Since getting into this incredible world of bike touring and bikepacking, I have always wanted to get a Brooks B17 Saddle for my Surly Long Haul Trucker. I heard nothing but great things abut them, super comfortable and just by looking at the design you can tell straight away the quality, it’s premium!

I decided to just get one, when I was cycling up the east coast of Australia, through Townsville. I got it fitted and polished by the very helpful Bicycle Pedlar Bike Shop. And within about 200 kms my bum had fully moulded to the saddle and I was riding in comfort.

Since then I have ridden about 3,000 km with the B17. So what do I think of it? Well lets have a look.

There are a few B17 models to choose from, I personally went with the B17 Standard. Brooks have been around for a long time, since 1866 and this B17 saddle has been their best selling model for over a century. Intended for the touring and trekking cyclist. It has virtually been unchanged since, because it just works. And has firmly established itself as the saddle of choice for long distance cyclists.

Over the time I have had the Brooks it has held up very well, condition wise and is ageing very nicely. They say not to expose your B17 to the rain. But I have had no choice when touring multiple times in wet weather, and it has no damage to the face of the saddle. However, underneath the rails have some surface rust, which I am not too worried about.

I am able to ride for long days in the saddle without my bum hurting one bit. I have had various other saddles in my time bike touring. And nothing compares to the B17. I have used those ‘gel seat covers’, which are terrible for touring. Ridden on standard road bike saddles with padded bike shorts, but sometimes would get chafing. With the Brooks I can ride with casual shorts and underwear and still get no chafing at all.

The Brooks B7 comes in on top of the list in this article I wrote about some of the best bike touring saddles. Also if you are looking at your first saddle for a bike tour, this will also break down what to look for in a saddle and how to find one that fits your bum.

How do you break in a Brooks saddle fast?

The break-in period for a Brooks saddle is not that long from my experience. I have heard some people say that they are not willing to give them a try only because they don’t want to put up with the immediate discomfort. They are missing out!

I was surprised as I have always heard the ‘myth’ that it takes at least 1,000 km to break in a Brooks saddle. Well, it was nowhere near as long as that!

Photo credit: Gino on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

When I got my saddle fitted from the bike shop they used the pour-and-rub technique. Rubbing some proofide on the saddle face (shiny side) and some proofide on the underneath. And waiting 10 minutes then wiping excess of with a clean cloth. And simply fitting it to the bike and ‘bob is your uncle!’

I just got on and started peddling. To be honest it was not even really that sore in the beginning. For my sit bones the saddle fits perfectly and over time it moulded to my bottom, taking only 200 or so km. So that was about 2 days on my Australian bike tour.

How do you maintain a Brooks saddle?

You simply keep reapplying the Brook Proofide a few times, making sure not to use too much. This could leave your saddle damp and damage it over time. It is important to care for your saddle periodically as you would caring for your own skin.

When should I tighten my Brooks saddle?

When you but your Brooks B17 it should come with a Brooks Saddle tension Spanner. This tool is used to tighten your saddle when it gets loose. After about a few hundred miles it maybe a good idea to give it a 1/4 turn. Prevent yourself from using too much proofide during your break-in period. Doing so may prematurely soften & stretch the leather. After the first 1/4 turn 300 miles or so in (depending on how the saddle feels), then you should not need to use it for another 2 years.

I felt mine getting loose at the nose of the saddle a few times, and when I would rock the front nose of the saddle from side to side it would creak (it was loose). So in this case I just kept 1/4 turning (once every 100 miles) until it stopped.

Are Brooks saddles really that comfortable?

In my own opinion and first hand experience for the brooks B17 at least it is super comfortable once broken-in. It may take a few hundred miles of discomfort. I can not speak for some Brooks models and I hear some tourers don’t like some of the Brooks saddles. But it is proven that the classic B17 is the most comfortable option.

If you are looking for some extra comfort, Brooks also offers a Flyer Saddle which comes with shock absorbing springs underneath the saddle. Providing a more relaxed ride and a Imperial option which has a cut out in the centre, reducing any pressure and potential reducing perineal nerve damage.

Great Things About The B17

  • It is a custom fit! If you get the right sized saddle for your sit bones (Brooks typically run wider then most saddles, so you should be fine here). Then you can expect the saddle to fit specifically to your shape as it moulds over time.
  • It provides added comfort on long rides, reducing the filling of a ‘numb bum’
  • They will last for a life time
  • Brooks is a reputable brand with a long heritage and they are overall well made saddles.
  • It has a substantial amount of flex, reducing most of the road vibrations, that you would otherwise feel in your hands, you don’t on the B17
  • Available in a variety of different styles and designs
  • Wide area for most sit bones

Not So Great Things About The B17

  • They are expensive. But having that said it should be the only saddle you have to by for the rest of your bike touring days, costing around $96.99 from Jenson USA. I just found one on Amazon for only $82.95 – The Honey, Standard Size and you could even get some Proofide for $8.25 totalling around $91.20. I consider that a great investment!
  • The are heavier them most other saddles
  • Some people also don’t like them because they are unpadded.
  • Perceived time of break in ‘over 1000 miles’ but this is not the case in my own experience
  • They require a little bit of care, when some other saddles don’t require any

Keep These Things In Mind 

  • If you are fixing your bike with the B17 try to be aware of the saddle contacting the ground when flipped over. If the saddle contacts the ground it can abrase the surface of the saddle, leaving wear marks.
  • When fitting the saddle to your bike it is important to get the nose up and down adjustment right. It is recommended to have the saddles nose (pointy front end) pointing move upright to stop you from sliding of the front.
  • It that little extra weight really that bad? I would rather have a bit more weight in a saddle and have it save my bum then trying to cut a little weight. Plus Brooks have titanium and other options that are a bit lighter.
  • Remember to maintain the saddle twice a year. Apply the Brooks Proofide every 6 months is generally a good time frame.
  • Some bike tours have mentioned that the B17 rails are not long enough, not a problem from my experience
  • There is a point of no return with these saddles sometimes, if you use it for a very, very long time, the saddle can get so warn in that it is irreversible
  • The B17 comes in a variety of different styles, sizes and colors (Standard, Special and Narrow), refer to the list of brooks B17 Saddle options below.

Different Brooks B17 Saddle Options

Brooks B17 Standard

B17 Standard Bike Saddle (various colours)

Brooks Flyer Bicycle Saddle

Flyer Bike Saddle (various colours)
From $99.95

Brooks B17 Titanium Standard

B17 Titanium Standard Bike Saddle (various colours)

Brooks B17 Imperial Standard

B17 Imperial Standard Bike Saddle (various colours)
From $119.99

Brooks B17 Narrow

B17 Narrow Bike Saddle (various colours)
From $99.99

Brooks B17 Special

B17 Special Bike Saddle (various colours)
From $135.29



Brooks B17 Alternative Saddle Options

Now I swear by the B17 and recommend it for all that you will need in a saddle. But for some reason you want some other alternative options before you commit. Maybe your want a budget bike touring saddle? Or the B17 is not your style? Here are a few other options that are worth looking at before making a final decision.

Charge Spoon Saddle

If you are looking for a budget Touring Bike saddle option, this might be the one for you! Recommended by multiple bike tourers. You can pick up this saddle for only $34.95 on Amazon

Selle Anatomica X Series

Ergon ST Core Prime

Final Thoughts

For bike touring you want to get gear that you just buy and never have to worry about replacing for years and years too come. The Brooks B17 is exactly one of those items. Maybe the only real item that is highly recommended to get as a bike tourer.

With only a little bit of maintenance every few months, you cannot go wrong. The comfort for me is the biggest selling point, no more chafing and sore bums over here!

Brooks B17 Standard











  • Custom fit to your bum
  • Super comfortable once broken in
  • Last a long time
  • Many style and colors
  • wide area to fit most sit bones


  • On the expensive side
  • Require some maintenance
  • Little heavier

About The Author



Codey Orgill, a seasoned bicycle adventurer, has been exploring the world on two wheels for over 10 years. Since embarking on his initial cycling journey, Codey Orgill has traversed numerous countries, experiencing a series of epic adventures.