My Rides

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brooks B17 - First 100 miles

I've put about 100 miles on the saddle so far.  Unlike some, I won't say that it's like there's no seat at all.  I still feel a little sore late in the ride, but nothing like the plastic saddle.  It's more of a dull, even sore - one that I think is getting better with break-in.

When I reach down with the plastic saddle to feel where I'm contacting it, I feel the edged of the plastic, and I feel the rails (which connect through elastomer things) right below my sit bones. 

After 60 minutes it's annoying, and after 120 minutes it's painful and fatiguing.  A few times, if I stayed hunched over the bars, I'd feel a bit numb & cold in the perineal region, and really feel the relief when I stand for a second.

With the Brooks, I can reach under the saddle, and feel bumps just forward & inboard of the metal frame in the rear (it only happens when I sit on it though, hmmm).  You can see in the picture, that just inboard & forward of the Brooks metal frame is right where the elastomer things are on the SQLab saddle.  I seem to feel some sit-bone pressure right away, however after 60 minutes I have to remind myself to evaluate how it feels.  After 90 minutes (haven't done a 120 minute ride, yet), it's about the same as after 60 minutes.  So far, I haven't felt cold or numb...  If it only gets better with break-in, then I'll be very happy.  

When I installed it, I took a good look at the departing saddle, and installed it similarly level (front to rear), and quickly found myself sliding off the front.  It now looks visibly tilted back, but the feeling is good - again, no numbness, so however it stretches & bends it seems to work.

I also had to tighten (lengthen, stretch the leather) the adjusting bolt a about 1 turn (so far) - when I would sit up I could feel the metal frame.  Feeling underneath I could feel that the leather was in firm contact with the front edge of the frame (where seated it would contact only the top).  About 1 turn of the adjustment (while riding) lifted me just so.  I put a 2nd turn into it, and it felt a little firmer, and then backed it off.  Not because it was less comfortable - this might be the right setting in the long run, but I want to apply leather conditioner before any further fuss or adjustment.  My instinct tells me that a little tighter will encourage the saddle to break-in more locally to the sit-bones, and develop less of a "saddle" shape (which could contribute to perineal pressure). 

Speaking of leather conditioners.  I had Brooks Proofide in my shopping cart, but then started consulting my favorite resources for bicycle information.  Rivendell sells Obenauf's Saddle Goop (, and they say they prefer it to Proofide.  Something that's developed for fire-fighter's boots, and is used on horse and motorcycle saddles sounds good to me.  It should be arriving before my next ride, so I'll let you know how that impacts the next 100 miles.  I also ordered the Aardvark saddle cover ( to keep it dry on wet rides.

Finally, a top view, just to show how pretty the Brooks is.  In real life the color looks a bit lighter, and more homogeneous - you know what they say:  the internet adds 10 awesome.
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