Brooks woes!

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Pete, 11 Aug 2007.

  1. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Again! I know only too well how high feelings run: to some people it's the saddle from heaven, while to others it hails from the 'other place' ... from the way some people go on about them, I reckon marriages have foundered on this debate...

    Anyway, I'm basically pro-Brooks: I think they're unequalled for comfort once properly broken in. Maybe it's my (rather on the heavy side) anatomy that suits them. And the leather is top-notch and lasts for years - if you look after it proper! But I've come to think that the undercarriage is a different matter. Over the years:

    1. Old B17 or pro (can't remember), did sterling service for ages but as the years drew on and I tightened it little by little, eventually I tightened too much and the leather ripped. Can't blame anyone else for that, my own fault entirely. On to...
    2. Pro, on chromed steel rails. Again saw many years good service. I looked after the leather better this time and it was very comfortable. Until late one night when both rails snapped clean through. And so to:
    3. My present Swift, just over a year old. Ti rails. Have had snapped tensioning clamp (the U-shaped bit that the bolt goes through): replaced with the (steel) one out of the Pro. Then, some months later, had tensioning bolt snapped. This time the one out of the Pro didn't fit: the thread stops too short. Enquired of BikePlus for a replacement (Yes Paul it was I who E-mailed you the other day) and it seems the correct bolt for the Swift is not stocked anywhere. So I found a thread-cutter and cut the thread further up the Pro bolt until it would go on the Swift.

    Hopefully this will hold out for a while: seems to fit and the saddle is the correct tension again and comfortable. But I'm thinking that if Brooks have this reliability problem I'm not going to bother next time.

    So the big question: if I desert Brooks, what's my best option that will have the 'feel' of a Brooks to me? Bear in mind I'm about 88-90Kg!
  2. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Hi Pete

    I think you're trying too hard!
    I'm on my second B17, the first did over 20 years of stirling service on and off, went mouldy a few times, rarely proofhided and never tensioned.
    Been on the new one over a year, 1 proofhide, whacked it on the bike, perfect.
    Not planning to do anything else other than proofhide maybe once every couple years.
    The old one?
    Very comfortable on my Turbo-hack thanks.

    My advice...treat-em mean...keep 'em keen!
    Don't love 'em too much!
  3. Danny

    Danny Legendary Member

    I had a B17 N for nearly years and eventually the leather perished - though I think this was just age rather than the result overtightening. Then got another which is still going strong, and am very happy with it.

    Can't comment on the reliability of the Pro or Swift, but I wonder how long a non leather saddle would last?
  4. Hello Pete - my Father in Law (French butt, South of France, different climate etc etc ) has broken his Swift bolt twice! He has used Brooks for many years but has always had a prob. with the Ti. The original saddle came from SJS - when Brooks was in the doldrums... First time I got the saddle replaced as it was broken soon after purchase...I got the spares this time from - who seem to stock everything relating to Brooks spares. (Trouble is, he's since bought an Orbea Orca and a Brooks would look decidedly un-bling! ;) )

    A summary of the items you ordered is given below

    1 of BROOKS SADDLES Tension spanner Total Price £3.00
    1 of BROOKS SADDLES BYB 289 Titanium Total Price £8.50
    1 of BROOKS SADDLES BMP 185 Zinc Total Price £4.95

    Carriage .............................. £5.00
    Order Total .......................... £21.45

    (the spanner was for something else...)
  5. OP

    Pete Guest

    Aperitif, thanks for the link, have bookmarked it. ;)

    Don't get me wrong! I wasn't implying I give the Brooks daily TLC - far from it! Indeed it's lucky if it sees the Proofide more than once every few months. It's just that with a Brooks - well once it's on the seat post, properly broken in, and fits your bum perfectly, well you like to forget about it, won't need any maintenance. Of course over the passage of time the leather stretches and loosens a bit, so you give that nut a slight turn now and again. But I really don't expect bits of the saddle to suddenly break without warning, for no reason, in the middle of a ride. That's why I have a moan about reliability. No matter how readily spare parts are available...
  6. Yes- that's true. In my FI Law's case he couldn't fathom that he had a Brooks, still going strong for 20 odd years and the super duper Ti version came along and went 'ping'!
    " C'est pas possible..!" (Cut to roadside shot of 72 year old clad in whirly lycra, pencil moustache, shaking head etc etc...) Possibly it's a bad design. Stretchy leather maybe?

    Anyway, he's now perched on a Fizik Arione, which matches the Orca (somehow a honey Swift wouldn't look right) and that is apparently the best saddle he has ever had... ;)
  7. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    There was an (old) thread on the CTC forum about Brooks rails breaking. The consensus appeared to be that it predominantly happened to chrome plated rails. Presumably due to embrittlement from the chrome plating process - although this could and should be easily stress relieved. They seemed to think the painted rails lasted longer.

    I have had my B17N for about three years and have never tightened the tensioner and it doesn't look like it will need doing any time soon. I am 12 stone so not sure how much that is in kilos.
  8. amrushton

    amrushton New Member

    North Manchester

    based on a brooks but given an upgrade. Go for the Titanico clydesdale option or email them. excellent cust.service
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