Patina on the Brooks B17 Select

The Brooks B17 Select is the latest model of the long running B17 classic from Brooks England. What attracted me to it was the claim that it was a bit thicker than the standard Brooks B17 and suited to long-distance use. The fact that it was made from organic Swedish cow hide and was a natural un-tanned leather made it even more interesting.

I had read that world travellers had sometimes reported that after serious and sustained abuse, the standard B17 could become a bit soft. Not that many complained about that fact, indeed the B17 was up to the job, though the Select model seemed like it would stand up to even more punishment. It was a new model and I was intrigued to see how it would perform.

After almost 500km in the saddle, it is becoming supremely comfortable. Some may never find that a Brooks is the saddle for them, but for what seems like the majority of long distance cyclists, the initial discomfort is worth it. Its worth the perseverance in case you miss out on a great touring saddle.

Being of natural leather it would develop a ‘patina‘ over time adding to its unique appearance. Documenting the changes in the saddle over time seemed like a good mini-project.

Brooks B17 Select at 7km

Brooks B17 Select at 7km

Brooks B17 at 489km

Brooks B17 Select at 489km

Patina after 8000km and more

Brooks B17 Select at 8000km

RandiJo Wax Cotton Cover

Before setting off from Scotland to Istanbul in the Summer of 2016, I added a waterproof RandiJo Fabrications waxed cotton saddle cover. This is it after the 4326km tour

Brooks B17 Select at 11500km

The ‘naked’ Brooks B17 Select at 12500km after the 2016 tour. Now it is REALLY comfortable! Only applied two half turns of the tension bolt so far

5 thoughts on “Patina on the Brooks B17 Select

  1. Josh

    Thank you so much for documenting this, I have been investigating the Select saddle for weeks. I am amazed at the color transformation! Did you use proofide? If so, at what stages, and how much? Thanks!

  2. Richard Post author

    Hi Josh – yes, I used Proofhide and it immediately darkens the colour of the Brooks Select. I applied one coating of Proofhide when I got the saddle then another treatment every six months. Its best not to overdo the application of Proofhide as it can weaken the leather round the rivets. I currently have a Randi Jo cover on the saddle which solves the problem of protecting the Brooks saddle from moisture and rain – recommended!

  3. Larry

    You need to tension it more immediately! The most common reason the saddle frame snaps/breaks on the rear, right behind the stem clamp is because of to little tension. It makes the frame to flexible, or the front leather rips or stretches off the rivets. You do have it moved fully forward so i would be more vary about the front. You would be surprised how it would regain the original shape if you twist that bolt 1cm at least by the looks of it! 😉 Your last picture proves why that bolt is 6cm in length.
    (was told by a brooks employee)

    And thank you for the documentation!! My b17 select looked almost just like yours in the middle of india when the frame broke. Sent it to brooks an got installed the titanium frame, and works like sharm again!
    Duct tape litteraly saved my ass on that trip lol.

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