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Old 01-28-07, 10:32 AM   #1
Motorad
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Comfortable B17 Seats for Men

I plan to buy a Trek Pilot 5.9, and their handlebars are about the same height as the saddle. Please click here to see the geometry: http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike...id=1411000&f=4

I've narrowed my choice to the Brooks B17 saddle, without springs or coils. Please click here to see the choices of B17 seats: http://www.brookssaddles.com/brooksengland.html
* "Swift" - It is confusing, because the Swift appears to be categorized as a B17, but the "B17" is not included in the title of the "Swift" seat. It as advertised as "a first-class titanium framed men's racing cycle". My first question is whether the Swift is considered a B17 saddle, and is this a comfortable seat for bars at same height as the saddle?
* "B17 Standard"
* "B17 Titanium"
* "B17 Champion Special"

Which of the above seats would more likely be the most comfortable, for the following use?
* Not riding aggressively.
* Riding mostly on paved paths, metro parks, and MUPs.
* Group rides of 30-50 miles.
* A century ... probably only once ... to know if I can hang or not.
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Old 01-28-07, 11:23 AM   #2
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I just started using a B17 and I'm still breaking it in, and I've never used a Brooks before. So what I've got to say about it is just gleaned from reading the forums here, searching the internet, and talking to the few cyclists I've run into who were using Brooks saddles.

My understanding is that the Swift isn't part of the B17 category. You can download the Brooks catalogue in .pdf format from their site, and it has more detailed descriptions than the website itself.

I think the Swift is intended for pretty aggressive riding w/ handlebars positioned somewhat lower than the seat.

Based on what I've heard (and not on any personal experience) I would think the B17 or Flyer (B17 w/ moderately stiff springs) would be a better bet. Also your weight, especially if your bars are even with or higher than your saddle, might be a consideration in what type of saddle you get. If you're really light, say 130lbs. or less I don't know if the sprung saddles would make much difference. If you're over 190 or so, you might go with a model with heavier springs.

[edit: Sorry, re-reading your post I see you already decided against springs. I'm gonna leave that bit in anyway but feel free to ignore it. ]

Do you have a seat you've used in the past and been comfortable on during similar cycling? If so you might check the width of that seat and use it to help decide what size saddle to get. The catalogue has the widths and lengths listed. If the saddles is too wide for you, it may cause uncomfortable rubbing. If it's too narrow, your "sit bones" may be riding on the steel frame.

If you haven't already, I'd also recommend checking out Sheldon Brown's/Harris Cyclery's saddle pages.
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/saddles.html

I ended up buying my B17 from them because the price was reasonably competitive and I try to support the businesses that give me access to the info/experience I need. that's my 2 cents.

Hopefully some more folks with greater experience will be along to offer some advice.
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Old 01-28-07, 11:45 AM   #3
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The B17 standard is the "standard." You will find that is what MOST people ride. I have 3 of them and love them all. WHether one of the other saddles is better for you, i can't say. I will recommend you go to www.wallbike.com and look there. Bill will even help you vie email or phone if you have direct questions.

I think he still has a return policy where you can return the saddle a good long while after buying if you don't like it. http://www.wallbike.com/Brooks.html

Last edited by Portis; 01-28-07 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 01-28-07, 01:12 PM   #4
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The swift is more of a racing saddle and is most comfortable for bikes with a more aggressive setup.

The standard B-17 is the cheapest of the B-17 editions and it is what most people who ride B-17s go with. The champion special uses larger copper rivets (standard uses small steel rivets) and the skirts (the side of the saddle) is a bit fancier than the standard B-17. The titanium edition uses titanium rails (standard uses steel) and is the most expensive of the three. No difference in comfort between the three, just looks. As Portis pointed out, if you order a Brooks order from Wallbike. Can't beat a 6 month return policy.
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Old 01-28-07, 02:25 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone. Another issue is that I would like a green seat, to match a green frame for the bike. This would rule out the B17 Standard, as it does not come in green.

The B17 Champion Special does come in green, with either copper or titanium railings. The B17 Champion Special titanium seat is much more expensive than its copper counterpart. Would the titanium railings be more comfortable for your butt and back, to make it worth the extra cost?
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Old 01-28-07, 02:35 PM   #6
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Titanium rails save weight and don't have anything to do with comfort.
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Old 01-28-07, 02:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barba
Titanium rails save weight and don't have anything to do with comfort.
And the saddle is still heavy after that. Brooks saddles are purchased for comfort. There isn't one that can be considered "light."
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Old 01-28-07, 02:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barba
Titanium rails save weight and don't have anything to do with comfort.
Especially on Brooks saddles, the ti frame and railings save a significant amount of weight over their steel models.
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Old 02-01-07, 04:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorad
Thanks everyone. Another issue is that I would like a green seat, to match a green frame for the bike. This would rule out the B17 Standard, as it does not come in green.

The B17 Champion Special does come in green, with either copper or titanium railings. The B17 Champion Special titanium seat is much more expensive than its copper counterpart. Would the titanium railings be more comfortable for your butt and back, to make it worth the extra cost?
I have a Champion Special and a Flyer both in honey. They have the B17 top so they feel identical. The springs do nothing on pavement. They do look kind of neat though. If I get another, it will be another Champion Special in black. Good luck


Tim
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Old 02-01-07, 08:21 PM   #10
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Those springs may look neat, but they sure limit your choices of seat bags.
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Old 02-02-07, 07:46 AM   #11
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Brooks B.17

Go the website for Wallingford Bicycle Parts:

http://www.wallbike.com/

They have pictures and dimensions for every Brooks saddle plus you can return a saddle after using it if you don't like it. I have been riding Brooks for many years and they are the best. For what you described the B.17 Champion Special or B.17 Standard would be the right choice. The Champion Special is just a nicer quality version of the Standard, but will give the same fit and ride.
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Old 02-02-07, 04:01 PM   #12
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The springs don't do much in my opinion. The leather itself has a springy quality to it. And what others have said is true regarding how limiting those springs are for finding a good fiting saddle bag. I would go with the B17. They are very comfy.
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Old 02-02-07, 11:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowandsteady
The springs don't do much in my opinion. The leather itself has a springy quality to it. And what others have said is true regarding how limiting those springs are for finding a good fiting saddle bag. I would go with the B17. They are very comfy.
I disagree. I have five different Brooks saddles and the Champion Flyer on my wife's Raleigh is the most comfortable for both of us.

The B18 on her Fuji is very comfortable. but it requires an upright riding position.
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Old 02-03-07, 11:27 AM   #14
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About those springs:
True, they don't do much on pavement. That's because they're not supposed to. People complain that a sprung saddle robs power because they tend to rock, thus weakening the powerstroke. Brooks coil springs, as found on the Flyer, B66/67, do not rock excessively unless they are set too high. In fact, they are very stiff. However, that is not to say they don't work.

If provided a chance, just hop over onto a Flyer after a ride on a 17 Standard, and you'll notice a big difference right away. If you ride behind a rider using a sprung Brooks, and can watch carefully, you'll see hundreds of small movements. The springs dampen more shock than one might have noticed before, especially the harder shocks. In conjunction with the leather, it's a very fine ride. Also, the Flyer, being a sprung 17, is ideal for touring bikes with drops as well as all-rounder bikes like a roadified MTB.
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Old 02-03-07, 05:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barba
Titanium rails save weight and don't have anything to do with comfort.
Titanium rails are more resilient, and certainly make for a more comfortable ride in my experience. The amount of weight saved is surely inconsequential?
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Old 02-03-07, 05:24 PM   #16
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I have a brooks Team Pro and a Swift (Titanium rails). The weight difference is noticeable.
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Old 02-03-07, 05:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I have a brooks Team Pro and a Swift (Titanium rails). The weight difference is noticeable.
+1

I have a Team Pro and a Ti-railed Team Pro.
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Old 02-03-07, 07:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcm
About those springs:
True, they don't do much on pavement. That's because they're not supposed to. People complain that a sprung saddle robs power because they tend to rock, thus weakening the powerstroke. Brooks coil springs, as found on the Flyer, B66/67, do not rock excessively unless they are set too high. In fact, they are very stiff. However, that is not to say they don't work.

If provided a chance, just hop over onto a Flyer after a ride on a 17 Standard, and you'll notice a big difference right away. If you ride behind a rider using a sprung Brooks, and can watch carefully, you'll see hundreds of small movements. The springs dampen more shock than one might have noticed before, especially the harder shocks. In conjunction with the leather, it's a very fine ride. Also, the Flyer, being a sprung 17, is ideal for touring bikes with drops as well as all-rounder bikes like a roadified MTB.
Well put.
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Old 02-04-07, 04:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
I disagree. I have five different Brooks saddles and the Champion Flyer on my wife's Raleigh is the most comfortable for both of us.

The B18 on her Fuji is very comfortable. but it requires an upright riding position.
I never cared for a mixte frame. With that said, your wifes looks great. Very retro looking ride. Now if I can get my wife to get out there.

Tim
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Old 02-04-07, 11:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cs1
I never cared for a mixte frame. With that said, your wifes looks great. Very retro looking ride. Now if I can get my wife to get out there.

Tim
Thanks. They're retro looking because they're 31 and 25 years old, but they're newer than my road bikes.
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Old 02-04-07, 11:29 AM   #21
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The width of your hip bones plays a big role in determining which saddle works.
The B17 fits most. If you have narrow hips the B17N is a possibity.
I have a Champion Special in green, it is a traditional Brit green, and might, or might not, look good with your green bike.

I also have a Flyer, which is the same size as a B17; but due to the thinner leather feels smaller to me.

But the saddle I use for 90% of my riding is the Selle AnAtomica Titanico. Which
looks like a B17 but is longer and has a cutout.
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Old 02-05-07, 02:51 PM   #22
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I have a B17: no springs
I have a B72: springs

No difference in springiness. None, zip, zero, zilch, nada, nope. The only difference is that I cannot find a bag that will fit on the B72 without the help of someone with a PhD in Engineering. The only reason I have the B72 is for the width. They just came out with a new Brooks that has the same dimensions as the B72, yet is unsprung. I will still hang onto my B72 since it is nicely broken in, but if I had to buy a new saddle I would most definitely get the unsprung version.

Keep in mind the B72 looks like this and has loop springs. According to Wallbike they are more subtle in function than coil springs.

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Old 02-05-07, 09:13 PM   #23
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The titanium version will be more comfortable, especially if you wear your wallet in your back pocket. The thinner wallet will cause less discomfort.
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Old 02-05-07, 09:28 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barba
Titanium rails save weight and don't have anything to do with comfort.
I have to disagree...

I have a Brooks B17 and love it (on my Surly Cross Check). On my Caldera, however, I have a ti-railed Fizik. And yes, the titanium does save weight (compared to steel) but it also adds to comfort as the titanium is more compliant than steel.
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Old 02-06-07, 05:09 AM   #25
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When ordering a B17 titanium from Brooks, do you also need to order a seat clamp? Brooks offers two types of single rail clamps, and either a double rail or a triple rail clamp ... so how do you know which one would be best for a Trek 730 seatpost?:
http://www.wallbike.com/brooks/partsandaccessories.html

If a Brooks clamp is needed, how do you determine which clamp is needed?
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