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From: jbrandt@hpl.hp.com (Jobst Brandt)
Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.tech
Subject: Re: Anyone still use Brooks saddles?
Date: 2 Oct 1998 02:06:40 GMT

Steven Marks writes:

> Does anyone still ride Brooks saddles? I have seen several articles saying
> that leather saddles, once broken in of course, are the most comfortable.
> Now that I am looking for a new saddle for an old road bike, I am wondering.

> Does anyone ride a leather saddle and are they more comfortable than
> some of the new gel type saddles. The Brooks Ti saddle doesn't seem
> to be quite as serious a weight penalty as the others.

You might just as well write to the recumbent newsgroup asking whether
recumbents are better than upright bikes.  Heavy leather saddles that
take forever to break in and turn into ass-hatchets when ridden in the
rain are a religion.  Not to worry, the faithful will respond en
masse.

Before taking any of this on face value, you ought to ask yourself
whether people race on them.  I get the impression its addictive
because people don't seem to break away from the suffering.  In the
old days, racers in the Tour de France took their saddles off at night
so they could not be stolen.  The loss of a broken in saddle being an
irreplcaeable item and could mean the end of the race, new ones being
so hard to condition.  I rode them for many years and still have a
couple in my historic bin.  It was a chore.

Jobst Brandt      <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>


From: jbrandt@hpl.hp.com (Jobst Brandt)
Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.tech
Subject: Re: Anyone still use Brooks saddles?
Date: 3 Oct 1998 01:28:45 GMT

Tim McNamara writes:

> Generally I have found synthetic saddles to be "ass-hatchets" (to use
> Jobst's quaint phraseology).

I guess your anatomy is different from the mainstream.  Only a leather
saddle can develop a ridge that parts one's cheeks as a hatchet.
Riding in the rain produced this shape so repeatably that most riders
used a plastic saddle cover before Cinelli introduced the first useful
plastic saddles.  Because one cannot predict weather over longer tours
in many places, riders used these plastic covers most of the time or
ended up on an ass hatchet.  It's not only Brooks, all leather saddles
do it.

> I've tried the first generation Avocet, second generation Avocet,
> the Avocet OEM "Racing I" saddle; I've tried the Flite, the Rolls,
> the Rolls Ti, the Selle Italia one with the little rubber bumpers
> between the back ends of the rails and the saddle shell.  All of
> them sucked, although the Rolls Ti is OK for racing purposes.

I don't claim that these saddles suit every one but they appeal to
most riders and for those who prefer leather, I believe they should
use leather.  The shape of a brooks is no different from most of the
plastic shell saddles.  The only difference is that Avocet saddles
have variable thickness shells with thin areas where the pelvic boned
make contact.  Womens saddles have these places slightly farther
apart.  That you cannot find one of them that suits you is difficult
to understand because they have the same shape as your favorite kind
while being available in various softnesses in the pelvic contact
zone.

> I've found that most any saddle seems to be OK for racing, since I
> carry less weight on my butt when racing or training.

I think you are mistaken.  The portion of a rider's weight that falls
on the pedals is insignificant to saddle pressure, regardless of how
hard the rider pedals.  If it were a significant amount, the rider
would produce several horsepower.  Not something that humans can do
for any length of time.

That concept is like the old one put forth by nincompoops about
Campagnolo (racing) brake"s: "They're made to control speed, rather
than for stopping" in response to people who complained about high
hand lever force.  The speed control a racer needs is coming down from
35mph to practically a stop on Alpine descents into hairpin turns.  If
that ain't stopping I don't know what to call it.

> I have not tried the Avocet O2 Air 40 line (who dreams up these
> stupid names, anyway?); I believe I recall Jobst saying he rides one
> of these and likes it.  I am considering the Air 40M to see if it
> comes close to the B.17 in comfort; it would be nice to have a
> saddle less likely to be ruined by riding in the rain, not to
> mention being lees than half the weight of the Brooks.

The O2 is a compromise between a Flite and a comfortable saddle.  It
weighs about the same but you can sit on it.  It doesn't have cheeks so
I don't care for it.  I use the older racing saddle that rides well in
all weather with its Lycra surface that also lasts longer than
leather covered saddles I have used.

> OTOH, I have had great success with Brooks saddles, including the Pro,
> Team Pro and the B.17.  The B.17 is on the bike I like to ride the most
> (which is not the bike I put the most mileage on; that's the racing
> bike).  They are vulnerable to water damage in the rain, but they've been
> used in England and Ireland for a century or more.  The English, the Irish
> and the Scottish know a thing or two about riding in the rain!

Yes, they use saddle covers and lots of grease (Proofide).

Jobst Brandt      <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>

 
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