The B17 is our flagship model, ideal for long distance sports touring, trekking and atb use. It has been on the market for over 100 years. Brooks B-17 Standard Saddles have black painted rails with machine installed tubular rivets. The model is available for gents and ladies.
I have 4 of the aged b17s on my 4 bikes. What is different about these is that they "hammock" your butt, they don't cushion it. I highly recommend that you get an "aged" model. Mount it with the top flat, or just a little up at the nose. Tweak it until it is right--that takes me a few rides. To break the aged model in, I wet the tail with a wet cloth, beat the area where your tailbones will make contact about 1000 times with a rubber mallet, and immediately go for a 20 mile ride. Do a couple more rides, then get some leather dye (not polish) and color it top and bottom to your choice of colors. The aged model has laces, and the key to virtually endless miles of comfort for me has been lacing up he nose of the saddle, but leaving the rear section loose/ untied. You don't want it stiff, it just needs to be taught enough to not sag. Same goes for the tensioning bolt at the front of the saddle. The dye protects the leather so care for it like a pair of boots with an occasional bit of leather conditioner (plus keep it dry). I do not believe I will ever ride on anything else!
Date Reviewed: January 13, 2013
Strengths: Comfort; Impeccable Design; Quality, Hand-Made Craftsmanship; Molds to the unique shape of each individual riders sit-bones.
Weaknesses: Heavy? Get over it - worry about losing some weight off the engine first.
I have read and researched buying a new saddle for about 4 months now, and I've read both the good and the bad about this saddle. Mine was great right out of the box. I've got mine installed on my Banshee Paradox and the old school look that it gives it is one of a kind.
I mistakenly didn't order any Proofide, so the first 4 rides were without applying any conditioner for the seat. NO PROBLEMS! It took a couple of adjustments to get the seat angle correct for me, but once dialed in, my ass was in heaven! I feel more a part of the bike (versus just sitting on top of my bike) as the suspended leather make the connection between myself and the bike more "alive" as it moves with me, not under me.
So, to me at least, it seems that:
The people that complain about the price are whiny-asses (or broke asses, I'm sure it varies);
The group that worries about a too extended break in period time for this saddle are impatient asses;
The fine folks who put the time in caring for and riding this saddle, realizing that the comfort will continue to get better with age, are the intelligent ones - or the smart asses, however you want to label them.
Bottom line: You can't go wrong with a Brooks saddle. They've been around for over a hundred years, so they must be doing something right. For a product that should last a lifetime, the value, design and functionality are unsurpassed.
Date Reviewed: October 23, 2012
Strengths: Had a Selle Italia leather saddle MANY years ago, and gave it away with the bike. So kept trying to find something to match the comfort without luck. After about 30 years, bit the bullet and went back to a Brooks. Swift is too narrow, but the B17 fits well. Very well. And the B17 Imperial is as near perfect as possible. Now have 3 years on Brooks, everybody gives me heck about the "Old Style" seat with no padding and can't understand how it can be comfortable. I just smile and ask again after 10 hours in the saddle. To the guy on the Tandem on Ride the Rockies, you understand. I've done the tour 9 times now, and after 6-7 days in the saddle and 400-500+ miles in the week, am continually surprised when I get on the bike in the morning at the end of the week and have no sore spots. Incredible. Yes, they're heavy. Yes, they take care and maintenance. But what price comfort?
To those trying a new saddle, try this old racer's trick. Turn the oven on it's absolutely lowest setting (about 150*). Smear a thin coat of Proofhide on the UNDERSIDE of the saddle, and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Aren't you got the large tin of Proofhide? Repeat until it doesn't soak up any more. Then go riding. Helps with break in period and with waterproofing. Still needs some care, but is a great way to start a saddle. I average 2000-5000 miles a year for the last 40 years, and won't go back to anything else. Let them laugh at the old fogie on the old saddle. I'll laugh while dancing in the park at the end of the day.
And yes, anyone who has done Ride the Rockies, I'm Shark Boy!
Weaknesses: It's heavier than those featherweight slips of plastic. It takes some breaking in and maintenance. It's more expensive. You get funny looks from disbelievers. For the most comfortable seat out there, I'll take all that. Besides, I could lose some weight on the engine before I worry about weight of the saddle. ;-)
Not a lot to say that isn't above. Read the Strengths for a cool break in tip, but there's only one word that works here. Awesome. OK, Comfort is in there too....
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: July 10, 2012
Strengths: We've tried many saddles for comfort on long rides and finally tried the Brooks this year a few weeks before our second Ride the Rockies tour...6 days 450 miles over some 12,000 foot passes. We found the saddles comfortable from day 1...better after a week...and felt more comfortable after 8-12 hours in the saddle on Ride the Rockes than we did with any prior saddles after 3 or 4 hours. When we got back, I ordered one for my regular road bike...versus our tandem. I don't think I'll ever ride anything else. Walingford Bikes in New Orleans will give you months to try them out and return them if you're not happy.
Weaknesses: Heavy I guess. Who cares.
We love the Brooks saddles...after a bunch of 8-12 hour days in the saddles on our tandem going over some 12,000 foot Colorado passes.
Strengths: Very comfortable, awesome look, quality craftmanship.
Weaknesses: Can't set it back as like other saddles.
I built my fat-bike a while ago and did a long search for a good saddle as it is probably the most important part of the bike. I'm doing mostly XC and in town riding for long hours.
You can have the nicest bike with the most expensive components if you can't sit on it for the time you desire.
I'm a 6.5 and 300lbs guy who didn't do any biking in the past few years. After reading lots of reviews my firs choice was the WTB Rocket V race. First impression was good, but after about an hour I just wished I'm back already and can jump off the bike. I give it some time but it didn't want to become any better.
After that I got the Serfas RX performance saddle. It was much better than the WTB, but still wasn't good enough for long rides. I kept the saddle and I bought the Specialized Sonoma gel 160mm saddle. tried it a few times, adjusted it back and fort, no luck, numbness...
After all this I decided to give in. OHHHHHHHH WHAT A DECISION!!!!!! I got the B17 imperial ($115 with shipping). I was a bit skeptical after reading the mixed opinions.
I agree that every one of us is defferent, so one saddle can be heaven for one and hell for someone else. For me, it was love from the first time I rode on it. I didn't have to move around for about an hour. Yesterday I took a 3 hours ride in my regular cargo shorts (no bike shorts). No pain, no numbness, just pure enjoyment. I can't even imagine how good it gets after the break in period. I'm affraid I wont get off the bike anymore! :D
So, if you do long rides, and need a really comfortable saddle, don't be afraid to spend the extra bucks.
Like I said everyone is different but I think in this case the difference will be the length of the break in period.
Awesome product! THANKS BROOKS!
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2012
Strengths: comfy seat awsome
Weaknesses: cooool but that much for a seat
Date Reviewed: April 27, 2012
Strengths: I got the Brooks B-17 aged saddle - no break in and the most comfortable saddle I've ever had - and I've bought a lot of them !
the aged version is softer than the normal B-17 and everything is right with this saddle - can you say comfort
a Cross Country Rider
from Calgary, AB.
Date Reviewed: February 1, 2012
Strengths: Durable, sexy and ohh so comfortable....professional craftsmanship
Weaknesses: a little heavy, but oh well
I'm the Brooks saddle reviewer that everyone likes to hate. I was dreading the break-in time i was mentally preparing for, but it never came....cause it was great right out of the box. Lucky me I guess. Bought the saddle juice and has been the best seat i've ever had. I haven't even had "early-season" soreness since riding again this January. My latest commute is 37kms one way and I've been riding road/mtb/bmx all my life - 35 yrs. Old school goodness carries truth. Some things never change.
Have yet to try it out on my mountain bike, perhaps this summer. Worth every sent.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 5, 2011
Strengths: Durability, feel, and most of all Comfort!
Weaknesses: A bit heavy so its not for you weight weenies. Also you have to be careful not to get it wet being its not waterproof.
I've been riding this seat for 5 years now and probably have well over 2000 miles on it. It is by far the most comfortable seat I have ridden. The leather is nice and broken in now and has formed itself perfectly to my sit bones, almost like a nice pair of sneakers after you have worn them awhile. Most of the people who bash this seat fail to realize that and give up on it way too quickly. It takes time to break it in properly.
Go ahead and buy a can of Proofide when you buy this seat. It helps the leather form to you faster. Wipe it down after every ride with the Proofide and you'll begin to feel the leather forming to you.
Similar Products Used: Sella Anatomica with cut-out. Too much give in this saddle. About the same price, not as well made. Changed saddles due to chafing on the underside and the bolt for leather adjustment was too short and bottomed out on me in a short time.
Bike Setup: I ride fairly upright with a slight tilt on the seat. The saddle is practically level. The seat is slighly higher to the handlebars.
a Cross Country Rider
from Nor Cal
Date Reviewed: July 13, 2011
Strengths: Absolutely the best saddle ever. There is no argument there. I am 200lbs+ and tried several WTB/Serfas crap before settling for this one after reading about it on Sheldonbrown.com. It is the most comfortable saddle one can ever have, or at least that's how I feel. The first two weeks (about 200 miles) were uncomfortable. Then, it started to break-in and it became more comfortable with every ride. Now after almost 1000 miles on it, it is so comfortable that I don't even feel it under me. It is like suspending on air. People giving Brooks a bad rap are usually impatient and give up after few rides. You have to know that you need to baby it for at least 400 miles before you will know what a great product this is. Don't use anything else except Brooks Proofide, and it will be look and feel awesome. Go for it and have patience while it adjusts to your sit bones, and you will be rewarded by the best upgrade you can have on your bike.
Due to my affinity for natural leather, I found an interest in Brooks saddles. After some research, I decided on the Team Professional saddle. The craftsmanship and presentation are both excellent. I understand that this particular saddle uses some of the thickest leather utilized by Brooks, and it shows -- the boxed product is incredibly stiff; there is no flex to the leather at all.
As such, riding this saddle for the first month or two was a labor of love. I remember feeling extreme discomfort when first settling into it each day, but as I leaned forward and began to pedal, it quickly went away -- for the most part. When affixed to a road bike, there is no shock absorption, and I'd feel every bump (for better or worse.) Since I can't avoid sidewalk riding for at least a few miles each ride, I was left with a residual soreness in the bones, which only became irritating when I'd sit back down on the hard saddle the next day (the cycle repeats.)
I've been on my Brooks for about three months, and it's definitely well on its way to breaking in. There's no glaring discomfort when first settling into the saddle each day, and after the first mile, it (the saddle) really seems to disappear. It's now as comfortable as I could ask for, and if it only gets better from here; all the better.
Brooks offers a pre-softened saddle for those who aren't interested in (potentially) months of pain. However, if you were to buy a correctly-sized saddle and align it properly (either parallel to the ground or nose slightly up,) you may not encounter much pain at all during the break-in process -- different for everybody.
Overall, it's a beautiful saddle that I expect to last for decades, and that makes the value excellent. As much as I would've loved the natural leather color scheme (which visibly ages and tans the more you use it,) it would've looked out of place on my almost-entirely black bike. Even still, the black leather still ages and develops a wonderful shine.
Bike Setup: XC Raleigh souped up...the M400 classic
a Cross Country Rider
from San Diego, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2011
Strengths: Nice looking
Weaknesses: Entire outdated ergonomic design. Very uncomfortable!
I should have ignored the large number of positive reviews (real?) and just looked at the picture of the seat and thought a bit before I bought it. It's flat and it's hard, hard leather. This is the most uncomfortable seat I have ever owned. 12 miles on this seat left me uncomfortable for days! I tried it a few more times hoping that I would adjust. No luck.
Modern seat designs take into account the body's geometry with cutouts and gel where appropriate. Look at the picture of this seat before you buy it.