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Do women have “Brooks love”?

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Do women have “Brooks love”?

Old 01-20-21, 06:42 AM
  #1  
Jno
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Do women have “Brooks love”?

I have read several threads in which most posters rave about Brooks saddles but realize I have no idea if those posts are mostly from men. My wife is considering the B17 short (the “women’s model”) now. Its lack of a cutout makes me wonder if Brooks love is less likely with a woman’s anatomy, and if she should look elsewhere. I invite the response of any female reader of this post who has experience of Brooks saddles who can speak to its woman-specific comfort or lack of comfort.
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Old 01-20-21, 08:03 AM
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Saddles..one of the many "it depends" areas of cycling.

I've bought at least 10 different saddles for my GF's bikes. Her sit-bone width measured out at 108mm..very narrow. Tried Terry Butterfly & Falcon..nope. Terry Dragonfly & Damselfly..OK, but not a longer term winner. One Specialized gel saddle that came with a Bianchi we bought..didn't work. Goodwill(website) had a killer-sale on a bunch of Cobb saddles..$150-$200 saddles for 20-30 bucks..last time I looked they still do. She found the V-Flow saddles comfortable for day rides(50 miles), but for touring(riding 50+ day after day)..not good. We/she finally netted out at a Brooks C-15 carved. So far..she thinks it's the best she's ridden...meaning she forgets all about her saddle when riding, which is the goal.

The women's B17 is a wide saddle..whether it's good for any one rider..it depends.

Last edited by fishboat; 01-20-21 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 01-20-21, 08:48 AM
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J, there certainly are many touring ladies whose trip journals I've followed who love their Brooks, and I personally know some women riders who do also, and who just use regular models, not the S short versions (designed for use with skirts btw)

years ago my wife "borrowed" one of my b17 for a supported ride we were doing and liked it so much that I ended up buying others and giving her that one. She really prefers it to other seats she has used, but don't forget, small positional adjustments are super important, and bike fit, and your padded shorts.... all are a factor. Her bike has bars slightly above saddle too.

And it still depends. No clear answer here as usual, no easy clear black and white answer.
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Old 01-20-21, 09:53 AM
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Good to know

I’m glad to know that a saddle without cutouts has as much likelihood of suiting her as any other, since we aren’t inclined to “buy and try - repeat”. She’s being a good sport about all this (equipping for a bike tour with not much time on road frames, for long stretches of time) so I don’t want her to miss any chances to keep avoidable discomforts at bay. Thanks
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Old 01-20-21, 09:59 AM
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Before my daughter and I started our long tour, I brought my bike and a box of Stuff up to her graduation. The night before, she mentioned her saddle wasn't very comfortable. I happened to have a Brooks Flyer I'd been meaning to change out with my B-17. She asked if she could try it for the first day.

That was nearly 12 years ago. I still wonder what it feels like to ride a Flyer. I never got it back.

I suspect women are about as likely as men to fit a Brooks saddle. FWIW, I'd guess 60-70% of people who try a Brooks find it comfortable after some adjustment. At least of half of us who like them find it so comfortable we become somewhat fanatical. That's what makes Brooks saddle threads so interesting: 40% say it's the best saddle ever, best thing since sliced bread for comfort on long rides; the 30% who never got comfortable say it's awful and have to invent insults to show how bad their a$$ hurt from the minute they got on; and the rest enjoy the show.
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Old 01-20-21, 10:06 AM
  #6  
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With all bike comfort stuff, it really comes down to regularly riding, so one gets both more physically fit and hopefully identifying aspects that can be changed or adjusted to make things more comfortable. With hopefully proper advice, the more one rides helps one figure out details, but hard if you don't have any reference and maybe are not inclined to do it, biking or any other sport, but just because your partner is doing it.
ive spent years encouraging and helping my wife with comfort stuff, working past preconceptions she's had, and gradually improving things and eventually working towards doing supported trips together and eventually solo trips just us, or with friends.

I find its really important to plan properly, start slowly, putting the emphasis on fun, not overdoing things, not going hungry, taking breaks etc but first getting the basic comfort stuff sorted and adjusted.
(Good padded bike shorts too)
And regularly ride, so important, and why I repeat it.
good luck
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Old 01-20-21, 10:25 AM
  #7  
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REI, and some other vendors have allow a return after trying the saddle. For this type of item, I find that the higher cost is justified by the ability to do this. REI is one year, full refund.

Originally Posted by Jno View Post
I’m glad to know that a saddle without cutouts has as much likelihood of suiting her as any other, since we aren’t inclined to “buy and try - repeat”. She’s being a good sport about all this (equipping for a bike tour with not much time on road frames, for long stretches of time) so I don’t want her to miss any chances to keep avoidable discomforts at bay. Thanks
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Old 01-20-21, 10:40 AM
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If memory serves.. the women's B17 is the same width and basic construction and only the (horn) length is shorter.

If the horn makes no difference, as it doesn't with many women, then the B17 carved is an option. While the std B17 is great for me, the carved(Imperial) is better yet. With respect to the Cambium series, the carved versions seem to be much more comfortable (to me & my GF) than the std versions.

One key issue with my (difficult to fit) GF is the horn-width. Some saddles she's had were comfortable..mostly, but the horn width was too wide, too soon as it went forward. Her thighs would hit the mid-horn area and push her forward on the saddle..she'd then push back on the saddle between peddle strokes only to push forward on the next down-stroke....and the cycle continued...the saddles fundamentally didn't fit her. She wasn't able to take advantage of the comfortable(proper) position on the saddle as she constantly was pushed forward off it. Once we found the right combo of saddle width and narrow-ness in the horn(fast transition between rear and fore-saddle), things got much better. The nice thing about her C-15 carved saddle(even though technically a bit wide for her) is the down-sides of the mid-horn area are flexible. They give with her peddle downstrokes and she stays in place on the saddle-proper.

Don't fall into the "gel, soft saddle being more comfortable"..thing. More often than not, the opposite is true.
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Old 01-20-21, 12:00 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
I have read several threads in which most posters rave about Brooks saddles but realize I have no idea if those posts are mostly from men. My wife is considering the B17 short (the “women’s model”) now. Its lack of a cutout makes me wonder if Brooks love is less likely with a woman’s anatomy, and if she should look elsewhere. I invite the response of any female reader of this post who has experience of Brooks saddles who can speak to its woman-specific comfort or lack of comfort.
Like any seat, for male or female, if it is too high, too far forward, or of reach is too great for the particular rider, you will have pain. Fit issues like that are noticed more with a seat like a Brooks, since there is no cutout, and the material is, at least initially, harder. If you replace a seat with a Brooks, most likely the Brooks will sit higher off the rails, meaning you will have to lower the seat. As long as you have the seat height correct for you, and the reach is not too great. it will be fine. In fact, the majority of seat issues in general, are due to fit, and not the seat itself.

My wife has the short B17, made for women, and she has no issues.
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Old 01-20-21, 12:49 PM
  #10  
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It is my understanding that the women's saddle initially was slightly shorter because decades ago women sometimes wore a skirt or dress on a bike with step through frames. I do not think that is still much of a concern. I can see where a woman on a shorter top tube length bike might also want a shorter saddle so that there is a little more room between the stem and saddle when standing over the top tube.

But I do not think there is any other difference between the S models and standard models. I bought a C-17S because it was on a good sale, cheaper than the non-sale price on the C-17.

I have met a few women that prefer Brooks, but not many.

I think we need to distinguish between the leather Brooks and Cambium Brooks. They are very different.

Most of my bikes have a leather Brooks. I tried two different Cambium saddles, they worked for about 15 miles and that was it for me. One of the Cambium saddle I bought is now on my errand bike, but that mostly just goes to grocery stores within a couple miles of home.

But, I have meet people that like Cambium saddles for long distance brevets, including one woman that regularly rides brevets. So, some people like the a lot better than me.

And both kinds (leather and Cambium) come in models with different widths.

And lots of guys hate leather saddles to.

The B17, I had heard that it was the go to saddle for touring, so I bought a B17. But it does not work that well for me as it was wider and flatter in back than I liked, but the Brooks Pro or Conquest work very well for me. The B17 seems to be better for sitting more upright, I have my B17 on an indoor bike on a trainer. On that I sit up straighter and watch the news on tv. But using the drops on a bike, I need a narrower saddle.

Half a century ago, almost all mid-level and higher bikes had leather saddles. Brooks and Ideale (spell?) were the main brands, I bought a cheaper bike in the 70s that came with a Wright brand saddle that was similar to a leather Brooks. In that era, even all racing bikes had leather saddles on them.

You won't know what works best until you try it.
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Old 01-20-21, 12:55 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
In fact, the majority of seat issues in general, are due to fit, and not the seat itself.
Though I agree fit or saddle placement is super important, many shapes, sizes, cut outs, the thickness and firmness of the padding (if any) are extremely common deal breakers.
For what little it's worth, my wife hated my Brooks but loves her Terry's
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Old 01-20-21, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Though I agree fit or saddle placement is super important, many shapes, sizes, cut outs, the thickness and firmness of the padding (if any) are extremely common deal breakers.
For what little it's worth, my wife hated my Brooks but loves her Terry's
There is no denying there are differences in seats, but pain that can be prevented by a cutout, is generally caused by a too high seat, or too great of reach, or a seat that is too far forward. Often a combination of seat height and reach.
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Old 01-20-21, 05:24 PM
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Re cutouts, I've never ridden a seat with one, would be interesting to seriously try one sometime, although we have to be realistic that one cutout model could be very very different to another.
I suspect I would like a c17 cutout, as my regular c17 is good, but would be nice with more flex that maybe comes with a cutout.

we've also a Terry seat in the household, my wife found it fine, as my daughter who uses it now. All in all though, my wife finds the b17 the most comfortable.
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Old 01-20-21, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
I have read several threads in which most posters rave about Brooks saddles but realize I have no idea if those posts are mostly from men. My wife is considering the B17 short (the “women’s model”) now. Its lack of a cutout makes me wonder if Brooks love is less likely with a woman’s anatomy, and if she should look elsewhere. I invite the response of any female reader of this post who has experience of Brooks saddles who can speak to its woman-specific comfort or lack of comfort.
Curious way to phrase a question.

A saddle, whether cut out or not, isn't inherently more comfortable for a specific gender.
As for a women's brooks saddle, I have one of them and a regular non 'S' brooks. Both are C17 saddles and I cant tell the difference between them. One has a slightly shorter nose...ok then, not sure why that is marketed as a women's feature, but whatever.
There are men's saddles with shorter noses than the women's brooks saddle.

Its all just general categories and nothing is firm. A woman can use a saddle without a cutout(this should be obvious) if she likes it.
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Old 01-20-21, 09:34 PM
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My wife has thousands of miles on her B-17, mostly generated on weekly and multi-month tours. She makes sure she carries a cover for the rain so it lasts even longer. I am sure like all saddles that people like, it fits her well. I am pretty sure if this saddle gets damaged/worn, she will be buying another one. Her saddle has held up better than mine. I think it is mostly my weight but also riding style. I rock a bit and she stays fairly straight in the saddle.
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Old 01-20-21, 09:49 PM
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My daughter stole my Brooks Professional (green) about 15 years ago. She uses it regularly and is a bit concerned about it drying out in the Tucson heat. It’s getting a bit too much skirt flare and we should probably tie it. She has another Pro as well that I bought...but at least she didn’t steal that one.

My wife, on the other hand, tried a Brooks and didn’t like it at all. My wife is only 5’ tall and my daughter is about 5’6” which makes something of a difference.
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Old 01-20-21, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
My wife, on the other hand, tried a Brooks and didn’t like it at all. My wife is only 5’ tall and my daughter is about 5’6” which makes something of a difference.
I'm not sure height is a factor, my wife is 5' also, and I've known at least one similarly sized lady who loves her Brooks also. To me the whole bike/ seat setup is the big factor, but then you also get into those intangible things just like with guys and various seats.
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Old 01-20-21, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I'm not sure height is a factor, my wife is 5' also, and I've known at least one similarly sized lady who loves her Brooks also. To me the whole bike/ seat setup is the big factor, but then you also get into those intangible things just like with guys and various seats.
Personally, I’ve never found bike and seat setup to be that important. All of my Brooks saddles are comfortable right out of the box. I’m not even that picky with plastic saddles. My daughter seems to share my insensitivity, although my wife doesn’t. The only plastic saddles I have a problem with are the ones with cutouts.
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Old 01-21-21, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
I have read several threads in which most posters rave about Brooks saddles but realize I have no idea if those posts are mostly from men. My wife is considering the B17 short (the “women’s model”) now. Its lack of a cutout makes me wonder if Brooks love is less likely with a woman’s anatomy, and if she should look elsewhere. I invite the response of any female reader of this post who has experience of Brooks saddles who can speak to its woman-specific comfort or lack of comfort.
If she uses the big R there is a women's cycling sub R perhaps she can poll the ladies there
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Old 01-21-21, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Personally, I’ve never found bike and seat setup to be that important. All of my Brooks saddles are comfortable right out of the box. I’m not even that picky with plastic saddles. My daughter seems to share my insensitivity, although my wife doesn’t. The only plastic saddles I have a problem with are the ones with cutouts.
I would say that I'm in the middle somewhere, although of bike stuff, I find that small seat position changes make all the difference.
just goes to show how everyone is different
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Old 01-22-21, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
.... I invite the response of any female reader of this post who has experience of Brooks saddles who can speak to its woman-specific comfort or lack of comfort.
Female rider here. I used to absolutely love my Brooks B17 regular saddle. Rode it for years in total comfort. But, after menopause began, it caused me too much discomfort to continue to use. Without going into too much detail, certain fatty tissue becomes less fatty. Ended up purchasing the WTB Koda saddle, which has been great for me. But, I was determined to try to still use my Brooks. Took a Dremel tool to it and cut a crude oblong hole in the center, then zip tied the skirts to reduce the flair. Worked out well for me, enough that I used it for a long tour.
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Old 01-23-21, 04:01 PM
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Another female rider here. My husband just laughs about how many saddles and bike short combinations that I've tried over the years. I've been riding with a Brooks Cambrium C17 (no cutouts) on 2 of my 3 bikes for the past two seasons. I wouldn't go as far as to say I love them but I also don't curse them like others that I've tried.

I think I have some random Terry saddle with a cutout on my Trek 700. That bike rarely gets used for more than about 20 miles at a time as it is the bike that I use for shuttling when I'm hiking the Ice Age Trail. I did do a 100 mile ride on it last summer as I ended up with a day free from hiking on a trip up in Wisconsin. I wasn't cursing the saddle but the relentless strong headwinds that day.
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Old 01-24-21, 12:21 PM
  #23  
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By "Brooks Love" I assume you mean "Brooks Hate."
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Old 01-24-21, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
I’m glad to know that a saddle without cutouts has as much likelihood of suiting her as any other, since we aren’t inclined to “buy and try - repeat”. She’s being a good sport about all this (equipping for a bike tour with not much time on road frames, for long stretches of time) so I don’t want her to miss any chances to keep avoidable discomforts at bay. Thanks
Be aware - not being willing to try and return seats is a gamble. There is no seat that works for all. Your wife might be a good sport and be willing to put up with quite a lot to keep you happy and the marriage together. If this is being done on short notice so you can go on tour - well this might go along like peaches and cream or this might be the last tour you ever do together. A marriage counselor might suggest that you discuss this with her in advance and get her on board re: the risk.

I'm pretty sure the range of women's butts is roughly the same as the range of men's. In my racing days (before I aged and needed a cutout) I rode a plastic racing seat and it worked. Very, very well. Spent several years riding a high quality leather seat on my commuter. I thanked the thief who stole that wonderful bike for taking the seat! I rode a very long, hard and hilly ride with a racing cohort one day. He loved his Brooks Pro. Couldn't imagine how I could be comfortable. And likewise ...
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Old 01-24-21, 01:39 PM
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From what I read, it seems to be VERY popular with both women and men. I'd give it a try if I were you. I have read that it can be uncomfortable until it's broken in.
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