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  1. #1
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    How do you decide which Brooks?

    Okay, I'm sold on the Brooks. Now I'm trying to decide between the B17 regular and the B17 narrow. I'm pretty slender, how do I decide?

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    From www.wallbike.com

    "Next we discuss width. A person who rides with an upright style with elbows in the ribs might be best served by some of the wider Brooks models. All of the wider Brooks models, like the B-66, B-72, B-73, B-130, and B-90/3 have springs, too. Aggressive riders are often good candidates for the narrower models: Team Pro, Swift, Colt and B-17N. Most of us fall in between these two extremes and are made happy by B-17s, Conquests, Flyers, and B-66 Champions."

    http://www.wallbike.com/Brooks.html

    This info might help as well.

    http://www.brooksarchives.info/brook...page8and9.html

    But if you can, buy both and return the one you don't like.

  3. #3
    59'er Mariner Fan's Avatar
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    The B-17 narrow is still wider than most racing saddles.

    B-17 - 170mm
    B-17n - 155mm
    Team Pro - 160mm (My personal favorite)
    Swift - 155mm

    Fizik Aliante - 138mm
    Selle Italia Flite - 140mm
    Specialized Saddles - 130mm, 143mm, 155mm

    So even the most narrow Brooks is as wide or wider than the common saddles out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mariner Fan
    The B-17 narrow is still wider than most racing saddles.

    B-17 - 170mm
    B-17n - 155mm
    Team Pro - 160mm (My personal favorite)
    Swift - 155mm

    Fizik Aliante - 138mm
    Selle Italia Flite - 140mm
    Specialized Saddles - 130mm, 143mm, 155mm
    Mariner Fan: where on the saddle are those widths measured? I did the cardboard-in-the-chair test to see the width of my ischials and came up with a 10.5 - 11.5 width center to center. But the relationship of that distance to the 'widths' you post is unclear to me...

    thnx,
    centexwoody
    They're beautiful handsome machines that translate energy into joy.

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    Are you riding a Hybrid or other upright riding bike? If so go with the B17 for sure, otherwise if you have drop handlebars you may consider the B17N.
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
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    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by centexwoody
    Mariner Fan: where on the saddle are those widths measured? I did the cardboard-in-the-chair test to see the width of my ischials and came up with a 10.5 - 11.5 width center to center. But the relationship of that distance to the 'widths' you post is unclear to me...

    thnx,
    Outside edge to outside edge.

    A little considered fact:

    The relationship of your ischials to saddle width should include the fact that there is a steel frame under the rear of the saddle. It is about 1/2" wide and you cannot break that thing in - no matter what. Thus, your ischials need to be inside that frame, resting on leather.

    Your ischials come with their own padding as well. So, figure that the points are surrounded by an area about the size of a 50cent piece of flesh. Get most of that inside the steel frame and you're good to go long almost right out of the box. The people I have fitted like this are very grateful converts.

    Bottom line, with no intended pun, is that many people try a Brooks and don't have a clue that they are trying to bend steel. They are actually sitting on the rivets, or, on the outside edge. This can be excruciating.

  7. #7
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    jcm- so, based on your information, I would be best off going with the regular b17 because it would be more likely that my sit bones will fit inside the steel. If I went with the narrow there would be a chance that it wouldn't fit. So could it hurt to have TOO wide of a saddle?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    jcm- so, based on your information, I would be best off going with the regular b17 because it would be more likely that my sit bones will fit inside the steel. If I went with the narrow there would be a chance that it wouldn't fit. So could it hurt to have TOO wide of a saddle?
    I think that jcm was talking about fore and aft adjusment as well as well as side to side.

    Having decided to take the plunge, make the most of it. Do the cardboard in the seat measurement described above. Then consider your riding position. It's all on the web sites posted above by Robert_in_ca. Before anyone here can answer your question you need to gather some information.

    Speedo

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    I tried using a Brooks B17 on my Lemond road bike and found the saddle was too wide and rubbed the inside of my thighs, causing my legs to go a bit numb. When I switched to the Team Pro it worked just fine. However I use a B17 on my hybrid for commuting and touring and it's great on that bike with a more up-right riding position.
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    How did I decide?

    I emailed Bill at Wallingford and he gave me all the advice I needed to make my decision.

  11. #11
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    I went with the B17. Ordered it on Ebay moments ago. I used your information and even though I ride a fixed gear road bike I ride semi upright. I think it'll be a good fit. I'll be sure and let you know how much I love it!

  12. #12
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    jcm- so, based on your information, I would be best off going with the regular b17 because it would be more likely that my sit bones will fit inside the steel. If I went with the narrow there would be a chance that it wouldn't fit. So could it hurt to have TOO wide of a saddle?
    The difference in width between a 17 Standard and a Narrow is about 3/4". To me, that's a lot. Having too wide a saddle will put pressure on your pinaforis muscle. This is a small band that comes down from your pelvis, on each side of the fruit basket, then wraps back and joins the top/rear of the hamstring.

    People notice the pressure as a sort of charlie horse effect, and it can lead to some numbness. Typically, it occurs when you sit and spin up a hill, then goes away soon after going over the top. It's caused by the flair portion of the saddle as you push back into it while pedaling with force.

    The wider the saddle at the flair, the more you are likely to experience this sensation. The 17 Narrow has the flair starting a little farther back than the Standard - sort of a budget Pro. This helps.

    As to the seat portion, yes, you will be better off with a wider area than a narrower one. I'm a Clydesdale at 230lbs and 6' tall. I ride a fairly aggressive pace most of the time and I ride alot of hills. I have two 17 Standards and two B67's. I much prefer the 67's even tho there is a slight increase in that charlie horse thing. The wider seat area, with it's Cadillac Comfort on very long rides, trumps the temporary and slight discomfort in the pinaforis.

    Also, as stated above, you can move the saddle back and forth to lessen the effects of the flair somewhat.

  13. #13
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by bccycleguy
    I tried using a Brooks B17 on my Lemond road bike and found the saddle was too wide and rubbed the inside of my thighs, causing my legs to go a bit numb. When I switched to the Team Pro it worked just fine. However I use a B17 on my hybrid for commuting and touring and it's great on that bike with a more up-right riding position.
    This is another good point. The Standard 17's are not, strictly speaking, for Lemond type bikes that have the rider literally laying over the saddle. The Team Pro is a great choice for the more aggressive style of riding with many 'pure' road bikes. Standard 17's are the biggest selling Brooks saddles ever. That's because they work for the greatest number of people.

    Team Pro saddles are actually a 'perch' rather than a seat, as such. Same with the Swift. These are top performance types. Standard 17's are more of a weight bearing design, much like their larger cousin, the B72.

  14. #14
    59'er Mariner Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    This is another good point. The Standard 17's are not, strictly speaking, for Lemond type bikes that have the rider literally laying over the saddle. The Team Pro is a great choice for the more aggressive style of riding with many 'pure' road bikes. Standard 17's are the biggest selling Brooks saddles ever. That's because they work for the greatest number of people.

    Team Pro saddles are actually a 'perch' rather than a seat, as such. Same with the Swift. These are top performance types. Standard 17's are more of a weight bearing design, much like their larger cousin, the B72.

    I'm not sure what you are talking about here. Do you mean the B-17 gives you a hammock effect better than the Team Pro and Swift?

    BTW, I have all three of these saddles and like the Team Pro the best and the B-17 the least. The Swift is on my Lemond and the Team Pro is on my Trek. I sold my B-17 a while ago. Unfortunately, I have really long Femurs so even with a set back seat post I tend to ride on the back of the saddle. Itís still very comfortable to me and the Team Pro is molding to my anatomy well. The Swift is still too new but I expect the same out of it.

  15. #15
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    Excellent specifics on the Brooks saddles - thanks to each of you. This thread has been more to-the-point on the Brooks fit & positioning than any that I've read.
    centexwoody
    They're beautiful handsome machines that translate energy into joy.

  16. #16
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mariner Fan
    I'm not sure what you are talking about here. Do you mean the B-17 gives you a hammock effect better than the Team Pro and Swift?

    BTW, I have all three of these saddles and like the Team Pro the best and the B-17 the least. The Swift is on my Lemond and the Team Pro is on my Trek. I sold my B-17 a while ago. Unfortunately, I have really long Femurs so even with a set back seat post I tend to ride on the back of the saddle. Itís still very comfortable to me and the Team Pro is molding to my anatomy well. The Swift is still too new but I expect the same out of it.
    The thing about written discussions, to me at least, is that they tend to be more subjective than direct verbal ones. I think the lack of sponaneous interjection is the cause. Words like "perch" and "seat" obviously are interchangeable. I'll try it this way:

    You ask about the hammock thing. In a word, yes. The Standard 17's will exhibit this more then a Pro, which is a stiffer saddle, and more suited to a competitive ride style where the rider has more weight evenly distributed upon the pedals and bars. Pros are thinner at the peak, with less flair aft, allowing very powerful leverage while in the drops and on hills (that piniforis cramping issue is lessened somewhat). They have a high arch cross-section rather than the flatter one found on the 17's and even flatter on the 67's. Again, this allows freedom of motion for the highly competitve rider. Hardcore flat-backers sometimes have little full contact with the saddle, often just grazing it. In other words, it's a perch, not a seat.

    Standard 17's certainly do their duty on many road bikes very well, but, they are ideally suited to a tour type or some type of geometry that has a more relaxed setup.

    Example: My '05 Specialized Seqouia Elite is a road bike, but it is designed to be a recreational type, not really competitve, even thought it is pretty fast. The geometry is very much like my Trek 520 - very comfortable and relaxed. So, the B17 works well, even when in the drops.

    BTW, I sympathize with people who have physical features that make it a bit challenging to find a fit. Being 230 and 6' tall, I'm somewhat like a fire hydrant - solid and stocky. My wide ischials have turned me into sort of an armchair expert on Brooks saddles because I had to. Lots of failed attempts in my shop under the bench. For me, a 17 is at the very edge of fit. The 67 is about as perfect as I have ever found.

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