Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Is it dumb to buy a used Brooks saddle?

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Is it dumb to buy a used Brooks saddle?

Old 09-03-20, 02:55 PM
  #1  
bblair
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 224

Bikes: Lynskey R230, Trek 5200, 1975 Raleigh Pro, 1973 Falcon ,Trek T50 Tandem and a 1968 Paramount in progress.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
Liked 98 Times in 69 Posts
Is it dumb to buy a used Brooks saddle?

I am only a saddle (and some bar tape) away from my vintage Paramount being done! I have decided to go with a Brooks, since that is what mine from the 70's had before it was stolen. New ones are over $120. Used are cheaper, but is it folly to buy one broken in (finally!) to fit someone else's butt?

Everything else is period-correct; maybe I should go with a modern, more comfortable seat?
bblair is offline  
Old 09-03-20, 03:06 PM
  #2  
stevel610 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Valley Forge: Birthplace of Freedom
Posts: 1,054

Bikes: Novara Safari, CAAD9, WABI Classic, WABI Thunder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 291 Post(s)
Liked 291 Times in 154 Posts
I think it would be okay. Just be sure to buy some proof hide and an adjusting nut wrench.
stevel610 is offline  
Likes For stevel610:
Old 09-03-20, 03:09 PM
  #3  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 18,776

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 161 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5219 Post(s)
Liked 1,840 Times in 1,204 Posts
People buy and sell used Brooks all the time. I'd make sure it doesn't have any cracking in the leather but other than that go for it. One downside to a Brooks is that it has short saddle rails which can make fore and aft adjustment difficult. Selle Anatomica saddles have longer saddle rails if you think that is desirable.
bikemig is offline  
Likes For bikemig:
Old 09-03-20, 03:15 PM
  #4  
tyrion
Senior Member
 
tyrion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 3,474

Bikes: Breezer Radar

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1874 Post(s)
Liked 1,261 Times in 599 Posts
I can usually find a Brooks B17 for $80-90. Having said that, used is fine. Just make sure it the tension screw hasn't been applied much (ideally never user-increased tension), because then the shape gets weird.
tyrion is offline  
Likes For tyrion:
Old 09-03-20, 03:18 PM
  #5  
non-fixie 
Shifting is fun!
 
non-fixie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: South Holland, NL
Posts: 9,706

Bikes: Yes, please.

Mentioned: 243 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1708 Post(s)
Liked 1,732 Times in 844 Posts
I actually prefer to buy my Brooks saddles used. They look better, feel better and are cheaper. What's not to like?

__________________
The Upsetter is gone ... too late to check him out








non-fixie is offline  
Likes For non-fixie:
Old 09-03-20, 03:18 PM
  #6  
merziac
Senior Member
 
merziac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: PDX
Posts: 8,355

Bikes: Merz x 5 + Specialized Merz Allez x 2, Strawberry/Newlands/DiNucci/Ti x3, Gordon, Fuso/Moulton x2, Bornstein, Paisley,1958-74 Paramounts x3, 3rensho, 74 Moto TC, 73-78 Raleigh Pro's x5, Marinoni x2, 1960 Cinelli SC, 1980 Bianchi SC, PX-10 X 2

Mentioned: 162 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2540 Post(s)
Liked 1,810 Times in 1,218 Posts
Originally Posted by bblair View Post
I am only a saddle (and some bar tape) away from my vintage Paramount being done! I have decided to go with a Brooks, since that is what mine from the 70's had before it was stolen. New ones are over $120. Used are cheaper, but is it folly to buy one broken in (finally!) to fit someone else's butt?

Everything else is period-correct; maybe I should go with a modern, more comfortable seat?
A pre loved one is fine as long as the $$$ are in line. I buy any and all that I need/want, old, new, broken in, not, scruffy, nice, etc, etc.

Love em all and never have a problem, really like to get old ones on bikes that I buy and find a better home for them in the fleet.

Any Paramount deserves the most correct/appropriate one you can muster without breaking the bank or searching the globe.

I consider an old open nose Pro best for these but ymmv.
merziac is online now  
Old 09-03-20, 06:22 PM
  #7  
conspiratemus1
Used to be Conspiratemus
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Hamilton ON Canada
Posts: 1,500
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 290 Post(s)
Liked 242 Times in 161 Posts
Recently purchased used ones are nice because it usually means the owner tried it, didn't like it, didn't ride it much, and is moving on to something else, rather than using it until it's totally worn out.
conspiratemus1 is offline  
Likes For conspiratemus1:
Old 09-03-20, 07:01 PM
  #8  
branko_76 
Senior Member
 
branko_76's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: The Urban Shores Of Michigami
Posts: 1,328

Bikes: ........................................ .....Holdsworth "Special"..... .......Falcon "Special".......... .....Raleigh "Super GP"...... ........................................

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 522 Post(s)
Liked 419 Times in 269 Posts
Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
....... Just make sure the tension screw hasn't been applied much (ideally never user-increased tension), because then the shape gets weird.
Yes, I was going to say the same thing.
branko_76 is offline  
Likes For branko_76:
Old 09-03-20, 07:11 PM
  #9  
SurferRosa
SeŮor Member
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 4,633

Bikes: Old school lightweights

Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1898 Post(s)
Liked 2,133 Times in 1,196 Posts
I will only buy them in like new condition and/or with shop damage. Any bolt tightening is out, and any cracking is out, way out.

If you like your saddles on the hard side, check out the Gyes saddles on ebay.

Since rhe pandemic, Brooks pricing has increased 30 percent.
SurferRosa is offline  
Old 09-03-20, 07:16 PM
  #10  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,321 Times in 831 Posts
Older ones are all the same color .. I bought 2, new, a Long time ago.. 70's & 80's
fietsbob is offline  
Old 09-03-20, 09:04 PM
  #11  
gugie 
Bike Butcher of Portland
 
gugie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,451

Bikes: It's complicated.

Mentioned: 1028 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3401 Post(s)
Liked 1,855 Times in 924 Posts
Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Just make sure it the tension screw hasn't been applied much (ideally never user-increased tension), because then the shape gets weird.
I've heard the "never tighten the tension screw" so many times I thought for sure it was gospel. It can be too loose, however.



Early February I was riding with @Andy_K and friends when my a$$ felt funny. Turns out the tension bolt decided to leave the saddle. Make sure there is some tension...

I also have a B17 Imperial saddle that was getting real saggy and was getting less comfortable, so I decided to tighten it up. A couple of turns and it was vastly improved.

I figure they give you that little wrench for a reason.
__________________
If someone tells you that you have enough bicycles and you don't need any more, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

Last edited by gugie; 09-04-20 at 12:08 PM.
gugie is offline  
Likes For gugie:
Old 09-03-20, 09:49 PM
  #12  
tyrion
Senior Member
 
tyrion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 3,474

Bikes: Breezer Radar

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1874 Post(s)
Liked 1,261 Times in 599 Posts
Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I've heard the "never tighten the tension screw" so many times I thought for sure it was gospel. It can be too lose, however...
I meant to imply the tension screw being already used is (kind of) an indicator of wear, in the context of used saddles. If the tension screw is almost used up, that would indicate a lot of miles.
tyrion is offline  
Old 09-03-20, 10:45 PM
  #13  
Chombi1 
Senior Member
 
Chombi1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 3,483
Mentioned: 96 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1234 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 266 Times in 197 Posts
BAD IDEA!...........COOTIES!!
Just kidding...... I own a few Brooks saddle I bought used and I haven't had any problems with them, but maybe because the ones I bought used, were in very close to new condition. Well used Brooks saddkes though can be a problem with fit and comfort as they had already confirmed to the shape of the previous owner that might nit fit you, plus it might have been treated with enough wrong substances that could lead to its premature deterioration.
__________________
72 Line Seeker
83 Davidson Signature
84 Peugeot PSV
84 Peugeot PY10FC
84 Gitane Tour de France.
85 Vitus Plus Carbone 7
86 ALAN Record Carbonio
86 Medici Aerodynamic (Project)
88 Pinarello Montello
89 Bottecchia Professional Chorus SL
95 Trek 5500 OCLV (Project)
Chombi1 is offline  
Old 09-03-20, 11:04 PM
  #14  
gugie 
Bike Butcher of Portland
 
gugie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,451

Bikes: It's complicated.

Mentioned: 1028 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3401 Post(s)
Liked 1,855 Times in 924 Posts
Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I meant to imply the tension screw being already used is (kind of) an indicator of wear, in the context of used saddles. If the tension screw is almost used up, that would indicate a lot of miles.
Oh, I know that to be true (now!) I never considered adjusting the tension screw because of what I've heard and read from "everyone". My point is that there may be some reasons to tighten it. I've had/have maybe a dozen leather saddles, and two of them clearly needed to be tightened. If you're buying a used saddle, and it's a bit loose, maybe all it needs is to be tightened a bit. If you can pick up a used saddle for cheap, it might make it worth your while.
__________________
If someone tells you that you have enough bicycles and you don't need any more, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
gugie is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 12:32 AM
  #15  
Lascauxcaveman 
Senior Member
 
Lascauxcaveman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Port Angeles, WA
Posts: 7,899

Bikes: A green one, "Ragleigh," or something.

Mentioned: 182 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1577 Post(s)
Liked 471 Times in 275 Posts
Best reason to buy a used Brooks? Thicker leather, provided it's a vintage used Brooks. Something 30 years old that's not yet deeply conforming to someone else's sit bones - that is pure gold.

All the new issue Brooks' I've ridden have been pretty light and flexy right out of the box and I passed them along before they were shaped like me too much. These modern saddles with thinner leather break in much too fast; I'm afraid they'll break down prematurely.

(Full disclosure: I weigh about 210)
__________________
● 1971 Grandis SL ● 1972 Lambert Grand Prix frankenbike ● 1972 Raleigh Super Course fixie ● 1973 Nishiki Semi-Pro ● 1980 Apollo "Legnano" ● 1984 Peugeot Vagabond ● 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker ● 1986 Merckx Super Corsa ● 1987 Schwinn Tempo ● 1988 Schwinn Voyageur ● 1989 Trek 400 ● 1989 Bottechia Team ADR replica ● 1990 Cannondale ST600 ● 1993 Technium RT600 ● 1996 Kona Lava Dome ●
Lascauxcaveman is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 12:33 AM
  #16  
randyjawa 
Senior Member
 
randyjawa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada - burrrrr!
Posts: 10,920

Bikes: 1958 Rabeneick 120D, 1968 Legnano Gran Premio, 196? Torpado Professional, 2000 Marinoni Piuma

Mentioned: 187 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1131 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 968 Times in 587 Posts
If I can actually hold the saddle in my hand, for close inspection, I might buy. I stopped buying used Brooks saddles, on-line, years ago. There are just too many things that could go wrong unless in person inspection is part of the procedure. This one might be salvageable but I would not have bought the saddle, even for ten bucks. Ten bucks, incidentally, is what I paid for the Cannondale at a local yard sale...




I sold the Cannondale, Brooks but support and all. The new owner went to the trouble of salvaging the saddle and the salvage attempt did work. The saddle softened up and was then reshaped. I am not sure how the saddle is holding up, though, since I have not linked up with the new owner in over a year, now.
__________________
"98% of the bikes I buy are projects".
randyjawa is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 12:38 AM
  #17  
Chombi1 
Senior Member
 
Chombi1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 3,483
Mentioned: 96 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1234 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 266 Times in 197 Posts
Per many anecdotal accounts, tightening leather saddles can be risking irreversible destruction, On older saddles. It can lead to the start of ripping dried out fibers in the leather. And once it starts, its usually downhill from there, just like cardboard ripping or a zipper, in worst cases. At least that is usually the case for many saddles acquired in very dried out (driy rotted) states that seems to be revived by treatment of saddle wax and soaps.
I think it is only really safe to touch that tensioning bolt if the saddle is at its "youngest".
__________________
72 Line Seeker
83 Davidson Signature
84 Peugeot PSV
84 Peugeot PY10FC
84 Gitane Tour de France.
85 Vitus Plus Carbone 7
86 ALAN Record Carbonio
86 Medici Aerodynamic (Project)
88 Pinarello Montello
89 Bottecchia Professional Chorus SL
95 Trek 5500 OCLV (Project)
Chombi1 is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 07:54 AM
  #18  
rhm
multimodal commuter
 
rhm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NJ, NYC, LI
Posts: 19,694

Bikes: 1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...

Mentioned: 536 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1824 Post(s)
Liked 329 Times in 217 Posts
"Is it dumb to buy a used leather saddle?"

That's like asking whether it's dumb to gamble. If you understand the risks and can evaluate the goods, maybe it's not gambling. If you don't know what you're doing, you're gambling. You may win, but don't count on it.
​​​​​​
__________________
www.rhmsaddles.com.

Last edited by rhm; 09-04-20 at 11:32 AM.
rhm is offline  
Likes For rhm:
Old 09-04-20, 08:53 AM
  #19  
momoman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 156

Bikes: 2013 Wilier Gran Turismo, 1983 Trek 760, 80's Colnago Super, 90's De Rosa SLX, 2009 Waterford 22 Series Singlespeed, 85 Medici Pro Strada, De Rosa Alumino frameset, Dave Molten Fuso frameset, 70's beater Peugeot PX10

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Liked 122 Times in 55 Posts
I had a Brooks Swallow on my De Rosa with about 120 miles on it but just replaced it with a used Brooks Swift with titanium rails I bought off EBay a few weeks ago. I put 33 miles on it last weekend and it has a different feel than the other Brooks saddles I own. I have a Brooks Imperial with 250 miles on a Trek 760 that gets 20-30 miles/month. Iíll only be putting 30-60 miles/month on my De Rosa with the Brooks Swift so it may take a while for the seat to re-conform but I think Iíll be happy with buying used. The saddle appears to be fully broken in and gives my bike a more vintage appearance than with the newer Swallow saddle.

I donít ride my bikes with the Brooks saddles too often so it may take me a while before the other saddles are broken in, but the Imperial saddle on my Trek 760 is already pretty comfortable after 250 miles or so.



The Swallow was on my De Rosa but I just swapped it for the titanium Swift.


The used Swift appears to be in good condition and was pretty comfortable on my first 33 miles on it.
momoman is offline  
Likes For momoman:
Old 09-04-20, 09:12 AM
  #20  
SJX426 
Senior Member
 
SJX426's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
Posts: 8,108

Bikes: '73 Bottecchia Giro d'Italia, '83 Colnago Superissimo, '84 Trek 610, '84 Trek 760, '88 Pinarello Veneto, '88 De Rosa Pro, '89 Pinarello Montello, '94 Burley Duet, 97 Specialized RockHopper, 2010 Langster, Tern Link D8

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1096 Post(s)
Liked 800 Times in 493 Posts
I did the opposite, I didn't like the Swallow and decided to try the Swift. Much improved. It is more flexible out of the box than my standard Pro, even advertised to be so. Oh and yes it is on my De Rosa.
All my brooks are used purchases, mostly near new. Pro's are suppose to have thicker leather than the other and so are often discarded for sale. They require several hundred miles to fully break in, although some find them comfortable out of the box.
I have tried Flite Ti and they are good for about 30 miles. I don't know the mile limit on a Pro.
I still ride this one and it is the most comfortable. I have had it since 1973 and have neglected it. I don't know how long it will last.
P1000082 on Flickr

momoman Nice color on that De Rosa! Nice post too.
__________________
Bikes don't stand alone. They are two tired.
SJX426 is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 09:36 AM
  #21  
rustystrings61 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Greenwood SC USA
Posts: 1,697

Bikes: 2002 Mercian Vincitore, 1982 Mercian Colorado, 1976 Puch Royal X, 1974 Allegro No. 76, 1973 Raleigh Competition, 1973 Raleigh GS, 1971 Gitane Tour de France and others

Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 582 Post(s)
Liked 652 Times in 364 Posts
I'm usually willing to take a shot. Prices on Brooks saddles on the 'Bay are crazy to my eyes, but when I identified this squished-looking saddle as a B17, I snapped it up for $15 + shipping. It definitely needed work. To begin with, it was a B17 AGED, which I had not encountered before. They feel thinner, though I have not applied calipers to them, and they come pre-drilled, and that was this saddle's downfall. A previous owner had laced it in such a way as to flatten it out rather than draw the skirts down and inward. It also had a broken steel rivet and one of the rails was bent. I replaced the damaged rivet with a nice copper one and left the others alone, moistened the saddle without soaking it or leaching out vital essences from it, and used a zip tie through the holes to draw it back into something resembling its correct shape. I've since bent the rail back into shape and tied one skirt down to the rail to help guide it as I ride it into shape. It seems to be working so far.
rustystrings61 is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 10:04 AM
  #22  
Mr. Spadoni 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 550
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Liked 119 Times in 67 Posts
A bike showed up on my local Nextdoor last week. Didn’t look like much except for some big copper rivets on the seat. Photos showed a close up of what was a Brooks Pro saddle.
The bike sold overnight for.......25 bucks.
Mr. Spadoni is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 10:26 AM
  #23  
67tony 
Senior Member
 
67tony's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Williamsburg, VA Sebastian, FL
Posts: 1,244

Bikes: 1987 Centurion Ironman Master, 1992 Koga Miyata Exerciser, 1992 Schwinn Crosscut

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 165 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 107 Times in 61 Posts
Instead of using the tension bolt, I used a leather punch and laced my Brooks B-17, sort of accomplishing the same thing.

The saddle shape is improved, and as an added bonus it allows for a little color coordinating!






Last edited by 67tony; 09-04-20 at 02:26 PM.
67tony is offline  
Likes For 67tony:
Old 09-04-20, 12:46 PM
  #24  
momoman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 156

Bikes: 2013 Wilier Gran Turismo, 1983 Trek 760, 80's Colnago Super, 90's De Rosa SLX, 2009 Waterford 22 Series Singlespeed, 85 Medici Pro Strada, De Rosa Alumino frameset, Dave Molten Fuso frameset, 70's beater Peugeot PX10

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Liked 122 Times in 55 Posts
bblair,

Thereís a black Brooks B17 on Amazonís Warehouse deals site for $97.59. Itís probably a retuned item that is practically new. I bought my Brooks B17 Imperial from warehousedeals.com a few years ago and it was practically new and still zip tied to the cardboard packaging. That was the 1st of 4 Brooks I now own.

Personally, I would put a Brooks Team Pro on a vintage Paramount, but a B17 looks very similar.
momoman is offline  
Old 09-04-20, 02:15 PM
  #25  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 20,536

Bikes: 1959 Capo Modell Campagnolo; 1960 Capo Sieger (2); 1962 Carlton Franco Suisse; 1970 Peugeot UO-8; 1982 Bianchi Campione d'Italia; 1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10;

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1013 Post(s)
Liked 438 Times in 320 Posts
If your boss at the bike shop gives up on trying to break it in after only a week and offers it for $5, I would say "go for it." Almost 50K miles later, it is finally wearing out.
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.