Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:11 am

Nobody wrote:So Rifraf, is the bolt busted or what? :)

Ok I've spent hours reading on the subject and the best I can come up with is that most issues are related to tension.
Bearing this in mind and the suggestions here and from wiggle I decided to dig a little deeper into the saddle.
I'm sorry but I didnt take photos but the links I'll add will hopefully add some clarity.
This link:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_VY9lef3Ripw/S ... Grease.jpg
shows whats described/labelled "tension shakle".

This link :
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_VY9lef3Ripw/S ... nParts.jpg
Shows whats described/labelled "nose piece"

This link;
shows their relationship with the "tension bolt"
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_VY9lef3Ripw/S ... G_1574.JPG

In my saddle for an unknown reason the "shackle" had twisted inside the "nose piece" despite feeling like it was of a decent
amount of preload (tension).

Rather than sitting on the two edges/sides of the "nose piece" the "shackle" was down on one side and into the "nose piece"
twisting the "tension bolt" to one side as per my photos.

I've released all tension and removed the "tension bolt" to examine for damage (none I can see).

I carefully put everything back together taking care to make sure the "shackle" mounts both edges of the nose piece (sitting on the edges) and I've added up what I feel to be an appropriate amount of "tension".

Shame there's not some torque figures to go by curtesy of Brooks but perhaps there's too much variance in the types of leather used.

Hope this all makes sense :roll:

Links for pics curtesy of :
http://pedaldamnit.blogspot.com.au/2010 ... anium.html
Last edited by rifraf on Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:17 am

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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:17 am

Mulger bill wrote:It hasn't been ridden wet has it?

Never :!:
Anyone who knows me knows I abhor wet weather and am most vocally disappointed we are not suffering another 7
year drought like Australia was last time I was in residence. :twisted:

Very disappointed with WA's winter as it seems I misinterpreted all the talk of super heated summers with a lack of rain.
Not so :!:
We wont talk about the wind.... :roll:
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:22 am

Nobody wrote:Sorry we made you take the saddle off. I hope you marked the position on the rails where the post goes first. The saddle angle should be able to be worked out again by feel. :)

Hope away by all means.... :twisted:
But alas no..... :!: :shock:
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:28 am

Nobody wrote:
il padrone wrote:Image
Where did this pic come from? Someone had the good taste to put their saddle on a Nitto post.

rifraf wrote:...and I agree that the large copper rivets add something to the overall appearance.
At your weight I wouldn't buy anything but copper rivets as they are primarily designed to help the leather last longer.


Someone else had mentioned the copper rivets and weight bearing to me before hence "one" of the reasons I paid over the odds for the Ti version of the Swift.
And shut up about my weight already :!: :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Does this Brooks make my butt look big? :lol: :lol: is a rhetorical question :wink:

That Nitto post sure is tasty :!:
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:36 am

RonK wrote:I've read of a similar issue on the Brooks web site. I suggest you contact Brooks about the problem.


I've done that - sent them some pics yesterday
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby Nobody » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:52 pm

rifraf wrote:Shame there's not some torque figures to go by courtesy of Brooks but perhaps there's too much variance in the types of leather used.

My method for torquing is to use the Brooks spanner with one finger at half way along the handle length. I usually retighten either periodically, or when I start chafing. I find the nut slowly unwinds with saddle use on all my Brooks saddles and even faster on the Flyer. It was so bad on the Flyer off road that I actually wired the nut in position so it couldn't move. For some reference, I'm about 82Kg at the moment.

rifraf wrote:Links for pics curtesy of :
http://pedaldamnit.blogspot.com.au/2010 ... anium.html

Thanks for the link. May come in handy in the future. :)
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby Nobody » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:59 pm

rifraf wrote:That Nitto post sure is tasty :!:
They ride well too. :D And if you like Ti Brooks saddles, you probably won't be scared off by the price.
http://www.tracksupermarket.com/index.p ... cts_id=450
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby grantw » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:30 pm

rifraf wrote:
Links for pics curtesy of :
http://pedaldamnit.blogspot.com.au/2010 ... anium.html


That blogpost got me through replacing the broken bolt on my B17 Special. Hardest bicycle repair job ever. Took me 2 hours and almost my left hand.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:32 pm

Nobody wrote:They ride well too. :D And if you like Ti Brooks saddles, you probably won't be scared off by the price.
http://www.tracksupermarket.com/index.p ... cts_id=450

Hi Nobody, thanks for the link. Alas they only come in 300mm which isnt long enough for my next build that I'm considering.
I'm thinking I'll make do with a Thomson Elite (400mm).
My current ride requires a 34.9 post which are like rocking horse droppings and the Nitto only comes in the 27.2.
I'll have to appreciate it from afar..... :(
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby Nobody » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:47 pm

Mine's a 250. They didn't even stock a 300 when I bought mine (not that it matters for me). I buy all my post in 27.2 these days and just get shims for different bikes. It makes it easier to swap things around between bikes and thinner posts have more flex/give.

How's the progress with the Swift going? Is the problem fixed or are you waiting for warranty replacement?
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby RonK » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:36 pm

Well Aidan, if I recall correctly, according to Brooks, the Swift is the hardest saddle in their range.

But so what - after 105 and 90 km stages for the past two days, I can hardly even sit on a chair. And I'm riding a B17 ti with copper rivets, which by now has had 10,000kms of use.

My love/hate affair with Brooks continues.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby Nobody » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:12 pm

RonK wrote:Well Aidan, if I recall correctly, according to Brooks, the Swift is the hardest saddle in their range.
Close. :) It's in the middle.
Brooks wrote:Brooks offers a range of racing saddles, all somewhat narrower than their touring and trekking counterparts, for increased pedalling freedom and in order to reduce weight. Our selection of saddles for the sporting cyclist include a variety of models: the B15 Swallow is our most elastic saddle. The Swift is slightly stiffer in comparison, and features distinctive partially cut-away sides. The Team Pro and the B17 Narrow are our stiffest saddle offerings.

http://www.brooksengland.com/catalogue- ... oad+&+mtb/
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby il padrone » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:03 pm

Team Pro the hardest saddle - I can attest to that. After well over 3 months of regular use (probably up around 2000kms) it's still as hard as wood :(

Retired from my regular ride to the MTB, where it has been getting a lot less use, but at least the MTB has full suspension to ease the pressure :o
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby Nobody » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:00 pm

il padrone wrote:Team Pro the hardest saddle - I can attest to that. After well over 3 months of regular use (probably up around 2000kms) it's still as hard as wood :(
Thorn believe that the honey is the fastest to break in. Can't remember where I read it on their site. Still took me a while to break mine in. A guy at work who I think is about 70Kg said he had trouble breaking in a B17.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:01 pm

Well I'll be...

Swift is harder than Swallow, that's not what my bum tells me.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby find_bruce » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:59 am

Mulger bill wrote:Well I'll be...

Swift is harder than Swallow, that's not what my bum tells me.

How long would be the ban from this family friendly forum, in the event that one was to make the off colour observation that ones inner teenager is thinking ? :D
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:39 pm

Nobody wrote:How's the progress with the Swift going? Is the problem fixed or are you waiting for warranty replacement?


A little less than satisfied with the correspondence and communication content thus far.

I did get a little info from Brooks as to self repair including suggestion of squeezing the front end of the saddle closer together carefully in a vice to aid the shackle not to twist again.
I can only assume it falls under owner maintenance.

I got the feeling Wiggle thought the problem was down to my lack of maintenance as in their corespondents words:

"The bolt on the nose of this saddle requires adjusting at least once a month, this
would have been clear on the instructions that came with it. It does not look like this
has been adjusted throughout the year of use. Due to the leather build of the Brooks
range the saddle material is likely to stretch, you have to adjust the bolt slightly to
grow with this movement during the breaking in period."

I'm unsure of how many turns of the bolt to tighten this may have incurred in their opinion but it gives me the impression that its more than Brooks suggestion of:

"1. Make a mental note of the position of the Tension Pin Nut
2. Slacken off the Nut
3. You should now be able manipulate the Shackle fairly easily and re-locate it so that the shoulders sit on the wall of the Nose piece
4. Re-tension the saddle by moving the nut back to, and beyond the starting position. I would suggest at least full rotation part the starting point."

No clear suggestions as to the cause and effect except Wiggles
"this saddle requires adjusting at least once a month, this would have been clear on the instructions that came with it. It does not look like this has been adjusted throughout the year of use"
apparently putting the issue down to negligence if I'm reading it right.

In answer to my response talking about my prior ownership of Brooks saddles with no twisting issues experience and no adjustment having ever been needed their answer was to send them the saddle and if in their opinion it was down to faulty
parts or workmanship then they'd look at doing a warranty claim.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:51 pm

No access to a vice so will have to find a workshop somewhere......

Still I suppose its an opportunity to have a squiz around one of Perth's suburbs.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby il padrone » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:56 pm

An observation and suggestion - may not be relevant in your case.

A friend on the BNV Forum posted about his Brooks saddle. This happened when it was still quite new - he went out side to find that a dripping drain had wetted one side of his saddle significantly. Can't remember whether he rode to work with it wet or not (probably did), but regardless, the saddle developed a noticeable sag on one side. He let it dry but the sag persisted. After much consultation he soaked the saddle in a basin of water and then let it dry thoroughly. After this he described the saddle as being virtually back to the original shape and he used Proofide on it and continued the break-in process. I believe he still has the saddle.

One of the break-in techniques, not Brooks-aproved, is to soak the saddle in water for some time then take it for a 10-20km ride while still wet. After this leave it to dry thoroughly whence it should have taken the shape of your butt. Something to consider.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:23 pm

il padrone wrote:An observation and suggestion - may not be relevant in your case.

soaked the saddle in a basin of water and then let it dry thoroughly. After this he described the saddle as being virtually back to the original shape and he used Proofide on it and continued the break-in process. I believe he still has the saddle.

Something to consider.


Yes I've read of "some" success using varying "wet" methods of shaping.
Thanks for the reminder. I'll keep it in mind for a "last resort". Hopefully on Monday I can find access to a vice to pinch tighter
the nose piece to stop the shackle twisting. It'll be interesting to see the outcome and whether it'll last or be a shortlived repair.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby laterstarter » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:33 pm

It is possible the breaking in of the saddle has exposed that the OP has a leg length discrepancy or other variance from "normal".

I have had a different brand leather saddle (Gilles Berthoud - Aramis) for a about 4 months now. It has developed a similar asymmetric break-in shape over about 3500km of riding. I had not sought to blame the quality of the saddle leather as I have a mild left leg abnormality and have assumed that was causing the difference between the sides. This weekend, it rained while we were racing and the saddle softened quite remarkably and as a consequence the difference between sides became more pronounced. The LHS of my saddle shows a much more pronounced dip than the RHS and the centreline crease is slightly toward the RHS of the saddle

The cause of the slightly abnormal leg in my case is known following medical investigation and surgery. It is caused by an osteoarthritis in the lateral (outside) compartment of my LHS knee. I have lost cartilage on the outside of the knee whilst the inside remains fairly normal. The knee was operated on about 4 years ago. As a consequence of the OA, my LHS leg splays outwards below the knee and it also results in a restricted range of flexion and extension. I think it also changes the effective leg length at various stages of the pedal cycle.

BTW, I get some comments about my "heavy" saddle, however I been rotating through a number of saddles to try to get one that stays comfortable for longer rides. None are perfect, but the leather ones seem to be the most comfortable, the challenge being to find ones that allow for a more "aero" position for competition as a Masters 6 rider.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby il padrone » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:39 pm

I do have a leg-length discrepancy. 1 cm shorter right leg, due to a hip fracture 7 years ago. My Swift developed an asymmetrical shape, breaking in more on the left side. I doubt that was because of the shorter right leg.

For rifraf to have caused his severely asymmetrical shape due to a shorter leg, he'd have a huge limp when walking.
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:28 am

Update,
not having access to a vice, I went to Joondalup today to the LBS there and asked them to have a go at squeezing the nose piece rail's closer. No joy as it releases exactly back into the same position. The "shackle" looks in danger of twisting as there is too much "play" on one side. This isn't alleviated once tension is applied (allen bolt tightened).
I cant complain as they didnt charge me, but I would have been much happier being able to decide the level of pressure myself.
Its looking like a return to Brooks but being xmas who knows how long that process will take (including return post).
Even taking potential costs out of it, I'm not liking how long the bike might be out of action and my purchasing decisions take forever if I want to pre-empt the return by getting in another saddle especially as I'm looking at a new bike build.
Aaaaaaghhhhhh :!: :twisted:
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Re: Whats up with my Brooks Swift then?

Postby rifraf » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:39 am

laterstarter wrote:It is possible the breaking in of the saddle has exposed that the OP has a leg length discrepancy or other variance from "normal".

I assume anythings possible...... I have no idea how I'd begin the process to find out. There may indeed be some issue as my
sister was born with hip displacia (scuze spelling) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_dysplasia_%28human%29 and as a baby spent time in a special splint. I know I wasnt treated for the problem but I suppose there might be a genetic issue :idea:

Could just as easily be springy Ti rails and when I left Mudgee I was tipping the scales quite highly.

Your suggestion isnt without merit but I'm kinda more focused trying to find a solution than concentrating on the many potential
things that could be the cause of the problem.

Thanks for the suggestion Laterstarter, might be something I'll bring up with my doctor down the track (next I'm there) :)
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