I have a Brooks Champion Flyer saddle. Before beginning my cycle tours I bought it because it had the reputation of being the most comfortable saddle for long-distance touring. After the initial break in period of about three months the saddle moulds to your arse. The saddle is very comfortable indeed. However, early on in the journey the steel bracket which supports the saddle nose widened outwards and dislodged from it's position. This caused the saddle to tilt slightly to one side and over time the problem worsened.
Problem with my Saddle
My theory is that after the problem occurred and I had not yet noticed in order to do something about it, and was using the saddle in this tilted position, the leather was stretched more on one side that the other causing it to become misshapen. This certainly sounds better than it being because of the shape of my backside. The consequence of having a wonky Brooks was that I began to notice pains in my right knee and for ages I wondered what was causing them. I realised that I was overstretching it compared to my other knee because of the saddle.
I searched for solutions on the internet and found that some people laced up their saddle to squash in the two sides and level them out. One person said they contacted Brooks who sent, free of charge a new, slight seconds saddle. I contacted Brooks but wasn't even graced with a response so I decided to go and find the powerdrill and some laces instead (cue horror-film music).
What you will need:-
- Powerdrill with 5mm bit
- Non-permanent pen
- Brooks Saddle
How you do it
- Get the rule and mark up some holes with crosses in a position underneath the brooks logo following the contour of the saddle lip.
- Use the powerdrill to carefully drill holes through. You might have to repeatedly drill in order to make the holes big enough to fit the laces through. Do this on both sides of the saddle.
- Get some laces and lace across between the two sets of holes. I used a criss-cross lacing pattern. I experimented with different ways of tying the laces together and the tensioning. To further improve the design of the Brooks I would include some kind of support bridge underneath the saddle in order to avoid misshapening occurring.
Lycette vs Brooks
I recently found an old Lycette saddle at home which had stiffer leather which was fixed into a shape but still offered plenty of give. I found this saddle to feel comparably comfortable to the Brooks. My father had another Lycette saddle with a support bridge fixed into it. On first impressions I wondered whether it would be possible to feel it as a piece of metal fixed under the leather, but it was not, and served to keep the leather firmly in shape. Good luck with your own Brooks.
Thanks to the guys from here: http://highsnobiety.com/columns/jeffcarvalho/2008/09/23/how-to-lace-a-brooks-saddle/ for providing the original inspiration for lacing the Brooks.