Brooks B17 - Tension? Cracks?

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Brooks B17 - Tension? Cracks?

Postby Aushiker » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:36 pm

G'day

Looking for feedback on the shape of my Brooks B17. Does it need tensioning?

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Also getting a couple "cracks" in the saddle as per the photos. Yes it does get treated regularly with Brooks Proofide and no it is not left in the rain.

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Normal? Should follow-up with Brooks?

Finally thoughts on sizing. I find the Brooks is "pinching" me for want of a better word on the sides and wonder if a narrow saddle would be better. Thoughts?

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by BNA » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:02 pm

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Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:02 pm

Hard to tell, but it looks like it may benefit from a little tensioning. But not more than 1/2 a turn or so.

Those cracks do occur. I have some in one of my saddles. Over time (say 10 years or more) they may get worse. Cracks in my old Competition eventually extended from the rivet to the edge of the saddle, and opened out, but this was after 15 years of use, including a fair bit of use in touring (left out in the rain overnight - I didn't know about covering the saddle :roll: ). When I pased it on to another cyclist in our club auction he said it would still be very serviceable - he is more experienced with bike gear than me - and was going to use it at the CERES bike shed.

Just make sure you look after it, keep it out of rain (not a problem while you're sitting on it) and keep it well proofided.
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Postby Aushiker » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:39 am

il padrone wrote:Hard to tell, but it looks like it may benefit from a little tensioning. But not more than 1/2 a turn or so.

Those cracks do occur. I have some in one of my saddles. Over time (say 10 years or more) they may get worse. Cracks in my old Competition eventually extended from the rivet to the edge of the saddle, and opened out, but this was after 15 years of use, including a fair bit of use in touring (left out in the rain overnight - I didn't know about covering the saddle :roll: ). When I pased it on to another cyclist in our club auction he said it would still be very serviceable - he is more experienced with bike gear than me - and was going to use it at the CERES bike shed.

Just make sure you look after it, keep it out of rain (not a problem while you're sitting on it) and keep it well proofided.


Thanks for your thoughts. Looks like I need to get a Brooks spanner.

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Postby Kalgrm » Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:55 pm

Aushiker wrote: Looks like I need to get a Brooks spanner.


Can I suggest buying a $2 spanner from Bunnies and grinding it down a little to make it thinner? Brooks charge way too much for this little item, especially if you're only going to give it half a turn!

Try the normal spanner anyway - it may give you enough purchase to do the job, albeit a bit more fiddly.

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Postby Aushiker » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:27 pm

Kalgrm wrote:
Aushiker wrote: Looks like I need to get a Brooks spanner.


Can I suggest buying a $2 spanner from Bunnies and grinding it down a little to make it thinner? Brooks charge way too much for this little item, especially if you're only going to give it half a turn!

No grinder, but I might be able to get a thin OE spanner if it will work.

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Postby sittingbison » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:27 pm

or you could also buy a grinder from bunnies and still be a head :wink:
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Postby HappyHumber » Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:21 pm

small crescent? :)
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Postby Aushiker » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:05 pm

HappyHumber wrote:small crescent? :)

Might be a go ... will play tomorrow when I am home.

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Postby Aushiker » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:09 pm

G'day

I wonder if this would do the trick.

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Postby kukamunga » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:36 am

I've never had problems adjusting Brooks B17 tension screw with normal open ended spanners. Don't know what all the fuss is about :roll:
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Postby twizzle » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:35 am

Aushiker wrote:G'day

I wonder if this would do the trick.

Andrew


Doubt it - that looks like a ~15mm spanner for doing the saddle clamp bolts. Buy a Brooks saddle maintenance kit - ~$25 and comes with a tin of proofide and the tension spanner.
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Postby ajh_ausnzcf » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:24 am

Proofide is to used often in the breaking in process and much less after the process, as stated by Brooks in their instructions.

Frustratingly the Brooks spanner does not always fit the B17, at least not the B17 Narrow.

You certainly have some dramatic shape to your saddle Andrew, at least compared to mine. I've got cracks at the rivets from where it became wet and dried out regularly. Does not affect performance at all so far. I suggest to use the Brooks cover always to protect from perspiration, particularly if you have a Honey, the black as I've said seems to be more resilient due to the treatment processes. I've heard you use Snowseal, that sounded like a good idea but does it weaken the leather? Some people use Neets Feet Oil, which softens the leather up very much, probably damaging it.
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Postby Aushiker » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:23 am

ajh_ausnzcf wrote:I've heard you use Snowseal, that sounded like a good idea but does it weaken the leather?


Haven't used it as yet (still got the Brooks product) and Brooks do suggest treating the saddle every three to four months.

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Postby Caelum » Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:20 am

Any ideas on where to get either neatsfoot oil or proofride locally in WA?


Soon?


Got my B17... need to start protecting it...
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Postby ajh_ausnzcf » Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:36 am

Caelum wrote:Any ideas on where to get either neatsfoot oil or proofride locally in WA?


Soon?


Got my B17... need to start protecting it...


I visited a bike shop in Freo that sold Brooks saddles. Not Fleet, I think it was on the main near the hospital. Some else probably knows the shop, perhaps they also stock the Proofide.
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Postby Caelum » Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:47 am

ajh_ausnzcf wrote:
Caelum wrote:Any ideas on where to get either neatsfoot oil or proofride locally in WA?


Soon?


Got my B17... need to start protecting it...


I visited a bike shop in Freo that sold Brooks saddles. Not Fleet, I think it was on the main near the hospital. Some else probably knows the shop, perhaps they also stock the Proofide.



Ahh yep, know the one.


Will have to try and visit it soon...
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Postby rustguard » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:40 pm

that would be mercer cycles yeah? on south street. never lived near freo but always happy to go to this bike shop
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Postby Caelum » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:52 pm

south terrace, not south street...


but yeah, that's the one(if i'm right)
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Postby rustguard » Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:40 am

yeah your right south st is further south
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Postby ajh_ausnzcf » Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:08 pm

Caelum wrote:south terrace, not south street...


but yeah, that's the one(if i'm right)


That is the shop I'm thinking of.
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Postby Kid_Carbine » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:53 am

This spanner has a 14mm open end & unless Brooks have lowered their standards even more, you will be trying to turn a 1/4" Whitworth nut with it. I just found a spare ring spanner & cut away just enough of the ring to allow it to pass over the threaded shaft & onto the nut.
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Postby HappyHumber » Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:37 am

Just gave my Swift a tweak of the tension the other day. Just a half a turn. Probably much to KC's disgust mine uses a 6mm Allen key.

The difference wasn't obvious straight away, but the next day I noticed an improvement or straightening of the saddles profile. So I spose that reinforces the notion of a little can be a lot when adjusting these things.

Sheldon's words from the Harris Cyclery site about the dangers of over zealous tensioning had scared me into not touching mine for a long time.
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Postby ajh_ausnzcf » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:32 am

I'm wondering if the Swallow "breaks" in? It's much more flexible than my B17 which is very stiff by comparison, the rails flex fairly easily by hand. How do people weighing 80kg or more go with this saddle? I'm 60kg max.
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Postby HappyHumber » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:42 am

ajh_ausnzcf wrote:How do people weighing 80kg or more go with this saddle? I'm 60kg max.

I hover around 100kg. No problems here... well none other than a little sag like Andrew's B17 in the original post. It was the replies here that prompted me to tension mine. I bought it in an as-new condition from e-bay. It didn't look as if anyone outside of the factory had sat on it, let alone treated it with anything.

Whether my sag is due to me having used dubbin or my size & weight, or a combination of both I can't say. But other than probably switching to Sno-seal (Ok Pete.. you win ;)) I'm not really worried about it.

I own a B17 Narrow as well, but it doesn't see anywhere near the use of the Swallow on my daily rider, the Ricardo. So I'd find it hard to compare wear between the two - leather thickness notwithstanding.
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Postby il padrone » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:51 pm

My broken in Swift is a lot less flexible than the broken in B66, but more than the almost new B17 Special. All Brooks saddles will differ, even with the same model, as leather will vary from beast to beast.

You people here own Swallows!!

Wooohoooooooo!! I don't know anyone who owns one :( Saw a couple on the shelf at Abbotsford Cycles ~$750 :shock:

Bought myself a pair of the Brooks handlebar grips. Should go nicely on the commuter :D

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Last edited by il padrone on Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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