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Brooks width, you make the call.

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Brooks width, you make the call.

Old 09-16-14, 09:26 PM
  #1  
DOS
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Brooks width, you make the call.

I will probably get flamed for posting since much has been said on the subject, but I have read everything I can find about how to determine what width brooks to get and find no clear consensus. Was thinking of getting a 150mm swift for a road bike I ride in afairly aggressive position ( 5cm drop, fast group riding) but guidance on width is all over Map so I am opening up to a vote here as to whether it's too narrow for me and my 110mm sit bones

Backstory

I have a Brooks pro that I love, at 160mm, seems to fit my 110mm sit bones just fine on a bike with relatively upright set up (shortish reach with more moderate drop from saddle to handlebar than my other bike). This makes sense to me because once I account for the 1.5 cm on either side of the saddle taken up by the cantle, the rideable width is 130mm, giving me a cm on either side to ensure my sit bones rest on leather not cantle. By extrapolation, a 150mm swift would appear only to provide 120mm ridable surface area. Leaving me only 5mm on either side before contacting the cantle. this seems kinda tight to me.

Rivendell seems to think everything Brooks makes beside B17 (170mm) is too narrow Brooks Saddles from Rivendell Bicycle Works, while this site indicates Swift is too narrow for anyone with sit bones wider than 95mm
Leather saddles: Brooks, Lepper, Selle Anatomica, seat covers, saddle maintenance, etc..

But others testify to riding comfortable on a swift despite relatively wide sit bones.

So what say you BF, too narrow or wide enough for aggressive rider with 110 sit bones?
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Old 09-16-14, 10:16 PM
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I am impressed and somewhat bemused that you actually measured the distance between your ischial tuberosities. How did you do that? Is this is something commonly done nowadays?

Have you tried your Brooks Pro to see if it is comfortable on the more aggressive bike? Could you possible borrow a Swift to see if you like it? Personally I prefer empirical evidence over theoretical.
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Old 09-16-14, 10:30 PM
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I really like my Swift. I like it better than my Pro. Both are very comfortable to me on long and fairly fast rides. Both are on a fairly aggressive set up. My B-17 is a little wider than I like. I'm thinking I might lace it & see if it works better. I'm 160, 5'10" & old with no clue the width of my sit bones.
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Old 09-16-14, 10:30 PM
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@JTTDF- many bike shops have a gel device you sit on and it measures your ischial tuberosities. Very common.
@DOS - go with what you think. Actually if you order from Wallingford bikes they have a generous return policy on their Brooks.
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Old 09-16-14, 11:03 PM
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Thanks Velocivixen. I didn't know that.
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Old 09-17-14, 12:03 AM
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I am comfortable on the 175mm wide unpadded B-17s on some of my bikes and am also comfortable on the 130mm wide padded WTB Rocket Vs on a couple of other bikes. Have not had my sit bones measured.
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Old 09-17-14, 01:38 AM
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the topic is addressed in this article
The Four and a Half Rules of Road Saddles
with a Brooks saddle, the normal rule is varied by
Brooks and similar leather saddles are constructed with a rigid steel cantle plate supporting the perimeter of the leather top; you don’t want to sit on the cantle plate, so consider the area between the edges of the cantle plate the effective seating surface, and measure there.
I have been researching for a cycling friend with very narrow sit bones.
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Old 09-17-14, 03:36 AM
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[QUOTE=Big Block;17137538]the topic is addressed in this article
The Four and a Half Rules of Road Saddles
with a Brooks saddle, the normal rule is varied by

I have seen the article and the approach is what I have been following. On top of that guidance, other sites seem to advocate, making sure the "effective seating surface" is significantly wider than the sit bones. For example, one of the links I posted earlier says

"There needs to be some room to deform so I think you need to deduct at least 2cm from (the effective seating surface), 1 cm from the left and 1 cm from the right where your sit bones can come so that deformation and a comfortable riding position is possible."


The so called effective surface of a Pro is 130, the Swift is 120, and I am 110. I fit within the surface of both but barely on the Swift.


As Velocivixen points out, Wallingford and others have very generous exchange so it's hard to go wrong. At the moment, my heart wants the very pretty Swift (also I like variety) my head says go with what I know works, which would be Pro.
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Old 09-17-14, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by JTTDF View Post
Thanks Velocivixen. I didn't know that.
There are also at home approaches on the internet. I didn't use the bike shop gel device.I did measure distance across the very apparent deformations I have in an old leather saddle and then compared by doing this
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=E7j9LUVJrjA

I doubt my measurement is precise but I am somewhere north of 105 and south of 115.
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Old 09-17-14, 04:53 AM
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[QUOTE=DOS;17137602]
Originally Posted by Big Block View Post
the topic is addressed in this article
The Four and a Half Rules of Road Saddles
with a Brooks saddle, the normal rule is varied by

I have seen the article and the approach is what I have been following. On top of that guidance, other sites seem to advocate, making sure the "effective seating surface" is significantly wider than the sit bones. For example, one of the links I posted earlier says

"There needs to be some room to deform so I think you need to deduct at least 2cm from (the effective seating surface), 1 cm from the left and 1 cm from the right where your sit bones can come so that deformation and a comfortable riding position is possible."


The so called effective surface of a Pro is 130, the Swift is 120, and I am 110. I fit within the surface of both but barely on the Swift.


As Velocivixen points out, Wallingford and others have very generous exchange so it's hard to go wrong. At the moment, my heart wants the very pretty Swift (also I like variety) my head says go with what I know works, which would be Pro.
Your measurement differs depending on how tilted your pelvis is. If you ride upright and never slouch, your contact points are widely spaced. If you ride in a very aggressive position with a straight back, your pelvis is strongly tilted forward. The contact points are closer together in this case. I think this is a considerable part of the apparent contradiction.

My normal ride is about 45 degrees back angle with pelvis nearly in-line with my back. A Pro can work for me, but it's not flat enough laterally. My favorite is a Selle AnAtomica set rather stiff, which tightens the top surface and loosens the skirts. This effectively narrows the thigh rub area while giving more support (improves flatness viewed from the side) where the contacts are. If I lower my bars a few cm, my B17N Imperial starts to feel very good, but I do experience pubic bone pressure and ... other issues.

Sorry for the TMI, but this is all to illustrate the effect of pelvic angle in my experience.

The ischials are IMO like a pair of crescents where the front corners are closer together than the rear corners. If you sit on a flat hard horizontal surface your contact points move together as the two crescents are rotated so the front corners get closer to the flat surface. That's my mental model. I'm an engineer and not an anatomist, so go with my picture, not my attempted medical (???) terminology.
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Old 09-17-14, 05:38 AM
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I regularly ride a Professional, Swift, Colt, B5N, B15, and B17 on my various bikes and all are comfortable. I have no idea what my sit bone width happens to be. In comparing the first four Brooks saddles I listed, I find no difference. In a blind ride test, I doubt I could tell which is which.

On the last two, the B15 is the widest followed by the B17 and I can notice the difference on these. Which is not surprising.
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Old 09-17-14, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
I regularly ride a Professional, Swift, Colt, B5N, B15, and B17 on my various bikes and all are comfortable. I have no idea what my sit bone width happens to be. In comparing the first four Brooks saddles I listed, I find no difference. In a blind ride test, I doubt I could tell which is which.

On the last two, the B15 is the widest followed by the B17 and I can notice the difference on these. Which is not surprising.
I 've had the near identical experience except that I don't have a Colt. I find the Swift to be identifiable as I suspect the Swallow would also be. Old Pro's and B17's are faves.
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Old 09-17-14, 05:58 AM
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I was going to suggest Wallingford as well due to the return policy.

First though, is there anything stopping you just putting the Pro on the other bike and riding it? Try it out and see how comfortable it is for you.

I have both a B17 and a Pro. The B17 is comfortable but the Pro a little more comfortable.
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Old 09-17-14, 06:24 AM
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I have a 41 year old Pro with small rivits that fits like a glove. Unfortunatley it was not taken good care of by me and is starting to crack and flake off the surface. I will ride it until it falls apart!
[IMG]P1000087 by superissimo_83, on Flickr[/IMG]

To that end, I bought a well used Pro with the large rivits and use it on my commuter. It is more comfortable now than in the beginning but the rivits have bothered me in the past until I hammered the endges down. It is very tolerable and better than any other saddle options I have available.


Another CL find was a near NOS (in the box with the adjustment tool and cover) Swift. I mounted it on the Colnago with the SR post. I could not get the nose down far enough to get comfortable. Last week end I move the saddle forward and the problem is gone. It is not fully broken in but it feels pretty good. I would like to have a Swallow but can't swallow the cost without knowing if it will fit comfortably, hence the reason for obtaining the Swift.
[IMG]P1010190 by superissimo_83, on Flickr[/IMG]

I don't know my SB dimensions, but(t) would like to find out. I try to set all the riding dimensions to be the same within reason. The tandem is close to the Italian bikes as well as the RockHopper. Only crank length varies.

The old Pro sold me on Brooks and it is hard to let go. None of my other saddles are nearly as comfortable. The closest one is the Flite Ti which is only good for about 30 miles.
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Old 09-17-14, 07:38 AM
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Hang on,

I gotta go measure my itchy tubers.
Never checked before.
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Old 09-17-14, 08:14 AM
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Rode a B17 for years, 1" drop to the bars...felt great until I got a Swift....Ooooooo it was like no saddle at all, ride a all day and forgetaboutit. Got back on the B17 and it felt I was sitting on a hammock, so comfy and huge! Same thing happened with my Swallow, B117 Narrow, Pro and Flyer.

My conclusion is "sit-bones s_it-bones", it's all about the configuration and getting it set up right. So don't spend too much time reasoning on which one is the best. Brooks Saddles is like bananas...by the bunch, and be done with it.
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Old 09-17-14, 09:13 AM
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I think the top shape is more of a confound than the width would indicate. I had a not-awesome experience with a Pro (which should be the perfect width for me, but the top was too rounded to agree with my undercarriage), but love the B17 Narrow (which is even narrower than the Pro) I now have on that bike. It's just wide enough to support my sit bones, but flatter on top and narrow enough everywhere else not to chafe.

I'd be interested to try a Swift or Colt, based on that, but haven't gotten around to it.
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Old 09-17-14, 09:30 AM
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I like my Brooks pros, and B17. Narrow saddles are not for me, The most comfortable saddle I have is a Selle SMP plus it's 159mm wide. Very similar to my Brooks pro.
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Old 09-17-14, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
...

I gotta go measure my itchy tubers. ...
If they're itchy, I have an antifungal cream I can recommend for you
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Old 09-17-14, 11:34 AM
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Can't comment on widths etc, but fwiw here is my experience

I ride a B-17 in a very upright position on my commuter/utility bike..... it is simply fantastic

I tried a B-17 Narrow imperial on my road bike. (miyata 1400 bars just a little lower than seat) this did not work.

I looked at the B-17 narrow compared to my sella italia turbo and the top shape of the b17 n was way less rounded.

I got a swift and put it on my road bike......it is great. Chose the swift because it looked closer in top shape to the the turbo than the pro or the swallow

I kinda eyeballed/measured the indents in the b17 and they looked like they would work with the swift width...the did

so for me top shape is more important than width
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Old 09-18-14, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post

Your measurement differs depending on how tilted your pelvis is. If you ride upright and never slouch, your contact points are widely spaced. If you ride in a very aggressive position with a straight back, your pelvis is strongly tilted forward. The contact points are closer together in this case. I think this is a considerable part of the apparent contradiction.
Just so. Therefore the width of the saddle should be determined by the angle of the pelvis when riding, rather than the width of the sit bones. If you like your handlebar several inches lower than your saddle, you'll want a "narrow" saddle. If you want your handlebar higher, you'll want a correspondingly wider saddle.

I put the word "narrow" in quotation marks because Brooks used to make both the B.15 and B.17 models in two widths, "narrow" and "standard." Wrights used the same frames; so a "narrow" Wrights saddle (the ubiquitous W3N and Swallow models) is the same width as either a B.15 or B.17 "narrow." The "professional" was wider than a "narrow" and a "standard" was wider still.
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Old 09-18-14, 05:08 AM
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Old 09-18-14, 05:22 AM
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I wanted a Swift until I got one. I was either sliding off forwards with achey forearms from holding myself up, or going numb. There was no in between for me, and it was an expensive lesson. A Pro or B.17, I can ride for hours pain free.,,,,BD
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Old 09-18-14, 05:28 AM
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I like the Professional.
Always have.
Fits my scrawny azz just fine.
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Old 09-18-14, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikedued View Post
I wanted a Swift until I got one. I was either sliding off forwards with achey forearms from holding myself up, or going numb. There was no in between for me, and it was an expensive lesson. A Pro or B.17, I can ride for hours pain free.,,,,BD
This ^, the Swift sucked, the guy who bought it off me on CL said the same thing.
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