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?
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 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.
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
Touring doesnt require an old fashioned leather saddle; use whatever is the most comfortable for your ass.
I love my Brooks B17. I rode from Chicago to Milwaukee on it and my perineum was in heaven. You just need to adjust it until it feels right for you.
Saddles are a very personal choice, so I'm not going to tell anyone what to use. However I will say that I personally love my Brooks Saddles. I have two B17s and one B67. The B17 on my touring bike is the oldest at around 10 years old. It's certainly well adjusted to my sit bones, but I never noticed any new pressure points forming as my sit bones sank into it.