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Is a Brooks saddle comfortable without cycling shorts?

small_blokesmall_bloke Posts: 222
edited November 2013 in Commuting general
I'm tempted to buy a Brooks saddle because of their reputation?
For my commuter CX bike.
Are they really that comfortable? Can I also do short journeys <5miles without cycling shorts (e.g nipping to city centre shops)?

I'm also confused over the range of models. I know I normally like a narrow saddle on my other race bikes (130mm wide).
Thanks

Posts

  • most certainly.

    the only thing that may hinder comfort is the initial brake in period.
    In my experience it takes at least 500K for it to take it's hammock-like shape.

    Get the swallow model if you like narrow saddles. the swift is another option for a more slightly more upright position.
  • I have a Brooks on my touring bike, they are very comfortable but do need a bit of breaking in. I fully expected it to be awful at first, but with padded shorts it was fine - not squishy sofa comfortable, but as good as any other bike saddle comfortable. I've now put around 600 miles on it and it's great, and I can use it without a chamois. They hold their value well, so if it doesn't work out you should be able to get back close to what you paid. Buy a secondhand one and someone else will have done the hard work for you. Sounds like a B17 narrow might be a good fit.
  • DM222DM222 Posts: 90
    I'm tempted to buy a Brooks saddle because of their reputation?
    Thanks

    +1
    I've seen some of them (might be all of them) come with a waterproof cover - do you have to use this? Surely they can handle a bit of English weather can't they?
  • Waterproof cover isn't essential but saves on maintenance and help it last longer.
    I usually cover the saddle when parked up to protect it from a soaking and deter thieves.
    I find it v comfortable and commute in work clothes all year round. (20 year old B17 btw)
  • jjojjasjjojjas Posts: 346
    I broke mine in cycling from lands end to john o'groats....with hindsight I should have started the process earlier. Its fine without padded shorts. you forget how comfortable they get until you jump onto another bike without one.
    it looks a bit steep to me.....
  • I'm tempted to buy a Brooks saddle because of their reputation?
    For my commuter CX bike.
    Are they really that comfortable? Can I also do short journeys <5miles without cycling shorts (e.g nipping to city centre shops)?

    I'm also confused over the range of models. I know I normally like a narrow saddle on my other race bikes (130mm wide).
    Thanks

    I suggest you wear something to cover your modesty otherwise you are likely to be arrested!
  • anewmananewman Posts: 70
    I suggest you wear something to cover your modesty otherwise you are likely to be arrested!
    There is actually no specific law against public nudity. However, when someone is offended it becomes a Public Order issue, and people are all too easily offended by such matters.
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,483
    DM222 wrote:
    I've seen some of them (might be all of them) come with a waterproof cover - do you have to use this? Surely they can handle a bit of English weather can't they?


    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/h/option/international#table

    I like the saddle covers on rainy days, probably the cheapest item in the Brooks range. Leather saddles are more susceptible to water damage than synthetics, but I don't know to what extent. I have a leather Charge saddle and ride 30 miles unpadded without ill effects.
  • I've seen some of them (might be all of them) come with a waterproof cover - do you have to use this? Surely they can handle a bit of English weather can't they?

    The cover is only for if you park the bike in the rain. If the saddle gets properly soaked it will stretch out of shape if you sit on it. If it does get soaked and is left to dry first then no problem.

    A plastic bag does the same job but the cover is neater.

    On various bikes, I have a B17 (Brompton and tandem), Team Pro (Super Galaxy), Swallow (road bike and fixed).

    All really good. In terms of comfort without padded shorts, the Team Pro is top, but with padded shorts the Swallow.

    Can't beat them in my view. Others may differ, but I've never found they need much breaking in.

    Some tensioning from time to time needed over the first year or so (just half a turn on the screw), plus Brooks Proofide every few months.
  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 764
    I don't think anyone can catagorically say that one saddle is better than the other, Ultimately its depends on the shape of ya 'arris! A brooks saddle whilst very well made are often very comfortable and will probably wear far better than others but it does not mean that is will be good for you.

    See if ya LBS has any bikes with Brooks (or similar shape) saddles and sit on the bikes (maybe even try and blag a test ride). Saddles are just one of those things, everyone has a preference on what they find comfy:

    To quote Top Gear: " The car comes with Recaro seats but I don't have a Recaro A*"e ! "
  • Agree with mr_eddy. Different rears react differently. But I find, with most people, those who haven't liked a Brooks just haven't had the patience. (Although, mine were never uncomfortable).

    I have two Brooks... my first one, a B67 on my (more upright) commuter, and a B17 narrow on my CX.

    Agree with the statements above, there is that break in period, but they get more comfortable each ride. First month, then first 3 months, and then it should be fine. Most of my rides are just commuting - so under 10 miles, and I'm normally in jeans. For longer rides on the CX, then there's generally something more cycling-specific.

    That 'hammock' feel takes a little while, and you'll most-likely also get two slight depressions where your tail bones sit. Beyond that, a bit of proofide once or twice a year, and a slight tightening of the nose bolt (so it doesn't get TOO 'hammocked' or even start resting on the rails like some I've seen) is all that's required.

    My partner now also has a B67S on her commuter, and after that first month she loves hers too.
  • I wear the padding in the winter, as I find my Brooks saddles quite cold :shock:
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