Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have bought Brooks B17 Imperial for my Fuji touring bike and would like to break in before taking it on a trip. Have read recommendations to reach 1000 km to make it fully fit. Right now it is winter in Norway, so I do cycle home using my road bike on Tacx trainer. Would it make sense for me to put B17 on my road bike and try to break in inside? Or is it bad idea since touring bike has likely different geometry?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,823 Posts
I’m no expert but I can’t see why you couldn’t break it in on the trainer bike?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,180 Posts
Yes, ride it on the trainer. Some say adding Brooks Proofhide to the underside of the leather helps accelerate the break-in process as body heat draws the cream into the leather. Might be worth a try.
I've also heard that a wet dish rag on the saddle to dampen it before riding hastens the break in.

Here's Lon Haldman's method...

Lon's PACTOUR Blog: Breaking In a Leather Saddle

While not a Brooks I recently got a Berthoud leather saddle and it was comfortable from day one. May you have the same luck.
 

·
Devoid of all flim-flam
Joined
·
7,299 Posts
Nothing ever worked for me. Did I eventually take a hammer to it? I've blissfully forgotten.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
I am currently breaking in a new Brooks B17 Special. It will eventually be used on my Lynskey road bike which I use for long rides of 30-60 miles. No way I wanted to break this in on the road.

I have it on my indoor trainer bike which I ride daily for 30-45 minutes. First thing I did when I got the saddle was coat the underside with a generous coating of Proofhide and a thin coat on top. It soaked in overnight. After each ride I rub in Proofhide on the underside where my sit bones hit. Easy to locate when riding on a stationary bike. This way I only soften the area that need it and not over soften the whole saddle. I did that for a week. Now I just ride it.

First ride was rock hard. Noticed it softening after a week. After 150 miles, the saddle seems to be broken in. Feels ‘soft’ because it contours to my underside, but still hard to the touch. I still have to April to continue the break in process before it goes on the road.
 

·
Done
Joined
·
4,558 Posts
I have bought Brooks B17 Imperial for my Fuji touring bike and would like to break in before taking it on a trip. Have read recommendations to reach 1000 km to make it fully fit. Right now it is winter in Norway, so I do cycle home using my road bike on Tacx trainer. Would it make sense for me to put B17 on my road bike and try to break in inside? Or is it bad idea since touring bike has likely different geometry?
I reviewed the "Standard" Brooks B.17 for Cyclingnews many, many moons ago.

www.cyclingnews.com - the world centre of cycling

I've owned a bunch of Brooks saddles since then, and I've found that while there is a lot of mystique and tradition around breaking in a leather saddle there really isn't a "best" way to do it. Proof of this is the fact that Brooks really doesn't tell you how to do it; they don't give you much in the way of instructions on how to use Proofide.

For the record, my personal method is to put on a coating of Proofide top and bottom, let sit overnight, and then ride the crap out of it. I'm a good 200 lbs. so my weight tends to speed up the break in process. I would hesitate to recommend to a first-time Brooks owner to intentionally get the leather wet to speed up the softening process - screw it up and you can ruin a leather saddle. Actually, I think that the need for a "breaking in" period is mostly mental - a saddle's shape is a waaaay more important element in overall comfort than the softness or cushion provided by the leather. I have a totally rock hard Brooks Swift that is very comfortable because its shape matches my a$$. Ditto my favorite Team Pro.

If I were in Norway for the winter, I would slap it on the trainer and break it in that way. The important thing (in my opinion) is to have your sit bones situated on the saddle in the same place where they will be on your touring bike. If your set up is somewhat similar, you should be good to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,823 Posts
I reviewed the "Standard" Brooks B.17 for Cyclingnews many, many moons ago.

www.cyclingnews.com - the world centre of cycling

I've owned a bunch of Brooks saddles since then, and I've found that while there is a lot of mystique and tradition around breaking in a leather saddle there really isn't a "best" way to do it. Proof of this is the fact that Brooks really doesn't tell you how to do it; they don't give you much in the way of instructions on how to use Proofide.

For the record, my personal method is to put on a coating of Proofide top and bottom, let sit overnight, and then ride the crap out of it. I'm a good 200 lbs. so my weight tends to speed up the break in process. I would hesitate to recommend to a first-time Brooks owner to intentionally get the leather wet to speed up the softening process - screw it up and you can ruin a leather saddle. Actually, I think that the need for a "breaking in" period is mostly mental - a saddle's shape is a waaaay more important element in overall comfort than the softness or cushion provided by the leather. I have a totally rock hard Brooks Swift that is very comfortable because its shape matches my a$$. Ditto my favorite Team Pro.

If I were in Norway for the winter, I would slap it on the trainer and break it in that way. The important thing (in my opinion) is to have your sit bones situated on the saddle in the same place where they will be on your touring bike. If your set up is somewhat similar, you should be good to go.
In 2022 I have a hard time getting my head around breaking in a leather saddle. As you said, fit, as in the match between rider and saddle is all that matters. “Softening” the leather is kinda weird.

You have this thin azz leather cover over an ugly, oversized saddle and the break-in of that covering is making some difference in rider comfort? I don’t buy that.

I know, obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I considered it, I even created a thread about considering it... And the reply’s were perfect. I stuck with the crappy tech that 100% of elite riders in pro pelotons utilize. You can look over thousands of bikes used by people who ride them for a living, and will you find any brooks? No, no you will not.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

·
Done
Joined
·
4,558 Posts
In 2022 I have a hard time getting my head around breaking in a leather saddle. As you said, fit, as in the match between rider and saddle is all that matters. “Softening” the leather is kinda weird.

You have this thin azz leather cover over an ugly, oversized saddle and the break-in of that covering is making some difference in rider comfort? I don’t buy that.

I know, obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I considered it, I even created a thread about considering it... And the reply’s were perfect. I stuck with the crappy tech that 100% of elite riders in pro pelotons utilize. You can look over thousands of bikes used by people who ride them for a living, and will you find any brooks? No, no you will not.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Maybe one way to think about it is that the "break in period" for a Brooks is actually a process where the match between saddle and a$$ - if it isn't immediately comfortable - comes into better alignment as the shape slowly conforms to your sit bones via the process of sitting on it. Sometimes that process doesn't end with a comfortable shape. "Modern" saddles are designed to have a comfortable shape from day one, and not change over the life of the saddle...and meet weight requirements that a Brooks never could.

The dirty little secret for me is that the most comfortable saddle for my personal backside IS a leather saddle, but NOT a Brooks. The Selle Anatomica line of saddles Rules Them All. Their design is basically an a$$-hammock with a prostate cut-out. Slap it on and ride it.

Leather Bike Saddles | Anatomical Saddles for Cyclists (selleanatomica.com)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,823 Posts
Maybe one way to think about it is that the "break in period" for a Brooks is actually a process where the match between saddle and a$$ - if it isn't immediately comfortable - comes into better alignment as the shape slowly conforms to your sit bones via the process of sitting on it. Sometimes that process doesn't end with a comfortable shape. "Modern" saddles are designed to have a comfortable shape from day one, and not change over the life of the saddle...and meet weight requirements that a Brooks never could.

The dirty little secret for me is that the most comfortable saddle for my personal backside IS a leather saddle, but NOT a Brooks. The Selle Anatomica line of saddles Rules Them All. Their design is basically an a$$-hammock with a prostate cut-out. Slap it on and ride it.

Leather Bike Saddles | Anatomical Saddles for Cyclists (selleanatomica.com)
That’s kind of what I don’t get? The leather is so thin that I find it difficult to see how it can meld with the rider? Is there some kind of material under the saddle that accounts for this?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,180 Posts
That’s kind of what I don’t get? The leather is so thin that I find it difficult to see how it can meld with the rider? Is there some kind of material under the saddle that accounts for this?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Have you ever seen or handled a leather saddle, new or somebodies with thousands of miles on it? Or just pictures?

Brooks are at about 5mm thick, my Berthoud is heavier than that. Just like a good pair of leather shoes forms to ones feet a good leather saddle conforms to ones ass.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
41,374 Posts
In 2022 I have a hard time getting my head around breaking in a leather saddle. As you said, fit, as in the match between rider and saddle is all that matters. “Softening” the leather is kinda weird.

You have this thin azz leather cover over an ugly, oversized saddle and the break-in of that covering is making some difference in rider comfort? I don’t buy that.

I know, obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I considered it, I even created a thread about considering it... And the reply’s were perfect. I stuck with the crappy tech that 100% of elite riders in pro pelotons utilize. You can look over thousands of bikes used by people who ride them for a living, and will you find any brooks? No, no you will not.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Something to consider when deciding whether what works for elite riders will work for you: Elite riders might not actually spend as much time in the saddle as some committed amateur enthusiasts. The elites conquer 100-mile stages in four or five hours routinely; the amateur may ride a century as well, but it's often an all-day ride.

I know that I can ride most any saddle for a couple of hours; after that is when different saddle designs start to reveal varying comfort levels. For long rides, I prefer Brooks B-17s, but one of my bikes that's for shorter stuff has a "modern" saddle that's just fine. FWIW, they're not leather, but the Brooks C-19 (rubber over fabric--all weather) has delivered excellent comfort to me right out of the box, no break-in required, and my "shitty weather" bikes now have those.

Testament to the idea that it really is more about the butt/saddle interface than anything else, I cannot get comfortable on a B-17N, or a Brooks Professional, which are narrower than the standard B-17. So, obviously, YMMV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,823 Posts
Have you ever seen or handled a leather saddle, new or somebodies with thousands of miles on it? Or just pictures?

Brooks are at about 5mm thick, my Berthoud is heavier than that. Just like a good pair of leather shoes forms to ones feet a good leather saddle conforms to ones ass.
Oh... 5mm. That explains it, thanks. That’s plenty of leather to explain the relationship working.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

·
Banned Sock Puppet
Joined
·
16,167 Posts
That’s kind of what I don’t get? The leather is so thin that I find it difficult to see how it can meld with the rider? Is there some kind of material under the saddle that accounts for this?
Thicker isn't better just as more padding isn't better. Paradoxically, more padding on a saddle can cause discomfort on longer rides.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xxl

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,823 Posts
Thicker isn't better just as more padding isn't better. Paradoxically, more padding on a saddle can cause discomfort on longer rides.
Oh yeah, I know. But my question was about how a thin leather covering could have such an impact. Easy answer... It isn’t a thin layer. 5mm is a lot of material.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

·
Banned Sock Puppet
Joined
·
16,167 Posts
Oh yeah, I know. But my question was about how a thin leather covering could have such an impact. Easy answer... It isn’t a thin layer. 5mm is a lot of material.
Hmmm. I just measured my Selle Anatomica leather saddle and it's about 4-5mm thick. Much thinner than that wouldn't last very long!
 

·
Russian Troll Farmer
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
Oh yeah, I know. But my question was about how a thin leather covering could have such an impact. Easy answer... It isn’t a thin layer. 5mm is a lot of material.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Well, it's not just a layer, it's more of a hammock. And, there are 2 reasons pros haven't used Brooks saddles in 50+ years (before which, they actually DID, BTW...)
1) Brooks ain't advertising.
2) Weight. A Brooks leather saddle easily adds 250g+ in weight. Even their titanium-rail saddles are heavier than any of the plastic @$$-hatchet saddles..
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top