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Re: Anybody use a Brooks Saddle for long distance touring?

Hello:

I am interested in getting into touring this summer. I need a new saddle for my touring bike. I have heard good things about Brooks, but when I look at them in the store they seem pretty hard. Also, what about perineum saddle pressure? Some folks say they are super comfortable but others have told me that when their sit bones adjust and sink into the saddle the nose can move up against the perineum causing numbness issues. Any thoughts?

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I am not an expert on the topic but with anything like this it is going to depend on the person. Your results may be different than others and only you can judge how it works out for you. Buy the saddle your interested in and give it a try. I am also interested in a Brooks saddle. I needed panniers and decided on that over the new saddle for now but will get one soon. As far as perineum issues, I recommend cycling tights/inserts/shorts. That way all your good are where they should be but even then I have heard some people having issues with pain. Good luck and hope the Brooks saddle works out.

Don`t be discouraged by the hardness of a brand new saddle, you suffer a bit initially but they soften in time.

Saddles are very personal indeed & a lot depends on what you wear, your position on the bike & tiny adjustments to get the saddle positioned just right. It might take a bit of experimenting.

Once you decide on what model is suitable for you, you might want to try searching for used saddles. Sometimes people decide to sell their leather saddles after a few dozen miles, well before the saddle is "broken in" or deformed in any significant way.

By the way, if I recall correctly, GeorgeTheCyclist who does a lot of touring, rides on a cheap simple saddle (plastic construction).

I have two Brooks saddles. One thats about 7 years old, I used on Ragbrai two years ago. The perineum issue was a factor initially because I had it adjusted with the nose of the saddle too high. Once I found the right tilt its awesome. I just switched the newer one (about 2 years old) over to my daily commuter bike to continue to break it in. It was killing me to have it just sit on a bike that I only used 10 times a year or so. I would suggest buying at a shop that would allow you to return it if you dont like the fit. Having the shop install it and fit it for you should help you to get it close to the right position.

I use a Brooks B-17 on my 3-year old touring bike, which I use both for lighter (credit-card) touring and also as a daily commuter.  Depending on your weight, it will take some time to break in.  I was told that I would not fully appreciate it for 6 months or so (I weigh ~150lbs) but it seems to have broken in pretty quickly and now fits like a glove.  It is not "soft"--the leather is still fairly firm but has just a little give.  I ride it without pads and I can sit on it all day.  As AKA Paul states, getting it to the right position is key.  With the smooth surface of the leather on the B-17, I raise the Brooks slightly higher than for synthetic saddles on other bikes.

I would highly recommend trying one.  

Thanks I am a bit heavier at 215 lbs, maybe that will speed up any breaking in time if I take the plunge and buy a brooks. Also, some have a cut out in the center and some don't I noticed.  Like the B17 vs B17 Imperial.

I've used a B17 or the similar Ideale model (even without much breaking in), on rides lasting from one to a few weeks.  I've never even used real bicycling clothing (just normal cotton underwear and loose-fitting shorts).  Maybe you can tell I'm an old dude.

Never having had any saddle comfort issues, I guess I can't prove why, but I *think* the keys to comfort are:

1) Adjust height, fore-aft position and tilt so that your weight is on the sit bones (which for me usually means having the nose slightly up);

2) While riding, change handlebar positions frequently;

3) If you ever have discomfort, stop riding for a while.  Maybe adjust the saddle a bit.  Or just rest and get a beer.

At least that's what I've done.

Saddles are, as others have suggested, a very personal thing, and X people telling you that they can ride thousands of miles on one is of liited utility to you, because you may or may not be such a person. Whether Brooks or something else, I wouldn't begin a tour on any saddle that I didn't already know I liked for at least, say, 3-4 hours of riding. The middle of a tour is the wrong time to find out that a saddle doesn't work for you. I'd pick up a used one on CL and give it a try. If you don't like it, it'll be easy to resell.

Good advice about saddles and everything else.  Bike, clothing, camping gear should all be stuff you know how to use and know you like.  Better to get your learning curves over with before the tour.

David P. said:

Saddles are, as others have suggested, a very personal thing, and X people telling you that they can ride thousands of miles on one is of liited utility to you, because you may or may not be such a person. Whether Brooks or something else, I wouldn't begin a tour on any saddle that I didn't already know I liked for at least, say, 3-4 hours of riding. The middle of a tour is the wrong time to find out that a saddle doesn't work for you. I'd pick up a used one on CL and give it a try. If you don't like it, it'll be easy to resell.

i like the brooks because they a smooth. Padding comes from the bike shorts you choose. The combination of good shorts, good saddle, and a hard tush are all you need. =D 

I tour myself, but I use road saddles. I have never been comfortable on a Brooks, in fact I think they're horrible. I love the Aliante and Rolls, personally.

Touring doesnt require an old fashioned leather saddle; use whatever is the most comfortable for your ass.

Another Brooks Kool-aid drinker here. I bought one to put on my dedicated commuter/touring frame that I built up back in November of 2011. My experience with a Brooks B17 may not have been typical. My saddle felt perfect, right out of the box! I have major sit bones problems, in that if a saddle isn't designed just right, then there's almost no amount of adjustment that I can make that will help it be comfortable. I think part of it is that with almost any other type of saddle, when you sit on it, your sit bones compress the padding over whatever the shell material is, and that ends up putting pressure on the softer tissue surrounding the contact points of your sit bones. Or at least I think that's what happens with me. On a Brooks, or Selle An-atomica, or Velo Orange (ie. all leather saddles), you are sitting on a piece of leather suspended by two points - the nose and the frame at the back of the saddle. The whole thing acts like a suspension hammock. Instead of relying on padding you are instead sitting on something that provides even support without causing uneven pressure on surrounding tissues and the cushioning comes from that suspension effect. I could feel the effect immediately, and it was as if the heavens opened up and I heard choirs of angels singing. My wife asked me, derisively if it felt like a silken pillow was caressing my ass (her words exactly). I had to reply, "yes." I bought a second B17 to go on the cargo bike I built, and I was slightly concerned that a new Brooks might be somehow stiffer and I might have just gotten the perfect one before. I was prepared to have a saddle that might be more typical and would cause me to endure a painful break-in period. However, that was not to be. The brand new B17 was just as comfortable right out of the box as the previous one had been. I'm sold for life. I don't care that they're more heavy than most other saddles. I do care that they are incredibly comfortable to me, and I've been able to ride a century without so much as a twinge. The fact that the records for fastest times cycling around the world are all done on bikes that used Brooks B17 saddles is pretty telling.

+1

william said:


Touring doesnt require an old fashioned leather saddle; use whatever is the most comfortable for your ass.

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