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  1. #1
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Why aren't sprung saddles popular?

    I've been doing a little research on sprung saddles and it seems like Brooks is the only maker carried by most online shops. I'm interested in buying a brooks but I'm confused as to why the sprung saddles aren't heard of more often. Having only ridden a cheap sprung saddle, it was (at first impression) very comfy. I commute daily and would welcome a better saddle. Should I just go with a B17 and see how I like it or are the sprung saddles just that much more comfortable?

    HELP! I'm confused. Thanks!

    PS - I understand that the suckers are HEAVY. I'm not worried about that as much as comfort

  2. #2
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    I understand that the suckers are HEAVY. I'm not worried about that as much as comfort
    Like you say, weight. And it probably doesn't look cool. Leather needs maintaining. Foam is cheaper.

    Like you, I prefer comfort, I recently ordered a Brooks Flyer for the XO-3.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  3. #3
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    The springs on cheaper models squeak like there's no tomorrow, and I don;t even find them any more comfortable than a decent skinny unsprung...
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  4. #4
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    ...I'm confused as to why the sprung saddles aren't heard of more often...
    Sprung saddles are appropriate if (and only if) a very "upright" seating position is used on the bike. If you're sitting upright, the springs are almost essential to cushion the bumps. If, however, you're on a "road" bike, where the posture is somewhat (to extremely) leaned forward, sprung saddles can't be used at all. Why? Because springs allow the rear of the saddle to sag downward, which, combined with the forward-leaning riding position, puts pressure on the tender parts of the rider's anatomy (which lie toward the front of the saddle). This combination creates numbness, tingling, and an extremely unpleasant riding experience.

    This is why "better" bikes (almost always "road" styled bikes), never have sprung saddles. The Brooks B-17, however, has the advantage of a wide rear seating area, the absence of springs that cause rear sag, and the advantage of leather suppleness, that eventually molds itself to the contours of the individual rider.

    So, in a nutshell - sprung saddles (Brooks B-72 is typical) are for comfort bikes with upright seating positions, non sprung models (Brooks B-17 is typical) are for road bikes where the rider leans forward to some extent.

    Hope this helped!

  5. #5
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    FarHorizon- you rock. That explanation was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the education! Looks like my single speed commuter will be getting a B17 (when I have some bucks). Now to continue my quest for the right geared hub for my commuter bike. Its singlespeed right now and it might just stay that way, I might just end up building a new bike completely. Yeah... I'll do that. Enough rambling. Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Frosted Flake
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    I was considering the same thing, looking at the seat on my Kona. Decided to wait a bit and try it first, and got a nice surprise. With cycle shorts (read padded) the stock seat is actually not bad at all.
    It's either old age or I need more suspension...

    04 Kona Blast (mine)
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  7. #7
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Racers use unsprung saddles(monkey see monkey do) and unsprung are lighter, that is why springs are not popular. Racers don't use springs because of weight, aerodynamics, they are light in the saddle(weight is on the pedals), and that last extra hint of bike control/feel.

    Because springs allow the rear of the saddle to sag downward, which, combined with the forward-leaning riding position, puts pressure on the tender parts of the rider's anatomy (which lie toward the front of the saddle). This combination creates numbness, tingling, and an extremely unpleasant riding experience.
    Rubbish!
    It's called a saddle tilt adjustment, every bike made in the last 100 years has this adjustment, use it.

    The forward lean of a road bike will reduce the need for, and effectivness of, the springs somewhat. The increased lean will also, quite often, call for a slightly narrower saddle, not always though.

    The three spring models(two back, one at the nose) tend to be a bit wiggly for anyone but tandem stokers, but the standard rear only jobs are quite stable.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  8. #8
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by capsicum
    It's called a saddle tilt adjustment, every bike made in the last 100 years has this adjustment, use it.
    My personal experience is that despite saddle tilt adjustments, the constant "massage" on the forward parts of the seating area makes sprung seats uncomfortable with forward-leaning riding positions. Your experience may differ, obviously, but I still stand by my statement that sprung saddles are primarily for upright seating positions - not forward-leaning ones. I don't say that your opinion is "rubbish," merely that some differences of opinion are acceptable here. I've expressed mine, as have you. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    I have an unsprung on my road bike and a sprung on the tandem. My position on both bikes is almost identical (top of bars approximately level with seat). I also have a sprung saddle on my old mountain now commuter bike.

    The springs on these saddles (Brooks) are stiff enough I don't really notice the seat moving. They make a big difference if you hit something sharp like a poorly maintained railroad track crossing or pothole. It's generally no big deal to take the hit in the legs instead but on some really bad roads (Michigan) you'd never get to sit down.

    I've never had a problem with the springs squeaking.

  10. #10
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I'd like to think there's a rational explanation but I'm pretty sure sprung saddles aren't more popular for the same reason fenders aren't more popular, they don't look cool.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  11. #11
    Senior Member Sebach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L
    ... I'm pretty sure sprung saddles aren't more popular for the same reason fenders aren't more popular, they don't look cool.
    Please! Now tell me this doesn't look cool.

  12. #12
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Some people require a certain amount of springiness for comfort. Some don't and prefer as rigid a saddle as possible. Some require something in between. Different saddles use different methods for achieving some amount of suspension. Some people use suspension seatposts.

    Selle Italia and other saddle makers make a veriety of sprung saddles although many of them don't have coil springs. A lot of them use things like elastomer gelpacks of one variety or another between the shell and the saddle rails. Other saddles have a very flexible rail that provides some sort of suspension. Saddles like the Selle Italia SLR have a very flexible shell that works like a hammock. Many saddles combine all three designs. So just because a saddle doesn't have big coils on the back doesn't mean it is totally unsprung.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  13. #13
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    I've never weighed enough to make extreme differences to the tilt of my Conquest, whether sitting upright or in a racing crouch. Most of the time, the springs are unnoticed but when they are called into action, they are appreciated.

    Leather saddles in general are quite expensive, a little heavier and look retro. Any of these factors might put some people off buying one. In use, the weight is not noticed- and I've raced successfully, using mine- they don't often need replacement, so work out affordable, over time and you can't see them in use. Anyone who thinks aesthetics are more important than function on a bike deserves all the discomfort, or inefficiency, they get! (-and nothing's more inefficient than discomfort, in this context;-))
    I'm certainly not saying that leather, or sprung leather saddles are the best option for everyone but they are a valid choice for many types of rider and terrain.

  14. #14
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    My cousins just got their tandem (co motion, the green machine!) and she has a saddle that had this device on it, I tried to move it and it wouldnt, and I talked to my other cousin and he said if they go over any big bumps that is will absorb the shock. Basically a new high tec brooks.
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  15. #15
    Hauja
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebach
    Please! Now tell me this doesn't look cool.
    It looks like the grips and saddle are made of wood .Is there some spring in the handlebars?Is that image CGI?

  16. #16
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    We use quite a few of them on the police bikes. (I'm the "bike guy" with a department that does bike patrol) We tend to like an upright position, and I usually end up setting guy's bikes so that they're much more like a "comfort" bike than a hard-core MTB.

    We also carry a lot of hefty equipment. My belt gear weighs in at 12-13 pounds. We are not much worried about having the lightest machine around.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the excellent replies. I still haven't decided which I want, but this brings me closer. What I might do is buy a standard B17 saddle and if I find it too harsh then I'll try one of the sprung saddles out.

  18. #18
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    Ive seen the Brooks Conquest MTB sprung saddle on touring bikes. It is useful if you ride a lot of rough tracks and is more reliable (+ possibly lighter) than a sus seatpost.

  19. #19
    Senior Member screwdriver's Avatar
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    Beside Brooks, is there another sprung saddle that's worth having? I'm 205lbs and I have a sprung saddle on my commuter bike that has spring that hardly flexes. I sit in an almost straight up position.
    33°54'6.41"N 94°49'54.46"W

  20. #20
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    It seems to me that sprung saddles have been superseded by suspension seatposts.

    As Sheldon Brown used to say, having your back bent forwards on a bike is good, because it flexes like an arch and absorbs shocks. The sprung saddle is only really necessary when riding position is upright enough that shocks will travel straight up your spine.

  21. #21
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Seems to me the issue is that a sprung leather saddle is a heavy expensive saddle, so it's going to be used on heavy expensive bicycles. However, expensive bicycles are 99% oriented towards "light", so there's just little market for an expensive heavy saddle.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  22. #22
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Speaking only for myself, a sprung Brooks is the very devil to attach a seat bag to. The ones made by Brooks (Glenbrook and Millbrook) are no help.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  23. #23
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I use the Brooks sprung saddles on several bikes. FWIW I ran a B17 for years on my drop bar bike, the Champion Flyer is now my saddle of choice. I run my bars level or slightly above seat level. It does make a difference to me. If you are a light weight or you bars are below saddle level you won't get any comfort advantage from it.

    Most of my bikes are for upright riding and they get the wider B66/67 saddles.

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  24. #24
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    What do you all think about a Brooks Flyer on a bottom of the Line Specialized Sirrus? I'm thinking of buying one to smooth out some of the road bumps and buzz.

    Rich B.

  25. #25
    Senior Member GTALuigi's Avatar
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    wow interesting, and i was just comparing 2 models
    need a new sit with suspension, and found these Brooks

    but now that i think more about it, i might not be able to get its benefit at all, since i'm riding more of a "ninja" style (long range touring / racing )

    i just recently changed my handle bars to use aero bars, and wow, what a huge difference in comfort compared to regular road / racing bikes handle bars.

    the weight is no longer on the shoulders, but on the elbow which is comfortably resting.
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