Bye Bye Brooks :-(

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661-Pete
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Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby 661-Pete » 23 Apr 2013, 7:36pm

I'm afraid, I'm through with Brooks saddles after this: :(
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The above is a Swift, about 4 or 5 years old.

This is the fifth time I've had an undercarriage failure with these saddles in recent years: I've had them all: broken rails (2), broken nose bolt, broken 'U' shackle. This has been happening regularly with both steel parts and titanium (as in the above). I really can't take this any more, next time it could be a catastrophic failure seriously endangering my 'tackle'... :shock: :roll:

What is it with these things? Is it me? I'm by no means a violent or aggressive cyclist, indeed I'm rather sedate nowadays, in this latest breakage I was just cycling normally on a straight smooth level road at about 15-18mph. I do weigh about 90-95 Kg but surely these saddles can take that sort of load! I wasn't bouncing up or down on it the way kids do.

So - sorry Mr Brooks - I know you have lots of fans still, I know you're the last word in comfort for your devoted followers, but after some 30 years of loyal usage, henceforth I shall go elsewhere.

So: what should I replace it with? I've fitted an old composite saddle off a defunct bike, as a temporary measure, but I want something durable and comfortable, to someone who's been used to Brooks for decades. Lightweight and elegance are secondary considerations, for me. Hopefully something cheaper than a Swift, although price comparable to a B17 would be OK.
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
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Michael R
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby Michael R » 23 Apr 2013, 7:52pm

spa?

JohnW
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby JohnW » 23 Apr 2013, 10:55pm

This may be a silly question to which you have a sensible answer, but what you're experiencing is nothing different from what many others are experiencing EXCEPT that you are having more than any normal quantity of problems, and in such a short time.

One broken rail/nosebolt or whatever is one thing, a second is really bad luck, but the concentration of these breakagaes on one person in such a short time is surely unusual. Were all the saddles on the same seatpin? - if so, is it certain that the clamps/brackets are not misaligned? - if it were me, I'd be checking elsewhere to be sure.

Also, if it were me, I'd be tempted to replace this time with a Spa saddle. I know quite a few people who have them, and they're very pleased with them. If you had a breakage with a Spa saddle then I'd say there is deffinitely something wrong elsewhere - and at least you'd have lost less money. I always use leather saddles, and when the time comes for me to replace one of mine, it will be with a Spa.

Have you 'phoned Brooks and kicked their MD's chair? - I'd say you were justified.

Geriatrix
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby Geriatrix » 24 Apr 2013, 6:00am

I also had the tension bolt on my B17 go. The saddle was about 5 years old (I had it repaired).
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman

tatanab
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby tatanab » 24 Apr 2013, 7:41am

I snapped both rails on a Titanium B17 in the same place as yours, only mine was 400 miles into a 1500 mile tour. I think the reason is that I had the saddle set as far back as it can go which set up a stress point because the seat pin clamp would be just at the point the rails bend inwards. I have also met people who have had nose bolt failures on titanium railed saddles. I sold my other titanium B17s when I got home and have steadily reduced my Brooks saddles to 2, a soft Swift on a bike I seldom use and an original Pro Select from the 70s which I recently bought surprisingly cheaply on ebay. The Select has the old style deep undercarriage and is a bit tough at the moment having seen no use for many years. I have fond memories of a Select that I had in the late 70s/early 80s so hope this works out. In the mean time I have a Spa Wharfe in the sideboard - just in case. About 3 years ago I tried a Gilles Berthoud Aspin and liked it so much that I now have 3. They are a bit more costly than Brooks but various shops have sales every now and again.

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simonineaston
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby simonineaston » 24 Apr 2013, 7:41am

Sorry to hear about your Brooks failures... the Spa saddles sound good value - have you seen the French version from a company called Gilles Berthoud
Have a look here at their shop: http://www.gillesberthoud.fr/anglais/ac ... sultat.php
Some of their models look quite natty!
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661-Pete
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby 661-Pete » 24 Apr 2013, 8:46am

I've had at least two different seat posts over the time this happened - currently I'm using a 2-bolt one with the bolts arranged fore and aft - I can't remember what brand it is but it serves OK. And giving it a good eyeball, I can't see any deformities in it. Previous one was a cheapo single-bolt affair (the sort where the bolt screws into a pillow-shaped 'nut') and I had no end of trouble with that one loosening on the ride, so I junked it. So no, I don't think it's the post. And I've not had the saddle unusually far back - you can get a rough idea from the discoloured sections of the rails in the photo, where I've been clamping it.

I don't want to go direct to Brooks and give them a pasting. I do respect that they have a lasting and famous reputation, and I've probably done enough harm to it merely by posting here on a public forum (which they may be reading)! I think I've just been exceptionally unlucky - and I was feeling in a real meeeeaaaannnn mood yesterday :evil: !

I'll give the Spa cycle ones a looking over, although it's really a matter of pot luck - you can't really be sure if a saddle suits you until you've bought and ridden it a few hundred miles. That French outfit looks really nice (although I don't think I'd go for that particular colour-scheme :oops: ) but a bit over my budget I'm afraid. You see - I spent a fair amount on the Swift: this was when the price was still just about affordable, before it rocketed through the roof - but I expected it to last the rest of my life....
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

tatanab
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby tatanab » 24 Apr 2013, 9:12am

661-Pete wrote:I spent a fair amount on the Swift: this was when the price was still just about affordable, before it rocketed through the roof
Me too. I bought 3 titanium B17s when they were £60 or so each. 2 years later one broke, the price had rocketed, and I sold the others on ebay for more than I had paid. The Spa Wharfe (Swift look alike) that is in my sideboard for future use was used for about 100 miles before I took it off because I had a good deal on another GB Aspin. I found the Wharfe definitely firm but comfortable enough that I have high hopes for it when I eventually get around to using it.

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Mick F
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby Mick F » 24 Apr 2013, 9:33am

JohnW wrote:One broken rail/nosebolt or whatever is one thing, a second is really bad luck, but the concentration of these breakagaes on one person in such a short time is surely unusual. Were all the saddles on the same seatpin? - if so, is it certain that the clamps/brackets are not misaligned? - if it were me, I'd be checking elsewhere to be sure.
+1
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NUKe
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby NUKe » 24 Apr 2013, 9:59am

661-Pete wrote:I don't want to go direct to Brooks and give them a pasting. I do respect that they have a lasting and famous reputation, and I've probably done enough harm to it merely by posting here on a public forum (which they may be reading)! I think I've just been exceptionally unlucky - and I was feeling in a real meeeeaaaannnn mood yesterday :evil: !


At least give Brooks a chance to offer a repair. If the saddle is relatively new. You never know as a quality product they might take the Rolls Royce approach. "Rolls royce don't break down sir"
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hamster
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby hamster » 24 Apr 2013, 10:40am

Also consider the San Marco Regal. The shape works for me as well as a B17 narrow which I have on other bikes.

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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby JohnW » 24 Apr 2013, 12:08pm

661-Pete wrote:.............I don't want to go direct to Brooks and give them a pasting. I do respect that they have a lasting and famous reputation, and I've probably done enough harm to it merely by posting here on a public forum (which they may be reading)! I think I've just been exceptionally unlucky - and I was feeling in a real meeeeaaaannnn mood yesterday...................I spent a fair amount on the Swift - but I expected it to last the rest of my life....


Pete.

Don't feel bad about what you've told us about the Brooks. You gave us the facts, and no insolence or abuse. One of the purposes of the Forum is for cyclists to share experiences and thereby warn each other of problems - like a group of friends chatting. If you trawl through past threads on the forum you will find that reports of deterioration of Brooks saddles are numerous indeed and so many of us, when we read threads about Brooks, repeat our experiences and opinions time after time. That includes me - I'm probably one of the worst offenders, if it's an offence.

I've said this so many times before, but I've had Brooks Pros that have lasted 30+ years (it's probably 5 years since I started saying this, so 35 is probably more accurate) - I have one of those on my "best" bike still, and there's no sign of having to take it off. Years of longevity are less of a reliable yardstick that miles in use, but it's done scores of thousands of miles. I've recently had a 30+ year old Pro split under me, but after 30+ years, I can't have a complaint - it owes me nothing, especially when for ten years of it's service it was on my work bike - 20 miles a day in all weathers + general winter riding. I have a B15 from the 1950s, and an original Colt (30 years?), both in good condition and eminently rideable.

A recent-ish Pro and two recent B17s have given quite different experiences; the Pro and one of the B17s had to be replaced after about 500-700 miles and the retailers had a bad time with Brooks in both cases. Having said that, the other B17 and the replacement B17 are both giving good service, and are eminently comfortable.

You're certainly not alone Pete - My experience is that Brooks are no wot they used to woz, and people do return them. I'm not sure that you've simply been unlucky, and anyway, lucky or not, all you want is what you've paid for and you'd be right and certainly justified if you took it up with them.

They usually have a stand at the York Rally - I've twice spoken to their reps about their current saddles. I got nowhere with one rep - she simply said that they never get complaints (!), but the other guy explained problems with British and European leather since the BSE crisis lead to beasts being slaughtered at a younger age. What that has to do with rails and bolts breaking I'm not sure.

All these posts on the Forum do less harm to Brooks reputation than their product currently does. I'm writing this as an enthusiast of Brooks saddles for 50+ adult cycling years - until a few years ago I'd have recommended them to anyone and everyone. I could bore you even further with good experiences and good service with Brooks saddles - but recently it's been different.

I'd still say, however, that if you get a good'n, you do get a good'n.

Do they read these threads?..........if they do, they're not listening.
Last edited by JohnW on 24 Apr 2013, 12:23pm, edited 2 times in total.

mrjemm
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby mrjemm » 24 Apr 2013, 12:11pm

When folk talk of broken nose bolts, or tensioners failing, would that mean the bolt just spins when using the spanner provided? Cos that's happened with 2 out of 3 (haven't tried tensioning the 3rd yet) in our shed within the 1st couple of uses- keep wondering if molegrips or multigrips are always necessary...

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patricktaylor
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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby patricktaylor » 24 Apr 2013, 1:48pm

661-Pete wrote:... I don't want to go direct to Brooks and give them a pasting. I do respect that they have a lasting and famous reputation, and I've probably done enough harm to it merely by posting here on a public forum (which they may be reading) ...

If it was me I'd first contact Brooks and see what their explanation is, and if they can't explain the failure and send you a new saddle they deserve all the bad publicity they get. The broken rail is a shocker IMO and I think you've been more than reasonable. There is no excuse for breakages like this, especially when the company trumpets a history going back to 1866. How long does it take to get something right?

I've got four Brooks saddles and none has broken yet, but one unexplained breakage would be enough for me never to buy one again.

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Re: Bye Bye Brooks :-(

Postby reohn2 » 24 Apr 2013, 5:56pm

patricktaylor wrote:
661-Pete wrote:... I don't want to go direct to Brooks and give them a pasting. I do respect that they have a lasting and famous reputation, and I've probably done enough harm to it merely by posting here on a public forum (which they may be reading) ...

If it was me I'd first contact Brooks and see what their explanation is, and if they can't explain the failure and send you a new saddle they deserve all the bad publicity they get. The broken rail is a shocker IMO and I think you've been more than reasonable. There is no excuse for breakages like this, especially when the company trumpets a history going back to 1866. How long does it take to get something right?...........

Spot on.
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