Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Rhine Cycle Route By Tandem - Saddle Breaking

The saga of the Brooks saddle goes on. Readers of this blog will know that I have had to return two Brooks B-17 Imperial saddles so far because the leather upper on the saddles has not been fitted straight on the frame, photographs have previously been published. Anyway, to cut a long story short, after much deliberation I returned the 2nd saddle and this morning took delivery of the 3rd saddle.

I opened the box with great anticipation and optimism but was once again sorely disappointed. As you can see from the photograph below the leather at the saddle nose on this saddle is also not straight and in use this will almost certainly lead to premature sagging of the leather on one side of the saddle. I have now contacted Wiggle again and they have checked their stock and found that all the Brooks saddles of this model they currently hold are the same which I find absolutely astonishing.

The latest position is that I have now told Wiggle that I do still want the saddle, when a straight saddle can be sourced, and I will wait and see what happens. Fortunately I ordered the saddle in plenty of time!


  1. rick in dana point, CA USA10 May 2012 at 04:58

    Quentin: i have a few Brooks Saddles, and just checked the one that is most handy to me (a model B5N). My saddle has a similar "crookedness" to it. i know you are a decent chap, so i know you will take my comment the right way......maybe leather saddles have the propensity to be a little crooked. I know a fellow cyclist who ONLY rides Brooks saddles, and he raves about them. i have never asked him about the how straight the noses are, but i am quite sure he would have discovered whether a slightly crooked nose turns into a huge defect after riding for awhile. could you be taking this defect too seriously? you still have a great blog.....and I am still riding my velotron using ErgVideos!

  2. Hi Rick, I understand completely where you are coming from, I do indeed have a tendency to be a bit “picky" when it comes to examining equipment that I have bought! You may well be right in that the slight wonkiness of the saddle makes no difference but I'm afraid I'm of the opinion that if something clearly should be straight then it should at least start off straight. I watched a video of the hide of the Brooks saddles being cut at the factory and it is not in the first instance cut by hand, it is cut by a metal die and is therefore very precisely shaped. This to me means that the hide at least starts off exactly the right shape to be fitted to the metal frame and I can't see why it shouldn't be fitted perfectly straight if sufficient care is taken. I just reckon that if something that is supposed to be straight is not fitted straight then this is likely to lead to altered and uneven stresses on the hide and a potential for greater deformity as the saddle wears. This was certainly the case with the first saddle which was badly out of line and the result of this was that the left-hand side of the saddle started to collapse very soon after I started to use it. Anyway, thanks very much indeed for the input and I hope that you continue to enjoy my ramblings and my oft times nit picking behaviour! I'll keep you posted in my new role as QA inspector for Brooks ;-)

  3. I bought a b17 a few weeks ago and it's crooked at the nose too. Seems to be breaking in ok too. Maybe this, unfortunately, is not very uncommon.