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Gear Note - Saddles

Brooks saddleSaddles are a very important part of a cycle and the comfort of which is singularly linked to your enjoyment of a ride and it is therefore worth spending the time finding one that fits you. We have experimented with several saddle types and designs. The original saddles that came with the Giants were a low specification gel saddle and we replaced these with a Serfas RX model. These worked fairly well, however we have found that gel saddles promise much but loose their effectiveness after a while, are sweaty and you still end up with a 'numus bumus' after a several miles in the saddle!

In an attempt to find 'Saddle Nirvana' we decided to try the Brooks leather saddles. We both started with the B67 which was recommended to us for touring however we soon found it was more suitable for a more upright cycling position than ours and we both found the saddle to be too short in the length.

We have since changed them to the 'Champion Flyer' which is longer in the body and slightly narrower. The leather is slightly thicker and harder and took slightly longer to break in than the B67, however it is much more comfortable. The Champion Flyer is basically the same as the B17 but with the addition of rear springs, we have found these springs do make quite a difference to the comfort on bumpy roads.

The Brooks saddles do take a bit of breaking in, it is just like a pair of leather boots which initially may feel a little uncomfortable but as you wear them in they tend to mould to your feet. The same is true of the Brooks saddle, if you look at the two photos below of a new and used saddle you can see how the use saddle has moulded to the rider with dimples were the sit bones obviously are.

New Brooks saddle
A new Brooks saddle
Used Brooks saddle
A used Brooks saddle

Brooks do make a female version of the 'Champion Flyer' which is a little shorter in the length to that of the Gents version. Frank who is 6ft tall tried the female version but found it to be too short for her and swapped it for a Gents version.

Brooks Saddle care

Brooks saddles being made of leather do take some looking after and it is worth the effort. Brooks recommend giving their saddles a regular rub over with their 'Proofide' to keep the leather in good condition.

They also recommended not allowing the saddle to get too wet as this can stretch the leather, therefore I would suggest getting a saddle cover or at least covering it with a plastic bag if it is outside in the wet. We have found that if you are riding the bike in the rain and you have used 'Proofide' there is no need to cover the saddle whilst you are riding as your back side seems to do a good enough job, however it is when you do stop for any length of time that you will need to cover the saddle.


What ever type of saddle you use it is important to get your saddle adjusted correctly, here are some links to some web pages detailing with how to adjust your saddle for the correct riding position:

As you can see from the links there are various ways of adjusting the saddle height and position fore and aft. You will need to experiment a bit to find that optimum position for you. When you have found a comfortable position it is worth marking you seat post and seat rails in some way so you can reposition the saddle in the correct position should you have to disassemble the bike for any reason.

After a certain amount of use you may find that your Brooks saddle which had previously been comfortable starts to become a little uncomfortable. You may then notice that you feel you are sitting slightly forward and you are beginning to feel the nose of the saddle more, this is usually due to the leather stretching slightly between the nose and the rear of the saddle. If you look at the saddle from the side you might see a noticeable curve between the nose and the rear. To get rid of this you will need to tighten the saddle nut near the nose of the saddle to stretch out the saddle and reduce the curve. Tighten it just enough to make the saddle feel comfortable again.