Weaknesses: Weight, Break-in period, Rails a tad short, a little wide in the rear to comfortably clear the saddle on descents.
I've happily owned two Brooks saddles since 2005 and because of the quality of the saddle, I can't imagine that I'll ever need to purchase another. I've used this saddle on numerous Century rides with my road bike and have had zero trouble with comfort. When I first purchased it I was worried about getting it wet and ruining it, but have since ridden in heavy downpours with no problem. Just use proofide on the underside as well as the top and no worries. Like others have said, you either love a Brooks saddle or you hate it. Only way to know for sure is to make it through the break-in period and see what you think. But unlike many other saddles, if you decide a Brooks isn't for you, they are easy to re-sell because there's plenty of folks out there who love them.
a Weekend Warrior
from Los Angeles, Ca. USA
Date Reviewed: December 12, 2009
Strengths: Last forever, if you don't sell them with a bike or loose it. (Where are 10+ I used to own?) Being nothing but leather will form fit it's self to your butt.
Weaknesses: Heavy, Long Break in period
Back in the 60-70's every bike out of England came with one and Raleigh sold a lot of bikes. These were found on everything from 3-speed "English Racers" to Raleigh Professionals (A top grade bike at the time.)
There are many ways to break these in. From actually just riding it and suffering through the process too....
1. As already mentioned use leather conditioner and heat. Slacking the tension bolt helps.
2. Loosen the sdjusting nut and beat on it with a rubber mallet.
3. Use a razor blade to cut off the sides. They used to go for $10 - a used English Racer included. I won't do this with my new one.
I'm breaking in a new one using the heat and rubber/plastic hammer. My old ones all disappeared on me. I felt funny paying $90 for a saddle we used to fish out of junk piles.
Similar Products Used: There's nothing else like one. It's either 5 chilis or 1 chili. This is a love it or hate it item. Untill broken in...I hate them! :)
Bike Setup: Full suspension Kona
a Cross Country Rider
from Portland, Oregon, USA
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2009
Strengths: Looks good, fairly comfortable, even though it is not fully broken in.
Weaknesses: Design, rivets- well explain in detail further down.
I bought the Brooks just because of their rep and wanted to try one for long term. I rode a professional before when a friend borrowed my saddle and was pleased with the shape. When pedaling around, it is roughly as comfortable as my favorite synthetic saddles. It might be worth noting that I don't care about weight, but the saddle is probably a pound heavier than my WTB.
However, there are some drawbacks. The design has leather suspended from rails connected by rivets on either end. At the nose, this leaves a very hard nose for the first inch and a half, which hasn't been a problem. The back of the saddle is. The rivets and the metal backing hurt the inside of my thighs on descents, and it is difficult to want to get behind the saddle, as rough terrain can send it biting in my legs. I've had a little bruising. I'm going to try and lower the saddle on a more regular basis during descents, but I think the Professional is better if used for a road bike or a commuter.
Given the shape of the saddle, there is probably room for one effective seating position, but I don't shift around much, so otherwise, it is a good buy as it cost me the equivalent or less than a similar synthetic and it is comfortable, barring the one caveat.
Similar Products Used: Gamut of synthetics- preference for little padding and WTBs.
Bike Setup: Monocog laden with extra parts.
a Cross Country Rider
from Atlanta, GA
Date Reviewed: June 26, 2008
Strengths: Amazing quality, finish, durability and comfort when broken in
Weaknesses: Weight for some
I'm posting this here also since there is nowhere to post this on road bike review)
What a long, strange trip its been. I started biking about thirty years ago at age 12. I've done all kinds of racing,(road and MTB), junior through Cat. 2 senior, long distance touring, etc. In the past I always made fun of people that had Brooks saddles - goofy looking, heavy, dated, etc.
Boy was I wrong- the Brooks users actually DID know what they were doing.
After a brief hiatus from riding last year I have been riding again this year and went through a bunch of saddles in the last six months: Selle Italia SLR, Flite, Flite Trans Am, SLK, Selle san Marco Concor, Regal, and strada, Fizik Arione, (about ten in all).
I bought a Brooks on a late night whim on Ebay and relunctantly tried it this week for the first time. Ive always been a "weight weenie" or gram counter at heart, so I really struggled with the Brooks purchase- for me buying it was like getting a drunk to go to an AA meeting.
I was amazed at how comfortable it was out of the box- yes, it was hard, but has the "right" shape for me at least. I rode 90 minutes on it offroad and had no soreness afterwards. If it feels this good now, I can't wait for it to break in.
Yes, it weighs somewhere around 550 grams, but I lost 10 pounds in the last year and that amounts to ~ 4500 grams. The average person out there could easily lose ten pounds (even alot of bikers I know) so I really don't think the weight thing is a big issue, unless you are pro- racing in the mountains. (You can get a Ti- railed version that is 100 grams lighter) but I opted for the much less expensive steel version because I didn't know if I would like it.
There's a reason many long distance cyclists use the brooks saddles -they work well and last 30+ years if taken care of.
I guess I'm a convert now. I want one for all three bikes now!
Similar Products Used: Brooks B-17 on trainer, Turbo, Rolls
Bike Setup: klein adept race, merlin road bike
a Cross Country Rider
from Schenectady, NY
Date Reviewed: December 5, 2004
This is a follow-up to my review below.
Well, after 8 months of riding the Pro I can say it's been a good saddle. Took a few months to really get it broken-in where longer rides didn't bother me.
Only problem I have is that the back of my legs/buttocks area rubs into where the saddle starts getting wider. Also I'm not totally happy with the curved middle section of it. I might need a flatter and narrower model like the Colt or B17N.
But Brooks' are great products. Their materials & workmanship are the best in the business, and the Pro has that classic look.
Favorite Trail: I'm a roadie. I only ride CX "trails"!
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Purchased At: Gr8Bikes4U
Bike Setup: 2003 Raleigh Professional (TIG-welded Columbus Zona tubeset), Campy Chorus/Centaur 10v, Zonda wheels.
a Weekend Warrior
from melbourne australia
Date Reviewed: July 23, 2004
Strengths: COMFORT,LOOKS,QUALITY OF BUILD
Weaknesses: WEIGHT (BUT WHO CARES)
AFTER BREAKING THEM IN (A LONG AND SOMETIMES PAINFUL EXPERIENCE) THEY ARE GREAT. I WILL NEVER HAVE TO BUY ANOTHER SADDLE, ALTHOUGH THE TI VERSION MAY BE WORTH THE INVESTMENT (IF I COULD GET ONE IN AUSTRALIA). THE WAY THEY CONTOUR TO YOUR BUTT IS SUPERB AND GONE IS THE NUMB NUTS SENSATION. THE BRASS RIVETS TOP OFF A QUALITY PRODUCT. I USED TO SNEER AT OLDER RIDERS WITH THESE SADDLES BUT AFTER TRYING MANY 'MODERN' DESIGNS I BIT THE BULLET AND BOUGHT ONE AS A LAST RESORT AND THEN BOUGHT ANOTHER FOR THE SS. NUFF SAID.
Similar Products Used: HEAPS - SPECIALIZED BG, WTB, SAN MARCO, SELLE ITALIA.
Bike Setup: CANNONDALE F1000 '97 AND DIAMOND BACK AXIS TR SINGLE SPEED (CONVERSION)
from fairborn,ohio, USA
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2004
Strengths: I would have to say looks and a great name to back up a beautiful product.
Weaknesses: None that i have seen so far.
This is an amazing looking saddle. I have only had it for 2 days and about 20 miles, but its amazing. I do have a sore but from my 12 mile trip yesterday, but it wasn't enough to keep me off the bike today. The look is where its at. I find myself looking at the saddle perched atop my bike in wonderment (if thats a word). The black with the penny rivits rock.
Bike Setup: Single speed trek 6500. The black seat works great with the black and blue sceme of the bike.
a Cross Country Rider
from Schenectady, NY, US
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2004
(Pictured above is the 'Team Professional' with the larger rivets. This page is for the 'Professional' model, the one with medium-size rivets.)
The saddle being replaced by the Brooks Pro is a S.I. Mythos Trans Am. Of all the saddles I've tried before the Pro, the Mythos TA was the least uncomfortable for me. But there is still room for improvement with the Mythos.
Can't give a final opinion on this saddle yet, because I've only had it 5 days. But already it seems to be fairly comfortable - better than I expected. Since the leather is still pretty hard and not broken in, I'm not sure why my ass isn't really hurting by now. Apparently the shape generally agrees with me, and perhaps there's more "give" to the leather when new than is perceived.(?)
I bought a can of Proofide with the Pro. After the first ride, I treated the leather 4 or 5 times including the underside. After each treatment, I put it near a heat duct to let it dry, then buffed the excess off the top side with a clean rag, (did not buff the underside). With the last treatment, I let the saddle cook in the sun for several hours.
During this process, it was easy to see the high quality of workmanship that Brooks bestows on its products. Having worked in leather-finishing mills, I can say that the grade of cowhide, tanning, and dyeing is certainly first-rate. The hand-hammered copper rivets are especially appealing. Is it true that each saddle (other than the B17 Standard) takes up to 4 months to produce?!
Brooks' are said to become much more comfortable the more they're ridden, though as I said - this one could be better but it's not unbearable. I'll post a follow-up when it's sufficiently broken in.
5 burning peppers for Value Rating, since it cost me less than $80. with Proofide & shipping, the high standard of workmanship & materials, and should last virtually forever with proper care. Tentative Overall Rating of 4 peppers, because more time is needed before a conclusive judgement can be made.
Similar Products Used: Selle Italia Mythos Trans-Am, Max Flite TA, Flite Gel, and XO; Bontrager +10 Ti, C'dale Competition Ti; Koobi Si; several Specialized's Body Geometry's; plus many that I don't know the names of.
Bike Setup: Stock '03 K2 Enemy (cyclocross model), but changed out OEM Ritchey Speedmax tires for Vredestein Campo's and added Salsa Cross brake levers.
from Philadelphia, PA, USA
Date Reviewed: March 3, 2002
Strengths: Superior comfort (after initial break in period)to any other saddle on the market.
Weaknesses: This saddle is not for the weight conscious. Needs to be protected from the elements.
This is by far my favorite saddle. In 1992, I bought a new black professional from a swap-meet for $30 and have put over 15,000 miles on it. It continues to provide countless miles of comfort. With minimal maintenance, I expect to be able to ride this saddle for at least another 10 years. All that is required, is to tension the saddle about twice a year and coat it with proofide occasionally. If you decide to ride a brooks, they do have a short break in period, but then you will be richly rewarded.