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Old 04-21-07, 05:58 AM   #1
Lolly Pop
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Deciding between Brooks women's models

Hi there. I am looking for a Brooks for myself, and would like some help. All the photos show a side view of the saddles, making it hard to tell the difference between each model.

I am leaning in favour of the B67-S, but am also considering the Countess. Each is sprung, and I can't discern any differences.

I ride in a fairly upright stance, with my saddle level-ish with my bars, and use trekking bars.

According to my memory foam pillow (thanks for the tip, jcm), my ischials are 5.5 inches (140 mm) apart, centre to center.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

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Old 04-21-07, 07:02 AM   #2
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A bit more research has revealed the following distinctions between the women's Brooks sprung saddles. Dimensions are width x length (am including the Champion Flyer S to aid others in their research):

Countess: 172 x 235, vents, no bag loops, 820g
B67 S: 210 X 235, vents, bag loops, 850g
Champion Flyer Special 'S': 174 X 245, no vents, bag loops, 800g

Subtracting the saddle width from my ischials measurement gives me 16mm ischials-to-saddle edge on the Countess, vs 35mm on the 67 S. Methinks the B67 S would keep more of my bum on the saddle, thus offering a more comfortable, better-supported ride.

Is this conclusion accurate?

Last edited by Lolly Pop; 04-24-07 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 04-21-07, 11:05 AM   #3
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I think your conclusion is accurate. 16mm isn't a lot, especially if it is measured to the outside edge of the saddle, since there's a metal rail that you also have to contend with. Go for the B67S. Seems like its the right size for you.
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Old 04-21-07, 11:22 AM   #4
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thanks!
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Old 04-22-07, 10:15 AM   #5
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67s for sure, since you ride fairly upright. It would be wide enough to get the fleshy pads surrounding your sitbones inside the frame rail under the rear of the saddle. That's important.

EDIT: I think I suggested cardboard as a measurement tool, but memory foam sounds like a better idea.
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Old 04-22-07, 10:30 AM   #6
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Hi,
I think you might be a bit small for a B67 unless you are quite close
to bolt upright. I have 155mm ischials and sit fairly upright and that saddle was just too big.
If you know someone with a Brooks B17, try sitting on it, or even better, go for a ride.
I suspect the Flyer might be a good choice for you.

I went through 4 leather saddles before I got lucky.
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Old 04-22-07, 10:46 AM   #7
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Hey, ive no advice for this, but some more questions!!

How do i measure the ischials properly?? or what thread do i need to read to find out how!! I never knew a seat could be so confusing, i just took the brooks they give me with my bike haha. Hope its alright, my gf needs one.. so i guess measuring before we go get it would be a good start!!
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Old 04-22-07, 10:49 AM   #8
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My wife uses a Brooks Finesse. It's a great saddle.
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Old 04-22-07, 02:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiles9
Hey, ive no advice for this, but some more questions!!

How do i measure the ischials properly?? or what thread do i need to read to find out how!! I never knew a seat could be so confusing, i just took the brooks they give me with my bike haha. Hope its alright, my gf needs one.. so i guess measuring before we go get it would be a good start!!
The advice I generally give is to:
1) cut the four flaps off a heavy cardboard box
2) stack the pieces and sit on them with your knees slightly high
3) watch TV for about twenty minutes
4) measure the indents that have formed in the cardboard center-to-center.

5) I add about 1" (25mm) of width for the fleshy padding around the ischials.

EXAMPLE: If your ischials are 150mm center-to-center, you can add about 25mm of total width and select a saddle that is at minimum 170mm wide. That would be a B17, for instance, and you'd be pushing the outer limits of fit. Remember that the outer 1/2" (12mm) is wasted structure because you can't form the steel frame under the rear/sides of the saddle, so add another 25mm at least. That bumps you into the realm of the 67 at 210mm if you ride upright more than other ways.

The useable comfort zone inside the frame rail of a B67 is 185mm minimum.
If you have ischial material that is around 175-180mm, you'll be very comfortable on a B67.

EDIT: Yesterday I rode 85 miles on my Sequoia road bike with a Standard B17. Today, I'm feeling it a bit, but not sore. I rode 35 miles today on my roadified Trek 930 with a B67 and didn't feel any pressure spots from yesterday at all.

Last edited by jcm; 04-22-07 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 04-23-07, 07:28 AM   #10
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wow.. nice advice, thanks, we will get working on that asap!! Im getting impressed by the amount of thought goes into touring :-)
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Old 04-23-07, 01:14 PM   #11
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Hi there, Lolly Pop,

Weren't you supposed to get a Brooks saddle already for your birthday last year?

May I ask you why you decided to go with the sprung models? My sister also wanted to buy a Brooks recently, and she chose the B17 S.

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Old 04-23-07, 01:38 PM   #12
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I think springs just sound comfier! And I am all about comfort!

And yes, I *was* supposed to get one for my birthday last year! what a good memory you have!
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Old 04-23-07, 01:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by late
Hi,
I think you might be a bit small for a B67 unless you are quite close
to bolt upright. I have 155mm ischials and sit fairly upright and that saddle was just too big.
If you know someone with a Brooks B17, try sitting on it, or even better, go for a ride.
I suspect the Flyer might be a good choice for you.

I went through 4 leather saddles before I got lucky.
I sat on my friend's B17 and it seemed fine. Just not as. . . welcoming? as I might have liked.
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Old 04-23-07, 02:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
I think springs just sound comfier! And I am all about comfort!
IMHO, the sprung models are appropriate mainly for heavier riders, for whom the natural springiness of tensioned leather alone may not be enough. I, at 160 lbs., can hardly detect any difference in the comfort department between a B17 and a Champion Flyer. The springs are quite stiff--and they're quite heavy; I just weighed a B17 and a Flyer that happened to be at hand (off bikes). The B17 turned the scales at 526 g, while the Flyer was 817 g. This is a significant difference. The weight differences are probably similar between the unsprung and sprung ladies' models. So I'm all about comfort, too--but especially so when going uphill!
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Old 04-23-07, 02:25 PM   #15
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I partially agree with Lotum. Springs benefit heavier riders more than lighter ones - unless you switch the springs to a lighter gage, such as the Huffy springs (.078") I alluded to earlier. The springs on a Brooks B67 or a Champion measure .092" thick. Pretty stiff. They really only work for some of the bumpier conditions. If you are a lightweight, you might not even actuate them much at all. Now, I'm 235lbs, so I make 'em go. I have two 67's. One with stock springs and the other with Huffy's. The ride on the Huffy coils is much more supple, but with little or no rocking. They fit right on , too.

As far as total gear weight is concerned, I don't worry too much about it.
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Old 04-23-07, 02:40 PM   #16
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Jeepers, I am pretty light, I may not, uh, actuate, the springs!
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Old 04-23-07, 04:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
Jeepers, I am pretty light, I may not, uh, actuate, the springs!
My wife has the Champion Flyer "S" and she's only 60kgs. I've seen those springs work when she rode over bad roads with pot holes. Combined with the 700X35 tires she rides very comfy.
She has never had any problems with her saddle, worked fine from day one, no break in required.
cheers
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Old 04-24-07, 01:52 AM   #18
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My wife has the Champion Flyer "S" and she's only 60kgs. I've seen those springs work when she rode over bad roads with pot holes. Combined with the 700X35 tires she rides very comfy.
She has never had any problems with her saddle, worked fine from day one, no break in required.
cheers
OK, Lolly Pop, there you go...
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Old 04-24-07, 01:49 PM   #19
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I still can't decide! I was looking at them again today online. . . It's between the Flyer S and the 67 S. . . They are the same price. . . both come in Honey. . . It all comes down to one thing. . .

Basically, is it that the 67 is for bigger bums, and the Flyer for smaller ones?
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Old 04-24-07, 02:04 PM   #20
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I thought this may be of interest, re "breaking in" the saddle. It is from the CTC website, Q&A department:

"There are many fables as to the best way to soften the saddle. However you do not want to soften the saddle, you want to promote its forming without it becoming soft. A good saddle will still look and feel hard but it will have taken to your shape. Consider your best, hand-made leather dress shoes. The first time you wore them the leather was hard. They pinched and you got blisters. But after a few months they felt better than any shoes you ever owned before. The leather is not any softer, it has formed to your feet so the shoes are now truly custom fitted.

"This is what a leather saddle can do for you if you treat it properly. And the proper way to break in a Brooks saddle is to ride it. The photo shows a perfectly broken-in Brooks saddle. This saddle is still hard at every point, even where indented, as no foreign substances have been used to accelerate its breaking in. The rider's contact with the saddle is now uniform, with no pressure peaks. The saddle may look distorted but to the owner it is incredibly comfortable – exactly how a Brooks should ideally become. How was this form achieved? Simply by riding.

"Proofide does not accelerate the breaking-in process. It conditions the leather without saturating it, allowing it to breathe whilst offering some protection from the elements. A saddle that has been treated with Hydrophene or Neatsfoot oil may appear comfortable but this comfort comes from its bowing. Brooks' official advice is lots of Proofide on the underside without wiping off – to protect the saddle from anything thrown up by the wheels (not so important on a bike with mudguards). On the top use it sparingly every 500 miles: apply in the evening, wipe off in the morning."

Andrew Hunter – Brooks England Ltd, Smethwick
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Old 04-24-07, 02:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
I thought this may be of interest, re "breaking in" the saddle. It is from the CTC website, Q&A department:

"There are many fables as to the best way to soften the saddle. However you do not want to soften the saddle, you want to promote its forming without it becoming soft. A good saddle will still look and feel hard but it will have taken to your shape. Consider your best, hand-made leather dress shoes. The first time you wore them the leather was hard. They pinched and you got blisters. But after a few months they felt better than any shoes you ever owned before. The leather is not any softer, it has formed to your feet so the shoes are now truly custom fitted.

"This is what a leather saddle can do for you if you treat it properly. And the proper way to break in a Brooks saddle is to ride it. The photo shows a perfectly broken-in Brooks saddle. This saddle is still hard at every point, even where indented, as no foreign substances have been used to accelerate its breaking in. The rider's contact with the saddle is now uniform, with no pressure peaks. The saddle may look distorted but to the owner it is incredibly comfortable exactly how a Brooks should ideally become. How was this form achieved? Simply by riding.

"Proofide does not accelerate the breaking-in process. It conditions the leather without saturating it, allowing it to breathe whilst offering some protection from the elements. A saddle that has been treated with Hydrophene or Neatsfoot oil may appear comfortable but this comfort comes from its bowing. Brooks' official advice is lots of Proofide on the underside without wiping off to protect the saddle from anything thrown up by the wheels (not so important on a bike with mudguards). On the top use it sparingly every 500 miles: apply in the evening, wipe off in the morning."

Andrew Hunter Brooks England Ltd, Smethwick
This is almost exactly what I've been saying on all these Brooks threads. Do not attempt to soften a Brooks saddle. Ride it in. It should always remain firm to the hand, formed to the tush.
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Old 04-24-07, 02:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
I still can't decide! I was looking at them again today online. . . It's between the Flyer S and the 67 S. . . They are the same price. . . both come in Honey. . . It all comes down to one thing. . .

Basically, is it that the 67 is for bigger bums, and the Flyer for smaller ones?
Well, not to confuse you further, but, yes and no. The differences are mostly mission related, so to speak. The 66/67/68/72 saddles are for people who do most of their riding in a moderately-to-mostly upright posture. Flyers/17/Finesse saddles will do the same but are also for people who ride in a somewhat more agressive posture as well. All the coil springs are the same gage these days (.092"). Brooks used to have a thinner gage for the B73, but they have economized. They have run out of old stock .084" springs.

So, there is considerable crossover in actual use between these saddles. Like I said earlier, fit and comfort are issues related to your ischial width, plus that quarter size pad that surrounds those little pointy bones.
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Old 04-24-07, 02:46 PM   #23
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Thanks jcm. I ride in a fairly upright posture.
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Old 04-24-07, 07:07 PM   #24
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I own a B17 and a B67, and find that the width of the B67 interferes with my pedaling unless I'm sitting almost completely upright. Of course saddle fit is a very personal thing. My ischials are more like 110-120, so JCM's fit procedure would probably point me toward a B17.

The B17 is on my tourer, with the drop bars at saddle height. My upper body position on this bike is at about a 45 degree angle. This is a very comfortable position for me with the B17, especially now that the saddle is broken in.

I bought the B67 as an experiment and put it on this same bike. Even with this fairly upright position the width of the B67 interfered with my pedaling, I could feel it jamming the backs of my thighs. Maybe this would change as the saddle breaks in, but it was obviously not an improvement. I moved the B67 to a bike I use for shorter rides around town, with swept-back style bars (3-speed "north road" style), a little higher than the saddle, a more upright riding position. Much better. When I add a taller stem so I'm sitting almost 90 degrees upright then I think the B67 will be perfect for me on this bike.

The other thing to note about the B67 is that while the B17 was mounted in the middle of the rails, using the same seatpost I could not mount the B67 far enough back without changing to a different seatpost with more layback. I'm not sure if the B67 rails are shorter or just positioned differently.

Bottom line is, you might no know which is best for you until you narrow it down to 2 and try them both.
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Old 04-25-07, 01:44 AM   #25
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Quote:
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I own a B17 and a B67, and find that the width of the B67 interferes with my pedaling unless I'm sitting almost completely upright. Of course saddle fit is a very personal thing. My ischials are more like 110-120, so JCM's fit procedure would probably point me toward a B17.

The B17 is on my tourer, with the drop bars at saddle height. My upper body position on this bike is at about a 45 degree angle. This is a very comfortable position for me with the B17, especially now that the saddle is broken in.

I bought the B67 as an experiment and put it on this same bike. Even with this fairly upright position the width of the B67 interfered with my pedaling, I could feel it jamming the backs of my thighs. Maybe this would change as the saddle breaks in, but it was obviously not an improvement. I moved the B67 to a bike I use for shorter rides around town, with swept-back style bars (3-speed "north road" style), a little higher than the saddle, a more upright riding position. Much better. When I add a taller stem so I'm sitting almost 90 degrees upright then I think the B67 will be perfect for me on this bike.

The other thing to note about the B67 is that while the B17 was mounted in the middle of the rails, using the same seatpost I could not mount the B67 far enough back without changing to a different seatpost with more layback. I'm not sure if the B67 rails are shorter or just positioned differently.

Bottom line is, you might no know which is best for you until you narrow it down to 2 and try them both.
My experience exactly. Basically, I use a B17 for a bike that has drop bars and a B67 for a bike that has just about any other kind. Here are my bikes, as you describe them:

'92 Trek 930 MTB road setup w/ a B67: http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2wcfsbq

'98 Trek 520 w/ B17: http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2lx82yr
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