A B17 truism is that it takes 500 miles to break it in, and there will be discomfort if not outright pain until you do.
Maybe because I was expecting a bit of agony, I was surprised when it felt so good right out of the box. Stiff, sure, but the venerable shape of it really works. And here's the thing--after 150 miles on it I can already feel this little miracle happening: it's changing to me, it's becoming almost part of me in a way that man-made-materials saddles cannot.
I am a frequent rider of 40 years duration. I ride road, hybrid and beach cruiser bikes. I bought the Brooks B17 Special to replace my retired (couldn't tighten the tension screw any more), 25 year old Brooks B17 Standard. I had a Special on my bike many years ago, which I loved but was stolen, and a Standard was available so I bought it. As many riders have noted, saddles are very individual to the rider as far as what works and is comfortable. They generally have to be purchased and ridden to see if they are right for that rider. I have a bag of a dozen saddles in my garage that didn't make the cut. The Brooks B17s, either Special or Standard, are not cheap but worth every penny. Though many riders report they have to break theirs in, both were comfortable for me right out of the box. They are beautifully constructed. If you have not found a comfortable saddle in the usual vinyl/ padded variety, try the Brooks B17 Special. My old one was rained on and sloshed through puddles repeatedly- no adverse effect as long as you apply saddle conditioner (Proofide recommended) as needed.
There are cheaper seats out there, but none more comfortable. Takes some time to get it broken in, but once you get 1000 miles on it, you won't go back. Have 4 bikes, have 3 Brooks. Need to upgrade the 4th because I always dread riding it.
There's a reason there are so many other saddles out there They're all uncomfortable and keep trying to get the right geometry for each rider, and mostly fail.
There's a reason there are so few Brooks models Get the right width, and the saddle will conform to your backside. Don't need to get the perfect fit because the saddle will bend to fit you, not the other way around. And once it fits your particular anatomy - Bliss
Break-In - When you get the saddle, turn your oven on the lowest setting (no more than 150F) and liberally coat the underside of the saddle with Proofide. Put it in the oven upside down and let the Proofide soak in. Repeat. Repeat until it stops soaking it up (you'll be surprised how much it will take). Then saddle up and go riding. Will definitely darken the lighter colors, but your backside will never regret spending the extra few bucks.
After putting 6000 miles on a B17 on my graveltouring bike, I broke down and purchased one for my road bike, a Cervelo RS. It replaced a Sella Italia Flight Ti, which is a pretty comfortable light weight saddle. The Brooks beats the Flight hands down on comfort, and the added weight doesnt bother me as I dont race. The copper rivets look great on the black saddle too.
I have B17s on 4 of my bicycles. I road on a Brooks Professional for many years but the B17 is that much better.
It only requires protection from the rain. Don't leave it outside in wet weather and never ride it in the rain.
These seats will last indefinitely and if anything, become even more comfortable over time.
But good right out of the box.
I will never ride on anything else.
So far I have three rides on the Brooks Saddle. So far it has been better than my previous saddle ever was. My first ride was 45 minutes long and it felt great the ride. The second ride was almost two hours, after about an hour I started feeling my backside, after standing for a bit when I sat back down the saddle was comfortable again, worked every time. I rode for about 90 minutes this morning and still good. I used the Proofide on it as directed. One of the reviews recommended putting the saddle in the oven, I didn't do that but I did put it in my car with the windows closed while I mowed the grass, don't know if it helped or not.
The saddle is a little shorter than my prior saddle and sits up higher. I may need a setback seat post to get in the same position as I used to, I can't sit as far back as I would like.
I have a B17 Special and a Standard B17 the leather is the same on both models . The difference from Special and the Standard is just the copper rivets and on the Special they are hand hammered and the leather is chamfered on the skirt on the saddle. The B17 Select has different leather than the other 2. I have been to the factory in the U.K. Both saddles were comfortable from day one for me. Great all day comfort at least for me. I'm a big guy 6ft2in 195lbs. The Brooks are on my road bikes and I've done double century's with the B17's. Next saddle will be a B17 Select just because I like the looks of it, if the price ever comes down.
The Brooks B17 is already the standard to which all other leather bike saddle makers aspire. Add these large copper rivets and you have something truly special. I like this saddle even better than my Brooks Professional because it's a bit wider and it has saddle-bag loops, which the Professional lacks. I look forward to many years of comfortable riding on this beauty.
I own three Brooks B17 saddles. They aren't for everyone. They're more expensive. They add at least 8 oz. (230 grams). They can take 1000 miles to break in. The tensioning pin on my 2nd Brooks saddle broke-BikeTiresDirect offered to help replace THE ENTIRE SADDLE under warranty, but I chose to just buy another one. It wasn't easy, but I fixed the broken one so now I have a spare. My first Brooks B17 now has 6500 miles on it. Very soft, absorbs some vibration, ALL DAY LONG comfortable. I've done four imperial centuries and countless metric centuries on Brooks Saddles, and my butt was NEVER an issue on those long rides. Unless you really want cosmetics, I see no difference in quality between the special models and the base B17. Since these saddles are built to last virtually FOREVER, I had no problem paying extra for copper rivets.
I bought this as a birthday gift to myself. The nose of the saddle is twisted. I know that the saddles are hand made, but the the quality control is not there. I'm so disappointed.
Amazingly comfortable - when I sat on it for the first time, it felt like I had been riding it for years (I have had the same saddle on another bike for the last seven years). The brown color is awesome, too!
Not my first Brooks but the most comfortable. The Brooks I owned before was the narrower Team Pro and was not wide enough for my seat bones and subsequently not as comfy as it could be.. The B17 special I have now is sheer bliss to sit on right out the box.. At $130 ish delivered it was a great price as well. Long rides are free of any numbness and makes the ride far more enjoyable. I am able to enjoy the ride and not focus on the pain in my arse!!!!!
After 35 years, and tens of thousands of miles, I finally had to retire my old beloved B17. The new B17 special looks spectacular, and in the next few weeks, will begin to feel spectacular as well. A couple of months of decreasing discomfort will be well worth the next 35 years of comfort. I'm glad I ordered the antique brown, but I think the honey also looks beautiful. Fight dependency on petroleum products! Feel the leather!
I thought I was being a bit nostalgic replacing my road bike saddle with one of these, but there is a reason Brooks still exists. This is a comfortable saddle. Break in can be slow and I did defy Brooks admonishment about using neetsfoot oil in my saddle wax formula. A hair dryer gets the wax right into the leather and within 100 miles the saddle was indeed softer. Past experience did not show increased deterioration of the leather, in fact, my 70s vintage saddle is on my son's city bike right now. Brooks seems to get around the cut out center common on most anatomic saddles by actually making the saddle wide enough so that ones hip bones actually are supported. This is not a fat *** issue. (they have saddles for that, too) These comments also apply to the Pro model, which I also have. BTW, those huge copper rivets on a black saddle are classic!
Okay, no one is a stranger to the Brooks name? So much hype? Is it legit? Yes. The B17 special is so much more than copper rivets. I believe they use a better cut of leather for the specials. I have no evidence of this fact, but I believe them to be superior and more instantaneously comfortable. I own two specials and one standard and both of the specials were buttery soft and very comfortable out of the box. The standard made my buttocks ache for ages. TMI? Well, you asked.
So yeah. If you have a larger posterior, try to measure where your bones hit on your current saddle. Or your saddle width - 155 or larger? Don't get the B17. It will be too narrow for you and you'll never feel comfortable. The Pro and Swift are even narrower. You'll have to go B67 or B68 if you or your baby got back, you dig?
Anyways, if you love leathery, supple, beautiful things and are prone to ride lugged frames and wear tweed, you'll dig this. Guess what? If you rock a fixie and a tiny hat, you will too. Also, if your bike is carbon and you live in a castle built of spandex - you will love the B17 special as well. It will last you your entire life if you treat it well. Don't leave it out in the rain, don't feed it after midnight and don't dip it in anything but Proofide (Brooks special saddle goop.) Sometimes the leather color will transfer onto light colored shorts if you put too much proofide on (psst, it's why cycling shorts are black).
So, if you've read this far - you must really want this thing! Buy it already!