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Brooks Team Pro Saddle Review

Web Page Updated on August 29, 2001


What I Like

What I Don't Like

What You May Not Like

More Reviews

Technical Info

The Bottom Line

Adjusting a Brooks

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Brooks Saddles
Downing Street
Smethwick Birmingham
B66 2PA, UK
Phone: 0121 565 2992
Fax: 0121 565 1630
Web: Brooks Saddles
Email: Brooks Email


Brooks Team Pro1 After riding the Brooks B.17 Standard for less than a week I purchased another. Even though the Brooks B.17 saddle feels hard, I finished my first hour's ride with absolutely no pain, chaffing, numbness, etc. So just after several hours in the saddle, I decided to purchase a second B.17 for my Giant ATB. However, I have always liked the look of the Team Pro, and after some soul searching, decided to buy one for the Trek Road Bike and move its B.17 to the tandem. The problem is I doubt I will ever completely break in all three Brooks saddles. I had really planned on just moving the saddle and seat post between bikes, but all three bikes us a different diameter! Egads!

What I Like About the Brooks Team Pro Saddle

Subjective first impression: The brown leather and large copper rivets really look great. Obviously not an attribute to change saddles for, but....

I have only 2 hours on the saddle, but my first impression was, "Man this is a hard saddle!" Unlike the B.17, which was very comfortable from the first minute on, the Team Pro made its presence known from the start to end. With that said, the saddle "fits" me and my style of riding a little better than the B.17. However, the B.17 seemed to disappear under me and the Team Pro did not. With that said, following my last 1 hour + ride, I felt absolutely no pain, chaffing, numbness, etc.

After each ride, Luzimar and I ride the tandem for a bit. The tandem is fitted with a B.17 Standard saddle and what a difference! It was like going from a park bench to a sofa!

The Team Pro clearly transmits the feel of the road straight on through, which I actually like. The B.17 provides a more muted feel of the road.

I feel faster on the Team Pro. I have the Team Pro and the B.17 set as close to the same as possible and the Team Pro seems to shift less weight to the hands. Again, Bill Laine of Wallingford Bicycle Parts has made it clear that it is not the design of the seat that causes this weight shift, but it sure seems that way.

The shape and slick feel of the seat feels right.

What I Don't Like About the Brooks Team Pro Saddle

The shape of the saddle rubbed me raw in a very sensitive area. After about 10 hours on the saddle over a two week period I decided that I had to exchange it for a B.17. It's regrettable because I really like the overall look and feel of the saddle. However, the saddle never "disappeared" when riding--it made its presence known during each ride. With that said, I experienced no saddle soreness, except for the rawness.

Under the category of subjective first impressions, the "hand" chamfered edges look unfinished and rather unattractive.

Under the category of insanely picky: The Team Pro is rated as lighter than the B.17, but it actually feels heavier.

Under the category of very picky: Looks like the hammer guy was off when he pounded one of the rivets as he left a distinct hammer face indentation in the leather.

I am paranoid about riding in the rain--I don't want to ruin the saddle by riding in the rain.

What You May Not Like About the Brooks Team Pro Saddle

Brooks logo Maintenance
Brooks saddles, being real leather, require some maintenance. First, you must apply Proofide or some other saddle lubrication every couple of months. Second, like any good saddle, you need to protect it from rain and moisture. Third, you must maintain/adjust the saddle tension. This should be done once a year or so. This is the only task that I am concerned about because I have no idea how tight to tighten it. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Brooks saddles are heavier than comparably-priced, top-of-the-line racing saddles. This is not a big deal to me since I am a relatively big guy. But if you're trying to shave every kilogram, the Team Pro may not be for you. The Team Pro weighs in at about 480 grams. With that said, the Team Pro and other Brooks saddles weigh less than many OEM and gel saddles.

I've read and been told that you really don't want to ride leather saddles like the Brooks in the rain. Even though your backside protects the topside of the saddle, the spray off of the rear wheel will soak the underside of the saddle.

More Reviews

Don't take my word for it! If you would like to read more reviews of the Brooks Saddles, click here: Mountain Bike Reviews. Last time I checked there were 59 Brooks Saddle entries with an average rating of 4.59 out of 5! No other saddle comes close.

Brooks Team Pro Standard Technical Information

Brooks Team Pro2 Here's some technical information, gleaned from here and there:

The leather hide is suspended on a high tensile steel frame and rails. All steel is chromed. There is no base (vinyl or otherwise) as the suspended leather is stiff enough that no base is required. The frame is attached to the saddle using solid copper rivets. The rivets are quite attractive against the antique-brown leather.

The Brooks Team Pro is hand-assembled, meaning Brooks assemblers hand set the copper rivets by hand using a hammer.

You can adjust the tension of the suspended leather via a tension bolt at the nose of the saddle. Some recommend that you loosen the bolt one half turn during the first 100-200 miles and then retighten it.

My version of the Team Pro has chromed steel rails.

I have seen different weights for the Team Pro. The most quoted weight is around 560 grams. Evidently, weights can vary plus or minus 10 grams because Brooks specifies leather that is between 4-5mm thick.

260mm (Long) x 160mm (Wide)

You should apply a thin coating of Proofide every three months or so. Proofide is a available from Wallingford and Harris Cyclery. It is a semi-solid blend of natural fats and is easy to apply and polish out. You should tighten the saddle, one turn, each year or as needed.

The Bottom Line

I decided to exchange my Team Pro for the B.17 Champion (a dressier version of the B.17). I really love the look, feel, and construction of the Brooks Team Pro saddle, but unfortunately it "rubs me the wrong way" when riding. The general design of the saddle compliments my riding style a little better than the B.17, however it rubs be raw in one very sensitive area. When I switch between the Team Pro and the B.17, I can immediately feel a great difference. It is not so much the hardness of the Team Pro, but rather the slight difference in the shape of the nose (it angles up slightly and that's where I am realizing the irritation). I tried adjusting the attitude/angle of the saddle with no improvement. I thought I would give it some time to break it in, but figure it's the shape of the saddle more than its hardness/stiffness. If you're interested in the Team Pro, consider buying the Professional Model instead. Several dealers sell the Professional Model for considerable less than the Team Pro and they are exactly the same saddle, except for the size of the rivets. On a scale of 5 chainrings, the Brooks Team Pro Saddle gets 5 in every area accept comfort. In the area of overall comfort, I give it 3. Evidently my tissue is just too sensitive.

Adjusting a Brooks Saddle

I know nothing about adjusting a Brooks Saddle. The following information regarding adjusting a Brooks Saddle comes from Steve Palincsar:

"You need a special wrench - either a Brooks, or the old Campy bent wrench that was made to fit the old 2-bolt Record seatpost (one end has a box wrench for the bolt heads, the other an open end that fits the tensioner nut on the Brooks; the wrench is bent so as to fit under the skirt of the saddle and arch up over the top of the seatpost).

One thing: you need to hold the tensioner stationary with a pliers or some such while you turn the nut; otherwise it just turns and doesn't increase the tension. I'm told some have an allen fitting at the nose of the saddle to hold the adjuster shaft; others seem to have a notch where the shaft is somehow fixed to the plate in front. I have 6 of these: 3 B17s, 2 Team Pros and 1 Pro S, and none have either the allen fitting or the notch. But you don't have to tension it ever year, either. I've had 1 Pro on a Spectrum Ti road bike and have tensioned it once in the 11 years I've owned it.

To keep the bottom dry in the rain, it helps to use fenders. I'm also told it helps to put Proofide on the bottom when you're first installing the saddle. "I love the smell of Proofide in the morning..." - Steve Palincsar

Shopping for and Buying a Brooks Saddle

Brooks logo Most local bike shops do not sell Brooks saddles. Price probably has something to do with that. The Team Pro and higher-end Brooks saddles are handmade of top quality materials in England. Consequently, you pay for that. Brooks saddle prices start at about $60 and top out at about $150. I paid $80.00 plus $6.00 shipping for the Team Pro through Wallingford Bicycle Parts. Again, I purchased from Wallingford because of their (Bill Laine's) customer service, quick 3-day turnaround, and their six-month refund policy. I also received great service and information regarding Brooks saddles from Sheldon Brown of Harris Cyclery. I would eagerly purchase from either source. I also found Branford Bikes to be a great resource, especially for comparing top-of-the-line saddles. However, they do not refund saddle purchases, once you have mounted the saddle.

Erin Wallingford Bicycle Parts
P.O. Box 13274
New Orleans, LA 70185
(888)731-3537 Orders and Info
Notes: Great customer service! Wallingford offers a 6-month return policy for Brooks saddles. Super quick turnaround. I have received all three orders within three days. Wallingford ships a good info sheet with each saddle, regarding the care of Brooks saddles. For what it's worth, Wallingford is by far the most recommended shop on the various bike rings/forums for purchasing Brooks Saddles. Wallingford is also a great stop for hard-to-get Bike parts. And no, I don't get a commission from Bill Laine, proprietor of Wallingford.

Harris Cyclery - Sheldon Brown
Notes: Great bicycle and leather (Brooks) saddle advocates. Reasonable prices. Great customer service. Sheldon Brown's web site has several great articles regarding leather saddles.
Branford Bikes
202 Main Street
Branford, CT 06405
1-800-272-6367 Orders
1-203-488-0482 Info
1-203-483-0703 FAX
Notes: The Branford Bike "Saddles" web pages are probably the best pages on the web if you want to shop for top-of-the-line saddles--Branford carries them all. Good stats, pics, and their prices are comparable to everyone else. I have not dealt with them so I do not have a customer service opinion. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee except on saddles. Their saddle policy is as follows: "Saddles that have been mounted on a seatpost or ridden may NOT be returned."
P.O. Box 370
613 South Main Street
Huron, OH 44839
419-433-9057 Phone
419-433-0182 Fax
800-772-2453 Toll Free
E-mail: sales@permaco.com
Notes: Best prices on most Brooks models. They sell the Professional model which is identical to the Team Pro with the exception of slightly smaller rivets for $66.00, a savings of $14.00 - $20.00 over other Brooks' dealers. Plus, their shipping is only $5.00.

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