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Old 08-08-17, 12:31 PM   #1
gauvins
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Brooks B17 vs Flyer design difference

Most reviews and comments about the Flyer suggest that it is almost identical to the celebrated B17 albeit mounted on coil springs.

As the pictures below show, there is one critical difference -- the Flyer's middle section is supported by a flared U-shaped metal rod connecting the nose to the rear. There is minimal clearance between the leather cover and this contraption. If your anatomy is such that you have a well padded derrière, it may not matter, but in my case, once the sitbones of my skinny butt have carved their niches, my perineum would press the center of the saddle directly on the steel connector -- it feels like riding a broomstick. No amount of tensioning has improved the fit. The only remedial has been to raise the nose considerably in order to relieve the pressure on the perineum. (I had a B17 many years ago, which eventually took the shape of a hammock, as it should, with two dimples in the back to accommodate my sitbones, resulting, I assume, in evenly distributed pressure over a fairly large area).

I have given up on the Flyer for that reason.



Underside of a B17


Underside of a Flyer
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Old 08-08-17, 01:21 PM   #2
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Very interesting.

You can see why the bars are there though. Without them the bounce would be taken up by the leather instead of the coils and would probably stretch it too fast.
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Old 08-08-17, 03:13 PM   #3
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I had a B-17 and it was great. I went to the Flyer because I have a well padded backside and thought it would be more comfortable. That was 5 years ago on my commuter and it still has not broke in or near as comfortable as the B-17. I am just stubborn and stupid to have kept it this long. I am trading my Specialized Sirrus for a Kona Sutra (which comes with a B-17) and will be sooo happy.
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Old 08-08-17, 03:43 PM   #4
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I have a Flyer on my LHT that probably has 10,000 miles on it. Its no where near the rails. Ill have to take a picture of the underside.

How many miles are on your saddle that the leather is now sitting on those rails. That is a lot of sag.
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Old 08-08-17, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
... I had a B17 many years ago, which eventually took the shape of a hammock, as it should, ...
I disagree, I can't imagine using a saddle that has been allowed to take the shape of a hammock.

I think the first bike tour with my honey colored Conquest was in the first photo. And this past February when I toured Everglades and FL Keys the formerly honey color was a much deeper color as shown in the second photo. The conquest is a sprung saddle that is similar to the Flyer. In between the two photos were a lot of miles over five years. But it has almost no sag because I am very careful to make sure that it can't absorb too much water when I am riding.

If the leather of your saddle is allowed to sag to the degree that is contacts the frame that supports it, it is time to replace it.

I suspect you allowed it to get too wet if it stretched to the point where it would become a hammock.
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Old 08-08-17, 11:49 PM   #6
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I love the standard B17, but am getting a Flyer for my wife's shopping bike. The shopping bike is a new Panasonic, an electric-assisted model, but which is designed for Japanese people in mind. The seat tube is too short, and the original seat too soft. When I ride the bike, I can simply swap the new seat on a longer seat tube. The reason I want the Flyer is because of the upright seating position, which tends to send the bumps and shocks up the seat. The springs on the Flyer should soak up some of the bumps.
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Old 08-09-17, 12:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sangetsu View Post
I love the standard B17, but am getting a Flyer for my wife's shopping bike. The shopping bike is a new Panasonic, an electric-assisted model, but which is designed for Japanese people in mind. The seat tube is too short, and the original seat too soft. When I ride the bike, I can simply swap the new seat on a longer seat tube. The reason I want the Flyer is because of the upright seating position, which tends to send the bumps and shocks up the seat. The springs on the Flyer should soak up some of the bumps.
The springs on the Brooks Flyer are pretty stiff. My Brooks Conquest might use the same springs. I think when I sit on the saddle, I only depress the springs maybe 5 mm, I weigh about 80 kg. I like the springs because I think it removes some of the "buzz" from small bumps, but the larger bumps where you stand on the pedals to use your knees for suspension, you will still want to stand on the pedals for those bumps with the Flyer.

When you said seat tube, I suspect you mean what we call a seat post in USA. Keeping the saddle attached to the seat post and changing seatposts when you change saddles would be the easiest way to frequently change saddles. A suspension seatpost may also be of benefit if you find the springs in the Brooks are not adequate.
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Old 08-09-17, 05:22 PM   #8
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the tension ed leather has a separate stretcher frame, then the springs have a sub frame..

putting a B17 on a suspension seat post may be preferable ,yes?
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Old 08-09-17, 11:33 PM   #9
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If skinny riders can sway & bottom-out their Brooks saddles then Clydes beware, heh. Ideally a leather saddle should only break-in with a small sit-bone dimple; some Brooks riders love their squashed & swayed saddles but I don't like paying good $$ for a saddle that will have unpredictable geometry changes. Sprung Brooks are heavy, sometimes squeak, suspension seatpost seems like the better option.
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Old 08-10-17, 02:36 AM   #10
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Squeaky Flyer

I had a flyer and the squeaking nearly drove me demented!

I followed Brook's instructions about oiling and that cured it for a while..... but it came back again and again and again.

Inside a year the structure broke - thankfully when I wasn't on the bike.

I returned it and traded "down" to a B17. Within 3 weeks I clocked up about 1600 km on it, so it was broken in quickly

I find hardly and difference from a suspension point of view - the Flyer was very stiff.

Frank
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Old 08-10-17, 08:47 PM   #11
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A friend rides an e-bike for <1 hr rides, aluminum frame gives harsh rear ride so I suggested sprung B66. Not that casual cyclists are esp good judges but anyway he didn't like it & went back to the stock padded saddle.

Brooks should try models with elastomer bits between saddle & rails similar to SQlabs' "Active" design.
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Old 08-11-17, 01:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I disagree, I can't imagine using a saddle that has been allowed to take the shape of a hammock.

...

If the leather of your saddle is allowed to sag to the degree that is contacts the frame that supports it, it is time to replace it.

I suspect you allowed it to get too wet if it stretched to the point where it would become a hammock.
Yes, my thoughts as well. Or he used too much Proofide (a common mistake).
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Old 08-13-17, 02:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I can't imagine using a saddle that has been allowed to take the shape of a hammock.

[snip]

I suspect you allowed it to get too wet if it stretched to the point where it would become a hammock.
Not to start an argument, but hammock is the term used to describe leather saddles, which are hung to a frame by the nose and tail. Look it up in wikipedia, Sheldon Brown, or various sources on leather saddles, like this one, which explicitly writes that leather saddles are usually tipped upwards because of this.

My flyer had been treated sparingly with Proofide and nothing else, has never been ridden after being soaked by rain.

It was, however defective -- mounted off axis such that the left wing was about half an inch higher than the right. I am returning it under warranty and might change for a B17, if it is allowed. I have also just purchased a Selle Anatomica out of curiosity and a moderate dose of frustration with Brooks.

Anyhow - the point of my post was to draw attention to the Flyer's under carriage.

Last edited by gauvins; 08-13-17 at 08:19 AM.
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