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Old 12-29-16, 11:13 AM   #1
kalash74
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Best shock-absorbing saddle: sprung saddle vs saddle with elastomers

Does anyone happen to know how effective modern comfy saddles like this one
Ellipse Relaxed | Selle Royal

compare to a traditional, Brooks-style saddle?
Brooks B66 Universal Black | 365 Cycles

To add my personal experience to my query, I once owned a B66 saddle on a Raleigh Sports bike and I didn't feel like the springs did a whole lot. Incidentally, I'm a fairly light rider at 140 lbs. I do own a B33 hugely sprung saddle
http://www.brooksengland.com/en_us/b33-2.html
on one of my English 3-speeds and I do feel the spring action a bit more on that one--probably due to the double-wound springs-- but it's a huge beast. I'm looking for something a bit lighter weight for my commuter / everyday rider bike, but something that will absorb the maximum amount of shock while sitting upright and help alleviate my lower back pain.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-29-16, 11:45 AM   #2
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suspension seatpost might do the trick
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Old 12-29-16, 12:02 PM   #3
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Personally I like a flyer or a b67_but the women I have ridden with, and so e put up pretty big miles, prefer the Walmart bell/ergo model. It looks too soft to me but 3 women I know love them.
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Old 12-29-16, 12:08 PM   #4
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Elastomers function as springs, so it's a question of the working length, and spring constant (stiffness) of whatever you're using.

There is one difference, and it'll come into play on large jolts. Springs offer constant resistance until at or near their working range at which they bottom out solidly. Elastomers act like springs for small compressions, but as they compress more the resistance will ramp up progressively. This means the working range may feel shorter, but they won't bottom out solidly.
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Old 12-29-16, 01:27 PM   #5
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I have 2 Brooks Flyer Specials (B17 Special w/ springs) on my CX700 touring/commuting rig and on my old Trek mtn bike converted to all conditions touring/commuting rig. Both see significant off road time. I find these saddles super comfy when paired with wider Continental Travel Contact tires and excellent fit. Wife has an older Trek 850 converted to touring/commuting rig with a women's version Brooks Flyer.

I have a Velo Orange Touring Saddle with springs on our Bike Friday Triple Family Traveler in the cockpit. Very nice, very stiff saddle as well. Thicker leather and longer rails than the Brooks. Got mine for $50 on clearance from VO. I would buy again...

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Old 12-29-16, 01:33 PM   #6
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I have Brooks Flyer saddles on 3 bikes and Brooks imperial on 2, I prefer the Flyer. My Girlfriend has Brooks Flyers on all 3 of her bikes,
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Old 12-29-16, 02:10 PM   #7
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I have a Cane Creek Thud Buster seat post , Under my Brompton* - Fizik - Vitesse (Pleather) saddle .

* it's their Unisex saddle they offered as an option with the partial titanium Bikes a few Years ago..

1 CC TB LT,+ 1 CC TB ST, (where length of exposed Post was Too short for the Long travel..


Plastic saddles for this wet Climate, on my transportation Bikes..

For a Light rider you install the Lower density elastomers in the seat Post Mechanism , they ship with several..
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Old 12-29-16, 02:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalash74 View Post
Does anyone happen to know how effective modern comfy saddles like this one
Ellipse Relaxed | Selle Royal

compare to a traditional, Brooks-style saddle?
Brooks B66 Universal Black | 365 Cycles

To add my personal experience to my query, I once owned a B66 saddle on a Raleigh Sports bike and I didn't feel like the springs did a whole lot. Incidentally, I'm a fairly light rider at 140 lbs. I do own a B33 hugely sprung saddle
B33
on one of my English 3-speeds and I do feel the spring action a bit more on that one--probably due to the double-wound springs-- but it's a huge beast. I'm looking for something a bit lighter weight for my commuter / everyday rider bike, but something that will absorb the maximum amount of shock while sitting upright and help alleviate my lower back pain.

Thoughts?
Sure you can spend money on extra suspension....but let's first talk about every bicycle's first and most natural suspension. The pneumatic tires. How wide are your tires, and how many PSI are you running them at?
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Old 12-29-16, 04:35 PM   #9
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You should go research this in the Tandem subforum, suspension seats are popular because it's pretty difficult to float over obstacles and the stoker often gets no warning of bumps.
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Old 12-29-16, 05:30 PM   #10
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Funny you mention tandems Lord Lefty... the saddles that come stock on the Trek T900 tandem are the saddle the o.p. wants. Seriously. I'm sure it is available separately, and if the o.p. asks a Trek dealer nicely they will get set up with one. Heavy, wide but oh so cushy. We took them off forthwith. One's been stolen and the other one is free to a good home, but only if that home is in the Portland Metro area.
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Old 12-31-16, 03:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Sure you can spend money on extra suspension....but let's first talk about every bicycle's first and most natural suspension. The pneumatic tires. How wide are your tires, and how many PSI are you running them at?
Good point.

A second issue would be where he sits on the saddle. If he's sitting very close to the nose, no saddle will be comfortable. The OP must be sitting way back on a saddle that uses springs to take advantage of them.

Also, his riding style can make a huge difference in overall comfort on a long ride. The OP must lift off the saddle when riding over ruts, bumps, potholes and man-hole covers. Each time he hits them while sitting down lessens the amount of time he'll be comfortable on the saddle.

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Old 12-31-16, 07:19 PM   #12
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On my old road bike and my new semi-touring commuter I have mere gel-seat covers (although TWO stacked on the old road bike...it works for me). When I bought my 26x1.95 MTB in 1997, I initially started it with the spring seat from my 1987 Schwinn Cruiser Supreme since it was comfortable. After that wore out I got a similar seat with springs that worked about the same...firm-ish but with a fair amount of travel when a big bump hits. My wife bought a comfort bike with a padded seat with elastometers and a shock absorbing seat post. That definitely has too much travel for me.

So when I needed a new seat for my MTB-based commuter two years ago I found one at Wal-Mart I like. It's wide with a built in gel layer and has those long, conical springs with lots of travel which work well when I'm sitting upright rising the main hand-grips or when I use the aero bar's elbo rests as hand holds. But the seat also has a long nose which works when I lean forward to ride my inboard bar-ends which approximate "the hoods" position, or when I stretch out on the aero bars.

It may not be for everybody (or for ANYbody) but it works for me.
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Old 01-04-17, 06:37 PM   #13
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There's more of a difference between a Brooks B66 and that Selle Royal saddle than just the suspension. I'd take any tensioned leather saddle sans springs over the typical solid seat pan with foam type of seat even if it had elastomers in the seat and seat post. The added springs of the B66 is just icing.
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Old 01-04-17, 08:30 PM   #14
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suspension seatpost might do the trick
I love my Suntour NCT
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Old 01-05-17, 06:21 AM   #15
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The last several days

I've ridden in on very rough ice covered trails. I ride a Brooks C15 (Cambium). The natural rubber with no cushion is a great shock absorber.
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Old 01-05-17, 08:54 AM   #16
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I agree with those who have mentioned tires and bike setup. But since OP mentioned that he wants to ride in an upright position, I guess we should assume he has his position dialed in already. An upright position puts more weight on the seat, rather than the arms; and the more upright position makes it harder to unload the saddle before bumps. Such an upright position is (in my experience) not the best thing for my back; but let me not digress.

The springs on the Brooks "B.66 Gent's Model" have gotten heavier over the years (or, maybe the older saddles have gotten worn out over the years). I weigh 165 and I didn't notice any bounce to speak of on a Brooks Flyer I bought about ten years ago. At any rate, those springs are replaceable. I would definitely look at the other leather saddles, Velo Orange etc, as they may have softer springs.
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Old 01-05-17, 03:16 PM   #17
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@rhm, you are fairly lightweight and you don't like riding upright, and those are two factors leading to springs being useless to you. The same is true for me. Nevertheless, I'm interested in hearing from those who have tried the various methods. Then there are the Specialized road frames with the elastomers in the seat stays. I wonder how much effect they have.
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Old 01-05-17, 07:09 PM   #18
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@rhm, you are fairly lightweight and you don't like riding upright, and those are two factors leading to springs being useless to you. The same is true for me. Nevertheless, I'm interested in hearing from those who have tried the various methods. Then there are the Specialized road frames with the elastomers in the seat stays. I wonder how much effect they have.
All true! But as lightweight as I am, I'm still some 18% heavier than OP, so s/he is not likely to have a better experience than I've had, with coil sprung saddles.

Nor an I a fan of suspension seat posts -- indeed a sore subject, no? You might share your experience of them, others may benefit!

At the risk of offering unwelcome advice, I think we may be dealing with a question that is better answered by improved riding technique rather than improved equipment.
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Old 01-06-17, 12:50 AM   #19
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My Gilles Berthoud Aspin leather saddle plus Thudbuster seatpost has saved my posterior. Though I weigh about 220 lbs., I ignore the recommended elastomer combination, which is meant for off-road jumping, and use two medium elastomers. I might even switch to one light and one medium next summer, as I have never bottomed out--of course, I unweight if I see a bad section of trail. In any case, I barely notice slight pavement separation and small root bumps now. Oh, I have Jones loop handlebars, so a pretty upright position more suitable for my senior body. 😉
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Old 01-07-17, 10:52 AM   #20
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I have 5 brooks saddles: two B17 standard, a champion flyer (B17 with springs), B17 narrow, and C17 carved. At 130lbs, I'm too light for the springs on the Flyer, so it's basically a heavier B17 to me (the springs add about 300g).

For comfort, I would say the B17s are my favorite. The C17 is a bit stiff for me, but may work well for a heavier rider. Despite my small frame, I never liked the B17 narrow. I thought it would fit me better than my B17s, but I gave up on it after 3000 miles (replaced it with the C17).

If a little suspension is what you want, then get the biggest tires that will fit in your frame and lighten up on the tire pressure. I have 700x40 tires that I run at 40 psi and they really smooth out the bumps without feeling too slow.
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Old 01-07-17, 02:18 PM   #21
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I have a brooks conquest on my pugsley, the springs are hard to trigger (especially over the 4" tires at 20psi or less) but when they do they are so great!

Near as I can tell brooks springs are meant to be really rigid until a sizeable person hits a sizeable bump and then they give a little.

Doesn't the thudbuster seatpost allow you to choose the elastomer that is in it so you can fine-tune its responsiveness? That sounds like a nice option.
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Old 01-07-17, 03:08 PM   #22
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I have a brooks conquest on my pugsley, the springs are hard to trigger (especially over the 4" tires at 20psi or less) but when they do they are so great!

Near as I can tell brooks springs are meant to be really rigid until a sizeable person hits a sizeable bump and then they give a little.

Doesn't the thudbuster seatpost allow you to choose the elastomer that is in it so you can fine-tune its responsiveness? That sounds like a nice option.
Yeah, like I said, I use two medium elastomers rather than a heavy and medium or even two heavy elastomers per the recomendation for my weight. But my riding is on relatively smooth pavement, dirt, and gravel. And unlike spring seatposts, the Thudbuster rotates the seat back and down to keep nearly identical pedal distance, so I never notice a change or disruption in my cadence.
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Old 01-07-17, 03:30 PM   #23
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the Long Travel Thud buster is more fine tunable than the short travel , splitting elastomers
+ the pre load bolt..

but if the post length out of the frame is not enough for the LT, then the ST is what works.

[I have one of each]
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Old 01-07-17, 03:42 PM   #24
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+1

Thumbs up for Thudbusters, both long and short. I use them on my big bikes and hardtail MTBs; never regretted the cost.

However, they are attractive to thieves, now I lock through the seatpost system & frame if I have to park my bike -- which is a plus for the long travel model.

They allow you to use any saddle you wish, and offer lots of setback.
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Old 01-07-17, 06:19 PM   #25
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@rhm, my bad experience with the suspension seatpost was from making the cardinal error of modifying my bike before a long ride. The seatpost did not allow me to lower my saddle enough, so I rode with a too-high saddle all day.
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