has full coverage fenders, I haven’t found rain to be much of an issue with leather saddles. The fenders protect the underside of the saddle while the top is shielded by the rider. There are saddle covers available for those who ride for long hours in the rain, and a simple plastic bag works fine for when the bike is parked outside.

    Alan

  • Nick says:

    I’ve got 10,000+ miles on a B67 and for my 7 mile commute in an upright position its really comfortable. When I first got it, I set it up the same as any other (narrow, unsprung)saddle I ever had. No good. I rode with an allen wrench in my pocket and adjusted it slightly every few miles for a couple days. I ended up with it a lot lower than other saddles and tilted back with the nose pointed up. It looked odd to me but sure was comfortable that way. I’ve kept it like that since.

    This weekend I went on a 35 mile ride and started getting pretty uncomfortable where the top of my thighs chafed the saddle. I remembered reading you or Grant Petersen talking about applying vaseline there, so I stopped and bought some and applied it. Perfect, and when I got home it wasn’t messy either. I was thinking that happened because the saddle is so much wider but over a distance of under 10 miles you don’t have the chance to notice. Does that sound right to you?

    I live in the desert so I can’t say much about getting the saddle wet. Its only been rained on 2-3 times and the sun has always dried it right out again. I oil it pretty heavily with baseball glove oil 2-3 times a year and I haven’t had to adjust the tension even once.

  • surly John says:

    Thanks Alan for the very informative photos. I was very comfortable on my B-17 standard but it got tweaked in a collision and a few degrees of side tilt was enough to cause problems.

    I have about 1,500 miles on an old B-15 that has just never felt the same even though I’m hard pressed to find any visible difference between the B-15 and B-17. I rode a century last Saturday that, while not horrible, convinced me that there is room for improvement. This article along with the informed comments helped me make up my mind and order a B-17 Imperial.

    It should arrive today. Wish me luck!

 
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