Marin Novato, Argon Krypton, Jamis Aurora, IRO Mark V
Brooks flyer - Break In period.
I'd like to buy a Brooks Flyer for my trip to Cuba on Nov 25th although my only concern is the break in period. I doubt I'll have enought time prior to the tour to adequately break it in therefore would there be any problems breaking it in during the tour?
I also saw a pre-conditioned Flyer that seemed a little softer (not the hard glossy sheen on the unconditioned saddle). Would you recommend pre-conditioned or is it debateble wether or not it makes a difference?
I know these things are built for comfort but how about speed, ie., do the spring in the saddle cause a loss of pedaling momentum? I like speed, even when touring, so much so that I'd take a more sporty saddle even if it means sacrificing some comfort.
Also, do you wear padded shorts with these saddles? I have Sugoi RS Flex which have very thick padding. I'm wondering how this padding my effect the saddle conforming to my butt.
I bought a Champion Flyer in late August. It felt stiff at first, and when I rode it I always felt like I was close to getting a sore butt, but it never set in. I gradually upped the length of my rides. When I got to 50 it still hadn't hurt. In October I rode a century. My butt never got sore! I was skeptical of the wondrous claims people made for their Brooks, but I decided to give one a try. Now I think I'm a believer.
I posted a description of my experience. Several people told me to just wait - my Brooks was only starting to get comfortable. They said it would continue to improve for the next year or so!
I always wear padded shorts. I don't know anything about the Champion Flyer that would lead me to think I shouldn't.
Don't worry about the break in period, it is not bad at all. My Champion Flyer was uncomfortable for the first five miles of the first ride and then sort of disappeared. The second ride was uncomfortable for about two miles and then seemed to disappear. My B-17 seemed to take awhile longer, but still wasn't bad.
You need to spin smoothly to avoid bouncing on the springs at really high cadences, I only notice when I am attacking hills. Wear padded shorts if you have them, but they aren't always necessary. I did my first 100K in jeans.
True North tourer (www.truenorthcycles.com), 2004; Miyata 1000, 1985
You've got 11 days. If you manage to squeeze in, say, five rides between now and the time you go, you will be well on your way to breaking it in. I had very minor soreness the first few times I rode my Brooks, but this disappeared after, maybe, ten longish rides.
If you do experience significant discomfort after a few rides, consider using your old saddle for the trip. The Brooks is not a panacea, and it does not fit everybody.
I bought my B-17 while on tour and it was not bad at all. I had two days where it felt like I was riding on a piece of wood, but after that I was flying high. I did match them with a good pair of padded shorts (Pearl Izumi Ultra Sensors) for my favorite riding.
Cuba is hot. I recommend cycling shorts for the wicking action of the pad, especially since you like to ride fast. The Brooks will not give you any problems, and are excellent in hot weather because they also wick moisture away from the rider. I can't say anything about the "aged" model. I would personally prefer the slicker of the two, since that is also a characteristic of a cool riding saddle. The slicker the better.
The springs are very stiff, and I don't have pogo-sticking problems in high cadence on my bikes. It's possible, though. If you are light, it could happen when spinning up hills. I'm heavy, so it doesn't come into play as much. If you pogo, raise the saddle a little - like maybe a cm - not so high that you have hip rocking issues, though. Pogo sticking can be reduced if you aren't lifting your knees so high.
Any problems you may encounter will have to do with saddle position due to not really having enough time to sort things out. You should be ok if you remember that with a 17/Flyer, most people find that they are most comfortable when the seat area is level with the ground and the peak is slightly tilted up. Bar tops should be level with, or even higher than the saddle peak. This is no race saddle, so don't expect to be all warm and fuzzy if you try to lay over it in a racers tuck, with the bars set 2 or 3 inches low.
Surly Krampus, Surly Straggler, Pivot Mach 6, Bike Friday Tikit, Bike Friday Tandem, Santa Cruz Nomad
My champion flyer was comfy right out of the box - no break in required. The springs don't affect my pedaling at all. If you are used to wearing padded bike shorts I wouldn't ditch them right before a tour on a new saddle, but you can ride without them just give yourself time to adapt.