New Brooks Saddle B.17 - laces? (new cyclist)

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by carsnoceans, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. carsnoceans

    carsnoceans New Member

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    Tired of perennial discomfort, I decided to invest and experiment with some saddle purchases. Just got my Brooks b.17 imperial few minutes ago. Before I put it on the cycle, here are a few questions...

    -there are some colorful laces with the seat. are they extras for lacing if seat starts sagging or do i need to put them on now?
    -the black lace in center came un-knotted. is there a specific way to tie this knot?
    -read some things abt tension screws in leather saddles. do i need to adjust that stuff or let it be till I know what I am doing?

    i am a heavy guy (225lbs).. do I need to start with all the holes laced or just go with how it came at the moment.

    Help is much appreciated. Thanks. :)

    CnO
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    The lacing may or may not be needed, it's supplied in case you need them. What the lacing does is to prevent the bottom edge from flairing out. The best and fastest way for me to show how is to post a web site:

    Butcherd & Tied at www.wallbike.com
     
  3. carsnoceans

    carsnoceans New Member

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    I suppose flairing is an issue to be worried abt on well-used, broke-in seats? Since I have a new seat, would it be wise to use laces now or wait till later?

    how abt the tension screw? any words from the wise :)
     
  4. guitarpete247

    guitarpete247 New Member

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    I've had a B17 Competition since 1985. I got it off my younger brother's bike. He hadn't ridden it for a few years and it was in My dad's basement. He didn't get it till the late 90's so didn't realise that the leather saddle I'd swapped the Brooks for wasn't his original:p. He still doesn't know I pinched it:rolleyes:.
    I've not had any problems in 25 years of flaring so hopefully you won't either.
     
  5. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I would wait until it's necessary. My Swift is 8 years old and still no laces required, but I only weigh 165; at your weight you might have to do it, you might not; only time will tell.

    You only have to lace it if the sides flair out AND if it starts to chaff you.
     
  6. carsnoceans

    carsnoceans New Member

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    Many thanks. This clarifies the purpose of lacing seats.
     
  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    The other thing you need to be careful about is how much and when to adjust the tensioner on the saddle.

    Do not do an adjustment till about 300 miles, then adjust the tensioner only 1/4th of a turn and no more; over tensioning the saddle could destroy it. After that initial adjustment you shouldn't have to make another for quite a few years.

    Also you only need to give the saddle a light coating of Proofide before using, both on top and on the underside. Let the Proofide dry then buff with a soft cloth, the underside you do not need to buff. Then let the saddle set without sitting on for about a week, then apply a thin coat of neutral Kiwi paste wax, not the liquid, and buff with a soft cloth like you would shoes. You only need to redo the above maintenance about once a year. Never use saddle soap to clean the saddle either.

    NEVER, NEVER ride or tension the saddle when it's wet, if it does get wet allow it to dry naturally. You should buy a saddle cover if your going to be riding it in the rain; like any leather, water can ruin leather.

    Only follow Brooks instruction, like I said before they've been making these saddles for over a 100 years they know best how to treat their saddles, not some bimbo on the internet, or at the LBS, or a friend who knows a lot. Here is a web site that covers everything I've said (except the shoe polish part, but shoe polish is wax and wax will not hurt only protect the saddle) and has all the information you will ever need: Proofide
     
  8. billydonn

    billydonn New Member

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    The Imperial has the cutout in the saddle and should have come laced with the black laces. The colored ones are spares or for re-lacing to match your bike color. None of the laces are long enough to fill all the holes in the side of the saddle so do not worry about that. Just pick whatever color laces you prefer and lace it up, using about 1/2 the holes and tying with a nice knot or bow, which you will have to re-tie periodically. There is no universally accepted knot for that. I would not use the Imperial without the laces.

    It could be a very long time before you need to re-tension the saddle and many people report a very long break in period with these saddles. Don't mess with that. Though many people will disagree with doing this, a little baseball glove oil on the bottom of the saddle can speed up the break in... but be careful and do not overdo that.

    Here's a useful link: Leather Saddles
     
  9. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Sheldon Brown has lots of useful information, but sadly when it came to telling folks how to break in their Brooks saddle he was completely 100% wrong. NEVER NEVER use any of the products Sheldon Brown lists to break in a Brooks saddle, if you do Brooks will void their warranty...and their warranty plainly states that, and that includes baseball oil. Brooks also gives you detail instructions on how to break in and care for their saddles; follow their care instructions and the warranty will be good and the saddle could out last the bike.

    By doing what Brooks recommends doing to break in the saddle will only take about 300 miles, not much much longer as Sheldon Brown states.

    Obviously if you don't care about the warranty, nor care about how long the saddle will last, then use any method you feel you want to use to speed up the breaking...err I mean the break in time.

    By the way, Sheldon or someone on his staff recently added a disclaimer, it's written in bold print at the end of the section.
     
  10. billydonn

    billydonn New Member

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    Right on time. Here is the "disclaimer" of which you speak:

    Note; treatment and break-in of leather saddles is not an exact science, and there are those that claim that some of the products I've listed are harmful to leather. [I can confirm that a product called mink oil will eventually allow mold to form. This is more likely with organic products than with synthetic ones -- John S. Allen] If absolute safety is your primary concern, using Brooks Proofide according to directions is probably the best approach...but you may find that the break-in period is un-necessarily long with this approach.
    The worst thing you can do is to neglect the saddle and allow it to dry out and crack.
     
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