Butchering a Brooks

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Butchering a Brooks

Postby WestcoastPete » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:20 pm

I have quite a few Brooks saddles. My first was a Brooks Flyer, which is like a B17 but sprung. It became very comfortable very quickly, and I was in love. When I was touring on it though, I developed a bit of chafing. I thought this was all part of touring and didn't put it down to the saddle. That was until I got my Brooks B17 Imperial. I love this saddle. I found myself swapping it from bike to bike, depending on what was going to be ridden most. On my last tour, I took the Imperial, and it got me thinking; what's the point in having this lovely sprung saddle if I'm just going to swap it out?

So I decided to cut it; to add the Imperial cutout to the Flyer. It could end in disaster and the ruining of a very good saddle, but the saddle wasn't perfect. I wouldn't use it as it was intended to be used unless I cut it.

It turned out to be really easy. I took a template from my Imperial and used a sharp Stanley knife to make the cut. Neither of the saddles are symmetrical now that they're warn in, so neither is the cut. It's pretty bloody close though.

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Whoa, what am I thinking?!?

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This front of the cut was the hardest bit, but it turned out well with a bit of a shaving motion.

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To prevent the saddle from flaring due to the reduced lateral tension, the Imperial is supposed to be laced. I've actually taken the laces out of my Imperial now that it has adopted the appropriate bowed shape laterally, but I need to make sure this Flyer doesn't flare out. I was hoping to get some proper leather punches for this, but they were hard to find in Darwin and I was impatient, so I got one of those cheap rotary ones. It did the job cleanly enough, but it was hard work.

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And the verdict? Well, the first little ride down the street was really comfortable. It'll need a few long rides to determine if it's fixed the chafing problem, but I haven't killed the saddle. The cut looks good, nothing digs or pinches, it flexes differently, and it looks good. I'd certainly feel confident doing this again...
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by BNA » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:52 pm

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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby RobertFrith » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:52 pm

Nice work. (they'll be aghast and abhorred at Brooks tho :) )
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby il padrone » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:09 pm

RobertFrith wrote:they'll be aghast and abhorred at Brooks tho :)

From Brooks own website :wink: :P

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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby wqlava1 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:42 pm

I've got a B17 Imperial which is quite comfortable, and was thinking about a Flyer for another bike, but was concerned about no cut-out. (All my other saddles are Selle italia max Flites with their Trans Am cutout, which I have always found to be comfortable.) I was going to get the Flyer Select model, with the heavier leather. Just wondering if the springs make any noticeable difference from a B17.
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby WestcoastPete » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:27 pm

They give a little bit of extra cushioning, yes. Is heavy though, and it gives a tad when you're pedalling, but they're very comfortable.

Having said that, I'm not sure if I'd get another one. GJ Coop would be a good one to consult as he's tried both on his long distance tours, although neither with the imperial cutout.

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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby il padrone » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:51 pm

Springs provide more benefit on an upright posture and/or if you are a heavier rider. Generally on bikes where your handlebars are lower than the saddle, springs will be less effective. If your handlebars are higher than the saddle you will feel the benefit of the springs when riding over bumps and railway crossings etc.
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby rifraf » Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:10 pm

I miss the comfort of my three springs B-73 Brooks saddle but not its 1.1kg of weight. :cry:
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby Nobody » Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:04 pm

For anyone who has their handlebars below their saddle, or has quite a forward body position on the bike (like using the drops on a road bike) I would recommend to avoid a Brooks cutout. While doing CCR against a strong competitor, I did an injury to my groin using a B17 Imperial while on the drops. This had me worried and kept me off the road bike for weeks. It was then I decided to get a Pro which I've never had a problem with. I've probably had the Pro for more than a year now. So the Imperial stays on the MTB which has the handlebar about level with the saddle.
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby rifraf » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:21 pm

WestcoastPete wrote:I have quite a few Brooks saddles. My first was a Brooks Flyer, which is like a B17 but sprung. It became very comfortable very quickly, and I was in love. When I was touring on it though, I developed a bit of chafing. I thought this was all part of touring and didn't put it down to the saddle. That was until I got my Brooks B17 Imperial. I love this saddle. I found myself swapping it from bike to bike, depending on what was going to be ridden most. On my last tour, I took the Imperial, and it got me thinking; what's the point in having this lovely sprung saddle if I'm just going to swap it out?

So I decided to cut it; to add the Imperial cutout to the Flyer. It could end in disaster and the ruining of a very good saddle, but the saddle wasn't perfect. I wouldn't use it as it was intended to be used unless I cut it.


Excellent communication of the idea, process and outcome.
The pics really helped.
A brave experiment when you consider the costs of failure but no doubt now others can follow in your tyreprints (footsteps).
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby zues » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:55 pm

Nobody wrote
I did an injury to my groin using a B17 Imperial while on the drops.

Do you mean you got your nuts caught in the cut-out? what were you wearing? :shock:
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby Nobody » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:09 pm

zues wrote:
Nobody wrote:I did an injury to my groin using a B17 Imperial while on the drops.
Do you mean you got your nuts caught in the cut-out? what were you wearing? :shock:
Um no. I believe one of the edges of the leather did some damage under the scrotum area, but closer to the body. Didn't go to the doctor to get the specifics :oops: just waited a while then rode the MTB with a very high handlebar setting until I could put pressure on that area again. Took weeks to heal. I'm just posting as a warning to others. Just in case...

I was wearing the tighter version of boxer shorts style undies and normal shorts. Dress could have had something to do with it as there is no padding as such. Never happened before or since with other saddles and similar clothing.
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby warthog1 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:04 am

Nobody wrote:For anyone who has their handlebars below their saddle, or has quite a forward body position on the bike (like using the drops on a road bike) I would recommend to avoid a Brooks.


:wink: +1 appreciate your honesty Nobody :P
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby Nobody » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:48 pm

warthog1 wrote:
Nobody wrote:For anyone who has their handlebars below their saddle, or has quite a forward body position on the bike (like using the drops on a road bike) I would recommend to avoid a Brooks.


:wink: +1 appreciate your honesty Nobody :P
Thank for that. :roll: Some shock jocks would be proud of your out-of-context quoting. :P

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Pic courtesy of the tumbleweed section. :lol:

Somehow I don't think you'll be the first person I approach for advice on saddles. Did a bike fitter inflict that saddle angle on you, or did you do it all by yourself? :shock: :P

Here's how it's done if you have a Brooks.
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby warthog1 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:33 pm

Nobody wrote:Thank for that. :roll: Some shock jocks would be proud of your out-of-context quoting. :P

you're welcome :) happy to point out the obvious :mrgreen:

Nobody wrote:Image
Pic courtesy of the tumbleweed section. :lol:

Somehow I don't think you'll be the first person I approach for advice on saddles. Did a bike fitter inflict that saddle angle on you, or did you do it all by yourself? :shock: :P


All by myself :lol: It looks drastically nose down in that photo I agree but it's only a couple of mm at the nose. Whether its the sloping tt or the angle the bike is leaning against the wall I don't know, either way its comfortable for a couple of hrs at least. If I had a nose up brooks on it I don't think I'd be walking today, let alone riding

Nobody wrote:Here's how it's done if you have a Brooks.
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Gee those bars are low, being steel you'll be able to weld some more pipe on the steerer and get a handful more spacers in there :?: :P

Failing that maybe these will help :twisted:
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby Nobody » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:28 pm

warthog1 wrote:Gee those bars are low, being steel you'll be able to weld some more pipe on the steerer and get a handful more spacers in there :?: :P
Um, yeah. Thanks for that "helpful" advice. :roll: :lol: Not everyone is trying the relive their youth.:P I believe pros have a 12cm drop and LA had 9 (but he obviously didn't need to be as aero.). I have 2cm. But I have a short reach for my height and so that setup still gives me a 45 degree body angle on the hoods. Fine for what I do. If I had a Madone with a H2 fit and a 14cm head tube for my size, then I think the spacers would be less noticeable.

warthog1 wrote:Failing that maybe these will help :twisted:
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As for the ape hangers, I've got something similar on my wife's bike (cafe bars) and they make it very upright and comfortable. :mrgreen:
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby warthog1 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:33 pm

Nobody wrote:
As for the ape hangers, I've got something similar on my wife's bike (cafe bars) and they make it very upright and comfortable. :mrgreen:
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My wife's bike is very upright and comfortable when I ride it too. You were correct, she has ridden it once thus far.
:(
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby warthog1 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:37 pm

Nobody wrote:
As for the ape hangers, I've got something similar on my wife's bike (cafe bars) and they make it very upright and comfortable. :mrgreen:
Image


My wife's bike is very upright and comfortable when I ride it too. You were correct, she has ridden it once thus far.
:(

It is still the only leather saddle I have ridden and yes it is comfortable. When I grow up and get a tourer I'm sure it will have a leather saddle :)

Got to try and catch up with the 54 year old bloke who is cleaning me up first though :lol:
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby il padrone » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:45 pm

One for the ladies, the B18. Eminently comfortable I've been told :wink:

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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby Nobody » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:03 am

warthog1 wrote:My wife's bike is very upright and comfortable when I ride it too. You were correct, she has ridden it once thus far.
:(
Sorry to hear it. Can't say I like being correct about that. I'd rather my wife's bike be the only one collecting dust (when I'm not riding it).

warthog1 wrote:Got to try and catch up with the 54 year old bloke who is cleaning me up first though :lol:
You must be getting to the point now where you know you may never catch him. You obviously made the mistake before you were born of not choosing you parents more carefully. :wink:
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby warthog1 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:36 am

Nobody wrote:
warthog1 wrote:Got to try and catch up with the 54 year old bloke who is cleaning me up first though :lol:
You must be getting to the point now where you know you may never catch him. You obviously made the mistake before you were born of not choosing you parents more carefully. :wink:


Yes well I'm obviously no Lance Armstrong even without the EPO :x :lol:
I reckon I can take him in a tt.......we dont have them here though :roll: Thats a maybe and he still has 10 years on me.
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby warthog1 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:39 am

il padrone wrote:One for the ladies, the B18. Eminently comfortable I've been told :wink:

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Was that you riding up Specimen Hill Rd in Golden Square yesterday? Bloke on a yellow bike who looks like you from the photos on the forum anyway.
I was at work and driving the other way.
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:20 am

warthog1 wrote:Was that you riding up Specimen Hill Rd in Golden Square yesterday? Bloke on a yellow bike who looks like you from the photos on the forum anyway.
I was at work and driving the other way.

Hmm........ Sprung!! :oops: :oops:


Yes it was I. I was part of the group of 21 that were doing a ride out to the wineries at Marong. MBTC has a weekend base camp - staying at Central City Caravan Park and doing a series of day rides around Bendigo. We have over 50 members involved in the weekend. You would be welcome to drop over and say g'day, maybe later this arvo. They're going out to a pub for dinner tonight.

But warning - there will be many Brooks devotees :wink:
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby warthog1 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:56 am

il padrone wrote:
warthog1 wrote:Was that you riding up Specimen Hill Rd in Golden Square yesterday? Bloke on a yellow bike who looks like you from the photos on the forum anyway.
I was at work and driving the other way.

Hmm........ Sprung!! :oops: :oops:


Yes it was I. I was part of the group of 21 that were doing a ride out to the wineries at Marong. MBTC has a weekend base camp - staying at Central City Caravan Park and doing a series of day rides around Bendigo. We have over 50 members involved in the weekend. You would be welcome to drop over and say g'day, maybe later this arvo. They're going out to a pub for dinner tonight.

But warning - there will be many Brooks devotees :wink:


It will be nice to meet you. I'll try and get there this arvo. Night shift tonight worse luck, but a Monday night is better than a Fri or Sat night :)

I'll be on a plastic bike most likely :lol:
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:17 am

warthog1 wrote:It will be nice to meet you. I'll try and get there this arvo.

Sorry, I wasn't clear about that. I'm back in Melbourne - had to work today :(

If you drop in and mention you know Pete Sig I'm sure you'll get a good welcome.
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Re: Butchering a Brooks

Postby warthog1 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:00 pm

No worries I'll give it a miss thanks. I was going to struggle to get there as it was. Bloody work getting in the way of life again :lol:
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