Saturday, September 22, 2007

Swapping Saddles

For many years, I’ve been a professional man; Brooks Team Professional, that is. All my “serious” bikes—the X0-1, the Saluki, the Quickbeam, the late, great Rambouillet, are fitted with the venerable bicycle saddle maker’s most venerable model, the same saddle found on great bikes for decades—and in many cases, probably, the exact same saddle still in service all that time.

I have tried other models: the wider B-17, the “sprung” Champion Flyer, and the B-67, which I’ve got on the 420 bike for comfort, not speed, but I’ve always come back to the Team Pro, which just seems to fit my ass like a glove, if such a metaphor can be used.

Lately, though, during my regular commute on the Saluki, I’ve found the Professional’s ride a little harsh; the big rivets seem to be hitting me in all the wrong places and I’ve continually been messing with the angle of the seat to no great success. At the same time, the B-17 I’ve had on the tandem has felt really good—the leather is a softer and the somewhat wider platform seems to cup my cheeks more lovingly.

So today I switched the two; after all, I don’t ride the tandem nearly as much as the Saluki, so if it’s long-distance comfort I’m looking for that seems the way to go. And although I’ve never done anything like this—typically, once on a bike, a saddle stays there or gets consigned to the parts bin—it’s a revelation.

The Saluki feels like a brand new ride and one more in keeping with its theme of “country bike” elegance. And the tandem has taken to the Professional perfectly; I ride a bit taller and get a better push from the more solid platform.

My only regret about this is that it took me so long to make the change; I wonder what other changes I could make in my life that would be so easy and effective.


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