It has been six months and 1800 miles since I started riding on the Brooks B17 saddle. I wanted to share my experience so far.
After applying the break-in technique that I described in my May 2017 blog, the B17 saddle has been comfortable from the very first mile. It was so comfortable that I could now ride with just one layer of padding. For the last three years, I had been doubling up on padding by wearing a padded liner underneath regular cycling shorts for longer rides. This was the only way I could reduce the pain from pressure points, like my sit bones. Now I only wear one layer (regular cycling shorts), and the ride is much more comfortable with less padding.
I know this may sound crazy to bicycle racing purist, but I decided to buy a second B17 saddle and put it on my Cannondale CAAD10 road bike. I used the same break-in technique, and love the ride! It is like having a road bike with shock absorbers. The flexing leather saddle absorbs nearly all of the road vibrations. I will gladly trade off the extra weight for the added comfort.
But the real test for me would be how comfortable the saddle would feel after a multiple day, self-contained tour. In September, I toured the Adirondack Mountains, completing a 428 mile loop that started and ended at the Albany NY airport. Throughout the nine day adventure, my butt never complained once. Day 7 was the highest mileage day of the tour at 69 miles. I rode from Lake Placid to Ticonderoga. That’s a lot of miles considering the mountainous terrain. Even after seven hours in the saddle, my butt was not sore. I am now a Brooks B17 saddle convert!
As for durability, both saddles look like new. They are just starting to show slight depressions where my sit bones contact the leather. I have not needed to tighten the leather on either saddle by adjusting the tension screw. I bought a Brooks waterproof saddle cover to use on rainy days, which has kept the saddle dry. I will apply a small amount of Proofide leather dressing to the top leather surface every six months per Brooks recommendations. I am looking forward to a very long and pleasant relationship with my two new BFF’s!