Some quick comments on my last post about Brooks saddles have given me the idea of pumping my readers for information. You are few but mighty, and I want your help deciding some stuff.
Brooks saddles are legendary in the cycling world (among others), but I've been reluctant to fork out the money. As you may or may not know, I'm in the beginning stages of building a light touring bike on a 1988/89 Trek 520 frame. Since this is the bike I am most likely to spend long hours on, I'm thinking my choice is a little more important than on other bikes I've built.
I'm writing this in an effort to collect unbiased feedback from "normal" people, rather than just buying one, regardless of cost, because they're "the best". If you have never had a Brooks saddle, please refrain from commenting on them, since what I'm after here is first-hand experience rather than "common knowledge". If you've got a different touring saddle you love, though, bring it on! I'm guessing this stuff has been discussed ad nauseam on lots of bike forums, but frankly, I'm not as interested in the opinions of total strangers. I've come to learn a lot about how and where and for how long many of you ride, and I trust you more. There's that, and of course I am afraid of falling back into Cycling Forum Hell. It took me forever to recover last time, and I never want to write a post that long again.
Some questions I've got:
Are there any other saddles that come awful close at half the price?
Are there particular models well suited to a "speedy touring" style? I hope to remove the racks and panniers sometimes and ride this bike fast once in a while. I don't see myself investing in a full-out road bike, so this one will probably be it.
If one accepts that Brooks saddles are way better, are they so much better that their cost is warranted?
One last note: Please just go full out with your own opinions; boss me around! I'll make up my own mind, but I'm not interested in diplomacy. I don't want to end up with a bunch of comments that contain "I am sure you would be happy with your choice..." or "It really depends on your personal preference". I know that. I want to hear about your preference, and why.
If you are in a position to comment, please accept my thanks in advance. I really appreciate your help in this matter.