B17 Narrow Imperial

110
B17 Narrow Imperial

Availability: In stock

Made in England

The B17 Narrow Imperial is another variation of our time-honoured B17 design, featuring a distinctive cut-out section in the top of the leather, first conceived and registered by Brooks over a century ago. In the catalogue of J.B. Brooks & Co. dated 1890 a model called the B86 Imperial, with its unique "registered cutting", is described as "a sure preventative to all perenial pressure". Another distinctive feature of the B17 Narrow Imperial are the perforations along the lower edge of the leather sides, which are threaded together one side to the other by a lace. This can be adjusted to help maintain the saddle’s shape and provide comfort in the long term. Tying the leather lace tightly pulls the sides of the saddle closer together, conversely loosening the lace enables the saddle sides to splay slightly further apart. This sideways fine-tuning of the B17 Narrow Imperial is of course in addition to the usual fore-and-aft tensioning mechanism common to all Brooks Saddles.

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Description

The B17 Narrow Imperial is another variation of our time-honoured B17 design, featuring a distinctive cut-out section in the top of the leather, first conceived and registered by Brooks over a century ago. In the catalogue of J.B. Brooks & Co. dated 1890 a model called the B86 Imperial, with its unique "registered cutting", is described as "a sure preventative to all perenial pressure". Another distinctive feature of the B17 Narrow Imperial are the perforations along the lower edge of the leather sides, which are threaded together one side to the other by a lace. This can be adjusted to help maintain the saddle’s shape and provide comfort in the long term. Tying the leather lace tightly pulls the sides of the saddle closer together, conversely loosening the lace enables the saddle sides to splay slightly further apart. This sideways fine-tuning of the B17 Narrow Imperial is of course in addition to the usual fore-and-aft tensioning mechanism common to all Brooks Saddles.

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Technical Information

  • Length : 279mm
  • Width : 151mm
  • Height : 70mm
  • Weight : 530g
  • Frame : Chromium Plated Steel
Customer Comments
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Unsolicited testimonials Unfiltered criticism

Unsolicited testimonials

Part of an old Brooks Tradition
18/03/2012
Written by Alf Diederich
B17 Narrow Imperial
The B17N is a heavy block and bib tights eating monster of a saddle. It looks so very out of place on a modern carbon road bike, that you need a rock solid reason to stay with it. After thousands of kilometers and several destroyed bib tights, I can say it is the most comfortable saddle I've ever used !
20 of 23 people found this useful
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16/10/2012
Written by Nicolas Gillmann
B17 Narrow Imperial
I purchased a few weeks ago a B 17 Imperial Narrow. Being already very satisfied with my other brooks saddles, I decided to try this model on another old racer of my collection: a stella dating back to the first half of the 70's. I've instantaneously been delighted by the confort this saddle provides. I already have a B 17 imperial, but the narrow version is in my opinion even better. No matter the condition of the road, good ou bad, cobbles or asphalt, the confort of the B 17 Imperial Narrow remains supreme.



Thanks Brooks, keep up the good work !
16 of 16 people found this useful
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02/01/2010
Written by DONALD KIRKBRIDE
B17 Narrow Imperial
I am a member of the VETERAN CYCLING CLUB SCOTTISH SECTION and have an original flying scot racer which was fitted with a b17.  unfortunately, due to its age(1958), the leather split across the front rendering it useless.  

I purchased a new saddle via the VCC and fitted it to the bike and bedded it in which took many miles, though i do swap the saddle to other bikes in my collection which i also use on VCC runs. After many miles the saddle is as comfortable as the one it replaced, the only thing i had to do was retension it with the spanner for this purpose, i also obtained a bottle of leather polish at an autojumble which was marketed for rolls royces and bentlys. Several applications of this has helped the leather as well.

I reckon i have covered over 700 miles since purchase and wouldnt use any other make of saddle and would recommend a brooks to anyone contemplating doing a lot of cycling
6 of 6 people found this useful
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01/05/2015
Written by Glyn Pearson
B17 Narrow Imperial
Have been riding the saddle for about two years now on a custom built titanium road frame and it works a treat. I did not pre treat the leather for suppleness and it did take some miles to get it into shape. Initially, the front nut was not in any tension so check this before you start off on your first rides. The slit in the centre of the saddle also tended to bite back on the boy loins which was not ideal but once I had the tension sorted out it stopped. Also as a new saddle it was very slippery and I almost gave up on it. I have dumped the lacing on the sides as I never figured out what it was meant to do. Lacking any real instructions was a nuisance and I think I overtightened the lacing to stop the centre slit biting me! Despite the weather in Hong Kong being pretty humid in the summers the saddle has not shown any sign of rotting and the runners are still without any rust. The rivets however are a bit tarnished. Would I recommend it? Yes and no. I am a big bloke 100kgs plus and ride for pleasure rather than race. It is ideal for that but I think on a modern carbon frame it would look a little odd.
 
A> the lacing is required to hold the skirt of the saddle in place, this is important for Imperial Saddles
1 of 2 people found this useful
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20/07/2013
Written by Rick Daugherty
B17 Narrow Imperial
I LOVE this saddle! The one that came with my Trek was very uncomfortable. As soon as I switched out the saddle, no more discomfort - the B-17 forms to me perfectly. Liked it so much I also bought a matching Millbrook saddle bag. Very nice gear. Thanks Brooks!
A> You're welcome!
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18/06/2013
Written by Scott Wood
B17 Narrow Imperial
I rather like it, though it has to be said that my Swift titanium is somewhat comfier - this may be an unfair remark however, given that my Swift is 12 years old and I've yet to pass the 1000km mark on the B17IN. I'd say it's far comfier than any non-leather saddle I've used (and by a substantial margin), but I'm still not used to the cut-out. I'll keep trying different angles and either stick with it, or pick up another Swift...
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Unfiltered criticism

We accept all constructive criticism
18/06/2008
Written by Douglas Kinnear
B17 Narrow Imperial
The B17 Narrow Imperial broke in quite promptly -- within 100 miles, the leather was softening up nicely under my sitbones. I also found the Narrow model to be just right, as it is about as wide as the saddle I have been using (Avocet 02 40r). My only complaint is with the cutout -- the edges provided a not-very-pleasant sensation through my biking shorts. Not a pinching, not a chafing, no permanent damage nor saddle sores, but I could FEEL the edges and it was not pleasant over a longer ride. This issue, and only this issue, prompted me to remove the saddle from my bike. I think that the edges of the cutout may benefit from chamfering or some other treatment.

The saddle seems exceptionally well-made and should prove very durable.

I would, and probably will, buy a different Brooks -- a model without the cutout. I found the Imperial Narrow perfectly comfortable except for the issue, explained above, with the cutout edges.
14 of 16 people found this useful
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14/12/2011
Written by pierre de Kock
B17 Narrow Imperial
Got a brand new one in June 2010 about halfway through our 6000 km tandem and trailer plus full camping gear tour from Rome to the Baltic and back down to Vienna. Did about 2500 km on the saddle on that trip and a further 1000 in short rides back in Oz. I lubricated the saddle religiously and copiously hoping to soften it up. Believe me I really wanted this saddle to succeed for me ( Selle SMP leather Stratos saddle I started the trip with took about 2000 kms to kill my sit bones so that I could hardly sit in comfort for more than 10kms). I had previously had front anatomy (male) numbness - the Stratos was fine in this regard. I found that I was frequently going numb in front with the B17 and that it was always hard on my sit bones after about 20 -30 kms.

In fairness though it felt comfortable to at the start of each ride. For me three aspects are critical in a saddle: 1 sit bones must be ok on long daily rides of 50 kms plus - the B17 failed here; 2. the perineum gap in the saddle must be wide enought to avoid all front end numbness - the B17 failed here too; 3 the saddle (rail) edges should not impinge on the Sciatic nerve on the inner thigh - B17 was OK here.



So sadly I cannot join the club - I tried hard but this saddle did not work for me. Perhaps the fact that I'm now 65 (but still mix it with much younger cyclists) has something to do with my discomfort?



PS I appealed to Brooks for tips and help - no response.
A> We are very sorry if no one came to your aid, but we do normally answer all communication left in the GETTING IN TOUCH section of this website (as opposed to the comments section).  As for your saddle, the B17 Narrow is indeed very narrow and possibly too narrow for your sit bones?
2 of 2 people found this useful
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20/06/2013
Written by Wilf Williams
B17 Narrow Imperial
I have the B17 Narrow Imperial fitted to my Surley Cross check touring bike. I have ridden 1500 km this season, including a week long tour.



I'm impressed with the look and feel of the saddle in all respects bar one. I find that without padded shorts the cut out nip's at ones nethers like a naughty crab's pincers. I can ride all day in padded cycle shorts no worries, but in the recent heat wave I opted for boxers/slips and despite being fine on the sit bones this constant pinching is awful.
2 of 2 people found this useful
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20/06/2013
Written by Wilf Williams
B17 Narrow Imperial
I have the B17 Narrow Imperial fitted to my Surley Cross check touring bike. I have ridden 1500 km this season, including a week long tour.



I'm impressed with the look and feel of the saddle in all respects bar one. I find that without padded shorts the cut out nip's at ones nethers like a naughty crab's pincers. I can ride all day in padded cycle shorts no worries, but in the recent heat wave I opted for boxers/slips and despite being fine on the sit bones this constant pinching is awful.
2 of 2 people found this useful
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14/12/2011
Written by pierre de Kock
B17 Narrow Imperial
Got a brand new one in June 2010 about halfway through our 6000 km tandem and trailer plus full camping gear tour from Rome to the Baltic and back down to Vienna. Did about 2500 km on the saddle on that trip and a further 1000 in short rides back in Oz. I lubricated the saddle religiously and copiously hoping to soften it up. Believe me I really wanted this saddle to succeed for me ( Selle SMP leather Stratos saddle I started the trip with took about 2000 kms to kill my sit bones so that I could hardly sit in comfort for more than 10kms). I had previously had front anatomy (male) numbness - the Stratos was fine in this regard. I found that I was frequently going numb in front with the B17 and that it was always hard on my sit bones after about 20 -30 kms.

In fairness though it felt comfortable to at the start of each ride. For me three aspects are critical in a saddle: 1 sit bones must be ok on long daily rides of 50 kms plus - the B17 failed here; 2. the perineum gap in the saddle must be wide enought to avoid all front end numbness - the B17 failed here too; 3 the saddle (rail) edges should not impinge on the Sciatic nerve on the inner thigh - B17 was OK here.



So sadly I cannot join the club - I tried hard but this saddle did not work for me. Perhaps the fact that I'm now 65 (but still mix it with much younger cyclists) has something to do with my discomfort?



PS I appealed to Brooks for tips and help - no response.
A> We are very sorry if no one came to your aid, but we do normally answer all communication left in the GETTING IN TOUCH section of this website (as opposed to the comments section).  As for your saddle, the B17 Narrow is indeed very narrow and possibly too narrow for your sit bones?
2 of 2 people found this useful
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20/02/2011
Written by Rene Kroehnert
B17 Narrow Imperial
I'm really dissatisfied with my saddle. After only 500km my saddle was out of shape. I tried to tighten it more, but it was not working. The next problem is, that the rivets are too high and some are not smooth. I destroyed two cycling shorts with this saddle.

I got in contact with brooks. They told me I should hammer the rivets down. This was not working because you need a special tool to hold them from the other side.

I was asked to send the saddle to Brooks. But I can’t do this because I’m on a bike trip through New Zealand and soon I fly further to South America. This means every day cycling and no chance to send the saddle to England.

I wrote three other mails to Brooks and got no answer, no help, nothing.

This is really poor and has nothing to do with customer service. The only thing they can really do is big ads for their “great traveller saddles”. But with this bad quality and service I wouldn’t buy a brooks again.
A> I am sorry to hear about your trouble, but I have not received any mail from you!  Any pointed metal object will serve to hold the underside of a rivet for repairs.  As for the tensioning, could you be more specific?  It is a very simple mechanism. A B17 narrow Imperial is furthermore not recommended for touring..
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