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View Full Version : Wanting a new saddle for my new bike



sandra
08-08-2007, 08:37 AM
Of course I'm wanting a Brooks. I think! I'm riding the Bontrager saddle that came on my Trek 1000 and it's not bad at all. I have nothing to compare it to, so there might be something better.

I've been talking with Bill at Wallingford Bikes via email and he recommends that I first start looking at one of the S models, either the Finesse, Team Pro S, or B.17S, depending on my budget and my tastes. He says all of these will all ride about the same.

I don't know WHY, but I was hoping he would tell me to go with the B68. I love the way it looks.

I've searched and I know there are tons of threads on saddles. If you have opinions or ride any of the models he suggested, please comment.

Thanks in advance.

melissam
08-08-2007, 09:19 AM
Hi Sandra,

Once you go Brooks, you never go back! ;) OK, just kidding -- while I love my Brooks, they aren't for everyone.

I have bought 3 Brooks saddles from Wallbike, and agree with everyone else that their customer service and return policy are superb. I have a B17S on one road bike, a Team Pro S on another road bike, and a B17 on my mountain bike. The saddles on all of my bikes practically disappear under me -- most of the time. There are times when I notice them.

One of the things that I enjoy about the Brooks is that once I got them broken in, I don't have to use my cycling shorts on shorter rides. For example, I can do 50 minute trainer rides in my sweats and underpants. I can do my one mile bike commute from the train station in jeans and underpants. (Although I'm pretty sure I'd be comfy on just about any saddle that fits me for a mile.)

Now, as far as which saddle to buy, it probably depends on your sit bone width. The B68S and B68 are both 210mm wide. The B17S, Team Pro S, and Finesse are all 177mm wide. The difference between the B68's and the other women's saddles is 1.3 inches, which is kind of significant.

That said, you need to ride what's comfy for you. With Wallbike's great return policy, you do have a margin of error.

Happy shopping!

-- Melissa

RoseC
08-08-2007, 11:54 AM
My story and opinions, for what they're worth:

Awhile back, I bought a regular (not s) B-17 from Nashbar, during one of their really good sales. I didn't know much about Brooks, but it was pretty and not very expensive, and I liked the idea of the thing. When I got my first road bike (A Bianchi Volpe) earlier this year, I put the B-17 on it. My first impression was *mostly* positive. It was really slippery at first, but that went away after the first fifty miles or so, as I recall. I still wasn't convinced it was right, and I tried a Terry Liberator X for about one day after using the Brooks for awhile. It made me realize some of the good points about the Brooks that I'd hardly registered: it was smooth (no feeling stuck in one place), it bounced slightly on the rough parts and therefore absorbed a lot of shock, it moved with me when I pedaled, it didn't start to pinch after a short ride, and it was mostly pretty narrow in the nose while being wide-ish in back.

The Terry *hurt* because the nose (especially the transition from nose to back) was so wide, and the cutout did horrible things down there. :eek: Plus it felt sticky, and like I was falling off the edges. Ick. So I went back to the Brooks and mostly have been pretty happy with it.

However, now that I have over a thousand miles on the Brooks and it's starting to change shape a bit, it's becoming obvious that my sit bones are wide enough that I'm more or less perched on the frame most of the time. Lucky me. So I've been researching the wider ones. The B-17S is probably wide enough, but it scares me that it has a short nose. I like having that nose there for me to grip when I'm turning and such! If there was a such thing as a B-17S with a longer nose, I might go for it. As it is, I've ordered a B-68 from Wallingford, which should be here by next week. I worry a little that it'll feel *too* wide, but it does have a nice narrow nose and a very fast transition to the wider back, which should mean it doesn't get in the way pedaling. I hope I hope I hope. Plus, as you said, it looks pretty nifty! Love that pebbled leather! If it doesn't get in the way when pedaling, I think the extra real estate will make it all the more comfy over the long haul.

KnottedYet
08-08-2007, 08:10 PM
Sandra - if your gut instinct is hollering "B68!!!!" then I'd go for the B68!

You have 6 months to make up your mind.

I have two B67 saddles. Similar, but with springs which the B68 doesn't have. I adore these saddles. They have completely changed my world. I ordered my 2nd B67 *after* the B68 came out. When it came down to the wire, my gut told me to get another B67 rather than the B68. Trust your gut! (and you really do have 6 months! Bill is awesome for help with saddle issues, too, as long as Wallingford isn't too busy at the moment. I've had him call me back when he had less on his plate.)

I've stayed away from the "S" Brooks saddles (for "short") because I prefer a long nose to help me control the bike.

sandra
08-09-2007, 03:58 AM
Can you explain to me the difference you feel in sprung and unsprung or why you prefer one over the other?

farrellcollie
08-09-2007, 05:21 AM
I use the sprung saddles (B67 I think) on my commuter hybrid and my folding bike - it helps smooth the bumps out on the road and makes the ride more comfortable. I use the regular B17 on my road bike - because I have it and it fits me well. A lot of people do not use sprung saddles on road bikes - I think the reason is for weight issues and aesthetics. I did not put one on my road bike because I started with the middle of the road vanilla approach - B17 being the most popular saddle and also because I just did not think about sprung for some reason. No real reason for me to worry about saddle weight (or aesthetics) until I lose 40 lbs.

KnottedYet
08-09-2007, 05:42 AM
I've never ridden on an unsprung Brooks. I ordered a second sprung one just because I did like my first so much. And I sort of figured "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Torrilin
08-09-2007, 09:52 AM
I'm currently riding on an unsprung beater saddle. The pavement on my main errands loop is pretty beat to hell... I grew up in Pennsylvania and thought I knew what big potholes looked like. Madison potholes look like what I'd call a sinkhole *g*. For an unloaded ride (just my 165 lb self), the saddle is fine. I can use my legs as shock absorbers for bumps, and things are peachy. Current max distance is 10 miles, and is going up. Slowly.

For a loaded ride (my 165 lb self + 30-45 lbs of stuff in a backpack), I end up in pretty serious pain after just 2 miles on bad pavement. The saddle bounces if I pedal hard. It's harder to absorb shocks with my legs. End result is I hurt and sometimes get saddle sores. I could probably go longer on good pavement.

With the load in panniers on my rack, things are not as peachy as when I'm unloaded, but they're still pretty good. I haven't hit my limit with panniers yet. I'd expect it's less than my unloaded limit, but not a lot less.

Springs probably aren't something I need for utility riding with panniers, since that's mostly short trips. I may need 'em if I start doing centuries or touring. I have to hammer pretty hard to get the bouncy saddle effect when I'm not loaded down. But just one rider on one bike has different saddle needs at different times, so the trick is to figure out what *you* need. And well, there is some trial and error involved :)

BleeckerSt_Girl
08-09-2007, 10:51 AM
Saddles with springs are particularly good for bikes that have you in a more upright position. (that's one reason you see them on a lot of older bikes)
Sitting upright puts most of your weight straight down your spine onto your sitbones. Every bump in your ride will have your weight coming right down on your seat, not on your legs or hands. Springs help absorb the shocks on both your spine and your butt.

On a less upright position road bike, your weight gets more distributed between your seat, legs, and hands, and your spine is more horizontal and can flex with the bumps. More of your weight is on your legs as you ride (if you are well balanced that is). There is less weight jamming down your spine onto your seat with every ride bump. Thus, springs are not as needed.

FWIW, my road bike is sort of halfway between a racing position and an upright position. Speaking for myself, I don't feel any need for springs at all even on long rides. When I do hit bumps unexpectedly, I can actually feel my non-sprung B68 under-saddle frame rails flex down and back up with the impact.

RoseC
08-09-2007, 08:19 PM
Lisa (and Mimi and Knotted et al),

Hijacking the thread a bit as I seem to be good at...though it *is* still related to the saddle Sandra is interested in! Maybe good information for others, too.

I think my setup is very similar to yours - my bars are almost level with my saddle.

How do you feel the B-67/68 does on rides over, say, 35 miles? Does the extra width start to chafe on longer rides, or is there such a quick transition from nose to seat that the width really doesn't get in the way of pedaling?

I'm still worrying a little about it, but since there isn't a B-17S with a long nose (or long rails, as you helpfully pointed out!), and since it isn't *that* much wider than regular B-17s, it does seem like the B-68 is the way to go for most gals who don't fit a standard B-17....

I'm just fretting 'cause I've got nothing better to do while I wait for the thing to arrive! :D

KnottedYet
08-09-2007, 08:25 PM
I have a fairly lopsided pelvis, and find the springs really accomodate my wonky pedalling. And I do have a very upright position to keep pressure off my shoulders and neck. I had wanted a B68, and covetted a B68 cuz they are so darn sexy, but when it came down to the wire I stuck with B67 for my second Brooks.

Nice thing about Wallbike is that you can try things and change saddles if the first you try isn't perfect!

My B67 is extraordinarily comfy on 50 or 60 mile rides. Much more comfy than anything else I've ever ridden. I don't chafe on the width for two reasons: The B6X series is a "T" shape (I chafe horribly on pears) and the B6X are wide enough to support my very wide sits. And the slip of the leather lets your legs slide along the edges of the saddle without the kind of friction that would make you rub against your shorts.

I fretted, too, but really that 6 month leeway lets off on the stress!

sandra
08-10-2007, 04:20 AM
Rose, I can't wait to hear your report after next Wednesday. I'll be here deliberating until then. :)

BleeckerSt_Girl
08-10-2007, 06:18 AM
How do you feel the B-67/68 does on rides over, say, 35 miles? Does the extra width start to chafe on longer rides, or is there such a quick transition from nose to seat that the width really doesn't get in the way of pedaling?

The extra width is in the back on your sitbones, so it does not chafe anything.
If you get the NON-S model, the transition is longer from nose to seat.
I have the B68 (non-S) and am not having chafing on 60 mile rides so far.
A lot depends on how wide you are and on how your thighs are shaped, etc. I'm a "pear" shape and neither fat nor skinny, but I have some padding on my inner thighs fer shure. :rolleyes:

mimitabby
08-10-2007, 06:49 AM
I've done a total of 5 centuries in my bike career all on a brooks sprung saddle. (two on the B66 and the other three on the B67)

result: sit bones a little sore
chafing: ZERO.

BleeckerSt_Girl
08-10-2007, 07:26 AM
Some people DO experience chafing on their Brooks saddle. Not many, but some. It just depends on your individual shape, your pedaling style and saddle position, and the model of saddle.
There is NO saddle that is universally comfortable for all women riders, just as there is no saddle that is universally UNcomfortable for women riders.

mimitabby
08-10-2007, 07:36 AM
LIsa, i got some chafing when I put my saddle on a different tandem and it wasn't set up exactly right. OW!

(then i readjusted it and it was fine)

RoseC
08-10-2007, 08:20 AM
So I guess the basic answer is that it'll almost certainly be fine once I get it adjusted properly, but there's of course no certain way to know that I'll love it until I try it...

Since the width is all in the back, I think it'll be OK. My sit bones are, best I can tell, in the 160-165mm range, so the extra space back there will be nice! The only saddles I've had serious chafing problems with were a Terry and one other women's specific type model, right at the part between nose and the rear portion.

Did I mention I hate waiting? :D So I jabber.

Thanks, Lisa and Mimi! And Sandra, I'll try to post a review and comparison with a standard B-17 as soon after I get it as possible!

sandra
08-10-2007, 08:28 AM
I hate waiting too!!! I ordered Power Grips pedals from Nashbar, along with a pump. They shipped on the 1st, today is the 10th and I'm STILL waiting. :( Meanwhile, I had to go buy a pump!

Is Nashbar typically slooooooooooooooow?

BleeckerSt_Girl
08-10-2007, 11:35 AM
So I guess the basic answer is that it'll almost certainly be fine once I get it adjusted properly, but there's of course no certain way to know that I'll love it until I try it...

I would not go so far as to say that "it'll almost certainly be fine once I get it adjusted properly"- some women just never get comfortable on Brooks.
But you DO need to give it a couple of weeks of riding and adjusting to make the final call. Expect some sitbone soreness the first 5-10 rides.

Sandra- you should CALL Nashbar!

sandra
08-10-2007, 11:38 AM
Sandra- you should CALL Nashbar!

I called a couple of days ago. They tracked it to a sortation center in Dallas on the 4th and said to give it a few more days.

I'm waiting for todays mail and THEN I AM gonna call AGAIN! :)

sandra
08-10-2007, 12:22 PM
The mail came and no package. I called Nashbar and they said the package departed Dallas yesterday.

I think they are being delivered via pony express or road bike!

sandra
08-11-2007, 02:55 PM
The Power Grips came today and they are on the bike! The only problem is, it is almost 6 p.m. and it is 102 degrees outside. As soon as it gets a little cooler tonight, I'm going to try them in my neighborhood. It looks like they could be a bit tricky until I get used to them.

BleeckerSt_Girl
08-11-2007, 04:23 PM
Keep them pretty loose at first. And remember- turn your heel OUTWARDS and pull your foot BACK to get out of them quickly. ;) It's sort of one motion.

RoseC
08-13-2007, 10:56 AM
Sandra,

What Lisa said! I really like my Power Grips. And the company is great to deal with, too, should that ever arise - I managed to break part of the hardware on mine, and even though it was my fault, they sent me another set. Really, really quickly, too - I was very impressed!

Regarding saddles...is it Wednesday yet? Is it Wednesday yet?

sandra
08-13-2007, 11:00 AM
I've ridden a short distance with the Power Grips two different times. I like them a lot and had no problems.

It's Monday, but I can't wait until Wednesday to hear about your new saddle. You know we will need pics of the bike with new saddle on it! :)

sandra
08-15-2007, 11:16 AM
ROSE!!! It's WEDNESDAY!!! :D Well?

RoseC
08-15-2007, 11:54 AM
Still waiting! *taps fingers on desk impatiently*

So far the UPS tracking thing still says it's on time and should be delivered today, though. It's still early afternoon in my time zone. But I hate waiting!

I unfortunately have some things I have to do tonight, so I won't get in much of a ride on it, if at all. The plan is to Proofide it this evening in between the other stuff I have going on, and hopefully mount it in time to ride to work tomorrow - a 12.5 mile ride. The first serious test will be a forty mile ride on Saturday, if all goes well.

I may also be able to get a few comparison pics tonight if you'd like to see how it looks side by side with a standard B-17.

sandra
08-15-2007, 11:59 AM
I may also be able to get a few comparison pics tonight if you'd like to see how it looks side by side with a standard B-17.

I'd love to if you have time!!!

RoseC
08-15-2007, 03:13 PM
Well, boo. UPS normally delivers to my building in the early afternoon, and it's now four. I guess I'm out of luck for today. :( Which is par for the course for me where UPS is concerned. I swear they have my name on some secret black list!

The tracking link still says "on time", but it also has never changed to "on truck for delivery" or anything like that It's been stuck on a status of in transit from Redmond to Seattle all day. Ugh! :mad:

sandra
08-15-2007, 03:15 PM
:mad: Sometimes mine had come really late. I hope it shows up.

skyhand
08-15-2007, 04:42 PM
Been tracking mine and it's had zero updates since 8/11, which just reads "In Transit" from its Texas stop. Supposed to be delivered tomorrow! (fingers crossed). Rode 24 miles yesterday and OW... my current saddle has GOT to go...

Overall, not a fan of UPS. I'm a DHL girl all the way. :)

RoseC
08-15-2007, 05:21 PM
Well...mine should be here tomorrow, too!

I had no updates from the time it left TX until it hit Seattle early this morning...or rather Redmond. All day today it's said in transit from Redmond to Seattle. Geesh! They aren't that far apart! :rolleyes:

I guess one more day in the scheme of things won't hurt me! *sigh*

skyhand
08-15-2007, 06:02 PM
For cryin' out loud, if my saddle is sitting in Redmond all day tomorrow, I'll call UPS and tell them I'll just come pick the darn package up myself! Nothing like wanting something so bad and it's so close yet so far. :)

Hopefully though we'll both be happy, happy Brooks saddle owners! Post pics!

KnottedYet
08-15-2007, 07:23 PM
There's a Brooks and Bikes pictures thread somewhere....

(I think I might've started it? Maybe I should go look for it.)

More saddles! More bikes! More pics!

C'mon, UPS, I wannnna seeeeeee new saaaaaaddles!

RoseC
08-16-2007, 12:26 PM
Mine has arrived, too! I plan to proofide it this evening, and may or may not get much of any riding in until tomorrow...then it gets put to the test on my commute!

My first impression is that it's a) gorgeous, and b) seriously wide, though only in the back, which hopefully is OK. I won't be able to really compare to the B-17 without further testing, but my thought is that maybe, just maybe...I've finally found a saddle where I won't feel like I'm hanging off the edge or teetering right on it. That'll be a first for me, if so!

skyhand
08-16-2007, 01:10 PM
Oh cool, yours arrived too! Post some pictures when you get a chance. :)

RoseC
08-16-2007, 07:21 PM
OK, as requested, some pictures! Keep in mind that I'm nowhere near the photographer that skyhand is, and also didn't have anywhere tidy to take shots. :D I ended up kicking the dog off the bed and photographing 'em there...

The new saddle, after its very first coat of Proofide!

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/eherreid/Bike/brooks001.jpg

A comparison with the B-17:

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/eherreid/Bike/brooks003.jpg

The B-17 is a bit longer, quite a bit narrower, and quite different in shape - if anything it looks wider to me in the transitional area between nose and back.

Stacked... (http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/eherreid/Bike/brooks004.jpg)

Another angle... (http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/eherreid/Bike/brooks007.jpg)

My bike with the new saddle!

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/eherreid/Bike/brooks008.jpg

From the back... (http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/eherreid/Bike/brooks010.jpg)

From the side... (http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/eherreid/Bike/brooks009.jpg)

And, for good measure...the dog that got kicked off the bed. ;) Hesagooddog, yes he is!

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c252/eherreid/Bike/brooks011.jpg

I think I have the saddle more or less in the right spot and position...I plan to ride to work tomorrow, so that'll put it to the test straight off. Hopefully it isn't toooo painful!

KnottedYet
08-16-2007, 08:42 PM
Great pictures! Thank you!

Now go here: http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=17382 and post your Brooks-n-Bike pic!

Ok, class, everyone notice the "pear" shape of the B17 as opposed to the "T" shape of the B68. It's all about the transition of nose to perch! Seek out the one that suits your hip joints, and the world is a better place!

skyhand
08-16-2007, 09:00 PM
PURDY SADDLE! Love it!! And yes, he lookslikeagooddog yes he does! ;) :)

Rode my B17 tonight about 7 miles, just a quickie to get a feel for positioning. Great test run! I can feel that it's new, needs some broken in time, but feels dandy overall. A fun side note I was at a pub for a spell and a little while later, someone else appears with their ride sporting the same friggin' Brooks as mine, except theirs was honey instead of brown. Beautacious! I know what I'm gettin' next if my current baby fits me... :D

And, icing on the cake, it looks great on my MTB. Will take pics tomorrow and post in the other thread. :cool:

KnottedYet
08-16-2007, 09:05 PM
Beautacious! I know what I'm gettin' next if my current baby fits me... :D

Skyhand - maybe you should talk to RoseC about a certain honey Brooks B17 saddle that might be in need of a new home?


And.... helookslikemydog, yes he does! (my stinky dog sleeps on my bed, hesasnoringdog, oh yes!)

skyhand
08-16-2007, 09:42 PM
Hmmm, now there's a thought... A certain honey B17 needing a home? What a coincidence: I have a home! :D

If it's up for grabs, let's talk, RoseC — I've gotta give my current B17 some butt mileage, but if she fits me... yeah! :)


I don't have agooddognoidon't, but i have goodbirdsyestheyare!! My canary is the cutest little bird. Here she is hiding in the candle holder, in Canary Stealth Mode:

http://www.skyhand.com/willow.jpg

sandra
08-17-2007, 04:17 AM
If it's up for grabs, let's talk, RoseC I've gotta give my current B17 some butt mileage, but if she fits me... yeah!

Remember, I am BROOKS-LESS and I am certainly interested too if any of you girls are selling your old saddles.

Liz
08-17-2007, 07:36 AM
I don't have agooddognoidon't, but i have goodbirdsyestheyare!! My canary is the cutest little bird. Here she is hiding in the candle holder, in Canary Stealth Mode:

http://www.skyhand.com/willow.jpg

That is just about the cutest thing I've seen in a while, but I'm going to try to one up you with a part lazy, fat cat/part sofa cushion:
http://www.yeslizzysloaded.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/juan-heine.jpg

Juan the cat just won't seem to stay put when I put him in the basket of my bike! ;)

RoseC
08-17-2007, 08:00 AM
First ride report: I rode in to work today on the new saddle - it's about 12.5 miles, as I've mentioned, so not *really* long, but enough to put it through its paces. My impressions are mostly positive. I was surprised at how comfy it was straight off - I reckon Lisa's right when she says there's a certain amount of breaking in that happens to your posterior rather than the saddle, and I've already done that part. :D

My weight definitely lands on my sit bones, and that feels rather strange to me. I will probably have a little bit of soreness just over the bones for a few days. Whether that means this is the first time they've really been supported or whether it's just a result of a different position, I dunno! On the other hand, my feminine parts are just kind of suspended, and that's a good thing!

Didn't notice the saddle getting in my way at all. My saddle bag is more in the way than the saddle, if anything. And speaking of the saddle bag...there was an unexpected perk there. I've been using an old Schwinn touring bag for my commuter bag, since I can bring my bike into my office and don't have to worry about trying to detach a bag each and every time. I found this thing for a couple of bucks (the guy who had it didn't know what it was), cleaned it up, and it works pretty well. Anyway...the bag loops on the B-68 are much bigger and easier to work with than the ones on the B-17, so it was a lot easier to mount and adjust. Nice! Now I'm even more torn between Carradice saddle bag and waterproof panniers when I go to upgrade my luggage...

I *may* sell the B-17, but I think I need to give this saddle a few weeks, just to be sure. There aren't any dents on the B-17, but it does have some wear. Still, since I got it for a good price, I'll probably not ask a whole lot for it, so it might be a good chance for someone else to at least try a Brooks! Join the cult! :) You gals will be the first to know if I decide to sell.