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Old 12-30-11, 06:43 PM   #1
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what makes a Brooks B17 a B17?

Forgive me if this is obvious, but I don't get it.

I have four Brooks B17's and they are all different. Two (1950 and 2007) have loops for a bag; the other two (1959 and 1967) don't. Two (1959 and 2007) have chromed rails, the other two are black. One is wide (2007) the others are an inch narrower. The leather condition varies so its quality is hard to judge. Similarly shape and hardness vary considerably but this must be a function of condition so not very useful.

Come to think of it I have seen just as much variation among B15's, but I don't have so many of those; just one, which is indistinguishable from the 1959 B17 except the stamp on the skirt is different, and it's in better condition.

Can anyone explain what is the distinguishing feature of a B17, or a B15 for that matter?
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Old 12-30-11, 08:27 PM   #2
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Rudi,

Good questions. It would be great to hear from someone who worked at Brooks for decades.

It does appear as if the cantle and the leather changed, sort of an evolution over time.
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Old 12-30-11, 09:25 PM   #3
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I think a Brooks is a B17 if the stamp reads "B17". Otherwise, I'm not sure there is consistent criteria.
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Old 12-30-11, 10:02 PM   #4
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There's various models of B-17's. The Competition Standard had no bag loops, and was cropped closer to the cantle. The narrow was narrow. Both chrome and painted rails were used, etc. The B-17 model has been around a lot of years so you are going to see some variations.

Not sure on the B-15's. Always thought they were a "budget" model. I think OEM on more "tranportation" type bikes.
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Old 12-30-11, 10:19 PM   #5
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Kinda like:
Sweet
What the F.....
Oh, that's better
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Old 12-30-11, 10:22 PM   #6
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I think it's hard to compare apples to apples but generally, B17s were a rung up the ladder from the B15s, eg B17 Swallow vs B15 Swallow, B17 Standard vs B15 Standard. I thought B17s seemed to have more models and the B15's seemed to be wider at the arse end. I'll measure a few.
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Old 12-30-11, 11:15 PM   #7
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Brooks has varied rail chroming over the years. I wouldn't be as concerned as that as I would the width. Are you sure you don't have a couple of Champion Standards and Champion Specials?

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Old 12-30-11, 11:20 PM   #8
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Kinda like:
Sweet
What the F.....
Oh, that's better
Good one Velognome!
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Old 12-31-11, 12:01 AM   #9
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What the F.....
Don't blame the Fox mustangs. They're no credit to the lineup, but you can blame Iaccoca's Mustang II for diluting the badge for the next 30 years.

Just wait for 2014. The mere description of the new, "downsized" Mustang reeks of history repeated.

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Old 12-31-11, 12:15 AM   #10
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Don't blame the Fox mustangs. They're no credit to the lineup, but you can blame Iaccoca's Mustang II for diluting the badge for the next 30 years.
+1M

These were the bad, very very bad, Mustangs.

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Old 12-31-11, 12:40 AM   #11
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These were the bad, very very bad, Mustangs.

Oooooh. Ghia edition. Thank you, Ford - I'm supposed to be impressed.

Speaking of which, gorgeous Italian coachbuilder designs seem to be the exception - not the rule. Vignale was definitely working hard to prove this.

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Old 12-31-11, 06:05 AM   #12
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Pininfarina hit the nail head on most occasions, but not all.
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Old 12-31-11, 06:40 AM   #13
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+1M

These were the bad, very very bad, Mustangs.

It's a Ford Pinto all grown up.....
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Old 12-31-11, 06:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
but you can blame Iaccoca's Mustang II for diluting the badge for the next 30 years.
Sorry for the omission of the II series, just getting over the stomache flue here and I't still hard to stomache somethings, but now that it's been served up....hic, hic...blahhhhhh..............................................
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Old 12-31-11, 06:55 AM   #15
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Oooooh. Ghia edition. Thank you, Ford - I'm supposed to be impressed.

Speaking of which, gorgeous Italian coachbuilder designs seem to be the exception - not the rule. Vignale was definitely working hard to prove this.

-Kurt
So Kurt, are you saying you don't like the cutaway half-vinyl "Landau" treatments on cars? Well, I'm glad your dislike of cutaway designs does not carry over to lugs.

Rudi, it looks like a bunch of car guys hijacked your thread.
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Old 12-31-11, 06:58 AM   #16
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It's a Ford Pinto all grown up.....
More like a Ford Pinto with a girdle, butt padding, and falsies, false eyelashes, and a wig. It wouldn't be any better if we assumed one gender or t'other.

We aren't saying Iacocca had something to do with Brooks, are we? There's been an English division of Ford, centered around Dunton, in Essex. Where's the Brooks plant?
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Old 12-31-11, 07:01 AM   #17
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So Kurt, are you saying you don't like the cutaway half-vinyl "Landau" treatments on cars? Well, I'm glad your dislike of cutaway designs does not carry over to lugs.

Rudi, it looks like a bunch of car guys hijacked your thread.
Scratch a vintage bike guy, or a vintage guy into bikes, and often a car guy will be revealed. Same for motorcycles.
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Old 12-31-11, 07:13 AM   #18
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Now, after this C&V senior moment, upon slipping into automotive nonsense, we return to our regularly scheduled program, "What Makes a Brooks B-17 a B-17?"

Pictures anyone?


B-17 in British Racing Green

Rudi asked about B15s. The B15 is a little wider across the sit-bone area. I could measure later today.


B15 & B15N


B15
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Old 12-31-11, 07:29 AM   #19
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Well, I only own one B-17, and it's shaped to my arse.

Wired visited the factory
and posted a few pictures.

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Note to you BLOWHARD MORONS out there: The fork is not bent. Most PEUGEOTS of the '70s forks DID NOT line up with the head tube angle. This is normal. The last pic is from the 1972 Dutch catalog showing this EXACT MODEL in diagram. Keep your comments to yourself......
It's pronounced, "Co-burn."
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Old 12-31-11, 07:32 AM   #20
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To the OP rhm,

Do you notice differences in ride comfort between your B17's ?
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Old 12-31-11, 07:51 AM   #21
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To the OP rhm,

Do you notice differences in ride comfort between your B17's ?
Yes but they are different saddles from different eras and they are on different bikes. The only B15 I have currently is an interesting old one I got NOS and it is effectively newer than any of my B17's, and much harder. It is not wider than the narrow B17's.

Sticking with the Mustang analogy, I understand the Mustang came in many different models even in a given year, and over time it came in many more, and that some years were better than others, to put it mildly. But it's not that hard to see a mustang, of any age, and see right away that it's a mustang. There's something about the model that is always evident. And when it's lacking --when it looks too much like a Pinto-- people will complain. I don't see that among the B17's.
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Old 12-31-11, 08:09 AM   #22
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Give me a 2nd generation Firebird. Keep those silly Found On Road Dead things.

/threadjack
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Old 12-31-11, 08:14 AM   #23
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Scratch a vintage bike guy, or a vintage guy into bikes, and often a car guy will be revealed. Same for motorcycles.
Good point... Methinks I'd like one of these, were I still riding two-wheeled conveyances with fossil fuel power:

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Old 12-31-11, 09:04 AM   #24
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Pininfarina hit the nail head on most occasions, but not all.
The exception to the rule, and the reason why all Italian coachbuilders are blindly thought of as utter artisans.


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So Kurt, are you saying you don't like the cutaway half-vinyl "Landau" treatments on cars?
I have one, and though I like the way it looks, I don't like what forms underneath it. Note the area below the rear window, and the opera window. Rust, rust, and more rust. You can't fix anything without ripping the vinyl off first.



I still don't know how the North Koreans have managed to keep their '75 Continentals in one piece.

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But it's not that hard to see a mustang, of any age, and see right away that it's a mustang. There's something about the model that is always evident.
RHM, could you post a photo of each of your B17's?

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And when it's lacking --when it looks too much like a Pinto-- people will complain. I don't see that among the B17's.
It's British, what can you expect?

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Old 12-31-11, 09:21 AM   #25
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RHM, could you post a photo of each of your B17's?
Yes, fair enough, I will do that. I'm afraid it will be a week or more before I get to this -- the saddles are in NJ and I am on LI.
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