Bike saddle question settled

I was having the darnedest time getting a saddle that I could tolerate on my new bike. I finally broke down and tried (gulp) a leather Brooks saddle. Apparently these saddles take a long time to break in, require protection from the rain, and are otherwise part of the non-synthetic world. They are not inexpensive, and most of the models can't be obtained locally, but when you've tried everything within reach that is economical and readily available . . . and there's a six-month unconditional trial period, fully returnable. . . . Did I mention I was getting desperate?

After talking briefly by phone with the source I was using, I ordered a B-17S. That's a basic model (B-17) in the short-nose version. Short-nose saddles (generally called women's models) had been working better for me than long-nose saddles (generally called men's). No short-nose models could even be looked at here in town, although I did find one long-nose saddle hidden in a case at a local bike shop and the friend who later loaned me a pair of padded bike shorts for the break-in period rides a Brooks.

Here's my Brooks saddle on my bike:


It arrived just before my long road trip. I got it installed, took a test ride that said I would at least be okay for the duration of the trip, and took off with the bike disassembled in the back of the car, hoping for chances to ride. I did get three rides in while I was in Washington. I would have ridden more, except that I don't have a bike rack and the bike was under the rest of the load in the back of the car (fibers and the like), so I only got it out when I completely unpacked. And getting it down from the next-to-top floor of the hotel (where it stayed during Sock Summit) was a schedule-buster. Anyway, I did get to ride a bit during the road trip.

I tuck a plastic bag under the seat, on top of the flat kit, so I can cover it if the bike's parked outside and it might rain (this summer, we've had a lot of rain).

Over the past week, I keep forgetting to put the padded bike shorts on and it's basically okay, although for a while yet I hope I'll remember them for any ride over 5 miles (8 km). Nonetheless, they're already not essential.

This is the first saddle I've tried on this bike that I can't still feel an hour (sometimes eight hours) after I've finished my ride. And I'm nowhere near the end of the standard break-in mileage.

This saddle's a keeper, and worth every penny.


I still need to figure out grips that are comfortable, but that's not quite as critical an issue to resolve as the saddle.


10 thoughts on “Bike saddle question settled”

  1. My husband loves his Brooks saddle. He swears by his – it’s good to know that yours is working for you, too.

    Seems like you should be able to figure out something made out of felted wool for your grips… You know, being a fiber person and all.

    I’ve so enjoyed reading about your travels. Welcome home.

  2. I think people either love Brooks saddles or really don’t like them. I found those results online when I was researching them. With the generous return policy, and my failure to find anything even moderately comfortable through other channels, I figured it was worth the gamble.

    Felted wool, hmmmm. . . . I have a bit of wool here. . . .

    Glad you enjoyed the voyage! I’m mulling some sheep posts. Must get them UP before there are too many ideas to manage!

  3. Hubby Brian also has a Brooks leather saddle. He rode 14 hours one day, swears by that saddle. Says he couldn’t do his long rides without it.

    Me? I ride 3 miles at one time, max. I have a 1960’s 5-speed Schwinn Suburban with the original plastic/spring girl-type seat. It’s just fine for what I do, and I love that it’s still the original.

    I had a Raleigh Record 10 speed for decades, and I did 5-10 mile rides on that one, still not too brutal. I had an Avocet ladies’ saddle then. I’m not sure what model but this was early 1980’s, I think it was a new type of saddle at that time, and it was a gift so I remember little.

    So glad you have a new bike with a good saddle that you are happy with. Score twice!!!

  4. Brian has a wonderful bike to go with his saddle! I wouldn’t want to do 14 hours yet, but maybe in six months. . . .

    I had an Avocet on my Raleigh, and I liked it a lot. Took it for granted–! Not fancy, but very comfortable.

  5. I had a Brooks saddle for many years and I loved it. It did take a little breaking in, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I’d still have it if my bike hadn’t been stolen.

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