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  1. #1
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    another brooks question: your brooks type and your handlebar height/type

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    I had yet another question about brooks saddles. i realize there are a lot of threads on here about them, but a lot of them have been dormant for a while, plus in my searches i hadn't yet found the exact thing i was wondering about.

    i don't have a brooks yet, but i have ridden on one and loved it, and am in the market for my own. now the overwhelming process of narrowing down the many options. :-/ right now i have a women's forte contour, with a cutout, and find it is slightly better than the previous random (on a used bike) saddle i had without a cutout, but there is still smashing of my lady bits. (i'm still undecided about the brooks w/cutout vs. brooks w/no cutout question, too, but that's not the main focus of this question--and i'm leaning towards no cutout anyway, actually)

    it seems like a good percentage of the brooks owners on here swear by the slightly wider B67/B68 (which has a width of 205mm, whereas most of the other brooks saddles [e.g. B17] are 175mm). this makes intuitive sense to me, as i have "childbearin' hips", although i haven't yet actually measured my sit bones--i've seen a bunch of different methods for doing this on here and frankly they all seem pretty awkward. and yet i feel more and more like i HAVE to do this before getting a new saddle. (have all the methods been compiled anywhere, like in one post?)

    my bf, who is a fairly experienced cyclist, does not think i should get a 205mm-wide brooks saddle because of the fact that i have drop bars on my bike; he says that the wider saddles are much better for a much more upright position, where virtually all of the weight is on your butt, and that, if i were to have one on my bike (with drop bars), the extra width would get in the way when i bend over slightly for the bars. however, my bars are actually pretty high--close to level to the saddle, if not slightly higher, and i like them that way. so, some weight certainly goes forward to my hands, but not as much as with people with lower drop bars.

    so my question is mainly: all you ladies with the B67s/B68s, what kind of handlebars does your bike have? how bent over are you?

    thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    My two drop-bar bikes have/had B67 saddles. (bars lower than saddle)

    My moustache bar bike has a B67 saddle. (bar about even with saddle, slightly below)

    My upright bar bike has a B68 saddle (bar about even with saddle, slightly above)

    Not sure what your BF means about width getting in your way as you bend forward. The width is behind you as you bend forward. Can you sit on a bench and bend forward? Is the bench wider than a bike saddle? Does the width get in the way?

    Wider saddles are more necessary as you sit up taller, because the angle of the pubic rami/ischial tuberosity "rockers" widens as they go posterior from the pubic symphysis. A person might comfortably ride a fairly narrow saddle on a racing bike, but not be so happy with that same saddle on a cruiser. Same bones, just weightbearing farther back as the pelvis goes from an anterior to a neutral tilt and the contact shifts from the narrower portion of the "rockers" to the wider portion.

    But that doesn't mean a wider saddle cannot be used on a drop bar bike, no more than sitting on a bench means you cannot bend forward and touch the floor because the bench too wide.

    All this is academic, however, until you get your sit bone measurements!
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  3. #3
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    No matter what handlebars I have or how far I bend over, those tuberosities are the same distance apart.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  4. #4
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    Knotted: thanks for the info. Now that you mention it, i'm not really sure what my bf meant about the width getting in the way as one bends forward either. but i have a feeling he has a general grasp of the weightbearing differences with different saddle/handlebar setups. however, i also tend to think that he doesn't really comprehend that my sitbones may justify a wider saddle.

    I actually have another question too that i'm thinking you may be able to help with, as i saw your handle come up a lot in the sit bone threads. so, I just tried the "yoga mat" sit bone measuring method in a couple different ways. a plain old yoga mat, and then a slightly thicker, more foamy exercise mat alone didn't seem to work. i contemplated getting flour for homemade play-doh at some point, but first i decided to try putting down a sheet of tinfoil on top of the thicker foamy mat, ON the closed toilet lid. (this sounds crazy... but i don't have too many other hard sitting surfaces in my apartment!) i sat on the tinfoil with no pants on, rocked side to side a bit and made sure i felt my sitbones on there (i do a good deal of yoga, so i understand where they are), and when i stood up i was very amused at the results: two almost identical ~2.5" diameter circles, on the tinfoil. hilarious! but now my problem is: 2.5"?? should i measure to the center of those circles? the outside? somewhere in between?

  5. #5
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    Start with center to center.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  6. #6
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    thanks malkin.
    judging by the tinfoil measurement i did earlier, my sit bones seem to be around 5.5"-6" (140mm-152.4mm) apart, from their center areas. if i got a more standard 175mm wide saddle, i'd still have a cm or so of wiggle room on either side of the sit bones.
    however--another question for anyone who might know--how far in from the edge of a brooks saddle are the "cantle plates"? not entirely sure whether i'd be cutting it too close with a 175mm saddle.

  7. #7
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    Kim, my road bike has a men's team pro saddle on it. I tried a women's saddle and found it to be too wide for distance rides. I moved it to my mtb since I ride out of the saddle more often than on the road bike. My touring mtb has a women's sprung saddle and it feels right. My sit bones are 145mm wide.

    When your BF mentioned that the saddle might get in the way, perhaps he was referring to the chaffing you might encounter where the thigh meets the butt-- right along the panty line. That was my experience with the wider Brooks saddle on my Pistola road bike. The men's saddle offered ample width without the chaffing.
    Last edited by sundial; 03-06-2011 at 02:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    The cantle plate eats the last cm of the saddle on each side.

    You want a Brooks (or any other suspended leather saddle) to be about 2 cm wider than your OUTSIDE measurement. Your bones do not want to be landing on the metal cantle plate.

    BleeckerStGirl wrote a great description of how she felt on a B17 vs a B67/68. She was hitting the cantle plate a little on the B17.

    Chaffing is all about the transition from sit to nose being too gradual for the particular angle of someone's hip joints. Like Sundial noted, sometimes a wider saddle will also have a wider transition/wider nose. (that wider and more gradual transition is what people are talking about when they mention pear/wedge vs T shaped saddles)
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 03-06-2011 at 02:04 PM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  9. #9
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    sundial: this saddle will be for a commuter/touring-type bike.

    knot: so, the outer-to-outer measurement of the laughably huge, 2.5" circles that i created on the tinfoil was about 203mm. based upon your most recent post, perhaps i would find a 205mm width (i.e. B67 or 68) saddle better after all? i gotta say, if i don't get that super wide saddle, i'm probably going to be forever wondering whether it would be right for me. (or at least until i gave up with a 175 mm one and got a 205mm one...) and thanks for the cantle plate info. i certainly do not want to be sitting directly on that.
    i'll look for bleeckerstgirl's post.

  10. #10
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    Nope.

    Those circles are not exactly your sit bones.
    (I measure with a measuring tape directly on the bones.)

    Try sitting on your hands and feeling the contours of the bones. Get your index fingers on the outsides of those bones, jammed right up to them. Leave your hands on the chair and stand up, have someone measure the distance between your finger tips.

    Outside measurements are only about a cm two more than center measurements most of the time.

    If we use your 150mm centers and add a couple cm, we get your outside at around 170mm. If we use your 140mm centers and only add 1 cm, we get outside around 150mm. Take a B17 at 175mm, subtract 2 cm for the cantleplate: someone with 155mm outside and LESS won't be likely to hit the cantleplate.

    Depending on your imprints, your actual outside measurements could be right on 152 or they could be out there in the 170s. That's why its so important to measure a few ways and a few times.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    Chaffing is all about the transition from sit to nose being too gradual for the particular angle of someone's hip joints.
    You always put it so eloquently.

  12. #12
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    ok, i will try that sitting on hands/having someone else measure when i stand up thing. that "add 2 cm" (to your outside sit bone measurement) guideline is very helpful.

    and i agree, that is a good explanation of chafing--and it reminds me of one other question i had (hopefully my last or nearly my last for now!), that of the S brooks saddles vs. the men's. after i learned that the "S" design was mainly to accommodate skirts, i began to seriously doubt its usefulness to me as, well, i rarely wear skirts (or skorts). plus, wouldn't the S saddles be a little more pear shaped/have a more gradual transition from seat to nose, thus increasing the risk of chafing?

  13. #13
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    and I now have a brooks imperial saddle. it has a cut out and I absolutely love it (B68)
    There is NO WAY i am ever trying another kind of saddle ever again.

    oh and I have a roadbike with curved down handlebars (not what you see in my avatar)
    Last edited by Biciclista; 03-07-2011 at 07:49 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by _kim_ View Post
    after i learned that the "S" design was mainly to accommodate skirts, i began to seriously doubt its usefulness to me as, well, i rarely wear skirts (or skorts). plus, wouldn't the S saddles be a little more pear shaped/have a more gradual transition from seat to nose, thus increasing the risk of chafing?
    Well, yes and no. Some riders prefer the longer nose saddle for better control on the bike. I prefer the shorter nose saddle and I feel in control of my bike and I have ample wiggle room. I have the shorter nose saddle on bikes that I sit more upright and I don't experience the chaffing. But on a road bike I went with the longer nose saddle because of the chaffing issue of a pear shaped women's saddle. Also, the women's Brooks saddles have shorter rails and you will probably need a setback seatpost to get your saddle adjusted to the right fore/aft position.

    For a comparison of saddles, take a look at this.

 

 

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