Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mine's a Priscilla *BROOKS UPDATE!*

Brooks B17 Champion Standard #1
My New Secondhand B-17

As twittered a day or so ago, I made a recent impulse purchase of a used B-17 "Champion Standard" saddle. Having looked at the various ways of pressing a modern (bag loop-less) saddle into carrying a traditional Carradice saddlebag, it occurred to me that the weight of such an arrangement wouldn't be far off that of a Brooks. Buying second hand meant that the cost wasn't vastly different either.

Before I knew it, the eBay purchase was made, and the saddle arrived yesterday. Condition is pretty much ok, a bit scruffy, with some scuffs, but its probably a better option for me than paying £50+ on a new saddle for the purposes of trying out a Brooks. I'm one ride in, and starting to believe the hype about these saddles - although (obviously) the sit bone depressions are someone elses, the comfort is immediately apparent. It's quite different to the comfort offered by (say) an Arione, because of the movement in the top of the Brooks. The bag loops are a hugely better solution for the straps of the Carradice too.

I'm hoping that I get on with this saddle, as going back to the zipties to secure the bag doesn't seem very appealing at this point.

Brooks & Carradice Lowsaddle
My New Secondhand B-17, with the Carradice Lowsaddle Mounted

I'm wondering quite where this slippery slope will take me next. Touring Bike, Carradice, Brooks Saddle. Are SPD sandals and a beard and pipe now unavoidable?


Woz! said...

I've got a couple of Brookes on my bikes.
They definitely DO need to be broken in. My old one was very comfortable, and I'd read that rather than the saddle moulding to you, you actually get used to the saddle.
This isn't true - I bought a new (identical) saddle with my new bike, and it was agony for the first few weeks.

John the Monkey said...

The only thing worrying me slightly about this one is that someone esle has already broken it in - hopefully the saddle will adjust itself to me.

I've tensioned it up a bit since writing the last post, and it feels better now (it had a kind of "soggy" bounciness to it that I didn't like). We'll see anyway. The nose angle is the thing to get right now (slippy, aren't they..?)

TeePee said...

There's no middle ground with saddles, especially Brookes. I really wanted to like mine, I loved the whole idea and look of it but my bottom has fallen out with it after one too many bruising encounters, so soon it will go and an SMP will replace it: Good luck, I'll keep an eye out for 2nd hand pipes and sandals for you.

John the Monkey said...

You're too kind TeePee ;-)

Early days yet with mine, although initial signs are positive, I think.

The oddest saddle experience I've had so far is with the Pro-Logo Nago PAS. It's an EXTREMELY firm racing saddle. When I'm out on a Sunday ride, I love it - incredibly comfortable for as long as I ride (up to 3 hours or so). When I commuted with it I hated it, and found it hugely uncomfortable, despite only being in the saddle for 40 minutes or so. the only difference being that I commuted with a rucksack at the time - I guess the difference was the extra weight.

Woz! said...

Have you put Proofhide all over it? (underside most important). This can soften the leather so that the initial breaking in period is somewhat shorter.

I love mine - I have two but I swap them between my 4 bikes!

John the Monkey said...

I've proofided it once, so far - with it being an old (and fairly soft) saddle, I'm being cautious with it.

One thing that has helped is adding tension (about a quarter turn per day). It's getting towards a perfect balance of firmness/hammocky-ness now.