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  1. #1
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Which Brooks for Mixte Roadbike: Sprung or Unsprung?



    I am sprucing up this recently acquired Motobecane mixte c.1981. I plan to use it
    for fast-ish long distance cycling and touring. I am keeping the drop bars for now,
    but may later replace them with something like mustache bars.

    I have never ridden a roadbike before, only relaxed frames with upright seating
    positions. What are your recommendations regarding the most appropriate Brooks
    saddle for this bicycle? My instinct is to get the Flyer, but will the springs be
    counterproductive to the sportier geometry? I am not concerned about the weight of
    the saddle, only comfort. It has been suggested to me that the B17 or B72 might
    actually be better for this bike, but I have a hard time believing that. My other
    saddles are the B66 and B18, both on upright bikes.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    Last edited by Veloria; 07-10-09 at 04:12 AM.

  2. #2
    No lugs? No hugs. Exit.'s Avatar
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    Why are you so fixated on Brooks saddles? They're decent saddles, but they're horrendously over-hyped, and there are better saddles available for the silly prices Brooks command.
    1997 Vitali track, 1986 Cilo Swiss road, 2006 KHS Flite 100, 2009 top-secret track bike.

  3. #3
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exit. View Post
    Why are you so fixated on Brooks saddles? They're decent saddles, but they're horrendously over-hyped, and there are better saddles available for the silly prices Brooks command.
    Because I have ridden others with the aftereffects of horrendous pain. I will not get on a plastic saddle again, be it gel, padded, what have you.

    The "suspended leather vs plastic" debate is a matter of personal opinion and I propose we leave it at that. This is not an issue I was raising with my question.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sunburst's Avatar
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    Brooks B67 (order the "B67s" for ladies model) and Nitto Dove bars - both highly recommended for around town. If I had another upright bike, I'd buy another B67 in a second. If you're keeping the drop bars, a B17 might be better, depending on the width of your sitbones. I've got three of those as well.

    Btw, I've been looking for a Motobecane mixte for years. That's a great find!

    Last edited by sunburst; 07-10-09 at 04:20 AM.

  5. #5
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Exit, Why don't you name a few of the competitors that you personally like?

    I have no experiences with these:
    Velo-orange makes leather saddles that look nice, but the have a limited range. Cardiff saddles look very nice but I am not sure of the price. Persons makes leather saddles but I have seen complaints about the quality.

    Anyhow, the originial question. I like the unsprung saddles with drop bars and the sprung saddles with north road bars, mostly for aesthtic reasons.
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  6. #6
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Brooks B67 (order the "B67s" for ladies model) and Nitto Dove bars - both highly recommended. If I had another upright bike, I'd buy another B67 in a second.
    Yup, I would be getting the S regardless of the model. You ride on a B67 with the Dove bars, interesting. That is even heavier sprung that the Flyer. I would possibly be getting the Albatros bars in future (the Dove would be too narrow for me). How upright is your position with those bars? Nice bike BTW!

  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Depends on your riding style. If you are going to be riding it in with drop bars or in a forward leaning position get the Flyer. The springs really don't affect pedaling very much. I would only go with a B67 saddle if you are sitting nearly upright. FWIW I am a Brooks saddle fiend it is the ONLY saddle I have ever been able to ride out of the box for long distances with minimal discomfort, once broken in I can ride for long distances in comfort.

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  8. #8
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    ...
    Velo-orange makes leather saddles that look nice, but the have a limited range. Cardiff saddles look very nice but I am not sure of the price. Persons makes leather saddles but I have seen complaints about the quality.
    Both the VO saddles and the Rivendell Cardiff saddles are (openly) imitative of Brooks and the price difference is not significant. If I had lots of bikes, then yes, perhaps one of them would have a VO saddle and one of them a Cardiff, just for variety's sake. Maybe also a Dutch Leper (which is even more pricey than Brooks). But I really feel that I have not exhausted the pleasures of Brooks yet. My local shop (Harris) happens to stock an amazing variety of Brooks saddles, so I am in the fortunate position of being able to paw, feel, and try them before buying. This contributes to my comfort level of buying them. Again, this is all personal opinion and can be discussed till the cows come home. But here my question pre-supposes a choice between Brooks models : )


    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    Anyhow, the originial question. I like the unsprung saddles with drop bars and the sprung saddles with north road bars, mostly for aesthtic reasons.
    Yes, visually that's my feeling as well. But I'll feel silly getting a B17 or a Team Pro (the looks of which I prefer) if I then end up whining that my butt hurts after day-long rides. Tough decisions!
    Last edited by Veloria; 07-10-09 at 04:47 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sunburst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veloria View Post
    Yup, I would be getting the S regardless of the model. You ride on a B67 with the Dove bars, interesting. That is even heavier sprung that the Flyer. I would possibly be getting the Albatros bars in future (the Dove would be too narrow for me). How upright is your position with those bars? Nice bike BTW!
    The bike is quite upright with those bars. The bar/saddle combination really work well togethor. Peugeot had e x

    eous

  10. #10
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Depends on your riding style. If you are going to be riding it in with drop bars or in a forward leaning position get the Flyer. The springs really don't affect pedaling very much. I would only go with a B67 saddle if you are sitting nearly upright. FWIW I am a Brooks saddle fiend it is the ONLY saddle I have ever been able to ride out of the box for long distances with minimal discomfort, once broken in I can ride for long distances in comfort.

    Aaron
    Thanks, this is helpful. If the Flyer does not effect pedaling with drop bars, then there is no reason I should not get it. My concern was, that should I end up leaving the drop bars on, the Flyer would be inappropriate. As you can tell, I am biased towards the Flyer. However, my husband has it on his road bike (also with drop bars) and says he is still not sure whether it was the right choice vs. a B17. Several female acquaintances seem to also think the B17 is the one for fast, long-distance riding.

  11. #11
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Nice blog! And welcome to C&V.

    Since you are in Neal Learner's neighborhood (Cambridge area), possibly you could PM him (nlearner). I believe he has a great selection of Brooks and you could see which saddle might look/work best for you. Or take the bike over to Harris Cyclery and see what they have in stock.

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  12. #12
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Hi pastorbobnlnh and thanks! We used to live in NH and still go there occasionally. Neal Lerner caught my attention on another thread with his amazing '38 Raleigh Lady's Tourist. And we pester Harris with our presence on a regular basis!
    Last edited by Veloria; 07-10-09 at 06:12 AM.

  13. #13
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    I've got the VO model 67 clone on one of my bikes and I am quite happy with it. It stretched a bit at first, but that was easy to fix. There is a bit of spring noise, not bad and I suspect pretty normal for this type of saddle. It's a great looking saddle and I like the brown color. It has a pebble finish to the leather also...kinda' cool. IMHO almost as good as the Brooks.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
    Since you are in Neal Learner's neighborhood (Cambridge area), possibly you could PM him (nlearner). I believe he has a great selection of Brooks and you could see which saddle might look/work best for you.
    Slight correction: no "a" in that name: nlerner/Lerner

    The two sprung Brooks models I ride regularly are the Champion Flyer and the Conquest. I like them both a great deal. I've tried the B66 several times, but felt it was just too wide and heavy for me (then again, I ride a B17 and a Pro with upright bars). I also think you can't go wrong with a B72. Yup, just as wide as the B66 but somehow a bit more give in my experience.

    If you are in my neighborhood, you're welcome to come on over and try a few.

    Neal

  15. #15
    Fuji Fan beech333's Avatar
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    I just ordered a B17 and Flyer. My plans was to use the Flyer on a bike with a similar purpose. If that doesn't work, I have other plans for its use. I'm really hoping it works though because it looks so comfortable and would be great for that bike.
    Seeking a 165mm Sugino Super Mighty track crankset.

  16. #16
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    The two sprung Brooks models I ride regularly are the Champion Flyer and the Conquest. I like them both a great deal. I've tried the B66 several times, but felt it was just too wide and heavy for me (then again, I ride a B17 and a Pro with upright bars). I also think you can't go wrong with a B72. Yup, just as wide as the B66 but somehow a bit more give in my experience.

    If you are in my neighborhood, you're welcome to come on over and try a few.
    We have 2 vintage B72s, both of which were in rock-hard condition. The husband's has been nursed back to health now and laced, but mine we have not tackled yet.

    Thank you for your nice offer; I might just take you up on it, if only to meet your Lady's Tourist! I do live "in the neighborhood", though I am abroad at the moment for work.


    Quote Originally Posted by beech333 View Post
    I just ordered a B17 and Flyer. My plans was to use the Flyer on a bike with a similar purpose. If that doesn't work, I have other plans for its use. I'm really hoping it works though because it looks so comfortable and would be great for that bike.
    Hey, good idea -- I could get both! : )) Right...
    Last edited by Veloria; 07-10-09 at 08:56 AM.

  17. #17
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Hi Veloria and welcome to BF and C&V!

    Personally, I think the B17 looks more appropriate on a mixte, but thats just my opinion.
    My take on it is the Flyer is more for upright riding and the B17 more towards the drop
    bar racing/touring position.

    Marty

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  18. #18
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veloria View Post
    Thanks, this is helpful. If the Flyer does not effect pedaling with drop bars, then there is no reason I should not get it. My concern was, that should I end up leaving the drop bars on, the Flyer would be inappropriate. As you can tell, I am biased towards the Flyer. However, my husband has it on his road bike (also with drop bars) and says he is still not sure whether it was the right choice vs. a B17. Several female acquaintances seem to also think the B17 is the one for fast, long-distance riding.
    I was going to suggest the B17. It's well-proven for long distance riding. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by fast, but certainly this is not a "toodle for 50 miles" bike.

    I haven't tried sprung saddles with anything but a trekker bar, and so far I don't like it (my wife's Breezer Liberty with a NOS B72). I'm currently using a B17N Imperial on my Trek with drop bars a few cm below the saddle, and an Ideale 92 (French competitor to Brooks from the old days, similar shape to a B17) on my Woodrup with drop bars at saddle height. Both work well for those arrangements, though the Ideale is going to be replaced by a B17 Imperial someday soon. Mrs. Road Fan did not like a suspension post on her flat-bar road bike, a Cannondale Road Warrior 800.

    I've tried a Velo-Orange Swallow imitation, and like the shape but not in the rear, plus it stretches a lot. i don't know if it's the leather or the narrowness, but I've noticed Swallows to stretch a lot, too.

    But if the Flyer springs just add a bit of shock protection and not much cush, then I might go for it. OTOH, your mixte with the twin lateral tubes probably has a decent amount of vertical compliance, compared to a solid drop tube or a standard top tube.
    Last edited by lotek; 07-10-09 at 10:19 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    i just looked over your websites, and being a Wienophile, I am again itching to go to Austria again! Wurstl on the street!

    Your husband's bike has a Flyer. Why not borrow it for a day, put it on the mixte, and take a ride? Then you'll know if it's for you. Mrs. Road Fan does this to me all the time. Coordination is key.

  20. #20
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    B17 or flyer. They`ve got the same top, so it is only about springs or no springs. You do not really feel the springs so do not worry about that. They are both good when the bars is approx same height as saddle.

    I`ve got a B72 on one quite upright bike. Great for that use but I would not use it for the purpose you describe.

    Personally I am not a fan of the short nosed S models (got two) but I guess it is about anatomy and what you are used to. I feel they are "small" in a way, not always sure where the saddle is..

  21. #21
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Mrs. Road Fan didn't like the Professional S I got her, either.

  22. #22
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    What tires are you using? The air volume and air preassure in the tires is part of the spring system on the bike. Fat tyres w low preassure gives a cushy ride w less need of a sprung saddle (and oposite) but you may want both.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The Flyer is the same shape as the B17, so I don't know why is would be less appropriate on a drop-bar bike. My Flyer is my most comfortable saddle, because it gives a little more shock protection than my second favorite B17's. I prefer the B17 shape for upright riding to the wider saddles. I don't ride the drops much, so the B17 works best for me with drop bars.

    Trying Neal's saddles will only work if you ride each one for a couple of hours. The wide saddles feel more comfortable when you first sit on them, but are not necessarily the most comfortable after a couple of hours of riding. Ideally, you want a saddle that allows you to ride all day without ever thinking about your saddle.

  24. #24
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    i just looked over your websites, and being a Wienophile, I am again itching to go to Austria again! Wurstl on the street!
    "Austria... wurstl on the streets!" That might actually be a nice slogan for the office of tourism : )


    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Your husband's bike has a Flyer. Why not borrow it for a day, put it on the mixte, and take a ride? Then you'll know if it's for you. Mrs. Road Fan does this to me all the time. Coordination is key.
    Problem is that it is not exactly the same saddle, since I'd be getting the women's "S" version. I don't want to make my decision based on trying the version less suitable for my body structure. Also, I still won't be able to compare it with the B17 or the Team Pro -- i.e. even if it feels right, what if one of the others feels "righter"?

    But based on the feedback, it seems that the thing to do is just go for the Flyer. If in doubt, I will just read this over and over again.


    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    ...
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by fast, but certainly this is not a "toodle for 50 miles" bike.
    You don't think I could go 50 miles on this bike... Why not? That was certainly the plan.
    Last edited by Veloria; 07-10-09 at 10:24 AM.

  25. #25
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    What tires are you using? The air volume and air preassure in the tires is part of the spring system on the bike. Fat tyres w low preassure gives a cushy ride w less need of a sprung saddle (and oposite) but you may want both.
    I am going to replace the current tires, most likely with Continental 27 x 1 1/4 Ultra GatorSkin. I am actually a little disappointed that (apparently?) there are no traditional-looking (gumwall) 27 x 1 1/4 tires that are also puncture resistant. I like the look of Michelin World Tour, but my understanding is that I'd be sacrificing performance (and puncture resistance) for aesthetics with these. This is a topic onto itself of course!

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